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Miracles in Spain - 6

The Greedy Farmer

Gonzalo de Berceo
The 12th century Castilian priest records a popular miracle tale that shows the power and goodness of the name of Holy Mary.

There was in a certain region a farmer man who did more plowing than any other labor. He loved the land more than he did the Creator, and in this way he was a rebellious man.


The avaricious farmer changed the boundary markers
to have more land

He committed a sin, a truly dirty one: He changed the boundary markers to gain land. In so doing, he committed an injustice and deceit. Rightly so he had a bad reputation in his region.

Although wicked, he loved Holy Mary. He heard her miracles and welcomed them. He always greeted her; each day he said: "Hail to thee, full of grace, who bore the Messiah!"

The farmer died owning much land. He was immediately captured by the devils' rope; they dragged him bound and thoroughly mauled, making him pay double for the bread that he had stolen. As the devils carried this wretched soul away, the Angels took pity on it. They wanted to help it, to make it one of their own, but they did not have the flour for making such a dough.


The Devil came to take the soul
of the deceitful farmer

If the Angels gave them one good argument, the others gave a hundred bad arguments instead of good ones. The wicked ones had the good in a corner, and the soul, because of its sins, did not find an escape.

Then one Angel got up and said: "I am a witness, and this that I tell you is the truth, not a lie: The body that had this soul was a vassal and friend of Holy Mary! He always mentioned her at dinner and supper, he would say three words: Ave gratia plena. The mouth from which came such a hallowed song does not deserve to lie in so wicked a chain."

As soon as this name of the Holy Queen was heard by the devils, they promptly withdrew from there. They all dispersed like a mist, all abandoned the wretched soul.

The Angels saw it being abandoned, its feet and hands still well bound with rope. It was like a sheep that lies trapped in brambles; they went and led it back to the fold.

O name so blessed and so virtuous that can chase and frighten away the enemy! There is nothing that should keep any of us from saying "Salve Regina Sancta."



Blason de Charlemagne
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Adapted from Gonzalo de Berceo, Miracles of Our Lady,
trans. by T. Mount and A. Cash, Un of Lexington Press, 1997, pp. 62-63

Posted August 17, 2019

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