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Ixila eta pentsakorra
potolo eta gainera nola!
Gabonero beti ondoan
hara hemen Olentzero hona!

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Pamplona / Iruña (#767). 24/12/2008. Photo: Daniel Fernandez.

MariDomingi and Olentzero

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That winter snowed loads. Snow looked like the cream on cakes. One felt like eating it. The snow covered everything and looked sooo good, it seemed it wasn’t cold.

And, where it wasn’t cold was in that particular place so very hidden in the bush where the collier was making his coal. Squirrels and deer approached the fire to get warm where the wood, that eventually turns into coal, was cooking. That coal was to be used to cook in Christmas time.

Maridomingi, that was the name of the coalman’s wife, was waiting for her husband to return from the bush, with a wide smile in her face. The house where the colliers lived, was humble but always with beautiful flowers by the windows. Maridomingi looked after them carefully so that her house was always a happy one.

With the coal one does not earn too much money and in their house they only had a cow.

-What will we do when spring arrives?- Thought Maridomingi, How will be work the land?

Her husband told her he would have to go to the market. There they would swap the caw for a horse to help them to work the land in spring.

-And, moreover, will help you bring coal from the bush, said thrilled Maridomingi.

Therefore, the coalman, took the path to the village to go to the market and try and do the swapping his wife had suggested. The sun started to come out among the mountains and the snow reflected his rays like a diamond having the most luminous day of the year.

Whistle and whistle, even the cow learnt the song:

“In winter I pick up wood and I make it small

With fire, with care and the colliers trick

I get coal first of all, la la la”

Among verses he saw another person who was walking with a superb goat on a rope. It was the most spectacular goat he had ever seen.-What a beautiful Goat!, commented the collier to the other person.

-If you like it, he said, I swap it for your cow.

And that is how, without even thinking about it, he whistled whilst walking towards the village with a goat instead of a cow.

Going down the path, he saw a man with a gander and without even thinking about it, he saw himself walking to the village with a gander on the rope and each time the collier sang, the gander answered cua, cua, cua.

The collier was delighted admiring the beautiful gander when went across, yet, another person going to the market with a beautiful cock. He did not remember anymore why he was heading towards the market but he was holding a beautiful cockerel in his arms.

The smoke from the chimneys of the village’s first houses appeared on the horizon and in a nearby grange, a woman piled up manure.


He changed the cock for a bag of manure. This time, our collier stuffed it up.He was already in the village and he was carrying simply a bag of manure. Not a cow, not a goat, nor a gander, not a cock but a bag with cow’s shit…….

And then, he was embarrassed to get home with it and thought that perhaps in the market someone would swap it for a horse but he wasn’t very hopeful.

He sat sadly on a bench next to an old lady. He told her what had happened and how Maridomingi had sent him to swap the cow for a horse and that he was returning with a manure’s bag.

The little old lady told him that Maridomingi would be very angry at him but the collier answered that they loved each other very much and that they never quarrelled.

The old lady answered:- I don’t believe it, what you’ve done is very serious and I bet you this gold jewel box that your wife will be angry at you. If that happens you both will have to be my servants all of your lives.

Under the rags hid Maricastaña the witch of the bush who loved that place at Christmas time. The Collier accepted the bet.

When he arrived home, Maridomingi was watering the plants and listened attentively how he had swapped the cow for a goat-How great, she answered, we will make cheese with the milk, delicious!Then he told her how he updated her on the gander’s event. -Perfect said again his wife, so we will make pillows out of his feathers and we will be able to rest well which is the most important thing.

-Sure, cried the coalman, but then I swapped it for a cock!

-What a great idea you had! That way we will always get upon time, scram with delight Maridomingi.

The collier didn’t know what to do any more when he told her the last move he had made and showed her the bag of manure but Maridomingi, jumped with joy screaming, the flowers, the flowers, showing him what a good wife she was. –The flowers will be beautiful when we will fertilize them with that manure. She jumped over the collier and gave him a big kiss.

Maricastaña was meanwhile flying on his broom over their house and scram with anger at having lost the betting. She left the gold jewel box on the door and took off.

And with the gold……

Maridomingi and the coalman bought a cow, a goat, a horse, a gander and a cockerel and with whatever they had left that Christmas, they bought pressies that they gave out to all the kids in the village. Still goes on but many people know it as Olentzero.

Each Christmas time, singing his song, Olentzero give out his presents in villages and towns.

17 February 2009

In Stories category

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