Another typically improbable and unsupported anecdote from the witness statements.
In 1438 the son of Jean Bernard, aged 12, went to ask for alms at Machecoul - as Bataille helpfully points out, this is a distance of about 55 kilometres from his home in Port-Launay, Nantes, and he would have had to cross the river. He was not alone: his friend went with him, but they were clearly separated, and the Bernard boy did not turn up at their rendezvous.
Already the distance involved makes the story rather unlikely. Would a boy of twelve - we are not told how old the friend was - really have made such a lengthy journey? It is true that Gilles' almsgiving was legendary - but we are also told that there was a "public rumour" that he was abducting and killing children. No later than 1433 it was being averred that Machecoul was a place where "they eat little children", according to serial witness André Barbe.
We are not told whether the boys actually went to the castle when they arrived in Machecoul. Young Master Bernard went off in search of lodgings and for some reason his friend, the son of Jean Meugner, did not go with him. This seems odd in itself; why would they not stay together, especially as Machecoul was rumoured to be a dangerous place for children?
If he had appeared in court, the friend who survived the trip might have shed some light on exactly what did happen. But he did not. The disappearance of Jean Bernard's son was attested to by his neighbours: Jean Fouriage, his wife Jeanne and a couple of others, who had "heard the son of Jean Meugner" give his account of what happened; in other words, it was yet another example of what Prouteau dismissively calls ouï-dire, hearsay.
The boy's father was dead but his mother, very much alive, was heard complaining bitterly. In spite of her grief, she did not give evidence at Gilles's trial; she was too busy with the grape harvest.
So the two people who knew most about this case were not present in court and the boy's loss was attested to by neighbours of his dead father who produced hearsay evidence and, for good measure, added a gratuitous anecdote about seeing an old woman with a child pass through Port-Launay on her way to Machecoul and later return without the child. Without hearing from the son of Jean Meunier we have no idea whether the boys really reached Machecoul safely, how and why they came to split up, and whether they went to the castle and received alms or not.
It is a pointless and fragmentary anecdote with no real link to Gilles and no evidence other than hearsay from people with only a tenuous connection to the persons involved.