from Galicia Encantada, edition by Antonio Reigosa.
Story collected by José María Carricoba Armesto
Translated from Galician by Seth Brooks
Long ago it was common to keep servants in one’s home to assist with daily chores and labor. A gentleman from Vilarello de Donís, township of Cervantes in the province of Lugo, one day decided to employ a servant in his house, so he went looking for one and found the boy that was worth what the gentleman wanted.
The boy told the gentleman that he would become his servant on the condition that the gentleman let him free at night. The two agreed to the following: the boy would work all day and at night he could collect his belongings and leave the house, returning the next morning.
Eventually the master asked himself, “but what is he up to at night? Where does he go?”
One night he followed his servant and saw how, upon arriving at a well, the servant lay down and began to roll around on the ground, and then he turned into a wolf and began to howl. Their eyes met and remained locked for a brief moment. The master left without saying anything.
The following evening the master said to his servant:
—I know where you go! What is it that happened to you to go around in that way?
—Don’t you think of following me again, if I didn’t eat you the first time it will be the first thing I do!
—There isn’t a way to stop this? You cannot be like this the rest of your life!
—There isn’t any way to break it?
—There is but I’m not brave enough for that.
—Let’s hear it!
—Look, when I lie down and . . . but you’ll never to do it . . . and I dig like crazy in the dirt, take a sickle and strike me in the back with all you can and leave my back with a wound . . . it’s the only thing you can do . . . but you won’t have the courage!
The following evening the master followed his servant again to the well—the master betrayed no fear—and he did as the servant explained. The servant, once convalesced, never left the house at night again. The curse had been broken.