Legend of La Chatte Pendue

The Rock of La Chatte Pendue
Legends of the Vosges. The Rock of La Chatte Pendue
Legend of La Chatte Pendue and the Witchcraft Trials

Before the era of the witchcraft trials, there was a period of superstition and rumors. They started quietly, half-formulated whispers and slander, impossible to defend. Still the rumors spread and continued to grow encompassing even the most respected High Stone.

La Chatte Pendue
“Illustration: “Black John” chastising the witches, from Letters on demonology and witchcraft” by University of Glasgow Library is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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. Though she tried to defend herself, 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 and without even a trial, 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, instead of the old woman, the townspeople found a black cat hanging from the highest rock, La Chatte Pendue. Certainly, she was a witch!

Martha Corey / Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The High Stone

…was very unhappy, saying, “Now, I am complicit to murder. I cannot approve of these witchcraft trials.  Someday, If a hearing  is ever convened to discuss the madness of men today, they may call upon me to testify to this folly.”

However, the whispering continued.

Next, the townspeople accused the Stones near the Donon. 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

The witchcraft trials continued and thing spiraled downward until they reached the point where the Elder Stone decided to hold a meeting. She didn’t worry they would burn the stones. 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 unable to move, she was still considering her options when the Thirty Years War came along. Soon there was no one left to burn.

(inspired by Monique Marie Francois webpage MAGIQUE PAYS DE SALM

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

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