Saint Peter of Treyvaux was a very ancient village, built in the 9th century during the reign of Charlemagne around a chapel dedicated to St. Peter.
During the 14th century, the Black Plague, a disease which came from distant Orient, swept through Western Europe leaving sickness and death in its wake. The area of St. Peter of Treyvaux was not exempt and to escape as best as they could, the inhabitants of the village took off to live in depths of the forest. There they came across a pleasant clearing at a point where three rivers meet. As the threat died down, they built new homesteads in the clearing.
Meanwhile, the priest had remained stoically in his vicarage in the old village and survived. When the time came, he exhorted his parishioners to return to their former homes. They refused but, in order to encourage the priest to join them, they offered to build a big church in the new village. When everything was ready, they ceremoniously went to fetch the two consecrated relics of St. Peter to install them in their new abode.
The following day something terrible had happened! The statue of St. Peter had disappeared ! Everyone was looking for it and finally it was found in its previous sanctuary in the old chapel. Inevitably, this event led to a lot of soul searching. People wondered whether they should, perhaps, move back or, again, if they should attempt to force destiny and install St. Peter once more in the new church.
Finally they decided to let themselves be guided by a simple donkey. They strapped the statue to its back and followed the donkey as it walked confidently towards the forest. A mysterious pathway seemed to open before them as the donkey and the statue led the parishioners. They came to a little glade covered with moss and fern and there the donkey kneeled down. The message was obvious. This was the place St. Peter had chosen for his sanctuary to be built.
Now, nothing is certain, but could this event possibly explain the nickname of the inhabitants of Treyvaux ? They are known as "donkeys" and proud of it !
Thematic route :
A Country of Legends
From "Légendes fribourgeoises", Imprimerie St-Paul, 1944