A Christmas Haunting

Many years ago there started a haunting at a farm called La Barattes by a woman, long dead of the plague or some such wicked ailment. Her name was Marianne, and it so happened that she had a fascination for the Bull of the farm. The village of St Calais du Desert, where this farm is located, is not famous for its beef. In fact it is not famous for anything. Even this ghostly tale is not very well known, and may even have been forgotten by the current residents of La Barattes today.

It is said that Marianne would ensure her favourite Bull was always untied before Christmas, and that his byre was always full of hay, even if the farmer’s hayloft was quite bare. Should the farmer fasten the Bull’s ropes they would come undone by themselves as soon as his back was turned.

Haunted Cow

Despite his freedom to roam, the Bull remained docile and would go to the front door of the farmhouse on Christmas Eve, driven by the phantom hand of Marianne. Should the farmer refuse to let the Bull sup with the family that night then you can be sure that no one in the farmhouse would spend a rested time in their beds.

The only way for the residents of La Barattes to guarantee a peaceful Christmas was to ensure their Bull had as good a time as they did. I don’t know whether the farm still exists, and if it does, whether its livestock is free-range or not, but it is minus four outside today so I’m not going any further than the front door to check the post for Christmas cards.

I will wait until it’s warmer to go looking, when there is less chance of running into a ghostly medieval cow-herder.

About 14thcenturypoet

Author of The Legend of Zonza, an historical fantasy based on traditional Italian folk tales...
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