The Drummer Boy of El Bruc

Pa rum pa pum pum!

The Drummer Boy of El Bruc monument

Inspired by the uprising of the Dos de Mayo in 1808 in Madrid, the Catalans rebelled against the French, in spite of all the Napoleonic sweet talk about Catalan self-determination. Four thousand French troops were met at El Bruc pass near Montserrat by a third as many Catalan guerrillas, who had a secret weapon: a drummer boy, whose incessant drumming from various points ricocheted off the rocks, convincing the French to turn tail, believing they were surrounded by a mighty army. The story was recently made into a film.

When the Catalans, for all their troubles, were rewarded with the reactionary absolutist Ferdinand VII, some had second thoughts: even the detested French would have been more convivial. ‘If only he’d played with his balls instead of playing the drum’ became a popular saying.

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