LEGENDS OF MY TOWN
I.E.S La Quintana-Ciaño de Langreo. Asturias, Spain.
Legends of my town
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………. page 3
Asturian legends…………………………………………………………………………………………………. page 4
Legends of the mine………………..…………………………………………………………………………. page 11
My heroine: Clara Campoamor………………………………………………………………………….. page 14
Pinin, an Asturian cartoon hero…………………………………………………………………………. page 15
My granpa, my hero………………………………………………………………………………………….. page 16
The medieval market…………………………………………………………………………………………. page 17
My foreign student…………………………………………………………………………………….……… page 21
Tales of the Alhambra………………………………………………………………………………………….page 23
The girl at the curve……………………………………………………………………………………………. page 24
Press review……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. page 25
Legends of my town
The present booklet is the result of two years of hard labour by the teachers and students at
IES “La Quintana” from Ciaño de Langreo included in the Project “legends of my town”
supported by the programme “Comenius” of the European Union. During these two years, we
have compared legends from Langreo with folk tales from several European countries as well
as Turkiye with results we knew before hand: some legends are quite much the same, while
others are rather different.
In order to write this final product we have tried to use internet as little as possible. We have
indeed used internet, especially for pictures. But we have talked to miners, to our parents, to
our granpas and grannies… so we have used oral sources where possible.
We start with traditional legends: xanas, cuelebres, dragons… are all over Europe: fairies,
snakes, Saint George, the mermaid, saint Stephen (the holy patron at the local the local church
Then we move on to legends from the mine, the legends coming from the richess that so much
contributed to shape the local landscapes. These are the stories told by the grandparents and
parents of our students, many of whom worked in “the pit”. Some of them even worked in the
security rescue team, “la brigada”.
Legends must have heroes. But then Tania said, why not heroines? And then we thought that
we didn’t like heroes who killed others. So we chose heroes we could be proud of: Tania
thought of a feminist hero; Adrián, David and Enol thought of a hero for children; and sarah
thought of her favourite hero, her grandpa.
Of course, we will visit the Alhambra as a tribute to our Muslim friends from Turkiye. Our last
legend is all over Europe, the girl who dies on a road accident. As this is a common legend, we
decided to include it.
Last but not least, we include media coverage of the project.
The project has been funded by the Lifelong learning Programme of the European Union.
Ciaño de Langreo, May 2013
There are many legends in Northern Spain and some of them are
very similar to others in different countries. We can talk about
“senior” characters (El cuelebre, la Xana, el nuberu, el trasgu…)
and “junior” ones. La Xana, is the famous fairy all over Europe;
El cuélebre represents Saint George; el trasgu is like the
leprechaun or the gnomes, and el nuberu represents the very
famous gods in Greek and Latin religions: Zeus and Jupiter. We
can also talk about la guestia or the guaxa (the death), el
busgosu is the lord of the woods, the mermaid represents capital
sins… These legends prove that Asturias is a magical place.
La Xana is one of the most famous characters in Asturian legends. The
Xana is known all over Europe as the Fairy Queen. She is a beautiful, very
pale girl with fair, long hair. She lives in fountains and in caves near the
mountains and the seas or next to the rivers.
Xanas can be good or bad women. Bad Xanas kidnap children, attack
people and steal food. Good Xanas wear white or silver dresses, but bad
Xanas wear rags.
Some Xanas have been captured by a cuelebre (another mytological
dragon). They have to keep the cuelebre’s treasure: gold, silver and
money, because the cuelebre is very rich.
If you see them, you'll see they are combing their hair with a comb made
of gold. They own chickens and hens made of gold too. Some of them
wash clothes in the river while they sing and dance. Some others make
clothes in their golden spins.
El Trasgu is one of the most famous mythological Asturian characters. He is also known as the gnome,
the silfo or kobold, and in Ireland it is the leprechaun. This character is very famous in Northern Spain.
He is a funny, friendly chap.
