Printer-friendly version

Current Size: 100%

The Legend of Dame Carcas

The Saracen occupation inspired medieval writers to create one of our most famous legends, with of course Charlemagne as the hero!


The emperor set siege to Carcassonne. The king of the Saracens, BALLAK, was killed and it was then that his wife, "Dame Carcass", decided to take action.

The siege had already been lasting for 5 years and famine was taking its toll on the last defenders. Behind the walls Dame Carcass kept watch alone; she set up straw effigies; she fired off crossbows at the besieging army to give the impression that many defenders remained.


In the city, there remained just one small pig and one measure of wheat to feed the population. So Dame Carcass force-fed her pig with the rest of the wheat and hurled it over the walls. The pig burst open on hitting the ground and from its torn belly poured a veritable flood of good grain.

Charlemagne immediately abandoned the pointless siege: there was clearly so much grain in Carcassonne that they even fed their pigs on it!

Before the large army disappeared, Dame Carcass called on Charlemagne to make peace.

She had the trumpets sound (“Carcass sonne..” ) The Emperor retraced his steps to receive her allegiance!