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Main > Spain folktales > Fairy tale "Barbara, the Grazier's Wife"

Barbara, the Grazier's Wife

When Spain was fortunately in possession of the enlightened Moors a spirit of chivalry pervaded all classes, which degenerated after the departure of Boabdil from Granada.

The Moorish blood permeated the veins of the majority of the Spaniards; but a religious despotism completely subdued the minds of all, and Spain, under the yoke of the Jesuits, became a land more famed for its autos da fé than for its progress in the fine arts and sciences, which, to a very great extent, were ignored.

Some there were, however, in whom the blood of the Moors was stronger than the faith in their new religion, which, however good in the abstract, was most pernicious in its consequences.

It has been the abuse, not the use, of the Christian religion which has made of the Spaniard what his conqueror, the Moor, would have most loathed.

In the province of Galliza is situated the village of Porrinho, lying in a beautiful valley, and surrounded by meadow-land and fields of maize.

Here lived the merry grazier, Sebastian de las Cabras, famous for his encounters with wolves, but looked down upon by his neighbours because it was known that he was descended from the Moors.

In all the village there was not a man could handle the quarter-staff like Sebastian, and so correct was his aim that, with a sling, he would at a hundred yards hurl a stone and hit a bull between the eyes, and so kill it.

With his knife he was equally skilful, for he could use the blade to pick up the oil from his plate instead of licking it up with a spoon, or, in a quarrel, make it find a sheath in the leg or arm of a rival.

Now, this Sebastian, with all his ingenuity and merriment, had, like most men, a grievance; but, unlike most men’s grievances, his was against the good St. Vincent, whose patched-up body (some of it, having decayed, being filled up with wax) is entombed in different cathedrals throughout Spain and Portugal, each cathedral professing to possess the veritable body of the veritable saint.

But in this plurality of St.

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