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STORIES FROM GALICIA-SPAIN

IRMANDIÑOS FESTIVAL
Once upon a time there was a princess who lived in the castle of Moeche with her father the king of Moeche.

One day the king discovered that his daughter was seeing somebody, who was a farmer and the king was disappointed. The king ordered the guy to be killed to stop that relationship, because he expected his daughter to marry someone with blue blood.

When the princess found out about her true love's death, she decided to stay in the castle for the rest of her life and to remain single to punish her father by not giving him grandchildren.

Furthermore,  when the guy`s family and friends realised what the king had done, they decided to go on a strike, because they were working the king`s lands for him and that same night,  the whole village attacked the castle and avenged the memory of the innocent guy. Everyone took a torch and set fire to the castle while he was sleeping, to end his cruel reign.

Nowadays, there is a festival which commemorates that famous day because the village rebelled and gained their freedom at last.

The festival takes place every year in the last weekend of August and people go camping there,. They drink, dance and  have a good time and listen to several celtic music groups playing bagpipes, harmonicas and so on. It`s  known as the "Irmandiños Festival". The street party goes on all day long and the entire night. There is also a hippie market.

I used to have dinner with my family on that special day.  We always prepared a punch called "Queimada" the galician name, because it`s a hot alcoholic drink, which is served with "life fire".

There is a speech called "Conjuro". It goes something like this "... owls, toads, snakes and witches, devils, spirits, ..." to call on all the souls to prevent the return of the bad times.

After that we went together to the festival.

I recommend this event for everybody.  They must ccme this year,  in a few months time and  experience the unforgettable festival of the Irmandiños!!.

 

                                                                                       Written by Susana Bouzamayor Galdo

 SAN ANDRÉS DE TEIXIDO

 

When I was child my mother told me stories to keep me entertained, because we were going to San Andrés de Teixido. She told me the true story of St. Andrew whose shrine is in Teixido. She told me that the saint wandered around looking sad and lonely in heaven and when jesus asked why he was sad, Andrew replied: "My Lord, nobody comes to visit me. Many pilgrims visit Santiago´s grave and yet I, who have performed as many miracles as my Compostelan brother, I never have had any visitors".So Jesus looked at him and said: "You shall not be less, and I promise you that everyone will at least visit you once in their lifetime there". The Saint, who did not think this was possible, asked how He would perform that miracle, and Jesus said: "You will also have pilgrims. Those who do not go when they are alive, will have to do it after death". I´ve never believed in such legends, or superstitions, but I followed her to the car, feeling incredulous and intrigued by the site that we were going to visit.

When we arrived, we had to park far from the church. We walked a little in the dark, the fog was thick and we could barely see the tops of the trees, but we still went ahead with the visit. We stopped for lunch in a nearby gazebo, thinking that if the fog didn´t clear, we would have to go back, which bothered me because I was very curious. So I told my mother that I did not care, but I wanted to see the sanctuary of St. Andrew. There was a storm while we ate, the fog went away and we were finally able to see such wonderful sights from that gazebo. We walked a few feet and I saw nothing but snails, beetles, ants, birds, frogs,lizards and other fauna, on that narrow road. My mother, told me seriously:

-Natalia, be careful not to step on any of these animals.

-These critters!why they are disgusting!

- Yes, she said, but these critters may be people who have died and who are going to visit the shrine, on their way to heaven.

(So just in case, I went all the way on tiptoe.) We spent the whole day walking and looking at the beautiful cliffs and we ate a snack in one of the bars. When we left, I felt someone behind me, I turned and saw a person´s shadow. Feeling scared, I blinked and saw a black dog which the villagers told us had lived there since the shepherd who had taken care of it, had died.  As we reached the car, the dog disappeared and we got in the car. That night I dreamed about the dog, but his shadow didn´t disappear, it was saying us goodbye to me. Suddenly, it turned into a tall, dark, bearded man. The man smiled at me and then walked into the mist.

