While the Camino de Santiago has long enjoyed its prominent position in history, religion, and culture, it passes through many places that have their own stories to tell. Included below are several Spanish myths of monsters and transformations.
THE LEGEND OF ALVARO PEREZ
“This man, Álvaro Pérez, did not live
much and, according to what people say,
advised by a friar he went into Coruja cave to
look for a big treasure. He took with him
thirty squires and labourers who were very
strong, and before them they burned torches.
es and very big oak trunks. And in the
entrance of the cave they fastened long ropes
with sticks. People were well armed. When
they were going into the cave they discovered
very big birds that blow them strongly
on their faces. They walked until they arrived
at a large river, and on the other side of the
river they saw strange beautiful and very
well dressed people who were playing instruments
and looking at big treasures. But they
were so afraid of the river that they did not
dare to go across it. So, they were all in
agreement to return, but the friar said: “Go
on, go on, there is no trouble”. And they did
not want to believe it. Then, the wind blew so
hard that the torches were put out. And when
they managed to go out, they breathed poisoned
air so they did not live more than one
year, and afterwards the friar lost his sight”
(Aponte, Vasco de ([ca. 1530-1535] 1986)
“I was eight when it happened. My mother and I had gone to visit a friend and we walked down the path behind the house, near the cemetery.
It wasn´t late, but being winter it was dark. It was right at the crossroads. I heard a very heavy footsteps, as if many people were nearing. I asked my mother if she heard it and she said yes. Then we saw a procession coming down the road, like a funeral. There were many, I do not know the number, but all dressed alike. They had a kind of black robe covering their entire body, with a black hood. They passed very close to us.
We were paralyzed. I was very small and did not really understand what it was, but my mother was terrified, She pressed me very hard against her, telling me not to make noise. And imagine our surprise when, at the end of the row of ‘The Compaña”, we saw a woman, a neighbor of ours!
She was “Tía Preciosa” a neighbor who lived a few houses above ours. I recognized for her walk, because she had a defect in her legs and then we saw her very clearly. She carried a stick in her hand and a kind of “stone” like marble, but very, very bright. She passed us quietly “like a ghost.” And she followed the Holy Company.
We didn´t have time to ask what she was doing there. Four days after this happenned, “Tía Preciosa” died. She was in the kitchen and lightning came down the chimney and killed her. I think it was a warning … we are all warned before dying …».
A LEGEND OF OS PENEDOS DE MOURA
“This was told by daddy. A man went to
Os Penedos da Moura and there he saw a very
beautiful woman, really pretty, who told him
she was enchanted. The woman told him that
if he helped her to go away from there, they
both would leave carrying with them a golden
cart and its golden oxen. Good heavens! The
ox was also golden. The man fell in love with
the girl and said yes. So, she said she was
going to go down the stone and from there a
snake would go out, but he could not mention
the word God. Then, a snake went out and
started to go up the man’s legs. The man had
such long-suffering… but when the snake
reached his neck he said: Ow [with a deep
moan and frightened throwing his hands to his
chest]- My god! The snake went away.
–Broum! An enormous noise was heard and
the hillock collapsed. The man went around
there, but the woman was never seen again.”
(Dasairas, X., 1987).
The Tale of the White Deer
“Once upon a time, in the heart of the Ancares mountains lived an ancient noble with his two children. The elder, a boy named Egas, loved to hunt while his sister, the lovely Aldara, found great pleasure in taking long walks in the dense forest near the castle where they lived. One day Aldara did not return at the normal hour and her father and brother, greatly alarmed, set out to find her. After long joyless days, they sadly abandoned the search fearing that she had been victim to some treacherous bear or wolf.
Several years later, while returning to the castle from a day of hunting, young Egas came upon a startlingly beautiful white deer eating by the side of a brook.
It was unique for its color, as pure as snow. Without thinking Egas took out an arrow and shot the deer which fell dead to the ground. Unable to return with the deer, he decided to cut off a hoof as a trophy and return later for the rest. Wrapping the hoof in silk and placing it in his pouch he returned to the castle. When he unwrapped the unusual prize for his father, they were both horrified to discover that instead of a hoof a delicate, feminine hand was in its place. In addition, the hand bore a ring that once belonged to the beloved Aldara. With a great sense of impending doom, the pair raced to the brook only to find Aldara’s lifeless body, dressed in white, and an arrow piercing her heart.”