Faeroese Postal History
Dutch Silver Stamp
A Jewel on a Stamp
Canadian Nat. Symbols
Private - Personalized
Philatelic Art Mews
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
In loving memory of
a happy and lifelong friendship
with Marion Passet (1942-2004)
who first pointed my attention to
The Legend of the Barcelos Rooster
The Barcelos Rooster is a charming souvenir from Portugal, and is an
important part of the Portuguese national pride. During a visit to Portugal in
1994 I came across this postcard that tells the legend of the rooster in French.
I have translated it to English below.
During a banquet given by a rich landowner in Barcelos, a silver art object was
stolen. One of the guests was accused of the theft, and he was convicted
for the crime. Despite the heavy evidence against him, he claimed innocence, and the judge
gave him a last chance to prove himself. When the culprit saw a rooster in
a basket next to him, he proclaimed: "If I am innocent, the rooster
will tell". Then the rooster crowed "cock-a-doodle-doo", and the culprit was
It was a legend of the XIV century which gave rise to the fame
of the Rooster of Barcelos. According to this legend, the inhabitants of
the city were very worried about a crime which had gone unsolved.
One day, a pilgrim on his way to St-Jacques-of-Compostelle was passing through
the city. Immediately, the suspicion fell on him and despite his protestations
of innocence, the man was accused of the crime and was condemned to be hung.
- Modern Portuguese tile, inlaid in cork and used on the table to protect it
from the heat of a hot serving dish.
- Portuguese postcard of the Barcelos Rooster, printed on cork, sent from
Portugal to Denmark on 23rd April 1980.
As he was being led to the gallows, he asked to see the judge who condemned him.
His request was granted and he was brought to the judge who was having supper
with some guests. The man tried one last time to plead his innocence. In front
of the unbelieving eyes of the gathered guests, he pointed to the roasted
rooster and said that to prove his innocence, the cock would crow at the time of
There was a roar of laughter from the assembled guests, and the man was taken
away. All found the declaration to be very odd, but nobody dared touch the
rooster. The moment the man was hung, the roasted rooster stood up on the table
and crowed. Amazed, the judge ran to the gallows and found the man with the rope around his
neck, but the noose refused to be tightened. The judge immediately released him.
A few years later, the man returned to Barcelos and had a small monument
erected. This monument is preserved today at the Museum of
Archaeology of Barcelos. The city of Barcelos is located in the Braga Province, north of
the city of Porto. The rooster is present in everyday Portuguese life in many
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