The Devil and the Furious Winds – a Strasbourg Cathedral Legend:
Our Strasbourg apartment enjoys an excellent position on Place de la Cathédrale, right in front of the northern facade of Strasbourg Cathedral. The Strasbourg weather today was grey and the winds were blowing at 35 km/h.
As we looked down into Cathedral square we saw flags, capes and women’s hair blowing at 180 degree. The large hardboard sign for the cathedral entry had just taken flight and landed across the square at the doorstep of the tourist office. People in the square were struggling to make their way forward. The strong winds reminded us of a Strasbourg Cathedral legend.
Strasbourg Cathedral Legend
As the legend goes: In olden times, the Devil used to fly over the ground, riding the wind. He once caught a glimpse of his portrait carved onto the cathedral facade.
The exterior of Strasbourg Cathedral is decorated with all kinds of interesting statues. One of the best known is on the main west facade of the Cathedral. This row of figures is referred to as “the Tempter and the wise and foolish virgins”. The carvings are based on the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). The handsome young man (the Tempter), holding a fruit in his hand, manages to seduce the five naive girls.
Flattered and curious at the sculpture, the Devil decides to enter the cathedral to see whether there are other sculptures representing him on the inside. Once inside, he is taken captive inside the holy place and he is not able to come back out. The Devil is furious and makes air currents from the base of the church to the height of the Pillar of Angels.
The wind always waits in Cathedral square and still howls today with impatience.
Will someone let the devil out!
When viewing the sculptures, take a close look at the tempter’s back. It opens up and toads and snakes are crawling out of it. None of the naïve girls noticed that, but neither do many tourists for that matter.
Place de la Cathédrale is usually a very windy spot, but according to the lady at the Tourism office, today’s wind was particularly bad. It was a little unsettling as we could feel our very sturdy fourth floor apartment swaying. Will someone please let the devil out so that the furious winds will stop!