"Ugh, we’ve been walking for hours!" Alice glanced angrily at her father’s basket full of mushrooms, which sat on a chestnut stump. "I’m taking a break!" she moaned while her parents scoured the undergrowth. "Don’t wander away." The girl sighed and looked around. The forest was a kaleidoscope of green, red and yellow. Among the branches, high above, sapphire streaks were visible. All this served to brighten her mood. She stretched her legs on the soft carpet of leaves, determined to enjoy the beauty of the autumn forest fully, the roar of a river that came from the valley and the singing of the birds. The leaves on the chestnut trees rustled gently in the mild afternoon breeze. "Beautiful music, isn’t it?" said a shrill voice that made her jump. "Several years ago a young musician, Alfredo Catalani, tried to put it to song." "Really? And he succeeded? "Of course he did! His music is full of the enchantment of these valleys. We are in the land of the musicians! Puccini also came here often." Alice found herself face to face with a little man with amusing ears and a funny expression. "Who are you? "I am the Linchetto. Have you ever heard of me?" Alice nodded. "I've lived here since time immemorial with Buffardello, the Befana’s husband, the Marugella and the forest people. Of me, they say much that I hide things, turn wine into vinegar, weave horsehair beasts but I’m not all bad. Come, I'll show you around."
“I’m not allowed to wander away.” "Don’t worry". He handed her a leaf on which a tiny transparent ball shone. "Look, it’s not a simple drop of water." The drop enlarged and before the eyes of the child, the Val di Turrite appeared, dominated by the Piglione. It was the Festa di San Rocco and the crowd was watching the bacio delle Croci. "Let's go, before it starts! I have sensitive ears, you know! " And behold, the Val di Roggio with its stone towns and the Val Pedogna. "See that glow over there? It’s the ironworks! Come on!" Alice could have spent hours watching the hot metal being forged by the skilled hands of the craftsman, but the Linchetto dragged her away, towards the Val Freddana. "See those fires? They’re the fires of Santa Zita. Now we steal a tart! "No, what are you doing?" "Here! It tastes very nice." "But you shouldn’t steal!" The little man laughed. "I can! I’m the Linchetto!" They went back passing the mill where the grain was being threshed.
A moment later, they were back in the forest. "So, Alice, it was nice to meet you! Here, this is for you.” He handed her a basket full of chestnuts, shiny and inviting. "You'll come back and see us?" The girl nodded. "I'll be back". Suddenly she heard her mother's voice. "Alice! You sleepy head!" She opened her eyes, confused. Her mother was beside her. "What beautiful chestnuts, did you collect them? So tonight, it’s fried mushrooms and chestnuts!" "I got them from the Linchetto." She murmured. Her mother gave her a quick caress. "Alice, the dreamer as usual! Get up and let’s go to the festa della Zucca!"