Among the elements that activate people’s interest to become pilgrims on the Jacobean route is the wealth of myths and legends that revolve around the Camino de Santiago.
Most of these stories go hand in hand with oral tradition among people who make life in the localities and consequently, they are also heard by pilgrims who make the route. Many of these legends are collected in the Códice Calixtino, especially the one we recall below.
The Donkey of the Apostle: A story originating from Pamplona
A family who made the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago from France decided to spend the night in the Navarrese capital to rest. The family’s stay was extended because the wife fell victim to illness.
Over time, the wife passed away, turning the joyous pilgrimage into a tragedy for the family. After paying respects to the deceased wife, the family decided to continue on their way, it was only the husband with his two daughters.
The innkeeper’s claim
Having everything ready for the trip, the owner of the shelter claimed the husband the long time they were asking for a large amount of money, which was not available. As a means of thanks, the man offered the donkey as payment.
The old man’s gift
Already leaving Pamplona, they found a place to pray and ask Santiago to continue his Camino with luck. Before long, a peaceful old man appears who, after listening and talking to the family, presents them with a colt, and can now comfortably follow their path to the city of Santiago.
Upon reaching the holy city, the pilgrim has a vision with the apostle where he reveals that he was the old man who provided the donkey for his journey on the outskirts of Pamplona.
The Apostle’s message
On his return from the city of Santiago, the family passes by the hostel where they had stayed during the death of his wife. When asking about the innkeeper they discover that the poor man had died due to an accident.
The people of the hostel credited what happened as divine punishment for the behavior that the hotelier took towards pilgrims, driven by his lack of charity towards the situation the family went through.
It is a legend that focuses on the solidarity of pilgrims and their gratitude. Humility and good disposition are keys to fully live the experience provided by the Camino de Santiago.