A Portuguese Folk tale: The Goat-footed Lady

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dinigo

“Forward, my son. You will win.”

Lenda da Dama Pé de Cabra / Tale of the Goat-footed Lady

There are a lot of Portuguese folk tales translated out there but of course we had to go for one of the exceptions, since we couldn’t find it translated… Nevertheless, here is our attempt to translate the version we got inspired from, in hopes that you too will enjoy it as much as we did since we were small.

This is a story from the 11th century, compiled by a great Portuguese writer, historian, journalist and poet named Alexandre Herculano.

Here we go:


One day Sir Diogo Lopes, a nobleman from Biscaia crossed paths with a beautiful singing woman, for whom his heart quickly fell for and swiftly asked for her hand in marriage under promises of land, servants and his whole self. She said she would agree under one condition: he was never to bless himself by making the sign of the cross ever again. He agreed to that one rule, and soon after they got married.
Later at his castle he found out that one of her feet was a goat’s hoof but it did not deter his love, as they lived happily together for many years, and from that love were born two children. The boy was named Sir Inigo Guerra (guerra means war) and the daughter was Dame Sol (sun).

One day after a hunt Sir Diogo rewarded his alaunt (extinct breed of hunting dog) with a big boar’s bone, but his wife’s podenga (female Portuguese hound breed) attacked and killed it, so it could have the food instead.
Shocked at such violence, Sir Diogo made the sign of the cross to bless himself and suddenly the Lady started screeching and rising in the air, changing into a nightmarish form, dragging her daughter with her – and didn’t grab the son thanks to Sir Diogo reaching him first- and both disappeared through a window to never be seen again.

After confessing the situation Sir Diogo was excommunicated, and his penitence would be to fight the Moors for as many years as he lived in sin with the Lady, a creature of darkness.
Sir Diogo followed his penitence and in doing so got imprisoned in Toledo, Spain. Unsure of how to save his father, Sir Inigo looked for his mother for help, having heard from some people that she had become a fairy while others said she had turned into a lost soul.
The Lady decided to help her son, by giving him an onager (a type of mule, hybrid between a horse and a donkey) that could take him to Toledo with astounding speed and once there, with a single kick opened the door and allowed the rescue of his father.
On the way back they saw a stone cross, which made the animal stop and immediately the Lady’s voice was heard telling the onager to avoid it. The sudden surprise of listening to that voice after so many years, and unaware of the agreement between mother and son, Sir Diogo made the sign of the cross one more time to bless himself. This made the onager push them off and at the same time the ground started shaking, cracking open and showing the fires from Hell itself that reached out and swallowed up the animal, causing father and son to lose consciousness out of shock.

In the few remaining years of his life, Sir Diogo went to church everyday and always confessed every week. Sir Inigo never stepped into a church again and was believed to have a pact with the devil because from then on, he never lost a battle.

The End

As you can imagine there are several version of this story and one in particular shows itself more tragic for the Lady, where she has no occult origins and unfortunately ends her life out of embarrassment from people ending up knowing about her condition: that both her feet are goat hoofs. We decided to go with the battle adviser version instead. Forward!

★Have a great weekend and stay inspired!★

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