Here’s a salutary tale for those so smitten by their lady-loves that they commit very silly acts!
In the village of Puivert, a few kilometres from where I live, is a castle perched high on the mountainside overlooking a small man-made lake.
But in times past there was a huge lake confined by stone barrages. However, a certain Aragonaise princess, let’s call her Dame Blanche because she had a thing about always wearing white, visited the castle, fell in love with the surroundings and above all with the lake that stretched out below the castle towers. So enamoured of the place did she become, that she prolonged her visit until she became a permanent resident in the castle. This was much to the liking of the seigneur of the castle, one Jean de Bruyère, who had taken a fancy to Dame Blanche; whether his missus was entirely thrilled was another matter. So, Dame Blanche mooched around the lake every day, communing with nature, talking to the birds and generally not doing very much at all.
As happens to all of us age began to creep up on her and she had increasing difficulty in getting around the lake to do her communing thing. However, she found a rock, strangely enough shaped just like an armchair where she could perch her derrière and while away the hours in contemplation of the lapping waters, the tranquillity and the way the sunsets seemed to set the lake afire, surrounded of course by her entourage always ready to fetch and carry.
Then, one day a rainstorm swelled the lake waters and the wind whipped the ripples into waves which spilled over the banks, submerging the Dame’s stone seat. This catastrophe filled the lady with sadness; she slipped into a green and yellow melancholy and withdrew within the castle walls. However, one of her pages, no doubt a bit lacking in nous, suggested to her that if a hole was made in the lake’s retaining wall the water level would fall and she would be able to recover her seat which, as an added bonus would always be dry.
The Dame put this idea to the besotted master of the castle who could not naysay her and he promptly set his minions to work on creating a hole. Unfortunately, no-one gave any thought to the effects of the pressure of water behind the wall escaping through this small breach. The inevitable happened and the whole wall collapsed unleashing a torrent of water down the valley, flooding the village of Mirepoix some 30 kilometres away causing loss of life and untold damage.
It is said that the lady herself was carried away by the flood water and today, she haunts the castle. When it rains in Puivert she may be seen staring out of a window in one of the towers, no doubt contemplating the damage she caused.
And the moral of the tale…well you decide.
(Photos courtesy of June Berridge Photography)