L’ARBRE DELS NASSOS: THE MAN OF NOSE’S HIDING PLACE FOR 364 DAYS A YEAR
As we mentioned in our previous story, the origin of the “Man of Noses” comes from L’Arbre dels Nassos (“Tree of Noses”).
The legend of the tree is an interesting one, which is why we’re dedicating a separate post to it.
A long time ago, the tale goes, there was a lord from Cervera, specifically from Castell de Malacara, who had an ugly face, which is funny since “mala cara” means “bad face.” Anyways, apparently this lord fell madly in love with a nun from the Convent de la Conreria, near Badalona. He was passing through the area and stopped at the Font de les Monges to drink water when he spotted her. It was love at first sight for him.
He confessed his love to her, showering her with compliments. She, however, did not feel the same, saying her love was devoted to God alone.
The lord was unswayed by her negations. He continued to visit her, convinced that she would give into his love.
One day, when she had finally had enough, the nun said to the lord, “I know that you claim to love me, that I’m the crowned jewel you most desire, and I’d like to please you so that you can have some peace. So, tell me, what is it that you most like about me? What is that has caused you to come here and disturb my praying?”
“Oh! The most beautiful of beauties. The love of all loves. What I like most about you, my love, is your nose!” he responded enthusiastically.
“Come here tomorrow at the same time and your desires will be realized,” she told him.
Floating on cloud of anticipation and excitement, the lord left, already counting the seconds until he would be able to come back and see her again.
That night, the nun asked the gardener for his gardening scissors and stored them in her bedroom. She said her nightly prayers and awaited the coming day.
When she heard the lord arriving, she grabbed her finest silk handkerchief and the gardening scissors. She stepped out onto the balcony so that the lord could see her and proceded to cut off her nose, wrap it in the handkerchief and toss it down to him.
“Here is what you want most! Now, allow me to continue my consecration to God!” she yelled.
In shock, the lord took the nose and walked to the beginning of the Camí de la Conreria where he buried the nun’s nose, crying inconsolably.
From that nose, a tree with red nose-shaped leaves grew. The flowers that would grow from it would be a fire red.
Joan Amades, the well-respected Catalan folklorist, suggests that the “Man of Noses’” hiding place was located inside of the “Tree of Noses.” It’s said that on the final day of every year, at noon, the tree scatters all of its leaves while emitting a loud noise, like a sneeze.
There’s a riddle about the tree that goes like this:
Un arbre amb dotze branques, A tree with twelve branches,
a cada branca quatre nius, On each branch, four nests,
a cada niu set ouets In each nest, seven little eggs
i cada ouet està batejadet. And each egg is baptized.
The twelves branches symbolize the twelve months of the year. The four nests, the four weeks of a month. The seven eggs, the seven days of the week, each day having its own name.
And what became of the lord? There are two stories. One says that his offspring would suffer from nasal insufficiency. The other says that they would suffer having noses longer than the distance marked between the ends of the thumb and pinky fingers.
Luckily for them, though, whichever nose they ended up with, none of them were ever as unlucky as L’Home dels Nassos!
Happy New Year, everyone!
By EMILY BENSON
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