The legendary origin of Tristan island

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The island from Tréboul - ©El Funcionario / CC-BY-SA The island from Tréboul - ©El Funcionario / CC-BY-SA
Tristan island Island Legend

Horse’s ears

Douarn enez means ″island’s land’ in Breton. Which island? The Tristan island! Its name probably comes from Tristan, famous king March’s nephew. Because the tradition says that in the island took place the legend of the king March, Yseut’s handsome lover!

This legend deals with March’s terrible secret. He had… horse’s ears on his head and a long, long mane instead of hairs. He killed all his barbers, for fear that they revealed the secret. But one day, one of them convinced March to reprieve him, and swore to keep the secret. March spared him...

A heavy secret

But, poor barber! He could not keep this heavy secret! So, one day, he murmured it on a beach, in a hole he dug in the sand. He repeat it three times. And at this exact place, 3 reeds soon grew. A bard then cut them and used them to make an oboe.

Invited by the king March in his castle, for a party, he started to play and suddenly… surprise! From the oboe came those words: ″The king March has horse’s ears and a mane...″ 3 times. Absolutely furious, humiliated, March ran away in England and disappeared for ever...

But, maybe our island was named after an abbey founded here in 1118, by Tristan de Léonois...


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