Cheeky Monkies…. The Simiots of Arles-sur-Tech
According to legend, around about the tenth century, the infamous Simiots, ‘bêtes féroces assez semblables à des chats et même à des singes’ terrorised Arles-sur-Tech.
These ‘monkey men’ came down from the mountains, raping, pillaging and destroying crops.
In despair, the abbot of Arles, Arnulfe, decided that the relics of a Saint were needed to balance out the many sins of the villagers, which were surely responsible for their plight.
He journeyed to Rome and returned with the relics of Abdon and Sennen, obscure Persian saints who were eaten by lions in the Arena of Rome, hidden in the false- bottom of a liquor barrel.
The Simiots disappeared and peace was restored.
“La Sainte Tombe” in which their bones were supposedly stored has run with pure water ever since, defying scientific explanation.
Once a year the monks siphon out the water with a silver pump and hand out to pilgrims.