The Giant of Manufahi


On the Quirás plain, once every thousand years, the earth trembles and heaves, as if trying to break open. Ando so it goes on until the first night of the full moon. This night is so bright that everything is visible and you can see into the darkest forests. There is so much light that no secrets or mysteries can remain concealed. It is precisely on this night, once every thousand years, that a woman appears, slight and graceful and perfumed with sandal-wood. Gentle and woebegone though she is, she holds an enormous sword as if it were a flower.

And she calls out: «Beileira, Beileira !».

As the woman appears from nowhere and makes her way towards the plain, the trembling of the earth increases as if it were covered with an enormous cloth. The birds awaken and sing and fly in circles above her head, without ever touching her. She crosses the plain and marks seven spots, while the birds accompany her and fill the moonlight with their music. The moon becomes transparent and visible through to the other side. But only the birds can see this, because when the woman comes to the Quirás plain once every thousand years, all other mortals and creatures are fast asleep. No one has yet seen her, but there are many brides who have beheld her in their dreams, and who thus relate what they have seen: «Beileira, Beileira !».

Then, when the moon is at its brightest, she returns to each of the seven spots she has marked and cleaves the ground with the sword - a single cut but deep and many yards long. When she has made the seven cuts, the moon descends for an instant and takes away the sword. The earth becomes still. The birds return to their nests and perches. The music ceases. The silence is complete. Then a strange, draw-out cry, like that of a woman giving birth, pierces the silence, and from the seven cuts in the earth there burst seven huge pieces of a body, which straightaway join together and move and come to life. They are the body of the giant Beileira.

Legend has it that Beileira had a beautiful bride. Because of his tremendous size, they slept in the open air, in a field in Quirás. One night, when the giant was already stretched out and the woman was preparing to join him, she saw that he was lying very close to a great boa constrictor, and that both were fast asleep...

For a moment she stood transfixed, staring at the snake, bewitched. But she broke the spell, which no woman had ever succeeded in doing. And she seized her lover's heavy sword and rained blow after blow on the snake until it was dead. And she cried out: «Beileira ! Beileira !».

But when the lover she had freed failed to arise, she saw that he was now beyond help.

Beileira was so big that he had to be buried in seven pieces.

His bried could never accept the loss of her lover. And so, every thousand years, on a night when the moon is full, she returns to the Quirás plain to resuscitate her beloved.

«Beileira ! Beileira !».

And Beileira arises from the dead and the land of the Mauberes is filled with love.