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The red horned goat

At the Gros Plané, half-way up the mighty Moléson, the soil is still red and has been so ever since the red-horned goat was slain by an "armailli" defending his herd of cattle.

In fact, if one cared to look deep underneath the hearth where the copper cauldron for heating milk stood, one could find the buried bones of the brave man and the skull of the terrible goat.

The goat must have come straight up from Hell. Every evening, as the sun dropped behind the mountain, a swift, strong breeze set in carrying the anguished, gasping cries of many souls. Then, suddenly, the huge black goat would appear standing defiantly on a hillock. Its immense, curved horns were a fiery red and every time it shook its head, bright sparkling fragments would rocket off into the air. The cattle were terrorized and fled to the far end of the field. A hefty bull once tried to approach the goat but it was killed on the spot, asphyxiated by a gust of sulfur.

The udders of the terrorized cows dried up, there was no more milk to pour into the copper cauldron to make cheese. Day after day, the situation got worse until the herdsman had had enough. He hammered sharp nails into a heavy wooden club and sprinkled it with holy water. He also put on a medal which had touched the statue of the Holy Virgin. Thus armed, he went to face the big black goat, cause of all the trouble.

It was an impressive sight, the red-horned goat reared to attack the man. Raucous rooks were circling while the man raised his arm and landed the nails of the club squarely on the goat's head. It was a hefty blow, born of the man's fury and frustration. As the goat fell, its body disintegrated and disappeared in smoke. The corpse of the brave "armailli" lay in the field still clutching the goat's head.

Peace returned to the pasture land, the anguished, gasping cries were no longer heard and good fairies were again free to waft their benevolent wands, but if anyone dared to unearth the bones under the hearth, he would be struck to death.

Thematic route :
A Country of Legends

Texte :
Clément Fontaine, from"Sous la bannière de la Grue"
Translation :
Stella Bonnet-Evans

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