Chickens in the Church

A buff 18-year-old German by the name of Hugonell was heading for Santiago with his parents in the Middle Ages when they stopped here in Santo Domingo for the night.

The barmaid at the inn liked what she saw but got a terse ‘nein’ from the boy. In revenge she cunningly replaced his enamel camp-mug with a silver goblet from the inn and denounced him as a thief when the family departed. Finding the goblet in his bags, the boy was taken before the judge, who had the innocent teenager hanged outside town. The parents, grief-stricken, continued to Santiago.

On their way back months later, they passed the gallows once again, only to find the hanged Hugonell still alive and chirpy; the merciful Santo Domingo had intervened to save his life.

The parents rushed to the judge and told the story, demanding that their son be cut down. The judge laughed sardonically over his dinner and said “Your boy is about as alive as these roast chickens I´m about to eat”. At that, the chickens jumped off the plate and began to cluck. The boy was duly cut down.

In memory of this event, a snow-white cockerel and hen have been kept in an ornate Gothic henhouse inside the cathedral ever since. They are donated by local farmers and changed over monthly.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF.

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