Windmill Point
Grosse Pointe Historical Society
Local History Brought to Life!
The Legends of Grosse Pointe
La Loup Garou

Many years ago at Grosse Pointe, a French-Canadian trapper named Simonet settled there on the lake shore. His young wife had died in the early years of their marriage. But as if in exchange, she had left the little babe Archange to coax him from his grief and to comfort his loneliness. The strong, hardy Simonet, with his sunburnt face and powerful arms, was devoted to his child. He learned to soften his rough manners and soothe her like the gentle ways of a woman. Anxiously, he watched the unfolding of his "pretty flower". He carefully selected the softest bear skin to keep her feet warm, and searched for the brightest feathers of the bird to decorate her hat.

As she grew up, he taught her to skin the beaver, muskrat and deer which he brought home, and to stretch out their skins on a drying frame near their house. He bragged that no one could outdo Archange when cooking the poisson blanc (whitefish), or the Poisson dore (pickerel), or give that unusual shade of brown to the roasting pig. Archange was as light-hearted as the cricket that chirped on the hearth, and her cheery voice could be heard singing away to the music of her spinning wheel. In the long winter evenings, her skilled fingers would weave straw into hats. The hats sold quickly, and added to the money she made by selling her knitted socks and dried corn, and enabled her to purchase many things.

Provencal-Weir BeachArchange, in the rough surroundings of her forest home, was as anxious to please others by dressing up as her more refined Parisian neighbors did. At the corn-huskings and dances at the town center, Archange was the most beautiful girl, and had a following of young men fascinated by the magic of her dark eyes, her complexion with its warm glow, her raven curls and sweet nature. Many admiring eyes followed her graceful form as she danced "La jig a deux," or the more light-footed, swaying motion of "La dance ronde."

Pierre La Fontaine, a young farmer, fell in love with the beautiful Archange. The light of happiness crept into her dark, beautiful eyes when she shyly raised them to his in answer. She told him he had not loved her in vain. Simonet gave his approval and blessed the couple, celebrating the happiness of his child. On bright moonlit nights, Pierre would take his charming fiancee out for a row in his canoe. Moved along by his powerful arm, the fragile canoe would dance along on the rippling waters lit up by moonbeams. The couple would talk about their wedding, which was to take place soon. Pierre was building a new cabin for his "bonnie bride". It was nearly completed, and built almost a mile from his father's, where the willow trees stooped so low that their graceful tresses touched the water. Archange would tell him of the cow her god-father had promised her, and the delicate things her god-mother had made them.

One evening as Pierre said goodnight to Archange on the beach near her home, she followed him with her loving eyes as he swiftly rowed away until he had disappeared. As the faint echo of his boat song floated towards her, was she startled by a rustling sound near by. Looking up, a wild shriek escaped her, for a monster with a wolf's head and an enormous tail, walking erect as a human being, crossed her path. Quickly the cabin door was thrown open by Simonet, awoken by his daughter's scream. Archange flew into her father's arms and pointed to the spot where she had seen the monster, but the animal had fled into the woods. Simonet's face grew pale as Archange described, as accurately as her fears had allowed her to see, the monster, and he recognized the dreaded Loup Garou. Simonet calmed her, and soon she pushed the experience out of her mind, and dreamed of Pierre and her wedding.

Long after Archange went to sleep, Simonet sat thinking. He lit his pipe seeking comfort in his thoughts. He did not doubt that it was the Loup Garou or were-wolf Archange had seen. He recalled all the stories of his youth and how the dreaded monster had stolen young children. Sometimes a young man would be lured away into the forest and never heard of again. Later people saw the wolf dressed in the same man's clothes. It was for young women Loup Garou showed the greatest fondness, and it was a bad sign to her whose path he crossed. Several attempts had been made to kill the beast, yet all failed.

Simonet recalled the story of one adventurous hunter who, determined to try his skill, made a bullet from a silver coin and patiently waited for his victim "to cross his path." The cursed bullet sped toward the Loup Garou and instead of killing the monster only severed his tail, which was found, dried and stuffed. It was the wonder of the region, and was adored for years by the Indians as a powerful good luck piece. Simonet hoped all would be well. Still a strange feeling came over him like a premonition, which in vain he tried to shake off.

Archange and Pierre's wedding day at last dawned. The sun shone brightly and all nature seemed to smile on the fair bride that day. Archange, dressed in her simple white gown, was a charming picture of innocence and beauty. Going into the woods to gather her bouquet of wild flowers, the Loup Garou again crossed her path, but this time she put aside her fears and almost laughed at the beast, which had robbed some habitant of his coat and hat, and had carefully tucked the remains of his tail away. He held a cane in his hand, which he twisted in a effortless manner. He was a caricature of a Parisian gentleman. When she did not run off in terror, Loup Garou was encouraged to give her a lovesick look showing his wolfish teeth. Scattering her flowers, Archange fled and arrived breathlessly home just in time to slam the door on the wolf, which had chased her there. Later that day she joined Pierre. Hand in hand, followed by all the habitants in their wedding attire, they entered the little church made of square cut logs, the cracks stuffed with clay, the roof of overlapping strips of bark. They knelt in front of an altar that was decorated with flowers, arranged by loving hands.

Father Freshet, who had baptized Pierre and Archange and prepared them for their first communion, now came to unite them in the holy bonds of marriage. After the ceremony they hurried off to Pierre's new house, where the celebration was to take place. The blushing Archange greeted all her friends on the green lawn in front of her new cabin. The elders of the neighborhood came to claim the right of the premier baiser (first kiss). Everyone reveled in the enjoyment of the moment, for the habitants dearly loved a wedding and would celebrate for days.

While the merry making was at its height, the dreaded Loup Garou rushed like the wind into their midst, seized Archange and escaped with her into the forest. All were paralyzed by the sudden, daring deed. But Pierre ran after them guided by the despairing cry of Archange, followed by all the men, while the women and children said their prayers and cried out for her. Long after the shadows had fallen on the day they returned to report to the anxious, trembling crowd, but their sad, discouraged faces spoke of the fruitlessness of their search. The monster had baffled them. But Pierre had not yet returned. He was soon found by his friends wandering around and around a swamp, clutching a piece of her white gown. When his friends asked how he had obtained this clue, he returned a horrifying stare and with a blood-curdling scream, tried to jump into the swamp but was stopped by his friends. He would often return to the same swamp, remaining there for hours gazing expressionless in the mysterious reflections of its slimy, stagnant waters, until some friend led him home again.

About a year later, at his sister's wedding, Pierre, numb to the outside world, seemed to be excited by the preparations. Immediately after the ceremony he rushed into the woods as if in pursuit of something. He did not return until nearly sunset when he was seen, with wild eyes, flying hair, his clothes torn, chasing Loup Garou to the very edge of the lake. All the wedding guests stood petrified by the strange beast and feared a repeat of Archange's fate. But Loup Garou, seeing no escape, stood on one of the boulders strewn along the shore and stretched out his arms as if summoning to some mysterious being. A large fish was seen to rise on the surface of the water and opening its mouth, the Loup Garou vanished! But the footprint of the wolf can still be found in Grosse Pointe forevermore on one of the boulders on the lake shore.

Historical Note: This rock, formerly located on the beach at the foot of Provencal Road, is now located on the corner of Chalfonte Road at Kerby Road. Somewhere on it can be found the footprint of this legend.