There are many legends about Montserrat, a very characteristic and well-known mountain in Catalonia. Each time more mysterious, these legends of Montserrat have been transmitted orally and in writing. Here you will find the best-known legends of this mountain and with them you will delve into the mysteries that the mountain of Montserrat awaits.

Legend of the Moreneta

According to legend, in the year 880, on a Saturday afternoon, some shepherds saw a strong light descend from the sky, accompanied by a beautiful melody. The following Saturday, the vision was repeated. The following four Saturdays were accompanied by the rector of Olesa de Montserrat who was able to record that vision.

The bishop of Manresa, upon hearing the news, organized a visit during which they found the Holy Cave in which was the Holy Virgin, known as the Moreneta. Bishop Vila proposed moving the image to Manresa but, when trying to move it, it was so heavy that they could not move it. The bishop interpreted this phenomenon as the Virgin's desire to stay in that place and ordered the construction of a chapel, which became a pilgrimage center.

Legends of Montserrat. Moreneta

Grail Legends

The Reich had several obsessions, two of them were Arthur and Hitler's belief that he was a new messiah, we can read this in Mein Kampf: «I believe in the duty to act in the sense of the Almighty Creator: by fighting the Jews I fulfill the Lord's task». If we put these two obsessions together, we quickly find the Führer's greatest: get the holy grail. He entrusted that mission to his trusted man, Himmler.

At first they were looking for the chalice with Christ toasted at the Last Supper. They then considered the possibility that the Holy Grail was actually the Sang Real, the offspring that Mary Magdalene had raised in the south of France. Hitler saw himself as a descendant of this lineage. All these beliefs led Himmler to Montserrat.

As we have said, Himmler appeared at the door on October 23, 1940. When they opened the door, no one understood what this gruff man wanted, so they called the only one in the Monastery who spoke German: the Benedictine monk Andreu Ripoll. Himmler asked him (or rather ordered him) to take him to the library and look for all the information they had about Perceval (the knight commissioned by Arthur to search for the Grail and who did not give up even when the crusades were lost) and the Grail. He spent hours in that library. The monk came to have a dialectical confrontation with him over the statement made by Himmler that Jesus was Aryan and the Catholics had hidden him.

Despite considering Himmler an unpleasant character, they allowed him to stay as long as he considered necessary. Of course, once he left in search of the Grail, they let Franco know of their discomfort and asked him (through the captain general of Catalonia) to try to avoid the visit of such unpleasant characters.

montserrat legends

Legend of Cavall Bernat

Another of the best-known legends of Montserrat deals with one of the most emblematic peaks of the entire Montserrat massif: the Cavall Bernat.

According to legend, the devil appeared to a woodcutter who had to transport bundles of firewood to the Llobregat and lent him a horse named Bernat, fast as lightning, to help him in such arduous work. “Cavall Bernat, Cavall Bernat, lower the llenya to the Llobregat” (Caballo Bernat, Caballo Bernat, lower the firewood into the Llobregat) it is said that the woodcutter told the horse.

But whoever makes pacts with the devil has to give something in return... The condition that was imposed by the devil was that, after ten years, the woodcutter had to provide him with another horse with similar characteristics.

The woodcutter, the legend continues, became rich with the help of Cavall Bernat but on the day he was ten years old, the devil reminded him of the promise that, moreover, the woodcutter had already forgotten. At this, the woodcutter's wife began to pray to the Virgin and a resplendent light illuminated the entire area. After this, both the devil and Cavall Bernat had disappeared and, in their place, a huge stone stood pointing to the sky.

Legends of Montserrat. Cavall Bernat

Legend of the Timbaler del Bruc (El Timbalero del Bruch)

The historical event from which this well-known legend is based is the defeat of the French troops led by General Schwartz on June 6 and 14, 1808 against the troops of the somatenes of the neighboring towns and regular soldiers. It was the first defeat suffered by French troops.

The legend says that the town armed itself as best it could with spears, stones and sticks, and a boy from the town who always went with his drum asked what he could do. The men of the town told him not to do anything and stay home. The men who knew every corner and hiding place were able to withstand a first attack by the French, who were preparing to return with greater strength and a greater number of soldiers.

Angry, he went home and started playing the drum to see if he would calm down, but on the contrary, he would get even more angry. So much so that he took his drum and made his way towards the mountains of Montserrat. When he arrived he saw from the mountains how the French were approaching and the boy exclaimed: "Oh Mother!", and heard the mountains return their sound. So He rang his drum and the mountains once again echoed the sound of his beloved drum.

Then the boy saw it clearly, what he had to do was play louder and louder to make the French believe that it was from the mountain of Montserrat. thousands of drums were felt. His plan worked, When the French heard such a noise, they were scared, believing that they would face thousands of men, and they fled on their legs.. The whole town realized the feat of the drum boy and over the years a statue was made to remember this little hero.

It is said that the true story is about a young man born in Santpedor, Isidro Llussá, who was resting at the foot of some rocks, along with his companions. The fall of some stones made his drum sound. This fact made them suspect the presence of the French and they were quickly able to surprise them from the rear. The French troops, who were heading to Manresa, quickly left the mountain, surprised by the presence of the Catalans and, above all, by the noise of the drum played by Isidro and amplified by the echo of the mountain.

Legends of Montserrat. Bruc timbaler

UFO legend

Diverse testimonies, even massive ones like that of many citizens of Manresa in the year 1345, claim to have seen lights in the airspace of Montserrat. In the 70s there were those who said they had been abducted by extraterrestrials and later, they assured that they have their monthly meeting there on the 11th, and even more so if it is Tuesday the 11th. Normally, there are a large number of visitors who go to pray, meditate, sing, dance or simply walk on such a special date.

