Basque Tales 26

Basque tales

Here are various tales Basque : apple picking, the lamina of the Juliane fountain, the thief of Atxulaur

Basque tales

Apple picking

Custom dictated that in Leitza, when picking apples, the master of the orchard asked for the collaboration of his neighbours. This was usually done late and the workers were rewarded with a snack on the spot. If the master was rich, he had the wine served in a small silver container called a "barkillo".

One day, the family of the “Maxurrenea” house brought their neighbors to work in the apple orchard they owned at a place called “inguru arte”. During the snack, a neighbor took on the task of serving wine to the workers in a “barkillo”. Then she put the container on the edge of a hole, at the very top of the trunk of an old apple tree.

But by picking up the Gaul and the blankets she forgot the “barkillo”.
This oversight was noticed by the family of Maxurrenea, they searched in vain for the barkillo because the neighbor who had taken the precious container no longer remembered where she had left it.

The masters, suspecting that the neighbor had stolen the barkillo from them, twisted a candle (symbol of the thief) and burned it in front of a saint, hoping that the supposed perpetrator of the theft would be punished later (by twisting and burning herself, like the candle).

But the neighbor suffered no inconvenience. On the other hand, in the apple orchard of Maxurrenea an apple tree withered. He was felled and, to everyone's surprise, the barkillo appeared at the bottom of this hole that the tree had in the trunk.

It has been said that the magical force “Adur” (see magic in Pays Basque) had acted on the apple tree hiding the barkillo, it had dried it out.

La lamiña of the Juliane fountain

On the eve of Saint John, at midnight, a lamiña combed her hair with a golden comb and then washed at the Juliane fountain. The late Barrenty, who was passing by, saw him. The lamiña said to him:

– “If you want to carry me to the lands for which you pay the tithe, you will be rich enough to have a golden goad”.

The lamiña was very small. Barrenty straddled her on his shoulders and climbed the old lane that leads to his field. The lamiña at that moment advised him not to let himself be frightened by anything he would see. Soon he arrived with his charge at the level* of the field. But while he was climbing it, he saw snakes, toads and a thousand other hideous beasts pretending to bite. He was scared and fled, dropping the lamiña.

– “Ah! unhappy! she said, you have put me back in enchantment for a hundred years”.
Since that time Barrenty has achieved nothing. His property was fragmented. All was lost, even the trace of his house, and his land passed to his neighbours. At the end of several hundred years, from this day, the lamiña was watched by Bassagaix and other older scholars, but it did not reappear.

* the fields, in the Basque country, are sometimes protected by dry stone retaining walls. One arranges in the wall three or four stones in projections forming staircase. It is a practicable entry for bipeds and which is not for animals.

The Thief of Atxulaur

In the cave of Atxulaur lived a famous thief. He was able to amass a large amount of gold in this lair. But, surprised in his case by the police, he was caught and imprisoned until the hour of his death. He says nothing about where he kept his wealth.

Later, strangers came to Atxulaur: nothing to do, they could not approach the gold of the cave, the latter was inhabited by a strange bull throwing fire through its mouth and nasal passages. He ensured that no one touched the treasure or even approached it.

Later, the strangers returned, this time with the bones of the deceased thief; they put them in the cave. Then they could enter freely and take out all the riches that were there because the bull, which was the soul of the thief, did not appear again.