Legend of La Chatte Pendue

Legend of La Chatte Pendue. The Rock of the Hanging Cat
Legend of La Chatte Pendue – The Rock of Hanging Cat

 

Legend of La Chatte Pendue

Before the era of the witchcraft trials, there was a period of rumors. They started quietly, half-formulated whispers and slander, impossible to defend. The rumors continued until even the most respected High Stone was accused.

Martha Corey Salem Witch Trial. Photo from Steven Symes blog

An old woman in the village was clever, a little too clever. One day a young man tried to cheat her, but she outsmarted him. Embarrassed, he started the rumor that the old woman was a witch. She tried to defend herself, but the old woman had outfoxed the other villagers, as well. She would not outwit them again.

The people of the town got together, carrying their torches. As evening drew near, they dragged her to the highest rock and hanged her.

As the moon rose, they went home in triumph, leaving her hanging from the gallows. The next morning, a black cat was found hanging from the highest rock, La Chatte Pendue. The rumors were confirmed. She was a witch!

Protestants hanging a cat, 1554. Courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library.

The High Stone was very unhappy, saying, “Now, I am complicit to murder. I cannot approve of this. If a chapter is convened to discuss the madness of men today, I will testify to this folly.”

But the whispering continued.

Next, the Stones near the Donon were accused of having received the mark of the Devil. The accusers pointed to indentations in the Stones vaguely resembling footprints.

Legends of the Vosges. Evil Stone at the Lake de la Maix
Legends of the Vosges. Evil Stone at the Lake de la Maix

Things continued spiraling downward until they reached the point where the Elder Stone decided to hold a meeting. Not that she really feared the Stones would be burned, how could they? But she was compassionate and open-minded. She saw beyond the Salm to the pyres that burned, one after another. Because the stones were slow to move, she was still considering her options when the Thirty Years War came along and soon there was no one left to burn.

(inspired by Monique Marie Francois webpage MAGIQUE PAYS DE SALM

Translation help by: Thomas Shutt, http://www.mainlineediting.com/

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