Cock & Bull

A great night’s sleep. I’ve just eaten a gargantuan breakfast, feel refreshed and ready to hit the road again. Before leaving I’m going to visit the Cathedral opposite the hotel. This town is the place where ”The Miracle of The Cock” occurred (stop sniggering at the back).

The story goes that in the 14th century, a German 18-year old named Hugonell, from Xanten, goes on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with his parents. A Spanish girl at the hostel where they were staying falls in love with him; Hugonell denies her advances. Angry at this, the girl hides a silver cup in the German’s bag and informs the authorities that the young man has taken it. Hugonell is sentenced to death on the gallows, in accordance with the laws of Alfonso X of Castille.
Mourning the death of his son, the parents sadly decide to examine their son’s body, still hanging on the gallows, but suddenly they hear his voice. He tells them that Santo Domingo de la Calzada has kept him alive.

His parents quickly go to see the magistrate in order to announce that a miracle has taken place. The magistrate, who is at the time eating dinner remarks: “Your son is as alive as this cock and hen that I am about to eat” – and at that moment, the two birds jump from the plate and begin to sing and crow happily.
In the cathedral of Santo Domingo there is a hen house worked in stone, inside of which, for the last 500 years, there has always been kept a cock and a hen.

Great story Dan. Sounds like a load of bull, with a bit of cock thrown in. Cock & bull. Just like the miraculous stories regurgitated in our local tavern for the benefit of disbelieving pilgrims, passing through.

I’ve been very busy over the last 36 hours. Sue has volunteered me to compile the O’Connell family tree. It’s Con’s 50th on the 18th, with a surprise (I don’t think so) party organised at the Cock on the 19th. I made an appointment to consult with Anthony & Maura, the parents of Con, both in their late 70′s but fit as fiddles in mind and body. That is a help to any genealogist. A planned one hour consultation yesterday turned into two hours as Anthony told me many great family history tales – and then he brought out the Powers Gold Label. I had been determined to stay ‘dry’ for a few days after the exertions of the Killybacside Olympics, but a few pushy and insistent mentions of “Ah, g’wan” saw my Lentan intentions fall at the first temptation.

Got home (eventually) and got the Family Tree growing vigorously today. Then old Uncle John got a thirst at about 4pm and jumped in my car as I went to the PO. I couldn’t leave him on his own, could I? We met Joerg the German in the Cock; a lovely man with wild blond hair. A keen surfer and fisherman. He has eight rod-caught wild Moy salmon in his freezer at his remote home up the mountain. This big – they are. The funny thing is that Joerg the Kraut speaks with the most refined English accent in the parish. He was brought up somewhere posh in SW England. It is quite strange to listen to Joerg have a conversation with old Hughie in the corner by the fire. Hughie, born and bred in Sligo, talks pure indecipherable gobbledygook, whilst Joerg talks like Prince William on an Irish pub crawl.

This English language barrier led young Paddy, the barman, to criticize my Lancs-cum-Irish dialect. He reckons that I say the word ‘look’ in an amusing way, to him. I say “loook” and he says “luck”. I argued that my pronunciation was correct, and he had been influenced by US TV and a year or two of Aussie emigration. I asked him to say, “Go take a look in the brook for the fish on the hook”. It became go take a luck in the bruck for the fish on the huck. I conceded that my Wheelton-born mother would still say – go take a loook in the brooook for the fish on the hoooook – whilst my softened version (if not socialising around Chorley) is now – go take a looook in the bruck for the fish on the huck. Paddy thought he had won the argument. But I asked him – would you woo a Chinese lesbian, or wuh her? Point taken, he said, but he’d prefer to foooook her. “Nice one,” I said, “That’s really cul” [coool].

Joerg lawfed, rather politely, and ventured, “My word. That’s one for Gearoid’s next buck.”

Caged Cock

The Caged Cock and Hen in the Cathedral Santo Domingo de la Calzada


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