He is small and lame in his right leg. He has got a hole in his left hand. He usually wears red clothes and a
At night he usually likes to get into your house and play jokes on you. But if you treat him right he will
make your house jobs for you.
Sometimes the trasgu can be too funny and make you mad. In order to throw him out of the house, you
must order him to do three impossible things:
- To put water in a basket (but baskets can not hold water!)
- To collect corn grains from the floor (But remember he has got a hole in his hand!)
- To paint a black ram in white (but the ram will go grey!)
The trasgu will try to do everything because he is too proud. But when he knows that he can’t, he will
feel embarrassed and leave your house. Another way to get him out is to steal his hat.
“El nuberu” is the man from the clouds. He has big ears, long arms, and has one blind eye. He dresses in
animal fur (sheep or goat) ,and he wears a funny hat. El nuberu is a bad person, he is the king of the
storms. He is Zeus for the Greek and Jupiter for the old Romans. He is very well known in Egypt, where
he is called John Billy Goat.
He usually creates winds and storms all over Asturias. He moves from one place to another riding on
the clouds. El nuberu is careless and sometimes he loses his clouds and he has to stay in somebody
else’s house. If people are kind , el Nuberu will give them a good crop and will kill all the snakes. But if
you are not nice to el Nuberu, he will take some snakes from his bag and will produce storms and
thunder on you.
He gets up very early in the morning to make storms and collect lizards. At lunch time, he returns with
his wife, and they have lizards for dinner.
El nuberu hates local priests because they pray to eliminate him. That is why he escapes from church
bells or candles.
El cuelebre (the dragon) is one of the most popular creatures in Asturian
mithology. It is a creature like a snake with wings. El cuelebre is very
popular all over Europe. In Asturias it lives in caves near rivers or lakes
where it keeps large gold treasures and xanas as prisoners. It is usually an
evil figure. It kills the cows and sheep of Asturian people and sometimes it
kills humans. Local people usually give him food to keep him calm.
El cuelebre never dies. When he gets old he must leave Asturias and fly to
Other Asturian legends
His hobby is to keep
everything he finds. He usually
lives in barns and attics. He’s
very tidy and he always keeps
all the things in the same place
that only he knows where they
It is a type of night procession
of sad souls that go on the
roads to warn the new deaths
of a neighbour or family
member. Only people with a
special gift can see her.
La guaxa is an old woman with
big and staring eyes.
Sometimes people confuse her
with night birds. If someone
crosses the guaxa on their
path, they’ll probably die in
the next few hours.
The baby snatcher
He usually looks like a man
going on the road at nights
looking for lost kids. He puts
them in his bag and takes them
to an unkown place.
Other Asturian legends
He is half-man, covered with hair,
legs and goat horns who lives in
the forests. He kidnaps women to
have fun with them in his home
and he hates hunters and
She is very beautiful, she lives in
the sea. Sometimes she goes out
to rest in the rocks. She’s half-
woman and she has got a fish tail,
covered with brilliant scales. They
go with the boats to avoid they
run around. On sunny days they
sing beautiful songs.
The mermaid is represented in
There’s a mermaid in the arches
of St Stephen’s medieval church
The leprechaun (Ireland)
A leprechaun is a type of fairy in
Irish folklore, usually taking the
form of an old man, dressed in a
red or green coat, who enjoys
making jokes. Leprechauns spend
all their time busily making shoes,
and store away all their coins in a
hidden pot of gold at the end of
the rainbow. If ever captured by a
human, the Leprechaun has the
magical power to grant three
wishes in exchange for their
THE MINE. The mine has got two parts: the older one made of wood, and the new one
made of iron. On the roof there are two parts: one bar and two posts.
There are two pipes on the roof. One pipe carries water, and the other one carries air.
The mine is made of principal and secondary galleries. Between each floor or gallery
there are 50 metres. In the past, the miners went down to the mine sitting on a stick
tied to a rope or in stairs made in the rocks.
