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Young boys, at the age of ten and eleven, were housed, or better contracted out, to the large farms in the Benevento territory as stable grooms and guardians of animals. In return for a hard life, far away from their families, they certainly didn’t receive fair wages. These wages were paid to the parents at the end of the work season. On August 15, holiday of the Assumption, they were taken to Benevento where, near the Duomo, or mother church, a market was held. The landowners observed them, assessed them, and if they were in good health, hired them. The contract was annual and ended September 8 of the following year.

For most of day, both in summer and winter, they herded animals. They were forced to sleep next to the animals, to be ready, at around three in the morning, to clean the stables, give water and food to the herds, and get them ready for the day’s work. Every fifteen days they were allowed to return to the town, to their families, to get clean clothes, who those who had this luxury. This scenario lasted generally until the end of the 1950s, when a more modern social and political consciousness helped end this practice.

Monumento Nazionale ai Valani