The Beast of the Forest


In this article, Tom Griffiths recounts a walking trip he undertook in the footsteps of the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson who, in 1878, travelled with a donkey in the French mountains of the Velay, the Gévaudan, and the Cévennes. In the mid-eighteenth century, this area became famous as the location of la bête du Gévaudan, a wolf or wolves that terrorized the populace killing about one hundred people between 1764 and 1767. Griffiths considers the various accounts of these attacks and what they tell us about superstition, modernity, and our inability to accept the power of nature.