Legends from Via Stellae
This is one of the well-known legends from the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela.
Less known is the song Por dereito ten a Virgen from the collection Cantigas de Santa Maria, but the lyrics tell by and large the same story.
Please listen to Por dereito ten a Virgen, in an instrumental version, while you read the fascinating legend:
Santo Domingo de la Calzada - where the roasted hen crows …..
Tradition tells that among the many pilgrims who stopped in Santo Domingo de la Calzada was a married couple from Münster in Germany and their eighteen year old son Hugonell.
At the inn where the German family stayed for the night, a young Spanish girl named Beatriz was working, tired of serving and pleasing the many older pilgrims who daily arrived at the inn. She felt instantly in love with the young German, but alas!, he was fairly indifferent to her advances.
Offended by the lack of attention, the girl decided to take her revenge and hided a silver cup, belonging to the innkeeper, inside the young German’s cloth sack.
The following morning, when the German family unsuspectingly continued their march towards Santiago, she denounced the arranged theft to the authorities.
The laws of the time, the Jurisdiction of Alfonso X El Sabio, punished the crime of theft with death and, once caught and judged, the young German was hanged without mercy in the gallows outside the town wall. Burdened with grief his parents had to continue the journey to the grave of the Holy James alone.
Several months later, while returning from Santiago de Compostela, the German couple went past the place of execution - when suddenly they heard their son talking to them from the gallows above: I am not dead, Santo Domingo de la Calzada has saved my life by supporting my feet.’
The parents immediately hurried to the house of the city’s Corrigidor with the news of the miracle. The Corrigidor was sitting at the dinner-table with a well-cooked cock and hen on a dish in front of him. He was just about to begin the feasting on this appetizing meal, when the German couple bursted into the dining room and breathlessly reported what had happened.
Incredulous, – and irritated about the interruption - the Corrigidor answered that their son was about as alive as the cock and hen he had on the table in front of him. But …. just as he said these words, cock and hen both leaped from the plate and began to crow!
Since then – and this is true – the traveller will find a cage in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, with a live hen and a cock, always white, in memory of the great miracle of Santo Domingo.