Here’s a tasty tidbit from the 23 June 2008 The New Yorker, which had got buried for six months but was paid for and thus had to be read.
In a splendid article on the cave art in Southern France, Judith Thurman writes: “From a corner table in the dining room [in a hotel in Foix], I could watch the swollen Ariège river flowing toward a distant wall of snow-covered peaks – the Pyrenees – that were black against a livid sunset.”
Ms. Thurman does not say so, but i am speculating that there is a local folk belief that two drops from this miraculous river on the forehead of a true believer can cure the plague. But only a true believer. And the holy water must be taken from the river just at the point at which, high in the mountains and pitifully shrunken, it flows into a small crack in the rocks.