With the success of the other article on Occitan legends, as promised, here is the second article on the myths of the region!
The Saint-Clair, Saint-Loup and Ventoux mountains :
But where does the name of these very famous mountains in the South of France come from? And above all, when do I get a mountain with my name on it ?!
Well, according to an old belief dating back to the Middle Ages (that’s all there were at the time anyway!), the name of the mountains would be inspired by the story of the three sons of the great lord of Saint-Martin-de-Londres. The youngest: Loup (Mont Saint-Loup, that makes sense), the second son: Clair (we are always good) and the eldest: Guiral (what the hell ? Ventoux and Guiral don’t sound the same at all).
So, Riri, Fifi and Loulou had the great idea to fall in love with the same girl: Bertrade. She must have been really beautiful, because Bertrade, we’re not going to lie to each other, isn’t a nice name, it sounds terrible. The poor child was leaving with a big handicap in life there and it didn’t go well since the three brothers decided to declare their love for her, and then all at the same time, what a lovely idea (joke) ! She doesn’t have time to blow the poor girl away!
Besides that, the three brothers must also have had great arguments each, since she couldn’t choose: by the slightest ounce of baldness, cultivated, good-looking, rich (they were sons of lords, don’t forget). Finally, Bertrade was not the most to be pitied at the time, life was not too hard on her!
But then she was still in quite a dilemma. Personally I would have chosen Guiral, because he is the eldest and I would have become Lady of Saint-Martin-de-Londres thanks to the birthright, but Saint Bertrade wanted to have a moral code and to decide between them impartially.
So she turned to God to find out which one to take as her husband. God, who really had nothing else to do, as is well known, answered her and advised her to send the suitors to Jerusalem, and that the one who had done the most glorious deeds there should marry her.
After some time Bertrade began to find the time long (had she been looking for it a bit? do you think so?) The three Musketeers, apparently in addition to being of good birth, must have been good people because they did not come back. Bertrade began to fear the worst and thought they must have died, bad luck for the most coveted woman, all her suitors have disappeared, it’s sad! Feeling guilty for the death of her three suitors, she refused to eat and starved to death.
Except that in fact none of the three were dead, they were just performing feats and fine-tuning their tan!
When Bertrade’s death was announced, they thought it might be time to go home as there was no one left to impress (guys, I swear)!
But what can’t be taken away from them is that they really loved her, full of pain, they chose to go and live on three distant mountains, but arranged in a triangle in relation to the place where their beloved was resting. I don’t know if it’s creepy or really romantic. In any case, it is to perpetuate their memory, that the three mountains were baptised with their first names (except Guiral, we still don’t get the trick).
Moral of the story: one “yours” is better than two “you’ll get it”, or even three.
the Legend of the Clamouse Cave in Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
“A poor peasant woman, abandoned by her husband, raised all her children as best she could”.
Already, the scene is set, here there will be no happy ending, it smells like a story with a bad ending !
In order not to starve, she proposed to her eldest son, 10 years old (oh well, he’s almost old) to go and work as a shepherd in the Causses, near the village of La Vacquerie. Frankly good plan, at the time sheep were a popular commodity (wool, meat, leather…). Anyway, the little guy, Estiénou, lives his best life far from the family and loves his little animals. Life is not that bad, we’ll say! Estiénou was a nice little boy anyway, so every Sunday he threw a green wood stick he decorated with his knife through a gully in the Causse. The underground water carried the wood stick to the resurgence below, where its mother lived.
“Oh but what a nice story, it’s not so sad after all, the author is talking nonsense!”
Yes, we too would have preferred… One day, Estiénou’s mother’s flock was wiped out by the disease (and yes, because the mother was also in the sheep business). So to help her, Estiénou sent her a lamb every month, just like a piece of wood.
So in the end, it was a little bit like the mother’s little rendez-vous every month ! She surely felt like she was still maintaining a bond with her offspring (fake psychologist and proud of it). So every first moonless night, she would show up at the edge of the cave. One day while she was waiting for her delivery… She recognised in the water the inert body of her son, swept away by the water.
(We warned you it’s not a funny story, you never want to listen to us). The child had been dragged by the vigour of the lamb into the tumult. The mother of our little Estienou, went completely crazy (you’ll tell me what’s even quad even, it’s a bit traumatic). To release her pain, she went to the edge of the abyss every night to scream. That’s how the cave got its name, because Clamosa means clamorous or screaming, in homage to the spring by which this mother had cried so much.
Moral of the story: learning to swim from an early age is not negligible and avoid letting your children become shepherds at the age of 10.
The Cathedral of Villeneuve-lès-Maguelonne
Aaaaah finally a beautiful story ! But ush ! No spoil !
