Chapel du Bois Chenu.

Within half a league of Domremy, and visible, Jeanne said, from the door of her father's house, was a forest called the Oak wood, le Bois Chesnu, nemus quercosum.  The oak wood sheltered both swine, which fed on the acorns, and wolves; and the story ran that these wolves never harmed the sheep shepherded by Jeanne.  The enemy never touched the cattle of any of her familiars. This tale clearly comes from Domremy, and suggests that the villagers suffered little, if at all, from plunderers. As the flocks of the villagers were pastured on the common near the village, and watched by the children of various parents in their turn, it is probable that all the little shepherdesses were as fortunate as Jeanne. According to a hostile contemporary, the birds fed from her lap, which has nothing to surprise us, if the child sat quietly alone.

The forest had other tenants than birds and wolves. There was, as Jeanne told her judges, a beech near Domremy called "the Ladies' tree" or "the Fairies' tree," and hard by there was a fountain. The water was thought medicinable, and Jeanne had seen people come thither to be healed of fevers.

In the foreground, the Fairies' Tree and the Fountain of the Fevered., where Jeanne d'Arc would oft-times come to be alone, and to listen to her Voices.  To the left, le Bois-Chenu.  In the distance, the town of Domremy-sur-Meuse, where the tower of the village church of St Remy can be seen.        ---Watercolor by Barbara R Smith, copyright 2001.

Around the Fairies' Tree, also called "the beau May,"  Jeanne used to dance with other little girls, and weave garlands for our Lady of Domremy, and make a "man of the May," a Jack in the Green. She often heard from her elders that the lady fairies (DominŠ Fatales) were conversant there. One of her own god-mothers, wife of Maire Aubery, or Aubrit, said that she had seen the fairies. Jeanne knew not whether this were true or not. Jeanne said she had never seen fairies at that tree, as far as she knew. She and the other little girls hung garlands on the boughs; sometimes they left them there, sometimes took them away.

Jeanne's brother had told her that it was generally believed by the people of her country that she had received her mission at the Fairies' Tree.  But she would only admit to having heard her Voices at the nearby Fountain.  Inasmuch as the two were so near each other, the distinction might strike one as peculiar until it is realized that Jeanne knew that the priests were trying to associate her Voices with evil spirits, and so she played down the connection with the tree.  Even so,  the local people continued to believe that she had received her mission there, long centuries after Jeanne's tragic death at Rouen.