We used to live in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania where waterfalls abound as do the tales associated with them. When the owner of one of those mini-Niagaras closest to our house hoped to entice ticket-paying tourists to his attraction, he revived the Legend of Winona. The story goes that when a Native American princess fell in love with a Dutch army officer who was later summoned back to the Netherlands, they jumped/fell to their eternity together from a mountainside to the river below. At least the legend of Charlemagne’s fountain has a happier ending.
You may recall from that class in world history that we all had to take in school, Charlemagne was King from 768 to 814 over much of what has today become France and Germany. That part is historically correct so now the legends, at least as far as Carcassonne are concerned, can begin. When he and his army visited here they weren’t well received by the locals; in fact they poisoned the Aude river hoping to drive the newly-arrived invaders away. Undeterred, Charlemagne is said to have thrust his sword deep into the earth creating a fissure from which fresh water began to flow. Now refreshed, the army went on to conquer the city.
In 1913 a couple of enterprising people tried unsuccessfully to cash in on the legend by using the water in their ice making business. It appears that today, turning the water into wine has proved to be much more lucrative!
One thought on “Charlemagne’s fountain”
My grandfather was born in Carcassonne in 1884 (I have a copy of his birth certificate). I am planning a trip to Carcassonne to try and find the decendents of another brother that my grandfather had that we just found out about in March of this year. I don’t speak French, although I do use google translate, and would like to work with a genealogist in Carcassonne. Love your blog. Thanks, Joy
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