Brotherhood of the Wolf - DEATH TO LA BETE

This print, from the 18th century, depicts François Antoine slaying what he perceived to be La Bete, the Beast of Gévaudan. This event took place on the 21st of September, 1765, in Chazes, Gevaudan, France. Antoine claimed his reward from King Louis XV, but it wasn’t long before the beast was killing again. As it happened, whatever animal Antoine had killed, it wasn’t the terrorizing creature known as La Bete.


How would a hunter end La Bête's killing spree? Several methods, all unsuccessful, were tried:

  • Deep pits, concealed so the unwary animal would fall in, were used to catch wolves. To keep la Bête in the pit, her hunters dug them especially deep so she could not jump out. They needn't have worried. She never fell in.
  • Poison, spread chiefly by a man named Mercier, killed more domestic animals than anyone anticipated. But la Bête also escaped this effort to end her life (although the attacks lessened, and then stopped, for a time). The poison approach was finally ended when too many other animals fared less well than the Beast of Gevaudan.
  • Traps, ambushes, decoys and other similar devices were completely ineffective to lure the mysterious creature.

Like the King's hunter before him, Chastel wanted to claim a reward from Louis XV for killing la Bête. Unfortunately, the creature began to deteriorate so badly that Chastel was forced to bury most of it in the forest of Versailles - before he could commence his royal "show and tell." He was ultimately paid around 72 pounds.

While the story of la Bête du Gevaudan is little known outside France, her legend may continue in a popular children's fairy tale. Remember the story of Little Red Riding Hood? The child observes:

Grandmother! What big teeth you have!

The wolf responds:

The better to eat you with!!

But there is also more to THAT story than meets the eye.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Jun 23, 2019

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"DEATH TO LA BETE" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2001. Feb 22, 2020.
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