Then, they went down on an elevator at 8 metres/second. There were three types of
ventilation machines: the first one, used the horse strength applied to an axis and a
wheel; the second one, used a horse to move the wheel; and the last one, was a miner
with a pedal system. Dirty water was extracted from the galleries with a gear actioned
when a man walked on it. Then they put water and air through the pipes. First, trolleys
worked with electricity, then with diesel, and finally, with batteries.
THE MULE. The mule was a very
intelligent and clever animal, and very
strong too. They worked very hard and
they died in the galleries. The mules
could smell the toxic gas and they
warned the accident, and they refused to
work. When they smelt the miners’
sandwiches they caught them with their
mouths and then they ate it.
Legends from the mine
SALMON. A local legend: The miners didn’t like eating salmon every day, because it
was part of their salary. There was so much salmon in the river, that the miners were
fed up with it.
CIGARETTES. In the seventies miners were very rich and they lit their cigarettes with
bank notes (Another urban legend!!).
CHALANERU. The boat (in Asturias ``chalana´´) was used to transport coal along
the river. The boats went from La Chalana bridge (Laviana) to Sama and then by
train to Gijón. The men who drove the boats were called “Chalaneru”.“Chalaneru” is a
famous love song between the boatman and his girlfriend.
GAS (GRISÚ). There are two basic dangers with gas: Gas can cause big explosions
and miners sometimes breath this gas. Lung diseases caused by gas were very
common before the 1970 ´s. In order to detect gas, miners used a small cage with a
bird inside; if the bird died it was because there was gas in the gallery. The “Dead
man walking” was a man sentenced to death who was given a chance to live. He had
to go down to the mine with a long torch and wet clothes to test if there was gas in the
galleries. If the “Dead man walking” left the mine alive three times,he was given his
THE SECURITY BRIGADE. The Security Brigade (security team) is very important in
the coal mine. They help miners when there’s an accident. They’re on duty 24 hours
per day. The Brigade was created in the XXth century. Located in Sama de Langreo, it
can move to any place in Asturias in less than two hours. Sometimes it has to move to
Leon too. The Security Brigade team includes the best and the fittest coal miners.
Their working hours include rescue exercises and physical training. They have high
salaries because their activity is extremely risky. When there is an accident the
Security Brigade uses thermal cameras, oxygen kits and special equipment to work in
dangerous atmospheres. In the history of mining there were a lot disasters like the
Aller accident in 1889 with 30 deaths. They are mainly produced by gas explosion, big
rocks, collapse or landslides. A tribute to eleven Check coal miners who died in an
accident in 1999 was erected in Mieres.
EXPLOSIVES. Dynamite was used to cause explosions and take coal. At present,
people use plastic explosives and detonators. Dynamite was made with gunpowder in
the laboratory. The biggest explosives company in Spain was called “Explosivos Río
Tinto” (ERT). ERT was a British company that owned the mines in Huelva (Andalucia).
Julio Romero de Torres was a famous Spanish painter who worked for ERT. He used
to paint typical brunette “explosive” women with dark eyes who were a stereotype of
the Spanish women for a very long time. These women were “pin-up” girls for
calendars in many Spanish homes until recently.
The Brigade working in an accident
My heroine: Clara Campoamor
Clara Campoamor Rodriguez was a Spanish politician and feminist. She fought for
women's rights and suffrage during the writing of the Spanish constitution in 1931
when a Republic was set up. When she was 34, she started to study Law (women
were not so frequent at university those days as they are now), and she finished at the
age of 36. She became one of the few women lawyers at the time in Spain. She
became active in a number of women's organizations before standing for election as a
member of the 1931 Constituent Assembly. Only Clara and two other women were
elected although Spanish women could not vote at the time. Her work in Parliament
led to the inclusion of non- sexist language in the 1931 Spanish constitution that
guaranteed equality between men and women.
Tania Quintana Coro @tans_yllw7
Pinin, an Asturian cartoon hero
Pinin is a famous cartoon Asturian character created in the 1940s. He is a twelve-year
old boy. He lives with his uncle, Pinón, and his aunt, Telva, two popular Asturian folks.
