Prince of the forest, at the ‘An Trest’ campsite in Brittany (French Atlantic coast)
The castle of the Prince of the Forest.
In the year of 1487, on a misty October day, Duke François II, his daughter Anne (then 10 years old) and their entourage were on their way back from Port Navalo: they were returning to their castle of Suscinio.
The following day, a beautiful autumn day, the guardian of the castle organised a morning hunt with dogs in the woods on the west of Sarzeau. He got seven dogs ready as well as strongbows and swords.
When everybody was ready to go, horses neighing, the long eared dogs started barking enthusiastically and really loud. Going down a hill, they reached the woods. Anne was amazed by the splendid shades of the forest in autumn, ginger leaves, yellow, brown….
Reaching a glade, she noticed the trees reflecting in a pond and the grass shining in the morning dew. Suddenly, a group of hunters heard a piece of crackling dead wood. Then, they released the dogs, who jumped in the bushes where the noise came from.
Frightened, a wild boar ran off. One the fastest dog managed to bite one of his legs.
Puzzled by traces of blood on the ground, Anne followed them. A short while later she arrived in a large field (‘An Trest’ in the local Brittany dialect), the wild boar stopped, sniffed and went towards a bush, where Anne saw him disappear into.
Suddenly she became pale; in front of her a young blond boy had emerged, wearing an old and torn blouse. He was holding a strange wooden stick in his hands.
"Err ! bon-bonjour... haven’t you seen a wild boar by any chance? enquired Anne.
- I haven’t seen anything, replied the boy quickly.
- What’s your name?
- William, I work as a lumberjack in these woods.
- I’m Anne. I am hunting with the Guardian of Suscinio."
Hearing these words, the young boy fled. Joining the hunters again, Anne heard the Guardian shounting in anger, as he was going back empty-handed once more.
On the 2nd day, accompanied by the Falcon master, they went to hunt with falcons. It was a C'était un faclon squire with long pointy wings and a short crooked beak.
Suddenly, a hare came in sight, so the lord released the falcon, who flew high in the sky and then dived straight onto its prey and only managed to scratch it. Injured the hare managed to escape and hid in the same bush as the previous day.
Anne followed the traces of blood, hoping as she walked that she would meet William again, but no-one!
Sad and dispointed, Anne went back. Faraway she could hear the lord shouting his anger once more, as he returned empty-handed.
On the morning of the 3rd day, Anne discovered a sky blue feathered pigeon caught in a trap. She freed it and found a message on one of its legs.
There were six words written on it: “Please help, Lord destroying the forest”
The pigeon could still fly and took her to a hundred year old oak tree. The bird perched on a branch and crack! A door opened in the enormous trunk.
Anne walked in and shocked realisedWilliam was there.
" Anne! How did you find me?
- The pigeon guided me here. "
William showed her then an undergrounf room where she saw hte wild boar and the hare from the hunt. He explained that his wooden stick was magic and that he healed injured animals. Anne was amazed and gobsmacked.
- You’re the one healing all these animals! But where are your parents?
- I am an orphan.
- Oh! I am so sorry, but what does the message mean?
- The Guardian wants to destroy the forest to build an armory. I heard the news when I took some woods to the Cordeliers Convent. What will happen to the animals of the forest ? Only you can help me!
- I will talk to my Dad about it and will come back here this afternoon."
They went their separate ways, and Anne galloped back to the castle. As soon as she arrived she foudn her dad and explain the situation. He promised he would convince the Guardian to abandon his project, but he overheard the end of their conversation.
Dès son arrivée, elle trouva son père et lui expliqua la situation. Il lui promit de convaincre le Gardien d'abandonner ce projet mais ce dernier surprit la fin de leur conversation.
Anne went straight back to William without noticicing that the Gardian was following her. Out of breath from her running, she finally arrived at the oak tree where William was waiting for her.
“ Don’t worry, my Dad will help you to….
- Oh, thank you! I won’t forget you.”
As soon as William finished his sentence the Guardian stormed out in front of them, with an angry look on his face.
“Ah! So it’s you peasant, th