Hotel Conturines in Alta Badia – Deluxe Holidays in the Dolomites
It was the early morning of July 11, 1916. In the night it has trembled violently. There was still dusty smoke in the air. Skilful like a deer, little Mariangelo climbed up the Pralongià towards Setsass and already from afar, he was able to focus on the point where his father, Francesco de Rü, was supposed to wait for him. There was a strange silence in the air. For almost a year, his father had been with the Tyrolean 'Standschützen', which had taken up the post below the Col di Lana. A little above, on the main ridge, there was running the front, which was firmly in Italian hands. As a 'Kaiserjäger', his father had hoped to the last that this damned war could end within a few months. But the news were not good. This senseless war had worn everyone down.
As she had done weekly since Easter, the mother had given little Angelo supplies to give to his father. Some potatoes, hard bread, corn kernels, some cigarettes as well as a small bottle of spirit smuggled from the Val Pusteria.
Arrived at the agreed place, there was none around. Mariangelo waited there all morning and when he had almost given up, he saw something moving behind the trees. 'Mariangel, ula este pà?', he heard shouting. It was his father, pale and emaciated. Fear was written on his face.
The father told him that he and other comrades had to look for ammunition supplies at the Schreckenstein. Late that night the whole cone blew up. Two of his comrades were buried in the stone masses. He was only able to survive the blasting with great effort and good luck. He was devitalized by the horror of the war and didn't want to go back any more. 'Let's go,' he said with a rough voice.
Mariangelo, even if he was only 10 years old, knew what that meant. Deserting was an act for which the death penalty was provided. The father was ready to take this risk, knowing that he nevertheless was in danger every day. So, for Francesco de Rü there started one year of hide-and-seek between hay barns below the Col de Medesc and nightly home visits to be useful to the family and to get someghing warm to eat.