The “tseallii” was the rite used, long ago, to accompany the widow or widower in his/her second wedding celebration: the youngsters of the town and nearby villages would meet at the hapless victim’s house and with pots, pans, cans, horns and rattles would start a frenzied serenade that would last a long time, even days…until the hapless victim, in order to make them stop, would pay everyone a round of drinks.
However, a widower from Courmayeur found a more economical way to get rid of the musicians. Having served under king Carlo Alberto as drum major, he kept his old instrument hanging on a wall. He took it off the hook, put it round his neck and, having recovered his youthful energy, went out on the threshold, beating the drum in full force: soon the constant drumming drowned out every other noise. One by one the musicians stopped playing and quietly slipped away.
Based on: “Il fiore del leggendario valdostano” (The Flower of the Legendary Valdostan) by Tersilla Gatto Chanu Edizioni Emme/Torino (publishers)