The Virgin of the Remedios

The Virgin of the Remedios

by Aitana Martos, 09/01/2015

A shepherd finds an image of Virgin Mary carved in wood into a well. He tries to take it away to his house, but the image always disappears; only to appear again in the well she was found in the first place. Eventually, a chapel is built in that place with the well, every try to build the chapel elsewhere than next to the well fails.

The legend says that in the first centuries AD a Virgin was worshiped in some places near the stream of la Parrilla, in what today is the boundary of Fregenal. On the occasion of the Arab invasion, the image was hidden to save it from desecration. Both the hideout and the concealment were forgotten over the years. After the Reconquest, a shepherd was grazing his cattle near the Cerro del Rodeo, and when he tried to turn a stone for using it as a seat, it sank and a well full of water appeared, with a small carving in wood floating on it. He put it in his bag and went back to his home. He wanted to give the carving to his daughter as a present, but when he wanted to get it out the bag, the “doll” was gone. The next morning he saw that the image was on the well water again. Twice he picked it up, and twice it vanished from his bag to appear again in the same place.

The clergy and important people in the village, induced by the stories of the pastor, came to the well and saw that the “doll” was none other than the Virgin Mary, so they decided to build a chapel in her honor. They began the works on a place considered appropriate, but the walls that they erected during the day crumbled at night without reason. They sought another location, but the same thing happened. So they realized the Virgin wanted her sanctuary at the well in which had appeared. Thus her image was worshipped again in the same place where she was when the Muslims came.

Another version says that the Virgin appeared to a shepherd near the sanctuary of the Virgen de los Remedios (Virgin of the Remedies). As it seemed a doll, he took it and put it into the sleeve of his jacket to give it to his daughter. But when he arrived to his home and wanted to give the doll to his daughter, he did not find her, he had lost it along the way. The next day, the pastor found it again and inserted it in his sleeve tying both sides, but the Virgin disappeared again.

The chapel began to be built in another place where the Virgin had appeared, but whatever was built during the day collapsed overnight, because the Virgin did not want her hermitage to be there. Then when they started building the chapel where the Virgin wanted, and the works progressed very fast.


Relation with water, main themes: wells, miraculous appearances in places with water. Connected with Virgin appearance stories.


Fregenal de la Sierra, Extremadura, Spain


DOMÍNGUEZ MORENO, J. Mª (1993). La Virgen de los Remedios de Fregenal de la Sierra (Badajoz): un arquetipo de leyenda mariana. En: Folklore. Tomo 13. 1993 Hoy, 9-4-1994, p. 8 Romería de los Remedios.