(Taken from several internet sources)
1853 – France is under Napoleon III. In the north-west of the Mayenne, in the villages of La Dorée and Milvain, the “almost primitive” is still the daily routine. What is this strange beast, which seems immortal and scares the inhabitants so much? We are immersed in one of the high places of witchcraft that taunts the almighty Church. It is still the bitter sordid fight for the possession of an inheritance that pits a sad and fearful brother against his sister. Is Marie Lazarie a feminist, feminine or simply female beast?https://www.eyrolles.com/Litterature/Livre/la-bete-de-milvain-9782307068464/ )
“La Bete de Milvain
. May the inhabitants of this neighboring commune forgive me for encroaching on their heritage! Georges Dottin in his remarkable “Glossary of the Lower Maine speakers”, helped by Professor Lucien Daniel from La Dorée, presents, in Patois, the story of the Beast of Milvain. Doctor Morrisset, from Mayenne, took an interest in it, as well as Monsieur Barter. The newspaper, “Le Courrier de l’Ouest”, devoted an article to it in 1978.
First, the real facts: a Golden-style inheritance case, circa 1850. Madame Lazerie, who lived in the village of La Dorée, quarrels with her brother-in-law, Gustin Lefeuvre, owner of a farm in Milvain. The latter, a bachelor, thinking about his death and his possessions, wanted to donate a bed to the hospice of Fougerolles and bequeath a sum to the parish priest for the installation of a vicar, in order to prevent the inhabitants of the parish from going to the first mass in Fougerolles on Sunday morning very early. Madame Lazerie intimated him to settle his estate for her benefit. Gustin Lefeuvre’s farmer in Milvain, a certain Meslin, instructed by his landlord to contact the notary, but threatened by Madame Lazerie, did nothing about it and Gustin Lefeuvre died without having done his business, telling his farmer that he would repent.
After the real, the extraordinary: three days after Lefeuvre’s death “the guy Meslin saw the beast of Milvain”- (La Bete de Milvain) and he alone-, “As soon as he was lying down, the Beast arrived, pulling his sheet all night. The poor guy… was dying of fear”. It was Lefeuvre’s revenge. The Beast also came from the cemetery of La Dorée, located on the Tannière road. She passed by the Bigottière (in the Golden One) and she arrived at Milvain. It took all kinds of forms: dog, wolf, bear, “bedouau” (=badger), deer, sheep “big as a barrel of 800 pots” and “who spat a jet of smoke very far in front of him…, uttering a tremendous roar that sounds several leagues around”.
We might have organized fights, but nothing helped. The parish priest of La Dorée, who was not cold in the eyes, went to Milvain, armed with a pistol: he failed and never said what he had seen. A resident of the Dorée “strong as a horse” also went to Milvain proclaiming: “I will dethrone her bien, me”. The Beast chased him to the entrance of the village of La Dorée, reappeared at the exit of the village and followed him to his home. Taken by a great fear, he died a few days later. A Fougerollais car having been run over by the Beast, the gendarmes of La Tannière and all the hunters of La Dorée left one evening for Milvain. They saw the Beast “in a hemp plank”. They all fired at the same time, but “the Beast left unhurriedly,” leaving no trace.
Revenge also reached Madame Lazerie. The Beast prevented her from sleeping. In addition, this lady constantly taunted the parish priest, her neighbor. The latter reminded her, in fact, that Lefeuvre’s last wishes in favor of the cure of La Dorée had not been respected. But Madame Lazerie “didn’t want to hear about it”. The case was even mentioned at the Sunday sermon at the church of the Golden.
Finally, the Beast of Milvain disappeared when Meslin left the land of Milvain and when Madame Lazerie, overcome with remorse and fear, “gave up her fields and had a granite cross raised at the crossroads of Milvain”. This cross, still visible a few years ago, fell into disrepair and seems to have disappeared. But on the road from La Dorée to La Tannière there is a large granite cross where you can read the name of Madame Lazerie.
Let’s return to Fougerolles, in the light of the events of the Day. The foundation of the story of The Beast of Milvain is undoubtedly placed in the Golden Age, in the middle of the 19th century under very particular conditions described above. Why did this story, very local at the beginning and very specific, finally make an oil stain and concern us?
It was necessary, first of all, that the Fougerollais recognized the existence of the Beast of Milvain. We can imagine a real animal, but unusual and out of the ordinary, which, by chance and momentarily, would have taken up residence in the area of our town near Milvain, a stray animal, for example, but which is scary because of its behavior and its strange appearances. Given its presence near Milvain and its strangeness, it would have been called the Beast of Milvain: an amalgamation would therefore have taken place between this extraordinary animal and the no less extraordinary Beast of Milvain of which the Fougerollais had vaguely heard. This animal would therefore have been assimilated to the Beast of Milvain. This is just a hypothesis. There are others.
Second remark concerning the influence of the Beast of Milvain on the territory of Fougerollais: Why would a fabulous animal such as the Beast of Milvain responsible for imposing, as revenge, a curse on only two people at Once have had its place on the territory of Fougerollais, since the curse did not concern the Fougerollais? Some Fougerollais may even have been unaware of the Golden affair. In fact, the attributions of the Beast of Milvain have gradually changed. In Fougerolles, it is not a question of personal revenge, as was the case at La Dorée. The Beast of Milvain has, if we may say so, changed its face. His action is now to disturb, to torment, to frighten. So it can be exercised anywhere, with respect to anyone, hence its influence in Fougerolles. It must also be believed that the Beast of Milvain found in Fougerolles a territory conducive to hosting legends and supernatural facts. The fear caused by the Beast of Milvain could, indeed, be interpreted in many ways. It is no longer a question of the narrow context that was that of the Company at the origin of its action.
Finally, how is it that the action of the same Beast of Milvain in Fougerolles lasted until the middle of the twentieth century, when the origins of the history of the Beast of Milvain went back almost a century, even if this Beast modified its means of action, as we have just seen above? It would be to assume that the Beast is eternal or almost eternal and that the taste for the supernatural linked to this Beast would have reigned for a long time in the minds of the Fougerollais, far beyond the matter of the Golden One. Certainly, Fougerollais who, at the end of the nineteenth century, crossed several times, at night, the area haunted by the Beast of Milvain, claimed to have never seen the Beast. Others, missing today, might have said they had met her. Others, missing today, might have said they had met her. Others may have simply imagined it in the folds of a dark grove. For a long time, the Beast of Milvain had nothing to do with the events of 1850 in La Dorée. This is the reason why it lasted so long in the middle of the twentieth century at a time when magic and fantasy were still in order.
After a first disappearance related to the settlement of the Family’s affairs, the Beast of Milvain reappears in another form (the one that concerned us) and then disappears a second time, swept away by the very real and otherwise tragic events of the war of 1939-1945. The big break in his existence is there. Today, the Beast of Milvain, if it keeps its mystery, is no more than a memory. It has, on the other hand, become an excellent subject of study for sociologists “