El Prado de los Ahorcados (The Hanging Meadow)

El Prado de los Ahorcados (The Hanging Meadow)

In the already dark afternoon-night our character hastened to shelter under the Arch of Blood. It was commented by the city that it was as fast with the feather as it was skillful with the sword… As soon as it made a sonnet as it drew its Toledan steel in order to defend the honor or to end the life of some unfortunate one. A certain fame came from his numerous successes in the duels, witnessed by the notches in the hilt of the sword he made each time he ended the life of an opponent.

From these encounters our “poet” kept his own ghosts and memories, because like anyone, they come back to visit us when we least expect them.

El Prado de los Ahorcados (The Hanging Meadow) “Dark Toledo”, by ishii on Flickr.com

In his thoughts he was, when a speedy stranger passed by, depositing a sealed envelope in his hands. He was unable to tell who it was, for he could only see a trace of perfume that was vaguely familiar to him.

He opened the envelope curiously and with a trail of fear and on a rough paper he was able to read:


“” If you are a man, if you are a gentleman, tonight at noon in the Prado de los ahorcados, I wait for you.””

Not a single letter more was on the paper that had just been delivered to him… Even at the risk of ambush or a heavy joke, he decided to go tonight to the right place, well armed with cloak, sword and at least two daggers.

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The night had already fallen on Toledo. Dark and cold night, in which a very fine drizzle impregnated everything, as if the river Tagus ascended the city’s rollers and with a terrible humidity invaded everything.

He decided to go at least half an hour early to inspect the place. Immersed in these thoughts he was when a faint sound from the shadows made him draw his sword, although he could perceive nothing between the thick branches.

Who’s there! Show your face if you’re a man and face your destiny!

He shouted more out of fear than out of courage, at something that moved slightly between the branches. When a chill of terror approached, his column furrowed: a hanged man rocked hanging from a branch.

As his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, he noticed a movement that left him completely paralyzed: the corpse hanging from the rope was shifting his right arm, pointing to a clearing not far from where they were.

Immediately, gripped by terror, he recognized the place where not long ago he ended a man’s life, with much less skill than he did with the sword. The corpse indicated to him the place where he murdered that person, while terror slowly consumed his soul.

Augustine’s body was found several days later, with whitish hair and a horrifying grimace of terror on his face. No one knew very well what the reason for his death was, although some were struck by the solitary rope hanging from the branches of a nearby tree…

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Free adaptation of the original version of the Toledo legend published by Fernando Aguilar Carmena, Toledo Magazine (1926), no. 230.