The Rooster of Barcelos

This is the fifth part to our series on Myths and Legends. Now in Portugal, here is the legend of the rooster of Barcelos

One day in a northern town of Barcelos someone stole silver from a landowner. No one knew who the thief was, but they were all eagerly looking for him. When the people saw a man from Galicia passing by, they immediately charged him with the crime. The man as well as his fellow Galicians tried to explain that he was merely on his way to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, but no one in Barcelos believed him.

The poor Galician was condemned to be hanged. As his last wish, the man was granted to be taken to the judge who had condemned him. At the house of the judge there was a banquet, and among the dishes there was a roasted rooster. The condemned man suddenly pointed to the rooster and said “It is as certain that this rooster will crow when you try to hang me as it is certain that I’m innocent.” Of course no one believed him, and the people in the banquet put the rooster aside. But right when the authorities started to hang the Galician, the rooster stood up and started crowing.

The judge and other authorities quickly run to the gallows to try to save the man. Luckily, a free knot had prevented the Galician from suffocating, and so he was saved. The mas was immediately set free. Some years later the Galician returned to Barcelos and sculpted theCrucifix to the Lord of the Rooster” (Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo) in praise of Saint James and the Virgin Mary. Now the Rooster of Barcelos (Galo de Barcelos) stands as a Portuguese national symbol.

The Rooster of Barcelos

The city of Barcelos as of today.

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