This legendary monster ? a hybrid creature with eagle's claws and bat's wings ? is associated to the memory of saint Radegund, the founder of Sainte-Croix abbey in the 6th century.
It is said that several nuns, in charge of going down into the abbey's cellars, never came back out... It is also said that these cellars lead into underground passages, haunted by a terrifying dragon who sometimes came out from the bed of the nearby Clain river. On hearing her nuns prayers, saint Radegund went to confront the ferocious beast, bearing various weapons according to different versions of the legend : either a loaf of holy bread, or the relics of the True Cross (which belonged to the abbey), or her staff (which she actually didn't have, since she wasn't the abbess, but a simple nun in her own abbey) or even perhaps her courage alone ! Any which way, however, the Grand'Goule is conquered.
This episode will become a traditional celebration with processions in the neighbourhood around Sainte-Croix, illustrating the blessings saint Radegund had brought upon the city. From the 17th century onwards, a wooden effigy of the beast leaded the procession, followed by the inhabitants who threw tiny cookies in its threatening mouth while conjuring danger with an unusual recommendation : "Bonne sainte vermine, priez pour nous !" (?Good holy vermin, pray for us?). The cookies were known as ?casse-museaux?, literally ?Snout-breakers?.
The sculpture is today on display in the Musée Sainte-Croix.