The well-known Galo de Barcelos, Portuguese tourist icon and symbol of the pottery, is a figure that is based on a popular medieval times legend that tells the story of a Galician pilgrim on his way to Santiago de Compostela.
At that time the city was faced with a crime that nobody knew who to blame. Time passed and the population of Barcelos were alarmed and worried, with the lack of responsibility for the criminal who had committed the crime.
One day, a Galician who was traveling on a pilgrimage became the main suspect, because no one had ever seen him and was unknown to the people of the city.
The authorities, desperate to blame someone, decided to arrest and accuse him of the unresolved crime. The Galician, a devout of Santiago, Saint Paul and Virgin Mary, swore innocence and his apologies were ignored. No one wanted to know that he was keeping a promise by going on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Presented to the judge, his sentence arrived fast: condemned to the gallows. Angry and feeling the need to prove his innocence, he asked to be taken to the presence of the judge who had condemned him before being hanged.
He was granted the authorization and the Galician, accompanied by the authorities, was taken to the magistrate’s residence. At that very moment the judge who was at a banquet with some friends, received him to hear what he had to say in his defense.
The pilgrim once again asserted his innocence but no one believed him. In a spontaneous act, he pointed to the platter with a roast rooster that was on the table and exclaimed: “It is so certain that I am innocent, as it is certain that this rooster will sing when you hang me”.
They were all incredulous with such a statement, laughing and commenting on each other. The night continued in feast, but with the fear of being true, nobody touched or tasted the rooster.
The next day, while the pilgrim was being hanged, the astonishment was general when the impossible came true: the roast rooster stood up from the table and sang.
Faced with such an event, doubts were dispelled and Galician’s presumption of innocence was accepted. The judge, still somewhat astonished at the whole situation, ran towards the gallows to save him and, despite having the rope around his neck, he was able to prevent him from being hanged.
The Galician was immediately released and ordered to go on his way in peace. After a few years he returned to Barcelos to carve the Cross of the Lord of the Rooster in praise of the Virgin Mary and St. James, part of the collection of the city’s Archaeological Museum.