The Heathens were the unbelieving people who lived in the Basque Country before the arrival of Christianity. When our land was Christianized, their lifestyle changed dramatically and the started living in the mountains , alone, in distant shelters, apart from all the Christianized people. Although they lived apart from the rest, they were at peace with them. They were named Jentilak by Christians.
They were savage, giant and strong; they could throw enormous rocks very far. That is why, in many places, big rocks are called Jentilarri (Heathen’s rock). They built many stone circles and dolmens in all the Basque Country. They are, in general, considered to be the builder of the megalithic monuments. But they were also the first miners, the first formers, the first blacksmiths. It seems that, due to their incredible strength, they helped building the first churches.
one occasions, the Heathens saw a shining cloud approaching from the
east while they were playing on a hill in Aralar. Scared, they spoke to a
wise old man. When the old man saw the shining cloud, he said: “Kixmi
is born; now, our stock will die out; please, throw me down a cliff!”.
The Heathens threw down the old man and headed running to the west,
escaping from the cloud. When they arrived to the Valley of Arraztaran,
they hid under a big stone.