Legend – France

Legend: La Velue

“My mother used to scare me into doing things by threatening that the monster “La Velue” would come after me.  It was basically this big, shaggy, monster with these poisonous spike/stinger kinds of things that hung from its body.  My mom told me that it was this weird animal thing that survived the legendary flooding without being on Noah’s Ark.”

Gillian told me about the French legend of “La Velue”, a clearly frightening monster that would appear to be incredibly scary to children.  She told me that when translated, “La Velue” means “Hairy one”, or “Shaggy Beast.”  As she described, “La Velue” is a legendary monster in French culture that is known for having survived the Biblical flood without joining the other animals on Noah’s Ark.  Gillian later elaborated that La Velue survived the flood by hiding in a cave in France.

Gillian explained that when she was little, if she misbehaved or didn’t do her chores, her parents would scare her by saying “I would listen to me if I were you, or you’ll get caught by La Velue.”  Here, her parents even combined the legend with a little rhyme to taunt Gillian.  By threatening her in this way, her parents remind her of how scary the monster is and how terrible her fate would be if she didn’t do the things she was told.  Also, by pairing the legend with a short little rhyme, her parents made it seem like the legend had even more validity because it came in multiple forms (legend and poem), and therefore must be known by many to be true.

Gillian told me that her mom learned the legend of La Velue from her parents, who are French.  The legend apparently has passed down through many generations and is well-known in France.  However the legend was never commonly used to threaten children, and this trend seemed only to exist in Gillian’s family.  In France, La Velue is used more as an excuse for bad things happening, almost as bad luck.  Velue would be blamed for creating such problems.  La Velue is also known in Portuguese cultures where it is called “La Peluda.”  (The legends of the two monsters, however, seem to be incredibly similar.) Though it is unknown how the legend spread, it is clear that this seems to be a legend that is known and told throughout many cultures.

When her Gillian’s mother had Gillian, she decided to continue the use of the legend of La Velue because it had worked when she was a child and scared her into behaving very well.  Gillian’s mother had also learned a lot about other legendary American creatures, like the Boogie Monster, and thought the concept was comparable.  Gillian got used to hearing about La Velue throughout her childhood, and says it is probably a legend she will share with her kids, as well.

The legend of La Velue proves to be effective because of the way it scares children.  In many cultures around the world, parents look for ways to discipline their children.  La Velue, like other legendary creatures, works very well because it slightly torments the children without actually harming them.  Though La Velue is a unique monster and known only in French and Portuguese cultures, the concept signifies a trend all over the world that is used in raising children.