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The Wyvern

Before we head off to explore the delights of our valleys, where our imagination can run riot, here is an extract from a novel by Marcel Aymé, an author who hailed from these parts, called "The Wyvern" (though available in a translation entitled "The Sorceress") :

1000 étangs pour légendes

- ©CRT de Franche-Comté

"In her hair, the Wyvern wears a diadem, set with a large ruby, so pure that all the gold in the world would be barely enough to pay its price. The Wyvern only ever takes this treasure from her head for her morning ablutions. Before slipping into the water, she removes the diadem and leaves it, with her gown, on the river bank. This is the moment that the most daring thieves choose to take the gem, but they are always bound to fail. No sooner has the bandit taken to his heels than thousands of snakes rise up from all around to chase him down, and the only chance he has of saving his skin is to rid himself of the ruby by throwing the Wyvern's diadem as far away from himself as is possible".                                                                                                                                                           

The 'Vouivre', or Wyvern, which derives from an old word "guivre", meaning 'viper', loves to sit by the peaceful lakes or quiet rivers. It is here, in these sources, that she will drink and bathe. She is also to be found in the caves and in the marshes.                                                                                                                    

Located between the source of the Loue and the village of Mouthier, the Nouailles Gorges have always been an ideal setting for the most terrifying legends. The canyon is so deep, the river so shadowy, the caves so dark: welcome to the world of the Wyvern.