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Discovering stories

... The warden of Lens ...

Solandieu "Valais Legends" 1997 and Narratives, contes et légendes du Grand Lens, Publishing the Map, 1996


Autretrefois, Lens, apart from the ringing of bells for ordinary circumstances: messes, Vespers, funerals, etc., the office of warden also included the ringing of the big bell, the Barba Joyousa (Beard cheerful), - Probably in memory of Beard Platea, who was his godmother in a host of bells time - to avert the storm and protect crops from hail.

In the fifteenth century, Bonivini the family had provided a whole dynasty of churchwardens-ringers. Their experience made them foresee storms and almost never, with their loyalty to the position, they left damage crops; the first warm drops, the first hailstones, they were there to ring the bell, and the storm dissipated immediately.


On a beautiful summer day, when the golden grain would be harvested, Bonivini the warden was the hamlet of Chilin, busy watering the vines.

About two o'clock in the afternoon, he said to his co-workers:

- I leave you, should I go to Lens, a storm is brewing. Farmers began to laugh:

— Comment ! orage one, by the calm and serene time !

- As I was saying ! replied dryly ringer; do not you see this little horned cloud above Ravuin ? (Rawyl) That does not tell me anything good, there is a beginning there meeting wizards, those of the synagogue, who will prepare hail to ravage our wheat. I leave you.

Our warden and went away in a hurry, by short[1], to the church of Lens.

He came to Virèss, last contour of the road before reaching the village, when the sky darkened suddenly; a distant rumble of thunder was heard, while a large black cloud was coming from the side of Ravuin. No doubt, it was a hailstorm.

The warden immediately called aides together and ringers, they set in motion the Barba Joyousa. The bell shakes and floats in the tower without a single sound so; the door remains as frozen in the middle of the bell, despite the tremendous shock that it prints. The first burst of hail falls.

- We are lost ! cried the ringers. A wizard holds the clapper of the bell ! If at least it sounded Liavouina d'Arbaz and Giachetta of Montana ! (two bells that had the same privilege as the Barba Joyousa Lens), but we hear nothing ! What to do?

- Continue to ring, said the warden, I will give place to evil spirit that clings to beating the bell.

Et Bonivini lui assigna la forêt du Tzan in the gorges of the Lienne. Then the good man began to recite Angelus.

When he pronounced the sacramental words: "And the Word became flesh", the stick sonna, and we saw out the windows of the tower a species of bird resembling a woodpecker, but much larger. He went like a bullet on the side of Ism has Zour (Forest field), and the storm took the same direction. Hail fell in the gorge Ravuin, where it did no harm.

The following fall, Bonivini the warden went to the fair Sion to buy livestock. There he met an old man and blind who greeted friendly and invited him to the inn, he wanted to give him a good dinner.

The warden, surprised, dit's:

- But, I do not know you, I think you're wrong !

- Not at all, I know you well, you churchwarden Bonivini, Lens, and you made me one day a great service, I will tell you this over dinner.

The warden, intrigued, accepted the invitation.

While they did honor to a hearty meal, the Mounjo (inhabitant of the valley Hérens) dit's: "Do you still remember, during a storm, last summer, you could not make any sound to make the big bell Lens ? Eh bien ! it was me who wanted the door bell, sent by wizarding society. When you prayed the Angelus, I was thrown, after your order, to Ism has Zour and then, I gave head against a dry branch of a vouargno (white fir), I'm tired and a look. That's why I'm blind And because I'm blind, I was excluded from the society of witches, I longed, long no longer part, because there are only struggling to; but we can not get out once entered, unless disabled. So to you I owe my salvation, and that, you must admit the, well worth a dinner.




[1] Valais expression meaning a shortcut.

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