It is a story that all parents tell their children at one time or another. They say:
"You know, I was in Castelmonte as a child. Now I'll take you to see "el Diàul"'. He gets in the car, fastens his seatbelt... "So, Dad, can you tell me about it?" It's not time: the first episode starts from the "puìnt del Diàul" [Devil's Bridge] in Cividale which, with its arches, looks like a long-legged spider. Here we are, we can begin.
"One day the devil challenged Our Lady. He stood in front of her and proposed: "Let's see who gets to the top of Castelmonte first. Whoever wins will have the city of Cividale'. Our Lady accepted the challenge and they flew off this bridge...'. And here the narrator stops, despite the protests of the children.
He resumes after a few kilometres, halfway up the climb to the Sanctuary, in a place called 'Portici' in front of a stone with a strange imprint. "The Madonna flew quickly upwards. She leaned only once halfway up the mountain on this stone that bears the mark of her foot". "And the Devil?" "He too took flight...".
Children, you must be patient: the third episode is told at the Sanctuary, going straight down into the crypt where a wooden archangel Michael crushes a devil so black and evil - half vampire and half bat - as to arouse almost sympathy. "...The Devil also ascended quickly, but on landing he found Our Lady had already arrived and was waiting for him.
Defeated, he went and plunged into hell, opening the chasm called "bùse del Diàul" [Devil's hole], which can still be seen today on nearby Mount Spich".
The children no longer ask questions and observe the poor devil....
Grown-ups know that this legend probably originated from the frights caused by the barbarian invasions, when the hordes passed quickly, sowing damage and terror. It is a reassuring story: the good people who lived here won, and here they stayed. With the simplicity of this story, parents transmit to their children the desire to believe in the good they now experience and prepare them to fight to defend it in life's difficult moments.