Written by Natalia Pérez Gilabert

 

 The Holy Company

 There is a belief that souls exist and that they show themselves to people and they have their life after the death.

In the darkness of a forest, a procession of lost souls can appear. A living person always goes at the top of procession, first person that they have seen that night. If that person wants to get rid of them and if the person also wants to leave that gloomy cortege, the person must give a tribute to another living mortal.

People who go with souls don´t usually know that they do so, because they can´t remember anything that they do at night. They can only notice that they become more and more pale and thin.

Holy company is made up of souls who go in two lines. They are wrapped in a white shroud, they have cold hands and they go barefoot. They walk reciting a prayer, usually a rosary, and ringing a small bell. When they are going to appear the forest´s animal noises disappear. Dogs announce the holy company by howling a lot and cats are terrified and they flee really frightened from the place.

Every soul carries a light but it´s invisible. You only know that a spectral crowd is coming near you because you detect a wax smell and you feel a light wind.

A great soul called Estadea is at the top of the procession. Sometimes souls carry a coffin in which there is a person and this is seen by a relative. That person doesn´t take long to die.

It´s possible that if a person sees the souls procession just before dawn then he has to follow the cortege carrying a cross and a caldron.

Many versions exist of this phenomenon. Sometimes the Holy Company wants to ask living relatives to pray for their salvation; sometimes they want to reproach people for their sins or offenses; sometimes they have been punished by an afterlife authority, to wander the Earth for dying in sin. However, their main purpose is to claim a sinful soul, who will die soon after seeing the apparition.

There are some ways you can protect yourself. You could draw a circle with a Salomon star or a cross inside and you have to enter it; move away the Holy Company´s way and don´t look at them; throw oneself on one´s stomach and wait without moving even though they pass over you; reject the deceased procession is candle light, you stand on the stone cross steps which are found on crossroads; do some magic gestures like the “figa”...

We don´t know if all this is true or not, but we have a lot of stories and testimonies. For example we can mention the Juan´s story, who was in his car in a Ferrol beach at night with his brother and they saw The Holy Company, another story is about Bruno Alabau, who saw them in Guisamo when he was boy-scout.

Another spectacular story is about Pedro López who was mountaineer. He was very talkative, fun, a sportsman, muscular and strong…But suddenly he began to change physically and psychically. He stopped going out with his friends and doing any kind of sport. He was always at home and he became thinner and paler. He thought that he was ill but when he went to a medical centre, the doctor didn´t know what was happening to him. He was very worried about it. His neighbor saw him going out every night, but when he asked him Pedro didn´t remember anything. Then he decided to follow him and he saw Pedro go deep into the forest and later he could detect a wax smell and hear someone whispering a prayer. When he looked at it he saw Pedro carrying a cross and a caldron and several specters with him. He began to run petrified, and returned at home. He couldn´t believe that he had seen in the forest. He wanted to tell someone but he didn´t do it because people would think that he was crazy. After a month, Pedro’s friend found him dead at home, tremendously pale and emaciated.

 

                                                                                                  Written by Elena Varela Pereiro

 YEARS AGO…

Years ago, when I was young, I read one book.  People used to tell me: “The first book you read, is the most important in your life”. I don’t remember the first book I read, but I remember my favourite books when I was young: The jungle book, Donald’s book which my father gave me, those books about detectives where you had to find the answer with a mirror… When I was young, I read a lot of books and I took part in some writing competitions.

Years ago, when I was teenager, I started to read best-sellers and the most important writers and books: Cervantes, Shakespeare… I loved those books, however, at that time, I prefered reading another books to reading best-sellers.

Years ago, when I was teenager, my Literature teacher recomended me one book. “I’ll read it”, I told her. At Christmas, my parents gave me a present: it was precisely the book I wanted! I read it the very same day I got it and I thought: “Teacher, you’re absolutely right. I want this type of books”. From that moment, I not only did I read my obligatory books, but also read some of those  books which were more appealing to me too.  Now, sometimes, I take one of my favourite writer’s book and re-read some pieces (poetry, narrative…). I really loved him.

