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The Legend of Barcelos Cock

The Legend of Barcelos Cock
The medieval stone cross that can be seen in the Archeological Museum of the town is related to the legend of the cock.

According to the legend, the inhabitants of Barcelos where very disturbed by a crime of which it had been not possible to discover the author. One day, however, a man from Galicia came by, who was suspected of having committed it. He was arrested and, notwithstanding his protestations of innocence, nobody believed him when he said he was on his way to S. Tiago de Compostela to fulfill a vow. And so he was condemned to be hanged.

But before he was executed, he asked to be taken to the presence of the judge, who was dining with some friends, and once again protested his innocence and nobody believed him. And then he pointed to a roast chicken on the table and exclaimed: "As surely as I am innocent will that cock crow if I am hanged."

And what seemed impossible actually happened. When the pilgrim was being hanged, the cock stood up on de table and crowed. The judged rushed to the gallows and he saw that the knot of the rope around his neck was caught and thus prevented him of being strangled. He was released and sent on his way in peace.

Years later, he returned to the town and built the monument to São Tiago and to the Virgin.

The colorful representation of the Barcelos Cock was adopted for many years as the symbol of the Tourism of Portugal.


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