At first glance this looks like a sculpture of children playing football. Well it is, but this street sculpture is part of the ‘Caminho das Lendas’ in Olhão, which means there is a legend to be told.

On the trail in Olhao

It is the ‘Legend of the Enchanted Moorish Boy’ who asks to play with some Portuguese boys. They agree, but it soon becomes apparent that he is not very skilled at the game they are playing. They are quite frank in telling him this, and so his response is to encourage one of them, Manuel, to go and play with him elsewhere. Manuel agrees and soon finds himself climbing down through a trap door where he discovers a magnificent palace full of treasures. At which point Manuel becomes overwhelmed and distressed by it all and so the Moorish boy takes him back to his family and stays.  Unfortunately however only Manuel can see the boy, and eventually his mother decides he needs help. So she takes him to their church, where Manuel confesses. However the result is probably not what Manuel had hoped for as he never saw his beloved friend again.

91 thoughts

  1. Kind of a sad story, Becky. I think the treasures might have been invisible to everyone else too. No wonder he had trouble with football. He probably had trouble focusing on the game. 🙂

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      1. Some of our happy fairy tales have dark sides to them. Peter Peter keeping his wife in a pumpkin shell. That sounds a bit abusive to me. Hansel and Gretel killing a child-killing/cannibal witch. Uhm… Tom, Tom the pipers son. Stole a pig… Cinderella’s wicked step-family and all their nasty schemes. We humans love sadness and wickedness in fairy tales as long as they are far from our doors.

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