Years ago, when I was fifteen, I read the most important book: a book that opened my mind, opened my perspective about life and opened my heart to other people.

Years ago, when I was young, I discobered that books are able to change our mind: we can imagine people who are not with us, we can go to other places… People say: “the first book you read it, is the most important for your life”. I totally disagree with them and I say: the first book you really enjoy it, is the most important for your life.

I’m really looking forward to Reading my next book!

 

                                                                                  Susana Simoes de Sousa

 Dreams come true

It was the beginning of a new day, but it was not a typical day, it was a cold gray morning in March. It was a special day for a Scottish child. Because of the nerves he had not had a good night, only got a little sleep, as of his dreams was about to come true after several years of trying it. Since he woke up, he felt like his heart was accelerating without being excessive. After breakfast a typical match day, he went for the usual walk through the Royal Mile in the Old Town to stretch his legs before lunch and to relax a bit afterwards.

After many hours and days of sacrifice he was about to wear the shirt of Fifteen Thistle, not a game either, it was a new match of 6 Nations. But besides that, it would be his debut in a match that was more than a game. It was his first Calcutta Cup game at home, in the temple of Scottish rugby, in Murrayfield.

After a bad tournament for the Scots, they had the opportunity to get two targets at once: to win the Calcutta Cup and avoid the Wooden Spoon before the final matchday. They needed whatever might be called The Miracle Match, but considering that not only victories, but that defeat is also part of the game. They should take the defeat with elegance if it was the case, being able to recognize the superior opponent and congratulate the winner like gentlemen. Features that are specific of their sport.

On the way to the stadium, it came to his mind words and images (real or imagined) that could have said William Wallace before the Battle of Stirling Bridge against the English soldiers:

 "Fight and you may die, run and you'll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives.... but they'll never take our FREEDOM!!!”

 "Return to England, and say to all that daughters and sons of Scotland are no longer yours. Tell them Scotland is free."

Those memories and the sound of the supporters in the stands made the pulsations go up and the whole team was concentrated and ready to give everything in the modern battlefield. When they came to warming, the stands roared but the best was yet to come. After receiving the last speech of the coach he went into the field in the middle of the pack, honoring his number (the 8) and forming in front of the grandstand. With both teams located, anthemns started to play. First the "God save the Queen" and after a few seconds of an amazing silence started to sound the "Flower of Scotland":

 


"O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see your like again,
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit hill and glen,
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's army,
And sent homeward,
Tae think again,

Those days are passed now,
And in the past they must remain,
But we can still rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again."

 That caused that in his mind appeared the images referred to the song, when more than 700 years ago the Danes invaded Scotland by surprise but did not wear shoes in the dark, one of them stepped on a thistle and a loud cry of pain alerted the Scots and avoided a terrible massacre. That made the thistle become since then the national flower.

The song and singing supporters in the stands with the team, made his concentration was high. Although his heart was racing he was quiet at the same time. With the kickoff started the battle, an intense match that finished after 80 minutes of authentic rugby with the Scottish victory through the exciting penalty goal. So the Calcutta Cup stayed in Edinburgh while the Wooden Spoon another more year went away from Hadrian's Wall that separates the Highlands and Lowlands from England.

 

                 Víctor, intermedio 1 de inglés

Bloody hell! I hate this sort of days. Abandoned in the shade of a cypress, bored to death, alone, definitely sad. People go past me: most of them don’t even become aware of my existence. Some of them think that I’m actually lost. When am I going to leave this horrible and pollute avenue? Nobody knows.

