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Life and legend. Episode 1. Water Maidens.

"History is written by the victors". It is an old phrase, said among others, by Wilson Churchill. How many historical facts have been told by the winners, and therefore perhaps the narrative of the facts is not so accurate? Thus, speaking about history, which is written facts, or talking about legends, which are oral stories, may not make much difference.

In any case, we are here to tell the legends that seem to us to be part of history. And we will not tell epic legends but magical ones.

"Salt de les Dones d' Aigüa". Sant Iscle de Vallalta. Maresme ( Spain ).

Paintwork by Christiane Vleugels


Water maidens are considered part of the popular oral tradition. They are fairies that live in freshwater places, such as streams, waterfalls, fountains, ponds, and caves. They inhabit secret caves that are splendid palaces. On full moon nights, they go out to do the laundry, bathe, sing and dance. The existence of these feminine divinities has its origin in beliefs prior to Christianity, for which the liquid element was a source of life and femininity. Indeed, water fertilizes the earth and regenerates nature.

The ancient legends continue to be transmitted through the names of the places where these magical creatures seem to live or used to live.

A rather significant place is La Grotte des Demoiselles in Saint Bauzille-de-Poutois. Initially, the cave was called “Bauma de las Hadas, de las damaiselas”, which in Occitan means “cave of the fairies or maidens”. According to local legend, a shepherd who was looking for his lost sheep met and fell in love with a woman of water.

Salt de les Dones d'Aigua is located in San Iscle de Vallalta, Catalonia ( Spain ). The site is a lonely and little frequented area. It is a small stream with a small waterfall and a lake. In 1927 Apel·les Mestre, a great Catalan artist and creative heard the story "of an eighty-year-old woman from Sant Iscle de Vallalta who conserves all her mental faculties and physical energy" and who "had heard it told a hundred times from her father ". It says like this: "One moonlit night, the father was passing along the banks of the Can Vives stream, and he was stunned seeing the water women spreading out the clothes they had just washed. They must have discovered it because they began to call him by his name. The father, despite him, came closer and the water women took him into their cave. Inside, no one has ever known, whether he was charmed by the water woman that made him lose his memory, whether he threatened her if he found out, the fact is that the father could never say a word." That man did not benefit, but "another resident of Sant Iscle, a friend of the father, who suffered the same thing as him, when he went into the cave of the water women, secretly stole a garment, and from there, abundance entered in his house, which never lacked for anything".

"La Grotte des Demosielles" . Saint Bauzille-de-Poutois Occitanie ( France ) :

Chemin des 9 fountains. Ile-sur-Tete. Occitanie (France )

It is very evident that in ancient times there was a connection with the earth that was not only practical but also mystical.
It is necessary to rescue these stories that are in many places on earth, with different names but always mystical and clearly stimulating the power of creativity and emotion in life itself.

Liliana and Flor de Lli. Illustration for the poem "Liliana" by Apel·les Mestres, Apel·les Mestres, 1905 .

Les Filles de l'eau. Ludivine Kacou.


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