Serra da Estrela legend
The king heard that every night there was a shepherd that talked to a Star (Estrela), the most beautiful of all, from the top of the mountain.
The King called the shepherd and commanded him to give him his star in exchange for a great fortune. The shepherd said that he preferred to be poor and still having her friend Star, without which he couldn’t live.
When he came back to his poor cottage, in the top of the mountain, he heard a soft melody, and the Star told him about the fear that she had that he could have been taken by the idea of becoming rich. The shepherd told her about his great dedication to her, and very happy the star promised him that she would be his friend forever.
Then the old shepherd said:
-‘From now on, this mountain will be called: Serra da Estrela!’
And it is said that from the top of the mountain we can see a Star that shines in a strange and different way, as if it was looking for the good shepherd.
Trout’s legend – Celorico da Beira
The Celorico da Beira castle was several times under siege and the Trout’s legend it’s connected to it…
In the year of 1245, Fernão Rodrigues Pacheco was governor from Celorico da Beira castle; this one was surrounded by D. Afonso III because they were still loyal to the former King, D. Sancho II, hidden in Toledo (Spain).When the defenders were fighting in the edge of hunger and they couldn’t resist for much longer, an eagle dropped a trout that she had caught, probably, in the Mondego River. This event inspired the governor and he order that it should be cooked carefully; then he sent it as a present to his enemy, with a message that said that he would continuing defending the castle because he had good knights, supplies as he could see with the trout that he had sent him. The enemy believing that this was a small sample of what was inside the castle, called off his men because he thought he couldn’t beat the Celoricences by hunger.
Covilhã is placed in an area called Cova da Beira (Beira’s Hole), that includes Guarda, Covilhã and Castelo Branco and it has frontier with Spain. Its first name was Cova Plana (Plain Hole) by morphologic reasons; ‘Cova’ (Hole) because it is between high mountains (Serra da Estrela, Serra da Gata, Serra da Malcata, Serra da Gardunha),and ‘Plana’ (Plain) because it is an area where small hills arise, and that seem from the top of any of the surrounding mountains just get mixed with the sightseeing, looking like plains between mountains where the waters shine.
After the Iberian Peninsula invasion and conquer by the Romans, several new names were brought up in this area (Cova Julia and Silia Herminia) which the legends helped to get them known better.
The roman generals, due to strategic reasons gave their own name to the regions where they passed. So we have the Cova Plana that changed the name to Cova Julia, before Christ, because Julio Cesar was the general, commander of the roman legions in the Iberian Peninsula.
In 41 A.C., there was another change; the name of Cova Julia disappears and the region is known as Silia Herminia, because the roman general, that led the roman legions, was called ‘Silius’, and he had camped there to tame the Lusitanian.
The origin of the city of Covilhã is also related to a legend; according to the legend, the Count Julião, governor of Ceuta, allowed the Moorish to pass just by revenge, because his daughter, Florinda, had fallen in love by Rodrigo, the last Goths King. When he died, in a battle against Tariq, Florinda hide herself in the Montes Herminios, and with her cleverness and beauty she earned the respect from the Moorish and also the name of Cova. So from the Cova Juliana or Covaliana resulted the name Covilhã.
There are still people that say that it was due to the landscapes, with the pasture and the refuges to the cattle in the Serra da Estrela, that the name Covilhã appeared; firstly known has ‘Covil da Lã’, it is known today as Covilhã.
Alvoco da Serra legend (Seia)
Alvoco da Serra, like all the parishes from the Seia’s district, it has in its historical-cultural patrimony, an important set of popular stories and legends of which we can enhance the ‘Stone Fountain’ (Fonte da Pedra) legend.
‘Rock Fountain’, where the little donkey, that was carrying the Holy Family to Serra do Alvoco, knocked three times with her hoofs in the rocks because the virgin told her to so that water should appear, and the donkey horseshoes were marked in thy rock.’
Girabolhos legend (Seia)
Once a sister had a dream and she told it to the other two sisters. She dreamt that in a Farm called ’Estrogas’ which was near a cliff, there was a large fortune buried. The three sisters went there full of vain and happiness to dig a hole with all their strength in the dream’s place. And what have they found…? Nothing, besides an old wood carve; as soon as they found it, they were all happy, but when they finally dig it up, they all became disappointed when they saw that it was full of coal.
It is also said that in the older days in Girabolhos there were many werewolves and witches that transformed themselves in all kind of animals.
Lapa dos Dinheiros legend (Seia
It is said that this village name appeared when some men where building a house, in nowadays ‘Porto dos Bois’, and a few hunters went by and told them to build their houses in the lower caves, so that they became more sheltered, and so they did.
In the small village, named Lapa, King D. Dinis has passing and the inhabitants offered him a big dinner. The King asked them which was the name of the village, which they answered ‘Lapa’ (Cave), because it was built in caves; then he asked how could the inhabitants have made such a big dinner; and they answered: ‘With our ‘dinheiros’ (currency of the period)’. So D. Dinis said that the village name should be: ‘Lapa dos Dinheiros’!
Sandomil legend (Seia)
Sandomil is located in a border where the battles and ambushes didn’t stop. One day, the land had few men on it, and it was announced to the Burgo’s Lord that the Arabs were preparing themselves to an assault with a large army. He heard them with big serenity and said that they all should get their arms quickly so that they could defend themselves.
He called the village’s great ones council to a reunion, after everyone had been listened to, he said: ’I would battle them, even if they were a thousand to one.’ The voice echoed on the foot soldiers and the horsemen, and with a big noise they marched to the unfair battle; when the Moorish saw them, they ran away, because with the noise that they were making, they taught they were outnumbered.
This deed went from land to land, the phrase went from mouth to mouth, and they became known as ‘Sendo Mil’ (being thousand).
Teixeira’s legend (Covilhã)
‘The monster with eyes in his snout’
It is said that it was less than a century ago that the beast from Teixeira cessed to exist. It was enormous, coward and clever. Every week it would visit the village, always by night, and she always found a careless one, and with the eyes in the edge of its snout, it would catch easily the man; if, by any chance, someone would try to rescue the victim, he would also become one. Every week a man disappeared without knowing how it was. With all this facts, the village was in panic because of the beast, and when the came down every door and window were closed. One night, precisely a century ago, the beast got in a house and got stuck in the fireplace; and with this the beast cessed to exist and the only thing that remains is the legend.
Vide’s legend (Covilhã)
The villagers from Vide say that in 1848 that it was written in the ‘Governo Civil de Coimbra’ that the illustrious Doctor Luis Paulino de Figueiredo Fragoso de Almeida was in Barriosa and that there were hidden 600 riffles, so that someday the civil war between liberals and miguelistas could continue. João Brandão was called to capture him and to seize the armoury.
The fear from the villagers from the Serra was enormous, because they knew that this wild guerrilla, who had been a secretary of Coimbra’s University in D. Miguel period, entered in the city in front of his men with the cadaver from the liberal João dos Santos, that he had murdered and took has prisoner the Coimbra’s Militias Captain João da Cunha whom he had hurt badly.