 I was born in 1995, in London (in the 80 Strand, WC2R). I had a happy childhood with a couple of teenagers in a small and original apartment. At first, the guy treated me lovingly. He spoke everybody about me, you know, my story. So happy I had made him!Later on, I was succesful again with his girlfriend. She did the same. And started talking about my extraordinary skills to her friends, relatives and workmates. As a consequence, the more satisfied they were, the more determined they were to share me to other people.

This is how I started to travel. I spent three months in a student flat, seven weeks in the different rooms of a huge mansion, half a year into a dirty and dark bag… Most people I met followed my owners advice, and read me. On the other hand, only a handful of them left me lying around. Yes, your guess was as good as mine. I’m a book, a pocket book. Being a pocket book has pros. It can be pretty interesting. When somebody likes me, he  pays close attention to me. I always feel at first sight when a reader finds me fascinating. However, I immediately realize when the story is not going to have the desired effect on the reader.

When I’m sad I change my mind. These days I’d rather be a hard cover book. You know. You are more socially valued. These sorts of novels, biographys or whatever spend their whole lives in a bookcase. I enjoy my busy life. Yes, busy. I can bring back my earliest memories and tell you.

These teenagers (Do you remember?) had read a newspaper report about bookcrossing. This was a turning point in my life. They introduced me to the idea of bookcrossing. This craze started in the 1990s. People placed books in different places. This way, they thought that a lot more people were going to enjoy their favourite book. This process recurs again and again. In fact, it’s a good idea. I discovered a lot of many different readers, houses and situations. I felt in numerous occasions the happiness of entertaining someone. The problem, as I said before, is when someone leaves me in a tedious place and there is no one who feels like picking me and take me with him. This is what has happened recently. That is why I prefer waiting in lively and indoor places.

Anyway, I’m growing old. That’s a life rule. I have had a nomadic existence. Besides, there are plenty more fish in the sea. It is high time they let me rest. So, to be honest, I’m waiting for the ideal owner. I dream with someone to be with him and spend together our lives forever.

 

                                                                                                               Paulo, intermedio 1 de inglés

Bad times, new opportunities!

I’ll have to take a trip down the memory lane if I want to try to recall when I took the most difficult decision of my life: to go abroad looking for a better future. This happened about 14 years ago and to be honest, I do not believe I’ve been living here so much time. Before taken my decision, I used to live in a small town in the north-west part of Spain. My life was really great and simple. I had a lovely family, lots of friends, I was good at school; and the most important thing, I had nothing to worry about. The problems arose when I started at university. I had to move to another place. It was the first time for me, a young girl who grew up in a small town, living on my own. I was really excited. Unfortunately, this situation only lasted for a few weeks until I had to face it. After the first day at university things seemed to become more and more complicated. I realized that things were much more complicated than they used to be. Long gone was the fantastic time I had spent in my little town without any worries. Much more important than this, was that it was the beginning of much more difficult times. The fourth year at university I decided to take part on an Erasmus program exchange. I needed a change in my life and that’s why I decided to move to Germany to finish my degree. It was my best decision ever! The experience of living in a foreign country really helped me to open my mind and to grow as a person. This year changed everything. When I came back to Spain things seemed to be much more strange for me than before. I felt like a foreigner in my own country. I couldn`t believe it but it was true. It took me months to adapt the new “me” to the new situation. After a couple of years in Spain I wasn’t able to find a good job for me. The economic situation in the world was a disaster, we were in crisis! People in my age were in the same situation and the future we could expect was not very comforting. On the contrary, it looked quite alarming and upsetting. The sum of all these future perspectives along with other personal factors encouraged me to move abroad again. At first it was only for a period of time till things got better in Spain but then I stayed here for many years. I found here, in Germany, a very good job. I met my husband and I began a new life. People couldn’t understand my decision. One thing is true, moving away is not easy but it is not as terrible as people think. Bad times bring sometimes new opportunities, it depends on whether you dare to take the risk and seize them.

 

 Belén, avanzado 2 de inglés

 

The wind .....

