A Santa Compaña, the Night Ones

Hiding is impossible. Whoever comes upon it joins the mysterious following; at that moment, the end of his or her life is near.

«Desde as doce á unha,

anda a mala fortuna.»

It marches in misty nights through the woods. They are whitish, wandering silhouettes. They move in the thickets, carrying flaming torches that flicker in the howling wind. There are usually up to two dozen tortured souls in the procession, all similar, and they are led by a taller figure. The man, surprised by the procession, feels an irresistible attraction to it and approaches it to touch the intangible shapes, as if they were formed by the same wisps of fog that blur the tree trunks. There is no possible escape, since in any direction he goes, the ghostly group will appear again. The last member will hand the stunned man a candle so that he joins the penitential procession.

Comarca de Deza. Provincia de Pontevedra.

The following morning, the chosen will believe for a moment that it was all a bad dream. But it wasn’t; instead, an unavoidable reality. His physical appearance will begin to deteriorate. He will lose his will to live, appetite, happiness. Even though the best doctors try, none will cure him, simply because science has no remedy for this situation. Withering away before one’s very eyes, until being only skin and bones, he will quickly die.

«fuxía a carne dél»

No one will say the cause, even though everyone suspects it, because it’s best to be quiet about the Santa Compaña. They say going to San Andrés de Teixido, at least once, perhaps can avoid this encounter. But in the world of the uncertain, nothing is for sure.

Comarca de Arzúa. Provincia da Coruña.


SOURCE: Pablos, francisco. Centón de leyendas y mitos de galicia. 2002. nigratrea. vigo.

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