The ponds of Nohèdes

The ponds of Nohèdes inspire a profound terror in the people of the country: hence the many stories which, although naively, relate the Catalan chroniclers.

The ponds of Nohèdes

The ponds of Nohèdes

Thus Félieu de la Peña, the author of the "Anales del Principal de Cataluña", affirms that, if one throws a stone in the Black Pond, the water becomes cloudy, boils and produces vapors which turn into storm clouds. In the “Cronica de Catalufia” (1609) Pujades recounts that Pedro de Mésa, lord of Nohèdes and Monteilla sold his daughter to the devils who took her to the infernal palace of the Black Pond.

Seven years later, the young girl managed to escape and rejoin her father. She was thus able to tell what she had seen, describe the palace of the devils, their secret meetings and reveal their projects and their spells.

Other authors assert that the pond contains large trout endowed with curious properties: when fried on the pan, they jump and escape through the chimney: they are said to be demons. One of the most curious legends that is told about the Black Pond is still the following:

The lord of Paracols, whose manor stood a few leagues from Nohèdes, having left with his troops on a distant expedition, had entrusted his niece with the care of the old castle. He had taken care to hide his treasures in a secret and almost inaccessible place, which the young girl had promised never to reveal. Left alone, in the middle of these ramparts where the cries of war and the clanking of weapons had resounded, the blond child knelt on a velvet prie-dieu and implored the protection of the Virgin.

The next day, unknown warriors invaded the castle and a menacing knight appeared before her.

At first frightened by this unexpected visit, the young girl began to pray, hiding her face in her hands. But soon regaining courage, she questioned the knight and asked him what he had come to do. His soft and harmonious voice impressed the fierce knight who remained dumbfounded.

- " What do you want from me ? So speak. »

— “In vain I wonder and try to explain my confusion. I had never trembled, even in the presence of the most formidable adversaries, and under the spell of your voice, I feel my will paralyzed. It would be barbaric to execute against you that I admire my master's order and I prefer to confess my mission to you. The count of Cerdagne knows that the lord of Paracols guards immense treasures. He asked me to come here in his absence, with armed people, to kill you and seize the wealth entrusted to you.

- "Why commit a useless crime, replied the young girl apparently calm. I'm going to spare him some trouble, because here is the key to the hiding place. I myself want to follow your steps; but I warn you that it will be necessary to overcome terrible dangers before arriving at the places which contain our wealth.

"Let's go," said the warrior.

And they departed, followed by the troops, towards Nohédes, to the banks of the Black Pond.

"Here we are at the end of our journey," said the young girl. In this rock that emerges from the middle of the dark waves is the treasure. The key I gave you opens a heavy iron door concealed by a pedestal which supports a statue of the Virgin. »

The soldiers built a raft and made their arrangements to arrive on the rock, while the kneeling maiden addressed ardent prayers to the Virgin protector of the treasure. The knight embarked resolutely, but without being completely reassured: he could not help shuddering before this lugubrious pond like the Styx, dug in the middle of steep mountains and giant pines. Could we venture without fear into this abyss? Would not mermaids or sea monsters arise in front of him?

Suddenly a rustle of wings caught his attention: A black bird was flying through the air. And taking a large stone, one of the soldiers shot the ominous bird. But the fall of the projectile in the water caused a distant echo which reverberated from mountain to mountain, getting bigger and bigger, like thunder. At the same time, black clouds were gathering over the Black Pond, as if suddenly generated by the mountains.

On the shore, the young girl, who was still praying, thanked the Virgin for granting her wishes by provoking the storm. Nevertheless the vassals of the Count of Cerdagne were not discouraged. In vain rumbled above their heads formidable and threatening voices, like a chorus of furious giants: they rowed harder towards the coveted rock. They were finally able to land and seize the treasures; but their greed became dangerous, because too heavy a weight could overwhelm the boat: They will be forced to abandon half the booty.

The knight, happy to have reached his goal, shone to return near the count de Cerdagne, to deposit at his feet the treasures of the lord of Paracols. But he counted without the storm which suddenly broke out. Lightning streaked through the air, a tremendous crack tore through the air, reverberating from rock to rock. The waters of the lake rose and engulfed the raft.

This is how the subjects of the Count of Cerdagne were punished for having provoked the wrath of the fairies of the Black Pond.