The wind movement makes her hair dance. The waves beat against the rocks. The rain through the fog, my mind is confused by a thousand questions .. Where is my prince, why hasn’t he come? You’re near me, you touch my cheeks with your timid hands … by why do I start to dream? Everything is just a dream, one of a thousand illusions which I have made, a humble hope, one of the many that my heart already has …

 

                                                            Giovanna María Sánchez Ramos. Básico 1

 LOVE ARRIVED

A donkey lived in a farm. He was a painter. He painted all the time. One day he painted a beautiful she-donkey. She came out of the picture and became real. The donkey married her and they had a little donkey.

Now the donkey is not a painter. Now he changes diapers and feeds his baby.

 

     Yurley Parra Cárdenas. 1º Básico Inglés

 

GRANDMOTHER’S DIARY

 

Finding grandmother’s old diary changed my life. It was in a box under lots of old clothes in the attic of her house. The diary had been a present from her boss in her fifteenth birthday. She was working as a servant in the house of a rich marquis.

 

First, she wrote about her family and how she missed them, but the sad feelings changed very soon and she felt happy in her work.

 

She grew up and became the boos of the servants when she was eighteen.

 

She looked after the marquis when his wife died. She used to read him a book before sleeping. They soon fell in love. One day she noticed that she was pregnant and she had to left the job. She promised him that nobody would know about it.

 

She went back to her family’s house and she was engaged to my grandfather, an old man who lived near their house. She never told him that my father wasn’t his son. My father is the son of a rich marquis, than I am a marchioness!

 

Everything changed for us, we were rich. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

 

                                                                                       Ángela Mera Torrente. Intermedio 2. Inglés

 

 A FAMILY SECRET

 

When I was only eight years old, I was living in Mar del Plata (Argentina).My family went there twice a week to visit my grandmother’s house because she was alone (my grandfather had died in a car accident when I was six).

 Going there was always amazing. Every time my sister a and I crossed the threshold, we found new places because the house was huge and ancient.

 One of those days we found my grandmother’s old diary. At first, we did not know what to do: should we give it to her or read it a bit before giving it to her? Obviously, we opened it a and we saw a photo of my grandfather holding a big Republican flag.

We asked about it to my grandmother and she told us that my grandfather was one of the leaders of the Republicans in Spain and that was why we were living in Argentina. We asked her why and she said that if we had remained in Spain after the civil war, we would have been killed there.

 

                                                                                    Juan José Piñeiro Suárez. Intermedio 2. Inglés

 

 

 

SHORT STORY

- You are my all ... – Elisabeth said sweetly. She was sitting on their bed. He put his glasses on clumsily. His wife felt in love with his blue eyes when she was young and she was looking at him with the same love. However, his eyes are old now, they are grey and only express fatigue… Allan breathed loudly. It was the only noise that they could hear, a strong breathing that is trying to live … but he smiled at her.

She’s an old woman too but he looks at her as if she was a girl yet. Elisabeth looks weak bur she is really very strong. That is what Allan liked of her when they met at a carnival party that was celebrated on the beach seventy years ago.

Now… it was time to leave. Allan knows it and Elisabeth too. He was happy … he was happy because he was there with the only woman he had loved, in the house they together had built with their hard work, a cosy house in the middle of the forest with a small spring not so far from there. He looked outside … He used to walk with her … it was a beautiful day and he was calm. If he had had only a few minutes more, he would have kissed his wife for the last time … his eyes were closed forever.

 

 

Mª Victoria Sequeiro. Intermedio 2. Inglés

 THE SECRET

It was a winter morning, a thick fog covered the stones from the village square and I was waiting at the bus stop.

- Do you know the fog can make people and their villages disappear?

I looked to my side and saw a young man near me, tall, milk-white complexion and dark eyes, inexorable.

- My grandfather also said that. And he was crazy.

The man smiled and crossed the square, disappearing into the fog.

"What a strange guy" I thought.

