The Devil’s Bridge

Last weeks in Hamburg there was the Dom: a fair which repeats three times per year where stands and amusements light up the center of the city during all the day. After a lap around, a hot dog and a cup of warm wine, when sky gets darker, there is also a fire-work show. And looking at those fire-works to my mind came a legend which we have at my place. The story of the Devil and San Martin.

There is a town at the beginning of Valle d’Aosta called Pont-Saint-Martin, and, as the name suggests, there is a bridge across the river (Lys). There are two ways to explain the construction: the boring way, when the bridge was built at the start of our era around the year 0, and the legend which says that it was built by Saint Martin himself.

They say the Lys’ water are ungovernable and wild and, during the centuries no one has never succeeded in building abridge, because the Devil would just destroy everything that the population had built. One day, the Saint came across the town on the valley’s bottom. Once the population explained him why there is no bridge, Saint Martin couldn’t just walk away and he decided to help these people and went looking for the Devil. When he found his biblical enemy, they made an agreement and Lucifer promised to let the people build their bridge, but the first soul who would walk on the bridge would belong to him.

Martin accepts, he already had a plan. The bridge was built and the inauguration’s day came. Once the magnificent bridge was blessed Saint Martin took a bone from the ground and threw on the other side. At the same moment a dog ran after it crossing the bridge, and as agreed the Devil got the soul of the poor dog.

This legend is kept alive, and takes place every year during the town’s carnival, where the center of the town is closed and a “Devil Puppet” is hanged and burned after the sunset, to remind how the Saint tricked Satan to help the people.

After this exciting moment, the music is turned on in the square and a great show takes place: the mountains light up of fire, which synchronized with the music jump into the sky to give one of the best souvenirs of the ending of Pont-Saint-Martin’s Carnival, with a nice cup of Vin Brulé in the hand.



[Italiano]

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