Pinin wears a beret and wooden clogs (madreñas).
One day, the Pinón family created the “madreñogiro” or “madreñocopter”… a
helicopter made with a “madreña” or wooden clog. With his “madreñocopter” Pinin can
fly all over the world.
Apparently, the character of Pinin is based on the famous Tintin character created by
the Belgian designer Hergé. He is also influenced by Jules Verne and his novel
“Around the World in eighty Days”. He even played in the film “King Kong”!!
Pinin likes to make things. One day he read the stories of Mazinger Z, a Japanese
“manga” character, and he decided to create an Asturian Mazinger. First, he drew
some designs; then, he and his friends travelled to an old house in the Xana gorge,
near Oviedo, the place where Xanas live. Do you remember the Xanas, the Asturian
So they started making the Mazinger z. But one day the Mazinger disappeared!! What
had happened? One Xana had fallen in love with it, so she stole it and took it to the
Adrián García, David García, Enol Prada
My grandpa, my hero
My grandfather used to work in a mine near his town. He
worked with a mule which carried coal in a wagon. One
day, he realised that the mule was weak and he told his
boss. He said that the barley wasn´t enough for all the
My grandfather decided to share his sandwich with the
mule for a few weeks. Eventually they found out that one
of their partners had been stealing the barley just to feed
his own animals. He was dismissed.
In his last years of working, my grandfather used
machines instead of mules. The rules in the mine were very strict and they
forbade the engine driver to take more than 20 wagons.
My grandpa was taking 22 when a supervisor saw him. He was very angry, and
threatened him to tell to his chief. But my grandfather was angrier. He admitted
his error, but he couldn’t stand a threat. He told all to the head engineer, who
After a few years, my grandfather bumped into the same supervisor again, but
this time he was a bit lame. He asked my grandpa if he allowed him to go into a
wagon.He replied that the rules didn’t allow anyone to go inside the wagons,
and he didn’t want to break them again.
In the end, my grandfather let him go in the wagon, and now he is one of his
Sara Orviz Rodriguez@sara_orviz
Last Friday 20 April, we celebrated a traditional market in the high school. It was very funny.
We listened to music, we danced, and we met other people… Some people wore traditional
clothes but I couldn’t wear these clothes because I haven’t got them. I met different people
from other countries like Anya, Ola, Marie-Chan, Adam, Jacob… Spanish teachers made small
books and food shops. Teachers from other countries made jewellery and sweets shops.
Students from other countries danced their typical dances, and it was really interesting. Finally,
all the people danced with us our typical dances. It was a really good experience!
On Friday, there was a medieval market in my school. The market was held in the gym. There
were a lot of stalls. Some stalls were from other countries, and there was a books stall. There
was stall with typical food. The students from the other countries played their typical dances.
Some Spanish students wore typical clothes from Asturias and, the foreigners, wore their
typical clothes. Some Spanish students wore typical mining clothes, too.In the market, I made
a lot of photos with the foreign students. I bought a book and I tasted some food. At the end,
the Turkish headmaster presented me a very beautiful ring.
The medieval market was a market with many stalls from different countries. There was a stall
from Turkey with sweets, necklaces and many things, a stall from the Check Republic with
lollipops, purses and necklaces, and many other stalls.In the market, many students read ‘‘Don
Quijote’’ in 10 different languages, then the foreigners danced typical dances from all the
countries, we danced and sang ‘‘Chalaneru’’ with a lot of foreigners.
Juan Carlos Iglesias
THE MEDIEVAL MARKET
Last Friday ,in La Quintana high school there was a medieval market. In the
medieval market, there were a lot of stalls, some of which were from other
countries. The Arts teacher had a stall and she sold small Quintana towers. Elvira the
Spanish teacher sold books, the other countries sold food ,necklaces ,pictures
,cookies... in their stalls.
