Lords of Pons' legend of the eels

The eels, Pons hospitalThe eels, Pons hospital | ©G.Garitan / CC-BY-SA

The seigneury of Pons was one of the most important one in the Middle-Age. Among those lords we found troubadours in the 12th c., like poet Renaud II who joined the king of France in 1242…

But the English Richard Lionheart destroyed the keep in 1179. Hey, why?! Because one of those lords of Pons, Geoffroy III, rebelled!

Those lords of Pons were real kings, like Renaud IV who took this device: Si roi de France ne puis être, sire de Pons voudrait être, “If I can’t be king of France, I would be a lord of Pons”.

They ruled on several lands dispatched in all the area: their vassals, to pay homage, had to give them a tax of 2 crowns… or an eel!

And the legend says: one day, they brought a big, big eel to the lord of Pons.

Whoa, his mouth was watering… that was fine, he had guests in the next day, so, they would eat it! He asked his steward to put the fish aside.

But the diner was only the next day… this damned fish would be rotten!

Suddenly, the steward had an idea: he decided to hang a little bell on the creature, and put it in the ditches, full of water.

The dinner day arrived, and the steward wanted to take the eel… he heard the bell… but he couldn’t get it! Hey, the eel, feeling like a hunted animal, hid in some dark place, silently, in the dark water…

There, sheltered, it could rang its bell, again and again… because it was safe! The legend says nowadays, the bell still ringing in the air! And that’s why we can see it carved on a capital, in the Pilgrims’ hospital of Pons…