The Mystic Legends of Brittany – Part 2
The Huelgoat Boulders
Huelgoat forest a place filled with wonder, gushing waterfalls, fairy pools, dark caves and of course great round boulders. These boulders are more than just seemingly misplaced rocks however, they come with a story of all of their own. The French Giant Gargantua was said to have stopped here in Huelgoat when struck by a pang of hunger whilst on his travels across the land and so he asked the locals here for a bite to eat to tide him over. Alas, he was not happy with their somewhat humble offering of buckwheat broth which barely touched the sides and, in a rage, swore he would have revenge and left the town in a huff. He managed to find a more satisfying meal in the richer land of Léon and after filling his belly he wandered down to the sea, picked up some sizable round boulders and hurled them in the direction of Huelgoat where they landed through the forest and along the river. They are still a marvellous site today.
The Gates of Hell
If you head out to the wild marshlands of the Monts d’Arrée hills be careful, for you may find yourself in an encounter with Ankou, the Breton embodiment of death. The true extent of the blogland’s was reduced in 1937 when the river Ellez was damned in order to build the St Michel reservoir however the remains of this somewhat grim land remain around the edges of the reservoir where you can still see how the murky pools may have incited such beliefs. According to folk tales you can still see Ankou wandering the marshes with his horse, cart and great scythe as he ferries souls through this gateway to hell.
The Sunken City
The charming port town of Douarnenez is a seemingly quiet spot, great for fishing and taking in the ocean breeze, however according to legend it is also thought to be the home of France’s very own Atlantis, the sunken city of Ys. Ts was once a grand and wealthy city built by King Gradlon who had a daughter with fairy woman. This daughter believed strictly in the Celtic ways and that Christians were no fun at all. She went on to turn the city into regular den of iniquity. Before long who should turn up but the devil himself, disguised as a night dressed in red. He seduced the daughter and tricked her into giving him the key to the city’s great gates. The city itself was build below sea level with the gates build to protect its harbour from the changing tide. The devil opened these gates during a storm and as the waters rose the city was engulfed and all its inhabitants died. Dahnut, the daughter who led the city astray was spared death and instead cursed and turned into a water spirit, doomed to drown men for all of eternity. If you should decide to visit looking for the lost city of Ys be careful of any enticing ladies in the water, it could be where you too meet your end.