The foreigners danced their traditional dances, talked in their languages and
danced ‘’Chalaneru’’ with us .I met the foreigners, and I thought they were nice. The
medieval market was very funny!
Last week, in La Quintana high school there was a medieval market with people from
other countries: Polonia, Turquia, Rumania... People wore typical clothes from their
countries and danced typical songs. There were a lot of stalls with food, books,
ornaments… I wore typical Asturian clothes: thick blue suit, with a scarf around my
neck and a ribbon.
We had a very good time, and the foreigners were very friendly.
Last Friday, in “La Quintana”, pupils from “La Quintana” and people from other
countries danced typical dances and the people walked along the medieval market.
The market had books for sale. The books were very nice and I bought “La Espada y la
Rosa”(The Sword and the Rose), the book is very interesting. There was also typical
food for Spain and objects from Poland, Croatia, and Turkey etc. I took photos with the
people from other countries, the people are very funny and they speak very good
English. They gave us typical objects from their countries. I like the Medieval Market.
THE MEDIEVAL MARKET
This was a special market, because there were people from all countries, like: Poland, Check
Republic… There were a lot of stalls where you could buy many things: books, necklaces…
Alejandro, Sergio and I sold kisses and hugs, we made three Euros. We wore mining clothes: A
thick, blue suit with a scarf around my neck and a ribbon.
The foreigners were very nice and I met a lot of persons. It was incredible!
The medieval market took place last Friday in the last classes.
It was held in the gym and there were a lot of stalls: books, jewellery, food… People from other
countries worked, too. They put some stalls, too, they sang, they danced… And some of them
and some of us wore medieval and traditional clothes. During the market, we could speak with
them, we could take photos… But they spoke in different languages, because they were from
different places, so everybody spoke English. It was a very colourful market.
THE MEDIEVAL MARKET
On Friday, ``La Quintana´´ high school held a traditional medieval market. There were many
stalls. Elvira, our language teacher, had one books stall. Another stall was about jewellery,
there were others about drinks, candles, and food... it was fantastic. The students, and foreign
people, played their typical dances and we wore typical clothes. I wore typical Asturian
In the market, I made a lot of photos and I bought two books and I ate a lot of things.
Last Friday in the high school, there was a medieval market for the foreign people. It was very
funny; we met a lot of people and we enjoyed a lot. There were many stalls, and some people
with traditional suits. My friends, Oscar and Alejandro, and I took a stall to sell “Hugs and
kisses”. We made two Euros. Finally, all the people sang and danced the song “Chalaneru” with
the sound of the pipes. It was wonderful and everyone was fabulous
THE MEDIEVAL MARKET
My foreign student’s name is Ania, She’s from Poland. She’s twelve years old, and she
has got blue eyes and black hair. She’s really funny, and she loves football, her
favourite team us F. C. Barcelona. We visited different places with her: On Wednesday
we visited Oviedo, but the weather was terrible so we went to a shopping center, called
On Thursday we went to Gijón, and we saw a church which is near the beach, the
‘”tribute to the horizon” (monumento al horizonte) and then we went shopping. On
Friday we went to a salsa lesson, it was really funny, and then we went with some of
my friends to show Ania the city. On Saturday we took a trip on different Asturian
villages, but the weather wasn’t good, so Ania wrote on the bus window ‘We love
Spanish weather’, and at the end of the day we saw the ‘Barça – Madrid’ match, but at
the end of this she was really sad, because Barça lost.
My foreign student
My foreign student
I had got a foreigner girl staying with me in my house. She is from Turkey and her name is Seda . She
lives in a big house, with her mum, in a small city, Samsun. She has got a sister; her name is Sena and
she is a student. Seda likes music and sports. She can play basketball, because it is her favourite sport.
She can play the violin and she goes to a music school to play this instrument.
