• 2021.06.17
  • The Rooster of Barcelos and eggs from our family hens
There’s a famous folk tale in Portugal called Galo de Barcelos (“The Rooster of Barcelos”) that goes something like this.

Long ago, some silver coins were stolen in the town of Barcelos. The people of the town couldn’t believe that one of the locals would have committed such an evil deed, so they instead suspected a young man who had arrived in Barcelos just that day—a pilgrim on his way to Santiago de Compostela.
The pilgrim insisted that he was innocent, but nobody believed him, and he was sentenced to hanging as punishment for stealing the silver.

Before being taken to the gallows, he begged to see the judge who had issued his sentence. He arrived at the magistrate’s house right as he was in the middle of a banquet, his table covered in sumptuous dishes.
The pilgrim pointed to a whole roasted rooster on the table and said, “As proof of my innocence, this roasted rooster will get up and crow the moment my sentence is carried out.”
The magistrate pushed the plate of roasted rooster aside, but otherwise ignored the pilgrim, disbelieving him. The man ended up being taken to the gallows.

But just as the man was about to be hung, the roasted rooster jumped up from the magistrate’s table and started to crow loudly. The astonished judge hurried to the gallows, but the sentence had already been carried out. And yet, the knot that tied the rope around the pilgrim’s neck had been loose, miraculously saving his life.

The man was immediately pronounced innocent and set free.

So according to this folk tale, the Rooster of Barcelos brings miracles and is a symbol of happiness, making it a familiar sight in Portugal.

Now on to the eggs laid by our family hens.
Chickens are surprisingly fickle, laying fewer eggs when they’re stressed or when the weather is bad for long stretches, and more when it’s nice out.

We’ve got a hen that always give birth to twins, one that lays tiny eggs without yolks, one that lays eggs so big they end up having blood on them, one that lays blueish eggs… each one is unique right down to their eggs.
And sometimes the hens don’t get enough calcium, so they lay eggs that are nothing more than empty shells.

Chickens have been around forever, living among humans who get food from their meat, medicine (vaccines) from their eggs, and more. It’s hard to imagine a world without them.

The hens typically lay eggs in this henhouse, sometimes forming a line outside to wait their turn.

Sometimes they lay a bunch of eggs outside if they find a cozy place in the yard.


  • Megumi Ota
  • JobConservator, interpreter, and coordinator / Insitu (restoration), Kaminari-sama / Novajika, and others

I’m a conservator and preservationist living in Portugal. I specialize primarily in paintings (murals) and gold leaf design, and am involved with UNESCO World Heritage structures as well as the interior of the Palace of Belém. I derive great satisfaction from having close ties to my community in the rural village near the Silver Coast where I live. My hobby is gardening.

View a list of Megumi Ota's

What's New


What's New