Sunday, July 27, 2008

So Where's Your Goose Foot, Marie-Pierre?

Through genealogical research, Marie-Pierre Manet-Beauzac discovered that she is a Cagot—one of Western Europe's "untouchables."

Cagots were forbidden to enter most trades or professions. They were forced, in effect, to be the drawers of water and hewers of wood. So they made barrels for wine and coffins for the dead. They also became expert carpenters: ironically they built many of the Pyrenean churches from which they were partly excluded.

Some of the other prohibitions on the Cagots were bizarre. They were not allowed to walk barefoot, like normal peasants, which gave rise to the legend that they had webbed toes. Cagots could not use the same baths as other people. They were not allowed to touch the parapets of bridges. When they went about, they had to wear a goose's foot conspicuously pinned to their clothes. [Link]

Tim Agazio

What a great story! I love these little mysteries where there are no clear answers.

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