Legends & Tales - An unknown Portugal

Portugal is a country rich in culture and fantastic legends that pass from generation to generation. Discover some short Portuguese legends to teach your children or grandchildren.

Portugal is a country extremely rich in ancient stories and myths that inspire customs and superstitions. There are hundreds of Portuguese legends, tales, sayings and popular beliefs that make our culture so rich and interesting. From werewolves to fairies, witches to mermaids, ghosts and feathered souls to miracles of saints, there is no creature that our folklore does not include, except, perhaps, vampires.

But not only terror are the Portuguese legends. Many reveal lands and people of courage, stories of revenge, impossible loves and perfect loves. Meet, or remember, some Portuguese legends.

Many of them relate to true events but with touches of imagination, probably to increase the dramatic or heroic burden of the actually succeeded.

Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos

Many years ago, passing through Portugal, a family of pilgrims went to stay in an inn in that same city, carrying with them a bag full of farnel.

But as the innkeeper was very greedy he called the police saying that the family of pilgrims had stolen it.

When the police arrived they told the head of the pilgrim family that he was condemned to death. The head of the pilgrims said: – It is as true that I be innocent as this sing!

And the funniest thing of all, is that the to the head of the family say so the even sang.

And now in addition to oral tradition, there is also the song, the statue of our Mr. of the rooster and the rooster made of colored clay. This statue of our Mr. of the rooster is located just outside


Legend of the Serra da Estrela

Many years ago there was a shepherd who every night met a star at the top of the mountain. One day it came to the king's ears that the shepherd spoke to this star and the King sent for the shepherd and proposed that he trade his star for great wealth. The pastor told him that he would not trade his friend, and that he wanted to remain poor rather than lose his beloved star.

The pastor returned to his hut at the top of the mountain and heard the star say he was already afraid of the pastor getting excited about the money and letting the star into the hands of the mighty King. The pastor told him that he is worth more a friend than a lot of money and also told him in the voice of a prophet that from then on that saw would be called "Serra da Estrela". And so far it is said that at the top of the mountain there is a star that shines differently, still looking for the old shepherd.

Legend of Pedro Sem

Pedro Sem was a wealthy marketer but had no titles of nobility, which greatly affected him. He owned many "nausª"in India and was also a user. He lived surrounded by luxury at the expense of other people's misfortune, because he lent money at high interest rates. One day, his "naus"were to arrive, laden with spices and other precious goods, when his maximum ambition was realized: he married a young woman of the nobility, in exchange for forgiveness of his father's debts. The wedding party was taking place, which lasted fifteen consecutive days, when Pedro Sem's "naus" approached the Douro bar.

The arrogant marketer, accompanied by his guests, climbed into the tower of his palace and, confident of his power, challenged God, saying that even the Creator could not make him poor. At that moment, the blue sky gave way to a great storm! Pedro Sem watched helplessly the sinking of his clothes. Then the tower was struck by lightning that set off a fire that destroyed all its property. Ruined, Pedro Sem began to ask for alms in the streets, lamenting to those who passed: "Give a small to Pedro Sem, who had everything and now has nothing...".

Legend of the Lady of Lapa

Legend has it that the image of Our Lady of Lapa appeared in a hard-to-reach in Beira Alta. The devotees built a temple in a more accessible place, but the image of the Lady "ran away" to her boulder whenever they put her in the new chapel. This unusual fact occurred so many times that the devotees made the will of the Virgin and built a chapel on the boulder, in a place where to see the believer has to go aside, however thin it may be.

It is also said that one day a walker fell asleep by the chapel and a snake entered it through his mouth. The man awoke and, distressed, invoked in his thoughts the Lady of Lapa. The snake immediately turned its head out of its mouth and left, then caught and killed.

Legend of the Black Ines

Inês Negra was a woman of the people, faithful to the cause of independence of Portugal, at the beginning of the reign of King John I. At that time, some Portuguese lands were in favor of Castile. For this reason, Inês Negra abandoned Melgaço. Later, D. João I decided to reconquer Melgaço and Inês Negra joined his army, but the two factions never came to face each other. Legend has it that the "Arrenegada", a long-standing enemy of Inês Negra, challenged Agnes from the top of the walls, proposing that the strife be resolved between them, with the agreement of the Castilian army. D. João I watched in amazed to The Black Inês's response, accepting the challenge, and both armies consented to the confrontation between the two.

In the middle of the fight, the "Arrenegada" managed to remove the sword from Inês's hands, but she took a fork from a peasant's hand and continued the confrontation. After a short time, the two decided to fight without weapons and Inês wounded the "Arrenegada" in such a way that she fled to the castle. The Castilians abandoned Melgaço the next day and D. João I wanted to reward the heroine, but she replied that she was fully rewarded for the hiding she had given to her enemy.

Legend of Faria Castle

Legend has it that D. Fernando broke his marriage commitment to the daughter of the King of Castile when he fell in love with Leonor Teles. This refusal caused the Castilian king to unleash a war against Portugal. Minho was invaded by the early Galician, D. Pedro Rodriguez Sarmento, who was beaten by D. Henrique Manuel, uncle of King Portuguese, on the outskirts of Barcelos. The Portuguese were defeated and among the hostages was D. Nuno Gonçalves, the major allocated to Faria Castle.

D. Nuno feared that his son would deliver the Castle of Faria because he knew he was held hostage by the Castilians and as such decided to decoy a stratagem: he asked galician D. Pedro to take him to the castle walls to convince his son to surrender the fortress without resistance. Arriving at the castle, D. Nuno asked to speak to his son, D. Gonçalo, and convinced him to defend himself at the cost of his own life. The Castilians, seeing themselves betrayed, killed the old villager there and attacked the castle.

