Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saut de la Mounine**

Do you remember this photo from my December post about Saujac? It's part of some fading paintings on a long-closed epicerie in the village. I promised to tell you about this monk and his monkey. Here's the story...

Once upon a time, in the 15th century actually, a monk named Cidoine set off on pilgrimage from Conques with his pet monkey (called mounine in the local patois) and a goat. As he walked along the edge of the causse (just above where Saujac is now), he tripped and fell over the edge. His belt caught on a tree saving him and his monkey. As he hung there, he spotted a cave and decided that this was a sign that they should stay right here....so they did. This hermit monk in his cave became quite the local celebrity with frequent visitors who brought him food and sought his advice One visitor was Ghislaine, the 16 year old daughter of Ogier, Lord of Montbrun, a fortified village directly across the Lot river facing Cidoine's cave. Another frequent visitor was Renaud, the son of Ogier's fierce rival. You can guess what happened...yes, Ghislaine and Renaud fell in love. When Lord Ogier found out, he screamed a curse..."I swear by the devil,I'd rather you jumped off that monk's rock than marry the son of my rival!"

Montbrun as seen from the monk's rock. Lord Ogier's castle is the large square building at the top of the village

Ghislaine was distraught. She went to Cidoine and asked him what she should do. He told her on the day that her father went out hunting to come to his rock with her best dress. When she arrived, he dressed his old, blind monkey in it and flung him off the rock. Lord Ogier saw his daughter's brilliant red dress as the monkey plunged to the valley below. Thinking his daughter had jumped to her death and full of remorse, he recanted his oath and ran along the Lot to find Cidoine who then revealed the deception. Jubliant, Lord Ogier embraced his daughter and blessed her union with Renaud. They were married in the Montbrun castle, their fathers reconciled, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Except the monkey who was unavailable for comment.
**Jump of Mouine.

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