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Comte Arnau – The nobleman from Ripollès

Does your home country have a unique legend or myth which has been present in literature for centuries? Here in Catalonia, one legend in particular has remained popular since the 16th century! This is the legend of the Comte Arnau, the Count which had to live with a horrible course.


As the legend explains, the Count had committed two horrible sins, therefore he was cursed to ride upon a black horse for all eternity while being followed by demonic dogs and his flesh burned with flames. It is said that he was once the lord of the Castle of Mataplanas, however, the most heavily represented and accepted legend is that he was a count from Ripolles in the northern region of Catalonia.


Surprisingly, this legend is based on a 16th century ballad. It is said that this legend and song is like no other found in other cultures! In fact “The Song of the Count Arnau” is not only a myth but a personality which represented in a variety of historical texts and literature.


Since the first appearance of the song, there have been a collection of songs produced. The earliest of the collection of songs dates back to 1843. One of the latest collections of the folklore songs of Catalonia, which includes the Comte Arnau, was produced by Josep Massot i Muntaner in 1993! This is one legend that will truly survive for all eternity as its presence in the Catalan culture still exists.