Flying Donkey Legend |
Saint Ferreol Hermitage |
Once upon a time in Provence (Naguère en Provence) there weren't many peasants without a goat, and goats commonly wandered in the streets of the villages. Early in the mornings, the local shepherds arrived in town and set up in the squares with their milk goats, crying Bouen lach fresc!, which is Bon lait frais! or "Good fresh milk".
Later in the day the shepherds returned to sell their recuites* and lait caillé (curdled milk), calling out "Lei broussos de Rove!", "brousses" being a whole-milk goat cheese with a great reputation from a Provençal race of goats called "La Rove".
(The image here is above the doorway of the Cabro d'Or hotel-restaurant in Carcès.)
But if the peasants have at least one goat at the farm, there's always one that they can never catch: the Cabro d'Or. Most of the old folks have personally seen this Golden Goat at some time in the past, near a grotto, on a nearby hilltop, at the edge of a spring or just disappearing behind a tree at the edge of a clearing.
The elusive Cabro d'Or has never been caught, as much as it's been chased. For only the Cabro d'Or knows where the Templiers treasure is buried, and the one who catches the golden goat will claim the treasure.
The legend of the Cabro d'Or goes back to the time of the Saracens.
In the village of Carcès, the story is told during evenings of the full moon or when the Mistral is blowing. At times like these, the silhouette of a rove is sometimes seen in the stones of the old chateau on the hilltop, and it's thought the Templiers treasure is buried somewhere beneath.
At the Hermitage of St Ferrél overlooking the village of Lorgues, there was once a temple dedicated to the chève d'or and the hilltop still retains the name. Part of the local legend there was that the chève d'or tempted Saint Ferréol.
* recuites is the "petit-lait" milk remaining after making the cheese, that's re-cooked at low temperature to produce the granular fromage blanc.
Primary source: Carcès office de tourisme pamphlet.