The Legend of Lake Engolasters


In Catalonia - and in general in the Pyrenees - there are some legends that narrate that, once upon a time, a poor man arrives at a village or a house asking for food or for a place to spend the night. He is not helped till he arrives to the last house. There, he gets some food and a bed. In the morning, he announces to those who helped him that they must to go away because the rest of people (the avaricious one) will be punished soon.

The geographical interest of this legend lies in the fact that normally the punishment is done by water: a big storm begins and floods the place. In that way a lake is created: the Montcortès lake, the Engolasters lake, and so on. But there is a more important thing: until recently, people said that they could hear voices coming from the bottom of the lake. And the voices said, and this is very important: “You have to help poor people”.

Sometimes, through the water of the lake, as the belief goes, you could see the scene that the legend tells, as it were a kind of film. Somehow, when you know the legendary history that the place is remembering, you have to be able to catch the moral ideas that lie in it.

The witches of Andorra, of both sexes, were said to dance naked at the lake of Engolasters. They form three concentric circles, and at a certain point in the music, they come together and the bump each other hard, rump to rump, dancing to the music of a demon, or a cavalcade of demons, with wooden flute and drum. Andorran witches also supposedly gathered at the summits of Font Argent and of Fra Miquel. Male and female witches were said to have intercourse with demons of the opposite sex.

Damned was the mortal who dared to watch them because he would be changed into a dog or a stone if they discovered him…

               View of the lake Engolasters