Anguane are fantastic creatures typical of the Triveneto folklore (the area of North-West Italy made by Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia). Their characteristics vary a lot according to the different legends: some of them present anguane as mountain deities, some others say they are just normal women, good during the day and evil during the night; some people consider them fairies of the water springs, others think they belong to the group of the mermaids, instead. It is believed that they can attract the men that pass by lakes or rivers, and capture them with their long hair. Everybody agrees that they can transform themselves into other creatures, and that their favourite one is the snake…
Once upon a time a man married his servant, but he didn’t know she was an anguana. The day before the wedding, she told him: “You must promise me that you will never touch me with the back of your hand”. “I swear I will never do that, my darling”, replied the man. They got married, soon had two children and were living happily. One day the man came back from work and found the wife in the kitchen. She was making bread and had some flour on her cheeks. Her husband, spontaneously, wiped it off out with the back of his hand, and suddenly the woman disappeared completely. The man was very sorry and sad, but it was useless to apologise and cry, as he remained alone with the two kids.
He was a bit worried because he was not used to taking care of their sons, but surprisingly they were very tidy and very autonomous. In fact, every evening, when he came back, they had been bathed and they had already eaten. One day he asked them: “Is there somebody that feeds you and takes care of you?”. “Our mum”, they said. He was shocked, and wanted to find out if it was true. So, the following day he came back home earlier and opened the door. He saw a snake coming out of the sink, instinctively took a stick and killed it.
From that day, he always found his children very untidy and hungry when he came back from work.