Santon Tale


So it is Christmas Day – and I invite you to my home in France – almost exactly where I am – since I am in Provence.
You know Provence if you have heard about its most chic jewels: La Riviera – Saint Tropez – Grasse – Antibes… You will then have images of umbrella pines, the Mediterranean sea, Brigitte Bardot, Rivas, lavender – and these will be real images of Provence.
But it is older than that, this region.
The old people still have the slightly strange accent that you will hear in the video – an accent that sings, that rolls, that speaks a French that is not so easy to understand. An accent of lavender, thyme, pebbles, cicadas and locusts, an accent full of Mistral – the Mistral is a very famous wind here, a wind straight from the North, that freezes your bones.

For the pleasure of hearing the accent – and for the French – I’ll share with you the whole story, which can be found in all the cribs in the South of France – and maybe at home, if you ever bought one of those little figurines so “typical” – you bought a little character of a little French Bethlehem

We can hear Angel Bouffareü – the one who had his cheeks swollen from blowing his trumpet at the four cardinal points, to announce to everyone the birth “of the little one”. He tells the story.
He tells the story of the arrival in the village, the barn – the ox and the donkey who don’t know what to do anymore and who share their straw with Marie, the cute poor thing.
And then – above all – the angel tells the incredible miracles of that Christmas night in the village.

First of all the miller – the miller, he did nothing at all in life, since his wife had left – she was an Arlesian, a pretty girl from Arles. And there, when the Mistral had fallen, it took him the desire to finally do his job as a miller – and to bring beautiful white flour to the little one and his mother.
And then the others: the bohemian who will offer his just stolen turkey and who will promise never to steal again – the policeman, who will not have the heart to catch his favorite thief – the coward who will no longer be afraid – the fishmonger who managed to make Marie laugh –

There were only two who were not yet there.
First the old shepherd.
He couldn’t come – his dog had died in the morning and he was heartbroken with tears. And then, as it was the night of miracles and he was apologizing for having so much pain, he heard a bark –
It was him, the dog that came back to life – so he ran to the crib and said : My flock I give you and my dog, if you ask me, I give him to you too. But you won’t ask me, will you? You won’t ask me.
When he arrived in front of the child – he gave him his dog, without anyone asking him – and Mary left him his dog, he needed it so much, the shepherd.

And the other one was the rich man of the village – to make a stone laugh was easier than trying to make him laugh. His daughter Mireille had just run away with the Tambourinair – the poorest in the region – and he was running up and down the hills shouting: Mireille! Mireille!!! – It took at least two sentences from Marie to soften his heart, in the end – and he was kind enough to leave his daughter to the poorest boy – they loved each other, so what to do?

“Mon troupeau je te le donne et mon chien, si tu me le demandes, je te le donne aussi. Mais tu ne me le demanderas pas, hein, tu ne me le demanderas pas .

When the sky clears and after the day, the festival of the Santons calms down – they will soon become small clay figurines again, each one with his own costume -.
And he who has his arms raised and exists only to tell others that the world is a marvel, tells the blind man (who did not want to regain his sight because he sees with his heart) how beautiful and finally happy they all are, those of the , and how they will stay there, a whole year back in their little skins of earth – to relive the following year, during the night of December 25.

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Featured Image : Provencal village of Bethlehem

Yes I cheat 🙂 Merry Christmas – je vous embrasse

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