It is also worth noting that if you find a group of people, they will surely be meetings dedicated to UFOs, with people who like mysteries and hope to see the appearance of these while talking about related topics.

legend of the enchanted

These deities are associated with the earth and the underground world, the symbolic meaning of the caves has traditionally been related to the mysteries of birth and death or as an entrance to hell or the world of the dead, which is why they were used since ancient times. prehistory as burial sites. But the grottoes are also representations of the generating womb of Mother Earth, which made them birthplaces of gods, heroes, spirits and other mythological beings.

The legend explains that there used to be some enchanted people in Montserrat who did not like people coming up to visit the mountain. They did everything they could to prevent it. To do this, they planted apple trees on the edges of the roads whose appetizing fruit tempted passers-by. Those who could not resist the pleasure of trying them and sank their teeth into them were turned into stone by the enchanted ones. Legend has it that the curious shapes of the stones that make up the massif are due to the spell of these mythological creatures.

Since ancient times, the apple has always been a pagan emblem of immortality and transformation into stone, a mythological symbol that we already find in ancient Greece and Rome. A woman who has the ability to petrify symbolized the demon-woman character, the mother who gives death, the dark side of femininity.

Legend of the founding of Montserrat Abbey

Fra Joan Garí He is a legendary character, linked to the history of the founding of the Montserrat Abbey.

He explains that, a long, long time ago, an anchorite named Joan Garí lived in Montserrat. He had a reputation for being very austere, he lived eating berries from the forest and drinking water from a spring near his cave.

The demon was envious of this holy man famous for his pious life, so he decided to make his existence miserable and put his supposed holiness to the test, to which end he spared no temptations. Lucifer left the Salitre caves disguised as a very old hermit, with a venerable appearance, trying to meet Joan Garí. When they met, the hermit asked the devil who he was and where he lived. The demon answered all his questions and also told him that he was doing penance in a very small cave and that he only came out outside once every ten times. years.

The hermit found the devil so wise that he took him as a teacher. And, every afternoon she met him to explain her doubts and everything happened to him. But, although the devil tried to fill poor Juan with doubts and temptations, not even with his tricks could he separate him even a little from holiness, his faith was very firm.

But, the devil, wounded in his self-esteem by the defeat before the hermit, calculated a trap with which he thought to annihilate the poor saint.
He believed that the solution was to demonize the body of the maiden Riquilda, daughter of Count Guifré el Pelós.

The possessed woman did not stop screaming that she would only be cured if Joan Garí was the one who performed the exorcism on her and that is why Count Guifré decided to take her to Montserrat immediately. There Joan Garí cured her by praying in silence, but for fear that she would not become possessed again on the way to Barcelona, ​​the count begged her to admit his daughter to the cave for several days. Garí was hesitant, but finally accepted the request. Unsure of himself, seeing that temptation invaded his thoughts, he went to look for the false hermit, but the devil, instead of appeasing his thoughts, inflamed them more and urged him to follow his desires. Overcome by temptation, Friar Garí forced himself on the girl and raped her. Horrified by his fault, he went again to ask the hermit for advice, and he advised him that the best way to free himself from temptation was to get rid of the girl.

Once the maiden died, the hermit buried the body in a hidden place. Once this was done, the false hermit suddenly showed himself in his true appearance, and seeing that the Devil had deceived him, Friar Joan marched crying that same night towards Rome to ask the Pope's forgiveness. But he was denied and condemned to wander through the mountains like a beast, unable to stand upright, speak to another human being, or wash... Everything described had to be done until God, in the mouth of a child, forgives him.
It took him three years to reach Montserrat again, where he lived alone for seven years. He fulfilled his penance by living in a cave like a beast, with his body curved and covered with hair, and feeding on roots. The years went by and one day some noble knights hunted that inhuman beast, and locked it in a cage with the idea of taking it to Barcelona and giving it to the count.

Coincidentally, in those months the countess had given birth to a child, Prince Miró, and his baptism was celebrated with all solemnity and they brought out the beast that they had captured in Montserrat during the celebration of the banquet. The audience looked at him with curiosity when the baby that the nurse was carrying on her lap spoke these words:

«Gari, stand up straight, your sins have been forgiven!»

At that moment, to the surprise of all those present, the penitent hermit sat up and the count, after recognizing the saint, ordered him to be washed and his hair cut and asked him about his daughter Riquilda. Poor Brother Garí confessed his crime, implored penance for his sin. The magnanimous Count forgave him and begged him to reveal the place where his dead daughter was located to give her a dignified burial in Barcelona.

The procession led by the hermit arrived at the place where the girl's remains were located and to everyone's surprise, the girl appeared safe and sound thanks to the work of the Virgin. And, in gratitude, she decided to stay on the mountain of Montserrat, where the count - happy to find his daughter alive again - had a monastery built for nuns, which in the future would be called de Saint Cecilia, of which the young Riquilda was the first abbess. montserrat legends

Montserrat, apart from its many charms, is a place worth visiting for many other reasons: To highlight, apart from the Basilica, the Monastery, the Museum and the old Gothic cloister.

In Catalonia there is an old saying that goes like this: “Who is not home to Montserrat is not ben casat” (Whoever does not marry in Montserrat is not well married). What is certain is that, to get married there, you must request a date and time a long time in advance.

After reading these legends of Montserrat, are you curious to get to know these corners up close? 

Need help?