D. Gonçalo, remembering his father's words, heroically resisted the attacks and led the enemies to give up the fight. Although awarded for his courage, D. Gonçalo later asked King Fernando for permission to leave the post of mayor and became a priest.

Legend of Deu-la-Deu Martins

At the time of the wars between D. Fernando de Portugal and D. Henrique de Castile, she lived in Monção Deu-La-Deu Martins, wife of the captain-major of the region. One day, Galician D. Pedro Rodriguez Sarmento decided to seize The Monsoon with a powerful army, taking advantage of the temporary absence of his captain-major. The village was enduring the siege under the command of Deu-La-Deu Martins, but the food shortage began to become desperate.

It was then that Deu-La-Deu remembered to make some breads of the little flour that was left. He took the loaves, climbed the wall and threw them to the besiegers, telling them that provisions abounded in the city and that, given the duration of the siege, the Galicians might need food. The enemy, also starved and thinking that the siege could still take longer, decided to withdraw to Spain.

Legend of the Mule of the Holy Queen

D. Mafalda, preferred daughter of D. Sancho I and favorite sister of D. Afonso II, was a young and beautiful princess. She was soon chosen as the wife of King Henry, heir to the throne of Castile, who was only twelve years old when she became king. Contradicted by the marriage of her son, D. Berengária, the mother of D. Henrique, invoked the consanguinity of young people to the Pope and the divorce took place even before the sudden death of the king at the age of 14. D. Mafalda returned to Portugal virgin, and so remained until the end of her life, having since been treated by "queen".

D. Mafalda lived the last years of her life in the Monastery of Arouca, where she received the mother's habit, but wanted the fate to die in Rio Tinto, at the age of 90, during a collection of forum and rents. The inhabitants of Rio Tinto therefore wanted her to be buried there, but those of Arouca disagreed because D. Mafalda had spent much of her life in the Monastery of Arouca.

It was then that someone remembered that D. Mafalda used to travel by mule and suggested putting the coffin on top of the mule. Wherever she went would be the site of the queen's grave. So they did, the mule went to the Monastery of Arouca and died. D. Mafalda's tomb was twice opened in the 17th century and both his body and his robes were incorrupt. In 1793, Pope Pius VI confirmed to him the cult with the title of blessed.

Legend of the Black Lagoon This legend tells the story of how the Black Lagoon, on Terceira Island, appeared. It is said that, centuries ago, there was a noble family in Terceira, with black slaves. The patriarch's only daughter was submissive and feared her father, and accepted without questioning a imposed marriage. The girl, trapped in a marriage for her father's convenience, fell in love with a slave, who also loved her.

One day, a woman who followed the morgada everywhere, listened to lovers talking about her love, and went to tell her master. The one, vexed and enraged, ordered the slave to be arrested. The man, listening to hunting dogs and horses in the distance, noticed that they were looking for him and set out on the run. He ran through the hills and valleys, until he could no longer run, and he fell into despair. Legend has it that the slave began to cry so much and with such sadness that his tears gave birth to a pond in front of him. Frightened and cornered, listening to the horses getting closer and closer, he ran up hill and threw himself into the pond, where he drowned.

Legend of the Mouth of Hell This legend takes place in the area of Cascais, where once existed a castle inhabited by an evil wizard. The wizard chose the most beautiful maiden in the area to marry, but seeing her in person decided to hold her hidden, mad with jealousy for her beauty. The maiden was confined to a solitary tower, with a guard edifium, never to see each other. The years passed and the two talked and kept company, until the knight decided to climb to the tower to see his friend. Legend has it that when the knight opened the door, he was overwhelmed by his beauty and quickly fell in love with it. The lovers decided to flee on horseback, forgetting that the wizard had bewitched the maiden and knew everything. The sorcerer, enraged and thirsty for revenge, invoked a very strong storm that hit the rocks through which the lovers fled. The rocks opened like a mouth, and the waters swallowed the maiden and the knight. This hole never closed again, and the population began to call it Hell's Mouth, for the unfortunate fate that the pair had.

The Legend of the Chaves Moor

Prays the legend of Chaves that in the twelfth century, a young Moorish had become engaged to her cousin, Abed, son of a Moorish warrior who had become a villager. The young woman, despite accepting the engagement, did not love her future husband. Years later, Christians returned to reconquer Chaves, and the young Moorish woman was taken hostage by a Christian warrior. The Moorish and the Christian fell in love and lived happily, while their promised and uncle fled Chaves. Christians won the war and restored peace. Abed, who knew about the affair, never forgiven, and returned to town dressed as a beggar, to take revenge. He waited for her on the bridge, and when he saw her, he asked for alms. The Moorish, who reached out to him, crossed glances with him and the rejected Moor begged him for the plague: "Forever you will be enchanted under the third arch of this bridge. Only the love of a Christian knight, not the one who took you, can save you." The Moorish disappeared as by magic, and only a few Christian dames were witnesses. The beloved sought his Moorish everywhere and never found it, eventually dying of sadness and longing. And the enchanted moorish of the bridge was never seen again. Years later, the people say that on a night of St. John, a Christian knight was passing by the bridge when he heard murmurs and help. Then a woman's voice asked him to go down to the third arch of the bridge and give him a kiss. The young Christian, afraid, ran away. Thus, was the moorish of the bridge of Chaves enchanted forever. Now, on the nights of St. John, it is possible to hear the laments of the enchanted Moorish, who is eternally punished for having fallen in love.

Some of these and many other Portuguese legends gave name to cities, villages, and even originated rituals. Now we can only hope that those who still know them will continue to count them and pass from generation to generation.

... and save my favorite folk "tale" for last. Legend because its factually not a tale!...