Fable of the Little Men in Spain and a Muddled Hike in the Pyrenees

You may not know where I'm going with this. I don't even know myself but when hiking in Spain, there are three things that stand out. The scenery, our ragtag group and a fable told to us by our friendly guide. As I try to piece together that day in my head, all I can come up with are these three points.

The Scenery

black and white photograph of spain

The Rag Tag

I don't know what we were thinking when we went on our hike into the Pyrenees. We know better and should have been prepared. Instead, we wore shorts, didn't bring sunscreen or a bottle of water and didn't have a shell for wind or rain and didn't bring anything but a light fleece to keep warm. We had all the gear we needed at the hotel. Zip off pants, gloves, hats and arc'teryx jackets, chapstick…you get the idea. We were a group of well travelled people and yet we all looked like a bunch of goofballs walking through snow wrapped in sarongs trying to keep warm at altitude while hiking in Spain's Pyrenees mountain range.

Hikers in Spain listen to a fable

Our Ragtag Group doesn't look ready for a hike in the Pyrenees

Our Muddled Tour of Catalunya, Spain

hiking through snow in shortshiking in Spainhike on snow in spainwaking in snow in SpainIll-Prepared for a cool hike at altitude. It sort of summed up our trip in Spain. We always seemed to be one step behind each day. I left my zoom lens in the trunk of the car when we went on a birdwatching walk, only to find out that we were experiencing a unique moment in a hide where we had the opportunity to photograph hundreds of vultures feeding. A zoom lens would have been very handy. Dave had gone on a paragliding trip with a half dead battery in his Gopro camera because he just found out he'd be flying that morning, and we almost left our driver's licence behind until we heard at the last minute we'd be driving mini cars around Barcelona one evening. So, all we could do was laugh when we were once again ill prepared for our hike in the Pyrenees.


scenes from the Pyrenees Spain

It was a beautiful hike through the mountains though and once we got through the wind tunnel at the beginning of the trail, it turned out to be a pleasant day. We were hiking in the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. It's a mouthful to say the least but it is certainly filled with gorgeous views.

pyrenees mountains

Yes, the mountains were incredibly beautiful, the hike was invigorating and the views were outstanding. But what more can I really say about a hike? We've written so many posts about hiking in the mountains lately,  that as I try to come up with something unique to write about, the only thing that springs to mind, other than our walk through the snow dressed as beach bums, is the cute little fable that our guide told us.

guide in spain

Our Guide Tells us a Fable

This is the Story of The Rich Man and the Little Men

We had stopped at a spot on the trail to listen to our guide speak. All day he had been sharing information about the Pyrenees and Spain's history. He talked to us about wildlife and nature and even showed us old avalanche falls. He started telling this story with the same intensity that he told the rest and at first I though he was telling us about a historical moment in Spain's history. As the story progressed, we all started to smile and realized that he was sharing a little fable with us all. I thought it was a fun tale, So I'm going to share it with you.

The Fable

There once was a man who kept an army of little men in a match box. These men needed to be kept busy every day or else they would go around the neighbourhood wreaking havoc on all the surrounding farms. They would steal and break things and would kill the old man and his family unless they were kept busy.

Each day the man would let out the little people and have them perform tasks like clean the house, take care of the livestock and repair the things that needed to be done. The little men would work hard every day and be too busy to hurt anyone or destroy anything. Each night, the man would put the little men back in the box where they'd stay until they were let out again the next day. They couldn't hurt anyone when they were in the box.

One day, the box broke and the little men didn't have anywhere to go back to. They had to stay busy or else they would destroy all the farms and villages in the Pyrenees. But soon the man didn't have any more work for them to do. When they were out of the box, they kept working and working and he could no longer keep them busy. If he couldn't come up with something for the little people to do, they would kill him and destroy everything.

Whatever would he do?

rocks in spain

The Rocks Chipped off the Mountain by the Little Men

And then it dawned on him. If he couldn't trap the little men in their box again, he had to keep the little men busy forever. So he came up with an idea to tell the little men that they had to flatten the Pyrenees. To this day the little men are still trying to topple over the mountains.  The falling rock that we see on the trails are actually the little men chipping away at the peaks. They've been keeping busy and haven't killed or destroyed anything. 

So the next time you walk through the Pyrenees and see falling walk, think of the little men that are working so hard to take down the mountains. Let's hope they never finish their task. 

Just Another Day in Spain

So that is the story of our day in the Pyrenees. We froze at first, but the we warmed up, we hiked to a waterfall and got a little wet but basked in the sun during a picnic lunch. We then tramped through snow, listened to a fable, took in extraordinary views and had a day to remember in Spain.

lake and mountain in spain

Does it sound like I didn't like my hike in Spain? Au contraire, we had an amazing time. We love hiking and taking photos of spectacular scenery. We loved the people we were with and we even loved the fact that we were walking in the snow in our shorts. It was fun and funny all at once, and that is why we loved our time on the Catalunya Expereince in Spain.

For more photos of the Pyrenees, check out Catalunya, Spain in Photos. 

Our trip to Spain is brought to you by the Catalunya Tourism Board

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