Two Hairy Guys

The Miracle on Monserrat

15th-century depiction of Guifré el Peloso

A medieval legend illustrated in tiles on C/ del Comtal, near Via Layetana:

Joan Garí was a nobleman who became a hermit in a cave on the Catalan holy mountain of Montserrat. His reputation for holiness led Barcelona's first Count, Guifré el Peloso ('the hairy') to come to him seeking a cure for his ailing daughter, the peerless beauty Riquilde. Garí seduced her instead and, horrified by his crime, doubled it by murdering her and burying her secretly by his cave.

In remorse, he walked to Rome to confess to the pope, who ordered him to return to Monserrat on his hands and knees and stay that way, living like an animal, until he heard that God had forgiven him. Twenty years later, after Garí’s clothes had rotted away and his hair and beard had grown to cover his whole body, Guifré was hunting on Montserrat when his dogs found what looked like a bizarre beast.

Guifré brought the beast back to Barcelona and put it in a cage in the city. During the feast celebrating the baptism of his infant son, Guifré had the cage brought in to see if any guest could identify the beast, and at once the baby stood up in his nurse’s arms and said: ‘Rise, Garí. God has forgiven you.’

Garí then stood up and told Guifré his story, and took him to Riquilde’s grave. Whereupon the girl was found to be alive and well, and all lived happily ever after.

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