Quille du Diable © Glacier3000
Quille du Diable © Christophe Racat

Legend of the Quille du Diable

The top of Les Diablerets has always been seen as a dangerous and evil place. Les Diablerets was the Sabbath meeting point for demons, the damned and all bad spirits in general.

Hearing the noise of the games they played with rocks, the little people living in the valleys said the demons were playing skittles, hence the name "Quille du Diable", after the word for skittle, given to the tower-shaped rock you see to the south of the Tsanfleuron glacier.

In previous times, this mountain peak overlooking the Cheville pass and bordering the Tsanfleuron Glacier to the south wasn't called the Tour St-Martin, as our maps indicate today, but had a much more significant name it should have kept. It was called the Quille du Diable. This enormous rock in the shape of a tower or a huge bastion was said to be used as a target or skittle in the various games of skill or strength played by the assembled demons.

So, when stones fell noisily from the top of this gigantic bastion, when blocks hurled by these infernal players on the vast icy esplanade bounced from rock to rock down onto the Anzeindaz pastures or the shores of the little lake at Derborence, the herdsmen looked up with fear, imagining the threats posed by these evil beings. They feared for themselves and their herds and entrusted themselves to divine grace: "May the good Lord come to our aid and protect our cows".

During the night, people claimed to see these satanic spirits, with little lights or lanterns, wandering alone or in groups in the woods, on the pastures, in the rocks or in the high mountain corridors. Some people even say they often saw these poor damned souls or people who'd taken their own lives come right down to Ardon in the region of Valais. They were heard making awful groaning noises and their bodies, terrible to see, were weary, so weary of spending so many years wandering and crawling through these arid rocks where they had to pay for their sins that some of their arms were worn to the elbows, some to the shoulders. These groans were heard and these lights were seen burning in a particularly sinister way before and during the terrible landslides of 1714 and 1740 which covered thousands of acres of meadows and caused the death of several people, and many heads of cattle.

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