“Sa Crabarissa” The Stone Maiden 0 Comments

“Sa Crabarissa” The Stone Maiden

Today we will take a long walk in the centre of Sardinia, in an area rich in woods and dense Mediterranean scrub where laurel, strawberry tree, myrtle, rosemary and mastic tree grow tangled among the limestone rocks. Here, in the Mandrolisai region, Austis, 2 and a half hours and 160 km from the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites., nature is a splendour, perfumed by helichrysum and wild lavender.

Sardinia is an ancient land with a mysterious character. It is the guardian of atavistic legends, places out of time, hidden and solitary. One would never say that this beautiful place is witness to an ancient great love that ended dramatically. 

In fact, among the shrubs, in the centre of the valley, stands a 50-metre granite boulder that time, wind and rain shaped. This rock is truly imposing, and seems to have the form of a woman wearing a traditional Sardinian dress, a motionless, majestic figure, guardian of a silent, free and wild kingdom. A girl called by the locals “Sa Crabarissa”, the woman of Cabras.

During the winter transhumance, when the shepherds from the mountains of Austis, in the Ollolai’s Barbagia border, used to move with their animals to the flatter terrain, towards the Campidano of Oristano, in search of a milder temperature where to find protection from the winter rigours. Legend has it that, in the small town of Cabras, a young charming shepherd arrived from Austis with his transhumance flock and was, in turn, attracted by the gracefulness of a girl from the village. Regrettably, we don't know the names of the two youngsters, but we know from legend that love was born between them and that they exchanged gifts and marriage promises.

In spring the young shepherd set off up the mountain again, promising the girl that he would return. But love often, when it captivates the senses, deceives... Many days passed and she, tired of waiting but also alarmed by the silence of her beloved, decided to go to Austis to understand what had happened, facing a long and tiring journey. Upon her arrival, however, nothing was as she had imagined. No hugs, no welcome but only the sad reality: the shepherd, the young man who was supposed to marry her, was in reality already tied to a local woman.

Grieving and disappointed, the girl decided to return home, but during her way back to the plain, while stopping to take a last look at her beloved's town, the pain was so strong that it turned her into stone. Her heart was too disappointed, her feelings too hurt, which she really couldn't tolerate any longer, "Sa Crabarissa" had thus protected herself from that pain by becoming an insensitive granite boulder. It thus became a natural rock monument in stony Sardinia, with the shape of a young woman, wearing a traditional dress.

Ancient oral traditions, handed down from generation to generation, have told this sad story to teach young people that messing with other people's feelings is the worst thing ever.

“Love is not enough. But, it is the rock on which all else stands.” (Nora Roberts)


Written by Daniela Toti

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