Les demoiselles de Caraybat, daffodils and gentians

Once upon a time long ago in Caraybat, when times were hard, the men of this small village had to look far afield for work.  And they went to Spain, for the hay-making season.  Hawkers came to the village, and peddlers.  They found a village with no men.  They took advantage.  So did the women.

When the hay-making season was over, the men returned, and the women spied them returning over the distant mountains.  Suddenly ashamed and frightened, they fled to the hills.  God, in vengeful and Old Testament mood, was displeased.  As the women reached the summit, he turned each one of them to stone.  And there they are to this day, les demoiselles de Caraybat, a petrified reminder of a summer of sin.

A few of those demoiselles hide themselves behind the woodland trees
A few of those demoiselles hide themselves behind the woodland trees

We remembered this legend yesterday when I took our Laroquais walking friends to Caraybat and the dolomies to discover those daffodils I’d been shown on Thursday.  I was quite chuffed that not a single one of them had previously known this special spot, and we had a pleasant hour up on the rocks, picnicking and enjoying the last days of the daffodil season.

We followed the walk I’d learnt about on Thursday, and then we finished our day by going to the plateau above Roquefixade to see the gentians there.

Gentians above Roquefixade
Gentians above Roquefixade

Sadly, it was by then rather cold and windy, and most of the gentians had sensibly folded their indigo skirts about their faces and tucked themselves away to wait for a sunny day.  We’ll wait too.  And when the sun comes out properly, we’ll be back.

14 thoughts on “Les demoiselles de Caraybat, daffodils and gentians”

  1. So gorgeous! You’ve got a good eye for how to frame a picture. My favorite is the one of the magnolias in the foreground with the snow-peaked mountains in the background.

    I love all the folk stories that you tell about the area.


  2. Thank you Margaret for the story! I didn’t know it. We went to Caraybat last Wednesday and I recited to the walkers -by heart, the beginning of Wordsworth’s poem about The daffodils: I wandered lonely as a cloud/ That floats on high over vales and hills/ When all at once I saw a crowd/ A host of golden daffodils/ Beside the lake, beneath the trees/ Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


  3. Thanks Margaret, always so very interesting legends and beautiful pictures – and obviousely inspiring Noëlle …..(see her soon, maybe she’ll recite it for me as well) – bonne journée et bonne continuation – AnnA


    1. Well, I’ve got one for today
      ‘The rain it raineth every day/Upon the just and unjust fellah./But more upon the just/Because the unjust hath the just’s umbrella’
      In other words, it’s POURING here.


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