November 29th, 2011
Not the usual story!
This is a legend set in Salamanca, that beautiful university city in Spain. Actually a true story too and just right for Christmas. You´ll find Salamanca north west of the capital, Madrid, and the town centres around the university which was one of the first in Europe founded by Alfonso IX in 1220.
I expect that there are a lot more stories and legends surrounding somewhere with so much history but this one is particularly festive!
Season of goodwill?
Christmas to most of us means Santa Claus and family gathering for the festive season, lots of gifts to give and to receive, and overeating on December 25th! It usually means bad weather too, traffic jams and the central heating breaking down.
Instead, why not head off to sunnier climes for the Christmas break and enjoy a Christmas ….Spanish style! Have a look at all of the great properties on Spain Holiday once you have decided on where in Spain you want to be – my wish-list would probably include a hot beach somewhere in the Canary Islands!
What about you?
In the meantime, here´s a story centering on Spanish Christmas -of course celebrated a little later on January 6th – Three Kings or Reyes in Spanish.
El estudiante de Salamanca
Or the student of Salamanca. As mentioned, Spain celebrates Reyes on January 6th when traditionally Children would leave their shoes outside the door to be filled with sweet treats and toys by the Three Kings when they came a-calling.
A long time ago a very poor student from the university of Salamanca called to see his local shoemaker. His request was to hand over his little brother´s shoes in order for a new pair to be made as a Christmas gift. His little brother thought that the Three Kings would bring him some new ones so he wanted to collect them in time on the 5th.
When the poor student returned, a beautifully made pair of shoes were ready and waiting, but the cobbler would take nothing for them, insisting that they were a gift for his poor little brother and refused any thanks.
The student, taken aback by the man´s generosity and kind Christmas spirit declared that he would repay him when he was someday in the future made the Archbishop of Toledo. The shoemaker laughed and reckoned that he would have to wait some time for that!
Years passed by and the shoemaker became old and unable to work for a living – he himself now lived in abject poverty. One day at Christmas a priest came to his little house above the former shop and asked the shoemaker to go with him to the palace of the Archbishop of Toledo. He went along with a little trepidation where he found in the Archbishop someone that he hardly recognized - his old customer from years before.
Determined to repay the man for his act of festive kindness all those years ago – the Archbishop handed him 50 golden coins and any wish he cared for.
The shoemaker – overjoyed – simply asked that after his death that his 2 daughters be looked after – true to his word the Archbishop founded the School for Noble Young Women and placed the first 2 students - the daughters – there who were also given titles of nobility and lived the rest of their lives in comfort.
I guess be careful what you wish for! I think the 50 gold coins would be quite nice – but then again - a pair of Jimmy Choos….hmmmm…..
Wherever you choose to spend Christmas, be it Salamanca, Sligo or Salford – do have a good time!