Tell me a story - The Ankou Picture

Here is a story which will guarantee you some sleepless nights!

The Ankoù, the Breton personification of Death, is a sinister figure in Breton folklore. Every cultures has its own interpretations of Death, but many of those characters are nothing compared to the Ankoù. Many stories are connected with this figure but I will share with you the version which was send to me by Marie-Véronique, a Breton, true at heart.

Marie-Véronique told me she had first heard the stories of the Ankoù from her grandmother. As these stories play such an important role in the Breton culture she soon became more and more interested in the subject.

Marie made it very clear to me that the stories about the Ankoù are no mere stories, but a part of people's faith and believes. They are known by all and are part of every Breton.

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Story Title: The Ankoù
Submitted by: Marie-Véronique

Country: Brittany

An Ankoù is the personification of Death, he looks like a skeleton, he wears a black hat, a black coat and he holds a scythe. The Ankoù travels in an old barrow with grinding wheels which you can hear from afar, but you will not be able to see him. His assistants are called the black men.
When an Ankoù reaps a soul away , one of the assistant must carry the soul which looks like a dark, black dog to the "Hell Gate", a place which is called in Breton language; "Yeun Elez", and is situated in a marsh in a dale in the Montagne d'Arrée. To this place, no one dares to go, not even in full daylight. The Black man must throw the black dog in the Yeun Elez. But the dog often barks, bites and resists.

Sometimes, some people who are doomed to die soon will meet an Ankou on their way, he can take the apparence of a rich man, or a poor woman, and give you an appointment which you will accept because you are unaware of the danger; When the time comes of the meeting, it is the grinding song of the rusty wheels you can hear in your farm yard, by then it is too late...

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