The Banshee Bretonne

Banshee in Brittany

Just like everywhere else in Celtic traditions, the Breton-Celts tell about a Banshee in Brittany (en Bretagne).  In Brittany, the Banshee is also called ‘La Pleureuse’(The Cryer); ‘La Lavandriere’(The laundry women); La femme blanche (The white women); La dame blanche (The white Lady); etc. In support of a Celtic Banshee in Brittany, an old French maxim has been written about her:

“Les larmes d’une femme sont une fountaine de supercheries’.
“A woman’s tears are a fountain of craft.”

There are many ‘provincial maxims’ which endorse the view, that “the tears of the women who cries, are part of her craft…

To quote the verse from a song:

“Deceit, weeping, spinning, God hath give
To women, kindly, while they may live.”

To speak further about a women’s tears are a part of her craft, there is an old French saying which says:

“Women laugh when they can and weep when they will.”

But, as Joanna Baillie, in “Basil,” truly writes:

—  “Woman’s grief is like a summer storm,

Short as it is violent”—

There is a statement borne out by the popular saying, which likens her tears to an April shower, which is generally sharp and soon over.

This Breton-Celtic version of the Banshee (La Pleureuse, or La Lavandriere), is consistently similar with the descriptions advanced by others of the Celtic lore, in England, even:  “But, given as a woman is to tears, grief would not seem to injure her”.  If there be any truth in the proverb which says: “A cat has nine lives, and a woman has nine cats’ lives,” an allusion to which quaint belief occurs in Middleton’s Blurt, Master Constable,” 1602, where we find this passage: “They have nine lives apiece, like a woman”; and the same idea is conveyed in the proverb, quoted elsewhere, “Though most women be long-lived, yet they all die with an ill-will.”

In the evidence given at an inquest on the bodies of four persons killed by an explosion at a firework manufactory in Bermondsey (a district of London), October 12, 1849, one of the witnesses stated: “On Friday they were all very merry, and Mrs. B_____ said she feared something would happen before they went to bed, because they were so happy.”

Taken and adapted from: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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