The Tale of the Crows
Legend has it that back when King Afonso I ruled over Portugal, Leiria Castle was highly coveted by invaders thanks to its strategic location.
One day, the King was caught off-guard by a regiment of Spanish soldiers and ordered his men to surround the castle.
Outnumbered by enemy troops, the Portuguese soldiers became discouraged.
Just then, a crow landed on a pine branch right above the frightened army, flapping its wings and croaking, getting louder and louder as the battle broke out.
This was so unusual that the soldiers saw it as a good omen, building up the courage they needed to emerge victorious.
It is in memory of this glorious feat that the two black crows were inscribed onto the coat of arms of the city of Leiria.
The Tale of Princess Zara
Legend has it that long, long ago, when King Afonso I of Portugal was conquering land from the Moors, his army succeeded in taking Leiria, where he built a castle before heading south to continue on his quest.
Knowing that the castle was poorly protected, the Moors came back to reconquer the town, leaving an old moor behind to guard it, along with his beautiful green-eyed, blond-haired daughter called Zara.
One day, as the Moorish girl stood at a Castle window at sunset, combing her father’s hair, she saw strange movements in the outskirts of the town, as if the bushes were moving but didn’t know which way to go.
The beautiful princess, perplexed, turned to her father and asked:
– Father, can bushes walk?
And her father answered:
– They can indeed, dear daughter, with a bit of help.
And what the princess had, in fact, seen were King Afonso’s warriors carefully making their way into the Castle, camouflaged by bushes cut down on their way in so as not to be seen.
Approaching the Door of Betrayal, they attacked the castle in force, conquering it once again.
The beautiful princess and her old father were never heard of again.
Amor (Love) and Cegovim (Blindly, I have made my way)
Legend has it that once, on one of his long horseback rides around the city of Leiria, King Denis met a peasant woman who was so beautiful he fell in love with her instantly, having consummated his love right there and then, amongst the fields of flowers.
The king would visit his lover often, visits that were not kept secret from the local population, who began calling the spot “Amor” (“love” in Portuguese).
When the queen heard about the king’s love, she wanted to convey her disapproval, and so one night she ordered that the king’s entire way back to Leiria be lit up.
When he saw the torches lining the road, the king knew instantly that it had been Queen Elizabeth’s doing, and declared:
– “Até aqui cego vim!” (Blindly, I have made my way!)
And 2 place names were born from the story: Amor and Cegovim, the latter having naturally evolved into Cegodim over time.
The Miracle of the Roses
Legend has it that, known for her incomparable love for the poor and as being extremely charitable, Queen Elizabeth would often give alms to the poor people who lived in the town – against the will of King Denis, her husband.
One day, the queen set off with her offerings once again, carrying a large amount of bread in her skirts to hand out among the population’s poorest members, near the village of Monte Real, when the king, having come upon her by surprise, asked her what she was carrying.
The queen replied straight away, exclaiming:
– I’m carrying roses, my lord!
The king, unconvinced, questioned her further:
– Roses, in January?
The Queen opened up her cloak, dropping the loaves of bread, which had since been transformed into beautiful roses.