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La Velue, cover of a French pamphlet (1889)— Illustration signed A. Raouleau.[3]

The Peluda in Spanish, or La Velue ('The Hairy One') originally in French, is a mythical beast that terrorized the environs of the River Huisne, France, during the Middle Ages. It is called the "The Shaggy Beast (The Hairy Beast) of La Ferté-Bernard" in English translation.

The supposed serpent-headed creature had a body covered in long green fur with poison-tipped spines protruding. It caused flood (or shot out fire from its mouth) that destroyed crops, devoured livestock and humans, and struck humans and animals dead with its tail. It was defeated after it tried to prey upon a maiden named l'Agnelle; her fiancé slew it by delivering a sword-strike to the tail, its only weak spot.


The velue (French, meaning ‘shaggy/hairy one’) was introduced as "la Peluda", in Spanish, in Jorge Luis Borges's Book of Imaginary Beings (1957), and translated as the "Shaggy Beast of La Ferté-Bernard"[4] or "The Hairy Beast of La Ferté-Bernard" in English versions of the book.[5] Borges's description compares rather closely to the that given in French by the local man of letters, Paul Cordonnier-Détrie (1954).[6] A pamphlet of "La Velue" was printed in 1889 for the Sarthe area, and its text also gave a physical description of the mythical beast in similar language.


The so-called "la velue" of La Ferté-Bernard" lived on the banks of the River Huisne, and came out to terrorize the populace as far as the city of La Ferté-Bernard during the High Middle Ages,[6][4] or perhaps more accurately the 15th century during the Late Middle Ages.[3]

Physical description[edit]

The French sources tells that the beast was serpent-headed and serpent-tailed, ox-sized with an egg-shaped body covered in "long green fur", and "from amidst [the fur] there emerged sharp spikes endowed with deadly sting",[3][7][a][b] and it had broad tortoise-like feet.[10]

This beast obviously belonged to the same family as the mythical beast Tarasque of Tarascon and Beaucaire, in the opinion of Cordonnier-Détrie.[10] Other commentators have lumped together these two beasts into a class of dragons.[11][12]


According to the lore, the beast was excluded from Noah's Ark, yet survived the Deluge, i.e., the Biblical Flood.[10][4]

Later it dwelled in the River Huisne, and rampage across the nearby countryside, and even into the streets of the old city of La Ferté-Bernard, which for all its fortifications was which was defenseless against it. Striking out with its serpent-like tail, it could kill both humans and animals. It would raid sheep-folds and devour all the livestock (the sheep[13]) within.[c][10][4] When chased, it retreated into the River Huisne and caused a flood, ruining the crops and bringing famine to the populace.[14] Borges's claims that the monster "shot out flames that withered crops"[4] is echoed by the poet Claud Roy's description that the velue "set crops on fire with its flame-throwing mouth".[13]

It would snatch also human victims to devour, especially children and young maidens. After it captured the most virtuous maiden named l'Agnelle ("Little Lamb"), it was finally defeated by her fiancé who took his sword and struck the tail, which was the only vulnerable point on the beast, causing immediate death.[15][4] The spot where it died was at the bridge of Yvré-l'Évêque, according to popular tradition.[15] The victory was long celebrated afterwards at La Ferté-Bernard and Connerré,[16] and the people stuffed[16] (or embalmed[4][17]) the body of the beast, so it has been told.[16]


Its name is derived from this shaggy appearance. Despite the French origins, its more recognized name is Occitan —or any Latin origin— for "hairy".[citation needed]


A drawing of a velue is found on the cover of the aforementioned 1889 French pamphlet.[3] Another illustration of the velue occurs in Jean Paul Ronecker's book on dragons (2004).[18]

A terra cotta dragon dated to the 17–18th century held by the abbey of Tuffé was attached with the claim that it depict a velue; the piece was discovered in a ditch along the road to La Chapelle-Saint-Rémy.[19][20] Also at Tuffé, a velue fountain has been installed in 2007, on the open square facing the Église Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul.[d][20][21]

In popular culture[edit]

A game app named "Baldik" featuring combat with the velue that reappeared in the town's Perche Émeraude landmark has been developed by the office of tourism of La Ferté-Bernard.[22]

The final boss of SquareSoft's Chrono Trigger, Lavos, resembles the Peluda.[23]

The Peluda also appears in The Secret Saturdays.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • "Velue". A Book of Creatures. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 2020-10-24.

