The red foulard
The good pay was the motive that drove a reaper to cross the border. What makes him stay?
girl watches the reaper working. She watches him from a distance as if enchanted by the harmony of his skilled movements. We are at the end of the season and the reaper is preparing to go home to Italy after a profitable season in France.
The satchel is quickly packed but something is missing. He searches again among his belongings but he cannot find one of his blades. He looks for it everywhere, getting ever more worried. He is already convinced that someone stole it. The blade, though, will lead him into her arms. What will be the outcome of this meeting?
RaphaelA load of salt on his shoulders and a lot of warmth for the Italian friends in his heart.
SaraEveryone turns around to look at her when she walks by because of her light and graceful stride. A simple girl with a little habit: a red foulard tied around her neck.
LuigiA young reaper appreciated because of his skills and his gentle and calm character.
The season of the reapers who moved to France lasted between 15 and 40 days. Having finished in one place the best reapers continued at another one. At the beginning of the last century the pay in France was four francs per day plus food and lodging: almost twice as much as one earned in Italy. This phenomenon lasted until the decade following the Second World War. Nowadays the only reapers who continue to move about are the Sitoû in the sky, the three stars in Orion’s Belt that proceed in lockstep. In our mountains they bear this name because they move in line like reapers in an infinite meadow. Reapers but also servants, bricklayers, mule skinners, miners and smugglers… They were plentiful crossing the borders to look for work in France. Men and women. Similar customs and traditions, many kinship relations and continuous visits made this exchange natural.
Ottonelli Elisabetta – Il Contrabbando – Storie di contrabbando per i colli di Viso – Comunità Montana Valli del Monviso – Progetto Alcotra Vis’Oc
Ottonelli Elisabetta – Les contrebandiers – Histoires de contrebande entre Queyras et vallées du Viso – L’ Office de Tourisme du Queyras – Projet Alcotra Vis’Oc