An hour later I decided that the bus was not coming and I started my way back home. My steps echoed, putting the willies and I ran, I wanted to arrive soon.

However, the fog got thicker and thicker I could not see my way and somehow I ended up lost in the oak forest near my house.

"Relax, I know this forest like the palm of my hand" I thought. "I cannot be far from the waterfall, from there. The road is straight up the path.”

But the fog thickened more and more and when I realized, I was back in town, but there were no people, no cars, no birds. I started to get scared. Could it be true? Would all disappeared in the fog?

Suddenly I heard a whisper:

"Maybe it’s you who are gone hahahaha ... “

And the sinister laughter faded into the fog.

 

Nerea Núñez Villar. Intermedio 2. Inglés

 

SUMMER LOVE

 

It was summer,1972.I was a twenty-year old boy wandering throughout Santiago,the worldfamous city with a Romanesque cathedral which is the goal of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.

I came across with a girl who asked me for a street-she was tall,thin and blond and seemed to be a foreigner,because of her odd accent- and I offered myself to go with her.After exchanging glances,she accepted,and we inmediatelly hit it off.The girl was Irish,and I said to her that our culture and traditions were quite similar,both of us were celtics.

For a while I was talking about our magic forests,known as-Fragas-in Galicia,and I assured her that once seen one of them,she'd believe in imps and gnomes.

In the afternoon we drove to a famous beach-As Catedrais-whose name comes from the large caves digged in the cliffs by the sea.When the girl saw the beach from the top of the cliff,became shocked in front of so much beauty.

We were a young couple,and maybe under the influence of the romantic view, we went into one of the caves.The place was so restful!

For about twenty minutes,we were alone kissing each other and enjoying the moment,but... the beach had a spooky secret!The tide rose in less than fifteen minutes, and when we realized, we were trapped in the cave.All of a sudden,the beautiful place looked sinister and gloomy and we started to get nervous but fortunately,our reaction was fast,we decided to start swimming inmediately and soon we got the path to the top of the coast.When we felt safe, we laughed nervously and became relieved.

After all, it had been a marvellous day!

 Andrés Sánchez. Intermedio 2. Inglés

 SAINT ANDREW'S MIRACLE
Some centuries ago lived near Cedeira,close to Saint Andrew´s sanctuary, a humble woman called Sabela who had turned her house in a poor inn where some palmers and
pilgrims arrived at Teixido and Saint James way. But her life was extremeley difficult. She needed a husband for whom she prayed to the saint everyday.
                     
One day arrived to the hamlet a man who asked for a lodge for that night.He said with a foreign accent that he was a pilgrim to Compostela.He came from a far country and
wanted to visit the sanctuary of Teixido to pay protection to the saint who was the first protector of his nation.

The day after,the pilgrim,whose name was Walter,paid Sabela with a wedding ring.He said that her wife had died the year before because of the plague and he wanted to
give thanks to Saint James because the rest of his family was alive. Sabela kept the ring and had always present that man on her prayers.

Some weeks later Sabela knew that a foreign heretic had been captured near Ferrol by men of the Saint Inquisition.
She was very frightened because she suspected that man was Walter.And one day those same men arrived at Teixido and took her to Santiago.There Sabela was humiliated and tortured until she confessed what had happened.The innkeeper was dammned with two years and punished to live in the distant town of Ribadeo. She worker there as a waiter in an inn. Her life was very hard because of the gossip and the scorn she suffered  as a victim of Inquisition.

But one day she met Walter and her happiness was huge.They told their histories to each other.
-We have suffered very much because of a terrible misunderstanding -he said- but I want to stay in the kingdom of Galicia and start a new life here. I just need a good wife.
-And me a good husband- Sabela said.
                                
They married a few months later,Walter worked as a carpenter in the same town he had arrived in Galicia.They could never return to Saint Andrew but they gave always thanks to the saint because he had joined their lives forever.


                                     Ricardo Rodríguez Pardiño. Intermedio 2. Inglés