The name of my foreign student is Aleksandra Cebulska, she lives in Gdansk, Poland. She has got one
brother and one sister. Aleksandra’s brother’s name is Adrian and her sister is Natalia. She told me that
she lives five minutes away from the school and she showed me her home. Her home has got three
bedrooms and a kitchen, bathroom, living room… She loves volleyball, she plays in a volleyball team
and in a competition her team won the third position. She likes football too. She is a Barcelona
supporter. She loves shopping and cinema.
Tales of the Alhambra
The name Alhambra. La Alhambra in Granada has been declared Cultural Heritage by Unesco in
1984. Some people think it should be considered the Eighth Wonder of the world.
There are many versions about the meaning of the name “Alhambra”. It means “the red one”.
According to writer Ibn Al-jabti, the workers had to work very
fast from dawn to dusk and the workers had to work with
torches. So in the morning it was red because of the sun and
at night it was red because of the light of the torches.
Others say it is the female name of its founder, Sultan Abu
Al Ahmar, “the red one” as he had red hair.
The legend of the Abencerraje bedroom. There is
another version for the name “the red one”. The
Abencerrajes bedroom was the Sultan’s bedroom and it had no windows. Thirty seven
warriors of the Abencerraje family were blinded and killed here by the Sultan. Another
family, the Zenetes, invented one false story of love between one Abencerraje warrior
and the sultan’s wife. It is said that the red colour in Alhambra is the blood of the
Abencerrajes. Apparently, the canal in the middle of the bedroom took the blood to the
Lions’ Fountain in the middle of Alhambra.
The legend of the Mexuar tiles. This is the oldest room in the palace. It had a secret
chamber hidden by thick courtains. The Sultan kept
himself behind the courtains to administer justice. At the
entrance of the chamber there was a tile with this
inscription: Come in and demand. Don’t be afraid to ask
for justice, you will find it”
The legend of the last whimper of the Moor. In 1492, the
Spanish kings, Isabella and Fernando, conquered the
Kingdom of Granada, the last Arab kingdom in Spain. The
legend says Boabdil (the last Moorish king of Al-Andalus),
gave the keys of this city to the Spanish Kings and left
crying. His mother said: “Cry like a woman because you
didn’t fight like a man”.
Paula Fernández ( @PaulaTwrs )
The girl at the curve
A man was driving his car on his way to Langreo after a week of hard work. It was a
very dark night with mist and rain.
Suddenly, at a bend on the road, he saw in the distance a young, blonde girl wet with
rain. This man took pity on her and stepping on the brakes, he decided to take her to
her destination in one town in Langreo. For much of the journey, the girl didn’t talk at
all. When they were entering the tunnels leading to Langreo the girl said: “Be careful in
the tunnel; I got killed here one year ago”. When they got out of the tunnel, the girl had
vanished. The man stopped at a house near the road and he found an old man and an
old woman. He told them what had happened. The old woman said: “She was our
daughter. She got killed at the curve one year ago. Today would have been her 14th
Of course, this is not an original legend from Langreo!!! It can be found in Europe,
USA…So the girl can be everywhere!!
Marcos Bustamante Oliveira
Editing staff (Indians): Lia Fernández, Sarah Castro, Lucía Iglesias, Marcos
Suárez, Olaya Huergo, Silvia Suárez, Lucía González, Enol Prada, David García,
Tania Quintana, Paula Fernández.
Supporting staff (More indians): Alexis Iglesias, Juan Carlos Iglesias,
Alejandro Torre, Marcos Bustamante.
Graphic designers (still more Indians!!): Aida Alonso, Sergio Díaz, Oscar
Díaz, Adrián García, Llara Suárez, Israel Freire.
Editing board (Big chielfs): Senén Bartolomé (Technology), Amanda Stephens
(Arts), Monica González (Asturian language), Andrés Suárez y Manolo Carbajo
(English) Jesús Antuña y Fernando Fanjul (computers), Benjamín Fernández (logo)
Marián Labajos y Angélica Fuentes.
Copyright: @IES LA QUINTANA
33900 Ciaño de Langreo, Asturias, Spain
Cofinanciado por el Programa de Aprendizaje Permanente (PAP) de la Unión Europea