After nearly an hour's walking, we reached the village of Crehen, on the other side of which the character of the river and of its banks changes. Near the village my guide pointed out to me a tumulus, evidently the work of man.
He said that "les paysans" told a great many strange tales about it; that human bones had been found by digging in it; and that, in stormy nights, a female figure, dressed in white, came forth from it, and went down to the river to wash her clothes, making the whole valley resound with the strokes of her beater upon the linen.
He told me all this with a sneer of supreme contempt for the good rustics who believed thes old-world tales; for my friend, the letter-carrier, had served in the army, and seen the world, even to the extent of having been quartered in Paris for three months.
So he had returned to his native village an educated man, and an "esprit fort," far too wise to "believe any thing of which he did not know the why and the how." Thus, with the same self-sufficient educated ignorance, which, in minds too suddenly emancipated from the trammels of long-reverenced ideas, produces similar results in more important matters, he had rejected the truth together with the fable.
For true enough it is, as I afterwards ascertained, that bones to a considerable amount had been found in the tumulus in question, which, in all probability, had been a Celtic place of sepulture.
From 'A Summer in Brittany' by T A Trollope (1840).