A young man who was walking the Camino de Santiago with his parents caught the eye of an innkeeper’s daughter. Unfortunately her feelings for him were not reciprocated, so she planted a silver cup in his backpack, falsely accused the lad of theft, and had him hanged. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
His grieving parents sadly continued their pilgrimage to Santiago, but on their way past the gallows, noticed that their son, though still hanging from his neck, was surprisingly alive.
They went to the magistrate to appeal his sentence. ‘Too late,’ said the judge, ‘The law’s the law and your son’s as dead as the hen and rooster roasting on that spit there.’ But imagine everyone’s amazement when the hen and rooster grew feathers, squawked and flew away.
Our 21st century miracles (the iPhone, coming from 0-3 behind to win 4-3, finding good coffee in a Dutch cafe) just don’t measure up to this sort of thing.
The boy was cut down and pardoned, I hope with an apology for the inconvenience. His travel insurance claim would have made interesting reading.
Saint Dominic, the patron of pilgrims on the Camino, who built a bridge over the river here to speed their progress, is believed to have been behind the rescue effort.
To acknowledge the miraculous event, there’s a small cage in the Santo Domingo cathedral in which a live white rooster and hen strut around.
Because it’s high in the cathedral and poorly lit, it’s hard to make a satisfactory photo, but I did my best.
The cathedral itself has been recently restored.
It features an extraordinary 16th century gold altarpiece, designed by Damien Forment, with incredible detail in the numerous figures.
The museum adjoining the cathedral has some old, intriguing, and to my mind unusually beautiful religious art, very well displayed.
Much of it suggests stories or miracles, though unfortunately there’s nothing to tell a non-Catholic like myself what the stories are. It tempted me to make up my own.
The Parador Santo Domingo is an admirable Spanish institution. A 12th century hospital next to the cathedral has been preserved by its tasteful conversion to an affordable 4-star hotel.
There are a number of these paradors around Spain. They’re an excellent way for the government to restore and care for historic buildings, make them available to the public, and earn some money from them.
A little way down the road, the historic Albergue of Santo Domingo offers pilgrims accommodation, food and blister binding for donation only.
Our local guide Rosa led us to the ancient square, where we took refreshments in the early evening sun.