Region of Fribourg

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La Gruyère
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The bull from Bulle

The day after the St. Denis fair, people gathered round the linden tree in downtown Bulle, not to gossip about their shopping or to brag about cattle, but to listen, mesmerized, to the strange tale told by one of theirs. But let the hero tell his own story...

"My name is Hercules the Bold, and if I do say so myself, I deserve my name. Fear, retreat, surrender are not in my vocabulary. But yesterday, for the first time, a shiver went through my soul. I would have run had I not been paralyzed with fright.

"The day had been long and tiring. On leaving the marketplace, I met some friends at the Death Café and we raised a glass of brandy to our friendship. Midnight approached and we went our separate ways. As I headed for Vaulruz the night was pitch-dark, and the fog thick, but I could have found my way home blindfolded.

"All of a sudden, an awesome bellow resounded in my ears, froze me in my tracks, echoed from afar and then: silence. Regaining my senses, I imagined it must be a peasant tormenting a poor, unsold bull. The reassuring thought had barely crossed my mind when the chilling cry came again. I stopped and stared into the gloom, wondering about my fate and what I was going to do when suddenly, two eyes appeared. Two red, glistening, flashing, gigantic eyes with a threatening stare. The streetlights from Bulle to Vevey pale by comparison.

"What a horrid moment! What beast could lie behind these eyes?! I was just able to make out an enormous, hulking, monstrous mass able to crush anything on its way."

Reality or imagination, the vision gained notoriety across the land. The Bullois, always practical in any case, sought to guard against future specters. So they built the St. Joseph chapel to commemorate the site of the terrifying encounter, even honoring the bull by placing it on their coat of arms.

Thematic route :
A Country of Legends
Text :
Joseph Genoud, from "les légendes fribourgeoises", Editions à la Carte

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