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Or the legend of the formation of the Pyrenees

Hercules lost his beloved and in his despair created the Pyrenees.

Daughter of the King of the Bekrydes, Pyrene was a pretty blonde girl.

Daughter of the King of the Bekrydes, Pyrene was a pretty blonde girl. She dreamed that one day a young man with gentle features would seduce her. Courted by many lords, none found favor in her eyes until one summer Hercules, son of Zeus, arrived on her lands.

Known for the feats he had accomplished during his twelve labors, he was returning home from the farthest reaches of the known world. Welcomed as a hero, he was invited to a sumptuous feast during which he recounted his adventures. Pyrene was immediately captivated by this exceptional man. As night fell, they isolated themselves from the rest of the guests and Pyrene asked him to stay with her.



“You could become a shepherd and we’d have the most beautiful flock in the Land,” she told him. Hercules fell under the spell of this beautiful young girl and agreed. They decided to keep their love a secret, and spent the summer enjoying their long, tender encounters in the forest.

One evening, when the first storms heralded autumn, Hercules was waiting for Pyrene on a rock. About to propose to her father, a flock of wild geese heading for his country suddenly caught his attention. “It’s an omen, I’ve got to go,” he said to himself. When Pyrene arrived at the site of their rendezvous, she called out to him … until she realized that Hercules had left.

She then began to run eastwards, convinced that he had returned to his country. She climbed hillsides, crossed swamps and stopped only to drink and weep. Realizing she’d never catch up with him, she finally lay down on the grass. Exhausted by cold and hunger, she finally let go of the stick that enabled her to keep the wolves at bay and let out a final cry of sadness.

And the Pyrenees became the tomb of Pyréne


Hearing her cry, Hercules suddenly became aware that Pyrene was in danger. He turned back and, after searching every nook and cranny of the forest, finally discovered the inert body of his beloved.

Mad with rage and grief, he laid the body of the one he loved on a bed of flowers and leaves and decided to build her a tomb befitting their love. He piled up blocks of stone for as long as his sadness lasted, until he had built mountains. Before returning to his homeland, Hercules uttered these words of farewell: “So that your name, my dear Pyrene, may be preserved forever by the men who will populate this land, these mountains in which you sleep for eternity will be called The Pyrenees.”