Sculpture “The Legend of Mesland”, Onzen. France.

The story of one sculpture
Heading towards Chaumont-sur-Loire, near the small French town of Ozen, my eye caught an interesting sculptural composition located near a vineyard. In addition to the collectors of grapes, one could see an unusual female figure hovering over the vines.

As it turned out, behind this sculpture is quite an interesting legend. And if you’re interested, listen to her …
“The first millennium has come to an end. The monks of the abbey of Marmuta already founded the monastery in Mesland as a decade. But now a severe drought is raging on these fertile lands – the Laura riverbed is dehydrated, the soil is dry from cracks, and people and livestock suffer from thirst. Poor harvest no longer able to feed the population.

One day, on a very hot day, under the scorching rays of the sun, a huge crack formed in the ground, engulfing several surviving animals into its abyss. Immediately, some charlatans predict the end of the world, claiming that the transition to the new millennium was fatal for this ancient land.
Vineyards were cultivated on the lands of Mesland for a long time, thanks to which people produced excellent wine. But in these dry times, not only people suffered – fertile lands died, and along with them vineyards.
Because of the drought, many people decided to leave these lands in search of new places where heaven and prayers could bring them long-awaited rain and harvest. But not all winemakers decided to say goodbye to their vineyards hoping for the best. And, as they say, hope dies last – God heard not only their prayers, but appreciated the courage and perseverance of not desperate people.
One morning, at sunrise, a loud noise came from the shores of the dry Loire. The remaining residents rushed to the river bank. In the eyes of astonished people, the dried-up bed of the Loire River began to fill rapidly with life-giving moisture — for no apparent reason, the water level was rising rapidly. Then, the stormy waters suddenly parted, creating a semicircle around themselves, and a translucent creature emerged from the water dust, slowly acquiring an elegant silhouette of a nymph. Instead of hair, bunches of grapes hung from her head, and only a grape leaf was on her clothes.

Dumbfounded residents looked at this miracle with amazement, not believing their eyes, but the gentle voice of the nymph made them believe in the reality of what was happening. “I am the favorite of the god of wine Dionysus” – she said. “He sent me to these lands in order to return you water. At all times, these lands were in harmony with nature and an ideal place for growing grapes. Dionysus wants you to continue to love and cultivate this fertile soil, grow grapes on it and produce fine wine. These vineyards are like the children of Dionysus, but you need to take care of your children. Every year at the same time I will return to this region to taste your wine and make sure that you take care of the vineyards. ” After these words, the nymph slowly melted into the waters of the river and since then these lands have never been deprived of water. ”
And grateful residents not only continued to care and cultivate these lands, but they have been keeping the memory of this event for more than 1000 years.

Every year, as soon as the first flower of the vine appears, the locals gather in a long procession and head for the shores of the Loire. Here they release grape leaves into the waters of the river and ask for a river nymph, which was named after their land of Meslandes, and the god Dionysus still protect this land from drought in the name of a good harvest and excellent wine.

Such is the legend. And, if suddenly, when choosing a French wine, on the bottle label you see the inscription “Touraine-Mesland”, then the wine from these places and boldly buy it – you will not regret it!