Here we go for another legend… and it was about time we started having some 4 legs in them.
So, I give you the legend of the Black Hound.
And it goes like this…
There once was a sprightly young gentleman named Don Rui Mendonca, highly esteemed at the court and by all the powerful families of the kingdom.
King D. Manuel the Fortunate had him as his Favourite and was always ready to listen to the grace of his witty sayings and intelligence of concepts.
And when the king decided to go for pilgrimage to the tomb of the apostle Santiago in Compostela (Galicia), he took him so he could enjoy his gentle presence.
D. Manuel had there some of his House knights, lords of vast land and old manor houses. He decided, therefore, to enjoy the hospitality of one of them to rest a few days from the fatigue of travel.
D. Rui followed his example, visiting relatives, who spread, numerous, all over Portugal. And these relatives arranged all kinds of parties, hunting expeditions, and sailing on the clear waters of the serene river. In these festivals D. Rui met D. Beatriz de Lima, descendant by her mother’s side, who had been baptised as Madaleine, of moors from Asilah. Because of this pagan ancestry, old houses armouries in the region refused to receive D. Beatriz with assiduous intimacy, making her, so beautiful and wealthy, remain unmarried.
Besides, it was told that Madeleine’s mother was a kind of witch, given to spells and incantations, and she was blamed of forcing a Christian knight, through some magic love potion, to receive her daughter as wife, despite the differences in race and religion.
However, all these unfavourable rumours did not prevent D. Rui to fall for D. Beatriz, arrested his heart by her deep eyes full of charm, by her long hair, black and silky, the seductive attributes of moor women. And, both young, in the few hours they were together they never stopped exchanging passionate words and projects of a happy future.
When the king completed his rest, he prepared to resume the difficult path to Compostela. D. Rui had to join his entourage, but with sore grief of his loving heart. With their eyes glistening with tears, the young couple said their goodbyes by the banks of the moonlit Lima.
So, D. Beatriz asked D. Rui, at that last meeting, if he would swear eternal love to her.
– I swear!, confirmed D. Rui.
– And can you swear by these flowing waters?, Asked D. Beatriz.
– I swear! I will love you until these waters stop running., replied D. Rui, sobbing, while kissing her brown hand and with his heart aching from nostalgia.
The day after the solemnity of this oath, D. Manuel abandoned Ponte de Lima with his company. One year had not yet passed and it was known throughout the kingdom that D. Rui Mendonça would consort with a lady at Court, heir to one of the most distinguished names of our nobility.
But at this news, which caused so much satisfaction to friends and relatives of the young gentleman, then another followed, amazing and tragic.
On the day of the wedding, D. Rui, when entering the carriage that would lead to the church, suddenly took a hand to his chest and with a desperate cry of pain, fell dead! The day after this mysterious death, which mourned the kingdom, it began to appear, wallowing on the fine sands that lined the Lima, a huge black hound.
From time to time, the unknown animal drinks in the placid waters of the river. And if one seeks to approach it, the black hound runs the parade, the air rises and fades to the bands of the sea.
It is stated in the terrified town that such appearance is the soul of D. Rui Mendonca, condemned by the vengeance of D. Beatriz to go through tough punishment until the Lima stops its fluid and soft route. Until forever!