The legendary stones
If the tales and legends, that we listen to gathered around a wood fire or during walks, make us shiver or marvel, there are legendary sites that intrigue us.
Being a great fan of local stories, I would like to lead you to the universe of legendary stones. If the most rational consider the sites that I’m about to show you as heaps of most ordinary stones or rocks, for others, these stones are linked to superstitions that have crossed generations. However, when I go past the site of the devil’s stones in Forrières or past the white stones of Mousny, my imagination soon takes over.
Let’s discover some of these legendary stones and let our imagination take over for a few moments. You will see that the stones have more than one secret to reveal…
The Pierre Haina (Haina stone)
The first stone of which the legend caught my attention is the Pierre Haina in Wéris.
This rock dominates the megalithic site of Wéris. If we take the time to look at it, we realize that its shape evokes a man bending over under the weight of what he is carrying on his back. The legend is that of a priest , who, to rejoin his parish of Mormont, had to climb the hill where stands the Pierre Haina. The path was steep and the weather stormy, the poor man was so bent over under the weight of his burden that he looked humpbacked. Confronted with such difficulties, he started to damn God for having created such a steep hill. To punish him, God changed him into a rock, condemning him to immobility for eternity. That is why the rock is also named in local dialect « Li Bossou curé » (= the humpbacked priest). But that is not the only legend attached to the Pierre Haina.
The devil’s bed
Not far from there, another legendary rock intrigues the passing walker . It’s the lit du diable (the devil’s bed). It’s the background of the story of a miller said to have made a pact with the devil.
In the heart of the milling season, a miller settled on the river Aisne was lacking water for his mill. The devil offered to build a dam in only one night if he accepted to surrender his soul. Being a countryman, the miller only accepted to surrender it in the morning once the work accomplished. When, at the cock’s crow, the devil called the miller to conclude the pact, he was astonished to see only the miller’s dog arrive. Seeing that he had been cheated, the devil was furious and destroyed in only minutes his work of the night. Tired out, wanting to regain his strength, lay down on the stone that, since then, is known as the « Lit du Diable » (devil’s bed) or « Paillasse du diable » (devil’s mattress).
The blancs cailloux (White stones)
Let’s now change region to find ourselves Mousny, small village of the entity of La Roche known for its site of the « blancs cailloux ». A little outside the village, are a number of white rocks that, if we give some leeway to our imagination, evoke a shepherd, his dog and his sheep.
The legend says that a pilgrim, on his way to the Hermitage of Saint-Thibault in Marcourt met a shepherd from whom he asked a drink. The « Ardennais » of bad character refused to share his water, ordered his dog to attack the poor pilgrim and chased him away by throwing stones. What the shepherd ignored is that he had just stoned Jesus. The latter picked up the stone that had been thrown at him and threw it back to the shepherd. Hit by the stone, shepherd, dog and sheep were petrified forever on this site on the heights of Mousny.
Les Pierres du Diable (The devil’s stones)
And to finish, I suggest that we pass by Forrières, in the entity of Nassogne. There, we can see at the exit of the village, at the place known as Inzomet, in the direction of Rochefort, the megalithic site of the « Pierres du Diable ». These megaliths are said to date back to 2500 to 1500 before J-C. This place, composed yesteryear of six dolmens, were the background of Druidic rites. A stone throw from there, a Calvary can be seen that symbolized the victory of Christianity over the popular and ancestral beliefs.
According to the legend, the devil would have lost there a load of stones of which the largest hides a treasure that only the person who would succeed in lifting it would have. .
A didactic panel in French and Dutch tells the story of this listed site. The « Pierres du Diable » are located on the pedestrian itinerary of the « Promenade de Cocher » (signposted walk NG07).
The legendary stones presented above are only a sample of the rocks linked to superstitions and beliefs in Belgian Luxembourg. You will be able, all along your hikes, to make many other legendary discoveries just as fascinating.