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The legend of the cock

The Symbol of Portugal

Portuguese cock a symbol of Portugal

According to this legend, the inhabitants of the borough were very concerned by an unsolved crime. One day, however, a man from Galicia appeared who immediately became the suspect of the crime. The authorities arrested him, and despite his protestations of innocence, he was accused of being the author of the crime.

Nobody believed him. He was on his way to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) to fulfill a vow. And he was a devotee of the Saint venerated in Compostela together with St. Paul and Our Lady. As it was common in the Middle Ages, he was condemned to death by hanging.

However, before his execution, he asked to be taken to the judge’s presence, who pronounced the sentence. His request was granted, and so he was taken to the house of the magistrate. At that moment, he had a banquet with some friends. Once again, the Galician protested his innocence. He pointed to a roasted cockerel on the table and exclaimed: “As sure as I am innocent, that cock will crow if I am hanged! Immediately laughs and comments were heard, nevertheless. Nobody touched the cockerel. And what seemed impossible happened.

When the pilgrim was being hanged, the cockerel stood up on the table and crowed. No one, any longer, doubted the innocence of the condemned man. The judge rushed to the gallows and saw, with astonishment. The poor man with the rope around his neck, but the loose knot protected him from being strangled. He was immediately released and continued his journey of pilgrimage. Years later, he returned Barcelos. He built the monument (the stone cross of the cockerel) to Saint James and the Virgin.

(in Câmara Municipal de Barcelos)

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