Posted on April 25, 2013 | 0 Comments
The Miller– Le Meunier (French) – Lou Mounie (Provençaux) is the sixth most favorite Santon on the list of the top 20 Santons included in the creche by the Provençal people - see our earlier post, the Essential Santons for a Provençal Creche. He is available in all four Marcel Carbonel Santons sizes offered by My Growing Traditions.
His inclusion in the Santons creche originates with early productions of the nativity story, in the Creche-Parlante and in Antoine Maurel's Pastorale. In the Creche-Parlante (itinerant/travelling, puppet-shows, also known as the "speaking creche") the Miller, dressed in white and covered in flour, and his counterpart the Chimney Sweep, dressed in black and covered in soot, put on quite the show. A highly comical tussle between the two results in each becoming grey, or sometimes the Chimney Sweep comes out white and the Miller ends up black. Either way, the moral is that good and bad are easily confused.
The Miller always wears his white cotton cap (a symbol of his trade). Known for his laziness and by the name Langesse, he provides the flour for the daily bread and, thus, is truly important to all in the village. He is said by some to have been among the first to hear the angels call. He hurries to the stable with a large sack of flour on his back to give to Mary.
He is available on his donkey
and he is also represented in the Santons world by the Windmill (available in all 4 sizes) and the gifts from the Miller, available in Size #2.
The Windmill is typical of Provençal windmills with its large sails standing proud atop a hillside. To many in Provence, the Windmill and the Miller remind them of Alphonse Daudet's windmill in the town of Fontvieille, and, of course, of the delightful book by Daudet read widely at the turn of the 20th century, Letters from my Mill.
In his 1959 book Little Saints of Christmas: The Santons of Provence, Daniel J. Foley provides a rather delightful Provençal legend depicting the miracle received by the Miller:
"The miller is one of the most important men in the village. He grinds all the flour for the bread. His livelihood depends on the whims of the wind to produce the power that turns his mills. He is continually in a state of confusion.
For days his mill has been silent, as there has been no wind to turn the sails. Everybody has brought grain to be ground and some of the housewives are already feeling the pinch as they need the flour to make bread and cakes to help celebrate the New Year. The bakers are in despair due to the demand of the travelers who are passing through the village on their way to Bethlehem for the Kings' census. The miller is beside himself and feels that only help from Heaven would be of any avail.
In the middle of the night he is awakened by a loud noise. At first he thought it was his wife snoring, but he soon discovers that the mill is turning rapidly and all the grain has been ground into flour. He was too busy at the time to figure out what had happened.
Later his neighbor told him of the Divine Birth. Then he knew it was the Lord who set the windmill in motion.
The miracle gave him plenty of flour to load up his donkey and head off to offer the sacks of flour as his gift to the Holy Family."