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THE PIOUS LEGEND OF SAINT GUILLÉN AND SAINT FELICIA

Leaving Eunate behind, the Way of St James passes alongside the village of Obanos, where it is essential to recall the legend of Guillén and Felicia.  Felicia and her brother Guillén, the heir to the powerful duchy of Aquitaine, enjoyed a comfortable, leisurely life on their wealthy feudal estates.  One day, Felicia decided to make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, following a deep-rooted family custom which had started with the death of Guillermo X in Santiago on Holy Friday, 9th April 1137.
On her way back, considerably affected by the powerful influence of the apostle, she sent her entourage on its way and remained behind to work as a servant girl in the village of Amocáin.  When her brother found out, he set off to find her and order her to return to her own country, where a suitable marriage had been arranged and she would enjoy a life of luxury.  Felicia refused to do so and Guillén, in a sudden fit of anger, cut her throat.  The dogs licked her blood.   In a state of repentance for his crime, he buried his sister and, dressed as a pilgrim, set off on his way to Santiago to seek pardon.  On his return journey, he saw the peak of Arnotegui and decided to construct a hermitage there and live as a recluse, working and praying until his death.  Felicia’s body, buried at Amocáin, was transported in a coffin  on a white mule and buried in the nearby village of Labiano where,  since then, her pure little body has cured the headaches of villagers and strangers alike.
This legend is the subject of an “Auto sacramental”, a passion play entitled the Mystery of Obanos which has been staged in the village every two years since 1962.
Excerpt from the book “Curiosidades del Camino de Santiago” (Curiosities about the Way of St James). Author: Juan Ramón Corpas Mauleon. Published by Edilesa