The Voice of Silence

The Voice of Silence

We have recovered a brief but intense Toledan legend for years attributed to Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, which reflects magnificently well the atmosphere of the streets of Toledo.

* We take note and appreciate the comment published in this legend initially presented in this Web on November 3, 2006, about the false attribution to Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer and we take advantage to offer again this text to all our readers. According to the article published by Mariano Calvo in ABC dated 23/9/10, the author would be “Fernando Iglesias Figueroa, who in 1923 published a book titled “Páginas desconocidas de Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer” in which he allowed himself to include some of his own authorship” (continue reading in “Bécquer ya no es lo que era” )



In one of the visits that as a backwater in the daily struggle I make to the vestuous and silent Toledo, happened these small events that, enlarged by my fantasy transfer to the white pages.

The Voice of Silence The voice of silence through the streets of Toledo

I wandered one afternoon through the narrow streets of the imperial city with my drawing folder under my arm, when I felt a voice like an immense sigh pronouncing vague and confused words beside me; I hurriedly turned and what would not be my astonishment to find myself completely alone in the narrow street. And yet, undoubtedly a voice, a strange voice, a mezcal of lament, the voice of a woman no doubt, had sounded a few steps from where I was. Tired of uselessly searching for the mouth that had thrown its confused complaint at my back, and having already sounded the Angelus in the clock of a nearby convent, I went to the inn that served me as a refuge in the endless hours of the night.

Being left alone in my room, and in the light of the weak and vacillating spark plug, I traced in my album a woman’s silhouette.

Two days later, when I had almost forgotten my past adventure, chance brought me back to the twisted crossroads of her theater. The day began to die; the sun tinged the horizon with red, purple spots; the bronze voice of the hours fell deep into silence. My step was slow, a vague melancholy put a gesture of doubt on my countenance.

And again the voice, the same voice of the last day, disturbed again the silence and my tranquility. This time I decided not to rest until I found the key to the enigma, and when I already distrusted my research, I discovered in an old house, of ancient architecture, a small window closed by a capricious artistic fence. From that window came out, undoubtedly, the harmonious and silent voice of a woman.

It was completely at night, the voice-suspiro had silenced and I decided to return to my inn, in whose room of whitewashed walls, and lying on the hard bed, has created my fantasy a novel which, unfortunately… can never be reality.

The next day, an old Jew who has his hardware stand in front of the old house where the mysterious voice sounded told me that this house has been uninhabited for a long time. There lived in it a beautiful woman accompanied by her husband, a greedy merchant much older than her. One day the merchant left the house locking the door, and it was never heard from him or his beautiful wife again. Legend has it that since then every night a white ghost in the shape of a woman wanders around the ruined house, and confused voices mixed with curse and lament are heard.

I’m sure you’re also interested in: The Alley of the Dead and the Convent of Poor Life.

And the same legend believes to see in the white ghost the beautiful woman of the greedy merchant.

A woman’s voice that like celestial music, like the sigh of a soul in love, you came to me, brought by the caress of the air full of spring aromas. What mystery is there in your confused words, in your weak complaints, in your harmonious and strange songs?


– Click here to place the legend on GoogleMaps.