The Val-d’Enfer caves: the secret hiding place
Conrad III, who had become King of Provence by marriage, succeeded with some difficulty in gathering his vassals to overthrow the Saracens outside the kingdom. The Moors, who had not been disturbed until now, began to be frightened by this initiative of the king of Provence.
It was then that a Saracen nobleman, called Abdelraman, had the idea of hiding his treasure in a secret hiding place. He tied gold coins, jewels and gems, which constituted his real treasure, in a goat skin with thread and left the territory with his servants. The caves of the Val d’Enfer in the Alpilles are the best place to hide his fortune.
Once there, he sees a goat slither between two rocks and follows it. The goat then takes him to a large room lit by torches in which a horrible woman – the Taven – sits on a carved stone seat. At that time, witches acted deliberately, as was the case with the Taven, who resided in the caves of the Val-d’Enfer, at the bottom of the Baux rock. The witch challenges him to confront a monster. If he succeeds, she will provide him with a room to hide his treasure. Greedy for money and wealth, the Moor accepts her proposal. The confrontation between the young man and the beast lasts two days and two nights and ends with the death of both protagonists.
Shortly afterwards, one of Abdelraman’s servants, who was waiting outside the cave, saw a different goat emerge from the one he had arrived with, the Golden Goat. Because of its golden constitution (coat, horns and hooves), it was dazzling under the sunrays. Filled with fear in front of this particular animal, the knight fled.