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The blighthed abyss

Long ago, during an almighty mountain storm, an enormous rock suddenly broke away from the peak, took fire and hurled itself down to land in a clearing at the foot of the Moléson.

It burnt its way deeply into the ground, setting fire to the grass, spewing up earth all around and finally left a gaping, fuming hole surrounded by molten, scalding soil. Three times a day a mournful voice rose up from the depths calling "Feed me a human, feed me a human". It was a fearsome spot, no living creature dared approach it.

Hundreds of years later, two "armailli" who spent their summer minding cattle in neighboring mountain chalets, were competing for the hand of the beautiful Goton, daughter of a rich landowner. One of them managed to spend an entire August evening dancing with her at an inn near the city of Gruyères. His rival heard of it and was so incensed that he decided to take a deadly revenge. He hid beside the path the lucky suitor had to follow to return to his chalet and waited, ax in hand. As the man passed him, he brought down his arm and axed his rival to death. He then dragged him to the edge of the abyss and threw him in.

As the murderer turned to leave the scene of his crime, black fumes emerged from the gaping hole, a thousand snake-like creatures wound round his legs, lightening struck him and he was, in turn, sucked down into the abyss.

At last, the evil spirit of the abyss was placated. It had been fed two men, not just one. The mournful voice was no longer heard. Gradually water trickled in to form a small lake but it has a bitter taste. No cheerful croaking frogs have elected to live in those waters and not even thirsty goats will consent to drink there.

Thematic route :
A Country of Legends

Text :
Clément Fontaine, from "L'Age d'Or Au Pays de Gruyère", Editions Fribourgeoises 1933

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