The story I will tell you today is the story of MELUSINE the fairy, a founding story among the legends of France.
It all began when King Helinas met a beautiful stranger at a fountain, and she agreed to marry him as long as he promised her he would not see her during her diapers. (Yes, things are moving fast in these times.)
This one, Pressine, soon gave birth to three girls: Mélusine, Mélior and Palestine. But Helinas can’t resist entering while she’s bathing them. Immediately, Pressine ran away with the babies, and reached the island of Avalon. (A sadly famous island that I would describe to you next time, be patient, be patient, lovers of legends.)
Having grown up, the three sisters learned that their father was to blame. They decide to punish him by locking him under a mountain. Pressine, who had probably not forgotten Helinas, could not change their actions, but, furious, she in turn punished her daughters: Melior was condemned to keep a sparrowhawk in a castle in Armenia; Palestine was locked up in Mount Canigou, with her father’s treasure; and Melusine transformed herself every Saturday into a snake “of the belly button downstream” and could only escape this curse by marrying a man who accepted not to see her in this situation.
There was a man, Raimondin, whose father, the Count of Forez, had also met a fairy by a fountain, was raised by his uncle, the Count of Poitiers. Unfortunately, Raimondin accidentally killed him during a boar hunt. Lost in pain, he wanders without reason through the forest of Coulombiers.
This is how he reached a fountain where “three ladies of great power” stood. At his own pain, he did not notice them, but Mélusine left her companions, came to him and stopped his horse. He is immediately impressed by her beauty. She calls him by his name, and promises him happiness and prosperity if he marries her. He should only never try to find out, or reveal to anyone where she is going and what she does on Saturdays.
In this way, Raimondin became the most powerful lord of Poitou. The wedding is sumptuously celebrated. Near the fountain where they met, Mélusine built the castle of Lusignan. And it gives birth to ten sons, the first eight of them carrying a physical defect. But no cloud comes to damage the happiness and prosperity of the couple…
Until the day Raimondin’s brother insinuated things about Melusine’s activities on Saturdays. Raimondin, shocked, cannot resist reaching the bottom of the tower where she had locked herself up. With his sword he makes a hole in the door, and he discovers his wife taking a bath, “to the waist, white as snow on the tree branch, well made and graceful, fresh and smooth face. Of course, no one ever saw a beautiful woman again. But his body ends in a huge and horrible snake tail. ”
The poor man, frightened, very quickly, he plugs up the hole. He returns to his brother and it is against him that he rejects his fury, and throws him out of the castle.
Mélusine, on the other side, pretends not to have noticed anything, and life goes on as before…
Until the day one of their sons, Geoffroy, savagely set fire to Maillezais Abbey, with the monks his brother Fromont had joined. Raimondin, horrified, sees this as a sign of his wife’s evil character, and he cannot avoid calling her in public a “very false snake”.
It was too much, the promise was broken. Melusine jumps out the window. It becomes snake again, and flies away. “She makes three rounds of the fortress, each round a prodigious cry, a strange, painful and pitiful cry. ”
Raimondin never saw her again. But it is said that she manifests herself, screaming, every time death affects her descendants, or her castle is about to change occupiers. Even today, these places are still haunted by her presence.
will you be able to discover and understand the morality offered by this legend?
Written by: Germain Picot