It all began in the Middle Ages, when the son of a Count of Provence, Pierre, decided to leave for Italy. A craving for calzone? Nay, the Pierrot is a conqueror, an adventurer of love! He had heard that a beautiful princess called Maguelone lived in Naples. The story would have ended there if the princess had been pretty ugly, and it would also have been super funny, but as his reputation said the princess was of great beauty.
To meet her, he has to win a tournament (a jousting one I suppose, because a belote tournament is less chivalrous). Of course, our National Pierre won his game (otherwise there would still be no story) and was presented to the King and Princess at supper.
When he arrived at the place, directly their eyes met and it was love at first sight : butterflies in the belly, fireworks, everything! The two young people fell madly in love with each other. And to prove his love to his promised one, he offered her three golden rings (so if a son of an earl wants to prove his love in this way, let him show himself, i’m ready). So what comes to mind when you’re feisty, in love and not engaged to each other?
“What if we ran away? We’d love each other in broad daylight, you’d be mine and I’d be yours.”
So one evening they decided to run away on horseback. Just to make a little stop to eat a little kebab (living on love and fresh water is fine for two seconds, even they know it), they stopped at sunrise by the sea.
By the way, guess what lives by the sea? Bingo ! Seagulls (historical evidence does not confirm that they are really seagulls there, but we are pretty sure of it). In any case, the damn bird stole the three golden rings from the princess and fled towards the open sea.
A kleptomaniacal bird, certainly, but particularly agile it must be recognised! Valiant as he was, Pierre went in pursuit of the ring (not the only ring, we’re still in the same story, no drifts please, there’s enough of them), but the unfortunate man was caught by a Moorish ship coming from Africa, and became their prisoner.
We are not going to blame the Moors, because Pierre had left in an old boat, so this capture probably saved his life.
For his part, Maguelone was desperately waiting on his beach, pacing around. No more guys and no more jewellery, damn this pigeon of the seas! Finally to keep busy, no switch or nintendo, so well she had to find something else.
After another walk, she arrived on a small, quite charming island, and decided to found a hospital (which she called Port Sarrazin) and a church (which she called Saint-Pierre). So yes, it was quite normal at the time, today it wouldn’t be the priority, but at the time it was really just a little activity when you were bored. That or also embroidery, hair braiding, etc. Thank God I was born centuries later!
Years later, Pierre was freed by the Sultan thanks to his good and loyal services! The first thing he thought about was finding his princess! If that’s not nice!
The problem was that his crew didn’t take it very well to be abandoned by Pierre, so they abandoned him on an island. (What an epic story!)
So we don’t know all the details, but apparently following an accident while opening oysters, Pierre needed first aid. He was lucky because some fishermen, who … were probably fishing in the area, found him and brought him back to the nearest hospital.
(There, you start to make the link).
But of course, when he arrived at the hospital of Port Sarrazin, he found the beautiful Maguelone ! And according to the legend of their reunion, the Maguelone Cathedral was born.
They got married, had many children and ate a lot of seafood!
Moral of the story: dustbin for Romeo and Juliet, I’m in Team Pierrot and Magui ❤️
So, as its name suggests, this story is going to be about a goat! It’s for us, it makes us happy, after the sheep and the seagull, it’s a special animal today!
So, in 1096, all the lords and able-bodied men had gone on the Crusade. Only one remained, Raymond (the coward). In a way, Raymond was clever, he stays on the banks of the Tarn tranquillou, in his castle (yes because Raymond is a lord) while the others go to war where it stinks and where they risk their lives. Well, it’s less tempting. And better still, all the women whose husbands had gone to war began to spend their time with Raymond!
Great lord that he is, he comforted the poor lonely ones, without obviously expecting anything in return, of course it was done in an absolutely innocent way!
So far 0 intransigent, until an old woman warned him “everything will end badly”.
Not scary at all this story, why are there always shady people who come and drop their threats like that? So, what was bound to happen happened and that very evening he died (probably from fear because of the old lady who had threatened him!). We remind you that he is not a brave man). The following night, the old woman, who was prowling around because she is strange, saw a large goat hovering above the rocks of the manor. No doubt about it: Raymond’s soul had been reincarnated as a goat. No need to remind you that the goat is present in Greek and Roman mythology in the form of satyrs, who are womanizer. It makes an astonishing resonance to our rascal Raymond, who was consoling the women of the castle, Nauthy Raymond as I like to call him!
Since then, we sometimes hear a bleating followed by strange murmurs at night. In homage to Raymond, the castle was named Castelbouc (“castel” in Occitan meaning “castle”). Honestly I think it’s a high price to pay for a lord who fled the war and who was also a casanova! Moreover, if I may allow myself a little intervention with the creator of the legend, I find it a bit far-fetched… That’s said.
Moral of the story: Avoid playing with other people’s wives and be nice to animals just in case.