The four of us woke in the campsite of Toledo in Spain.  The previous evening we had enjoyed a tasty paella on a terrace overlooking the dramatically floodlit Toledo, one of the most architecturally-unified places I have seen.


At breakfast I had an inexplicable urge to tell a story that I had heard as a child.  The others listened.

  Once a young woman had the promise of marriage from a young man who was a soldier.  The promise took place in the church below the crucifix.  The young man went off to the wars and returned some years later.  She reminded him of his promise, but he denied having made it.  She dragged him into the church and at the crucifix she appealed to the Christ-figure.  At that moment the right arm of the figure broke from the horizontal beam, forming a diagonal.  The young man married the young woman.

Oh, my fellow-travellers said, and we went off to see Toledo.  It is a city of doors, august portals of carved wood.  We visited El Greco’s house, he who said “Art is everywhere.  Just look for it.”  We ended up with the Cathedral, magnificent as these places are.  At the foyer there were supplies of pamphlets encouraging tourists in different languages to visit other sites.  One of the pamphlets caught my eye because of its photograph – a crucifix with one arm at a diagonal.  The church was Christ de la Vega.  “There is an interesting legend attached to this church,” the pamphlet said and told the story. “Once a young woman had the promise of marriage from a young man who was a soldier.  The promise took place in the church below the crucifix …”

On the way out of Toledo, we stopped there, bidding the custodian of the church, an ample peasant lady, to open for us.  She produced a key a little shorter than her forearm and with a twist, she unbarred the doors.

Christ de la Vega

There it was – the crucifix who had witnessed the young man’s promise and bore witness to it again years later.

It is, of course, a deposition scene, with the figure supporting the right arm having disappeared over centuries.

                    Deposition Scene

Yes, I have searched every possibility as to why that particular story came to me at that moment in that place.  I cannot explain away the “coincidence”.  The mathematical odds are simply overwhelming.  And the meaning of this strange event?  I don’t know.


© Will van der Walt


Les Semboules, Antibes

July, 2017



A leak from another dimension?



Toledo – www.alarmy.com

Christ de la Vega – postcard

Deposition scene – Yoonik images

See too, Die Marmer Arm on http://www.loertoer.wordpress.com







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