Like Tarascon and its Tarasque! Or like Metz and its Graoully! Or even Poitiers and its Grand’Goule!
Well, in Troyes, we too have our legendary monster, maybe a bit forgotten but with a very special name: The Salted Flesh!
According to the legend, the Salted Flesh was associated to the chief of the Huns, Attila, stopped at the gates of the city by the then bishop who became Saint Loup, our patron saint.
And every year, it was our tradition to kill the beast again!
Before the Ascension celebrations, some processions called rogations used to walk a dragon covered with scales, with a ugly face and red eyes all over the city.
On the first day, the monster would be covered with flowers and tinsels, like a bride. On the second day, the beast would get married, walking at the head of the procession, decorated with ribbons. On the third day, it was found with a gaping mouth, its eyes closed. It was its death.
On the next day, the beast was salted to be preserved for the following year.
This tradition lasted until 1727.
But if you pay attention, you could still see it on the representations of St Loup, at his feet, defeated by the sword (as on the illustration above, at the Noes-Près-Troyes church).
Head and feature photo: “Dragon” © Sylvia