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ Compare Borges who states it had a "round body".[4] Borges's original "cubierto de un pelaje verde" doesn't state the fur is "long" (as occurs in the English), but the French original does: "recouvert de longs poils verts".
  2. ^ Borges's phrasing "the fur was armed with stingers whose wound was deadly" seems ambiguous. But writer Joyce Hargreaves wrote there were poisonous (porcupine-like) quills among the fur,[8] which appears to square with the French. Carol Rose's dictionary came up with the interpretation that what appear to be fur are actually some sort of stinger-tipped tentacle-like appendages.[9] A different source states that these poisonous stingers were something the beast could shoot off its body.[citation needed]
  3. ^ Borges gives los establos or 'the stables'.[4]
  4. ^ Cast bronze statue based on the sculpture by Philippe Macheret assisted by Régis Dudé.


  1. ^ Catalogue de la bibliothèque de la Ville du Mans: Ouvrages relatifs à la Province du Maine ou composés par des auteurs Manceaux, 2e partie, Le Mans: A. Drouin, 1892, p. 27
  2. ^ "La Velue". Action culturelle.. Animaux en Sarthe. Archives, Départment de la Sarthe. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  3. ^ a b c d La Velue, Légende sarthoise, Le Mans: E. Lebrault, 1889, "1889 3 p. in -8º" as according to catalog.[1] The cover page image and a short redaction is given by the Départment de Sarthe archive,:[2] « [son] corps avait la forme d’un œuf énorme […] recouvert de longs poils verts au milieu desquels émergeaient des pointes acérées dont la piqûre était mortelle ».
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Borges & Guerrero (1978) "La Peluda de la Ferte-Bernard" p. 162; Giovanni tr. (1969) "The Shaggy Beast of La Ferté-Bernard", p. 203
  5. ^ Borges, Jorge Luis; Guerrero, Margarita (2005). "The Hairy Beast of La Ferté-Bernard". Book of Imaginary Beings. Andrew Hurley (trans.); Peter Sis (illustr.). New York: Viking. p. 97. ISBN 9780670891801.
  6. ^ a b Cordonnier-Détrie (1954), pp. 218–227, "§ La Velue, monstre de la Vallée de l'Huisne".
  7. ^ Cordonnier-Détrie (1954), p. 218: "il était recouvert de longs poils verts au milieu desquels émergeaient des pointes acérées dont la piqûre était mortelle".
  8. ^ Hargreaves, Joyce (1990). "La velue". Hargreaves New Illustrated Bestiary. Glastonbury: Gothic Image Publications. p. 217. ISBN 9780906362129.
  9. ^ Rose, Carol (2001). "La velue". Giants, Monsters and Dragons. Oxford: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 217. ISBN 9780393322118.
  10. ^ a b c d Cordonnier-Détrie (1954), p. 218.
  11. ^ Vadé, Yves (1992). Le Prince et le dragon. Le buffle dans le labyrinthe: T2 : Confluences euro-asiatiques. Editions L'Harmattan. p. 10. ISBN 9782296220874.
  12. ^ Ronecker, Jean Paul (2004) Le Dragon. Puiseaux: Pardès. Cited by De Palmas Jauze (2010), p. 23
  13. ^ a b Roy & Strand (1952), p. 25: "Grosse comme un bœuf,.. la Velue faisait tout le mal possible. Un mal inimaginable. Elle mangeait les moutons, au besoin croquait la bergère pardessus le marché, et son chaperon rouge en guise de dessert, elle mettait le feu aux moissons avec sa gueule lance-flamme, faisait déborder les rivières en se baignant"
  14. ^ Cordonnier-Détrie (1954), pp. 218–219.
  15. ^ a b Cordonnier-Détrie (1954), p. 220.
  16. ^ a b c Cordonnier-Détrie (1954), p. 220: "Pendant bien longtemps on célébra l'anniversaire de cette victoire inésperée dans toute la contrée de La Ferté-Bernard et de Connerré . On avait empaillé la Velue, dit la tradition".
  17. ^ Ronecker, Jean-Paul (2006). Sites mystérieux et légendes de nos régions françaises. Trajectoire. p. 317. ISBN 978-2841973965.
  18. ^ Ronecker, Jean Paul (2004) Le Dragon', p. 32. Cited by De Palmas Jauze (2010), p. 480, fig. 6
  19. ^ "Tuffé". Le patrimoine des communes de la Sarthe. Paris: Éditions Flohic. 2001. p. 217. ISBN 978-2842341060.
  20. ^ a b Pays d’art et d’histoire du Perche Sarthois, Raconte-moi le Pays du Perche Sarthois (PDF), p. 17
  21. ^ Pays d’art et d’histoire du Perche Sarthois, Parcours-découverte: Tuffé Val de la Chéronne, p. 11
  22. ^ "La Ferté-Bernard. Retour de la Velue : combattez-la avec l'application Baludik". La Ouest. 8 September 2020.
  23. ^ González, Mariela (2015), Más allá del Tiempo: Chrono Trigger · Chrono Cross. Héroes de Papel.