a river with legend
The Guatizalema river (from the Arab,
Guadix, 'alam': quiet river), is a river started in the lateral
north of the occidental slope of the Aineto Mountain Range,
province of Huesca, at 1.370 meters of altitude, in the valley
of Nocito, and goes to La Almunia del Romeral village,
the Gabardiella mountain range and the hole of Huesca,
passing by the swamp of Vadiello, for ending in the Alcanadre
river. It has a rate of irregular waters.
Before its conquest by the troops of King
Sancho Ramírez, in 1096, is governed the Argavieso
castle, by the Moor Captain Abenheya. His wife had died at
the hands of Christians, for those who feel a ruthless hatred. The
fruit of his marriage is a beautiful daughter named Salaam
(Zalema), with a sweet and gentle character, which contrasts
with the rough nature of her father.
She is orphaned when a child. She lives alone,
among the slaves without receiving any instructions and neglected
by her father, who also prohibits communication to Zalema and
she can only relate with the family of a friend, the governor of the
castle of Novales. This has two sons and two daughters charming
and educated, Zelmira and Fatima, educated by her mother.
Fatima and Zelmira usually walk with their mother to
a source called the Channels, between Novales and Argavieso.
To this place also goes Zalema and togheter their friends share
the news and gossip of everyday life of their castles and the neighboring
An afternoon, is listening raptly Zalema
the details of a tournament in Monzón, which witnessed the
two sisters, accompanied by their mother. Among all participants stood
a Christian, that attracted the attention of those present for his
gracious manners and his skill at games. And the Christian ... who
gave his reward? -asks Zalema with great curiosity-. Although
it is customary to give the jewel to some of these, like reward for
attending the party, the Christian not offered any lady and with an
unusual sweetness, he kissed it and hid it in his chest -continued
telling Zelmira with the loving gaze of the beautiful Zalema-.
And who was that Christian? -Zalema inquires with the desire
to know the origin of that brave knight-.
Since then, the kings of Aragon took him as
a saint reference, following the tradition that was spreading at that
time elsewhere in the hands of the Crusaders.
The Christian is a Siétamo neighbor,
and he was called Guati. He manages a good estate inherited
from his father. His mother, a widow, lives in the mountains, with
Christians, because of her health, and your child regularly visit
to check that she is well served -responds provides Zelmira
to meet the concerns of her friend-.
Zelmira words cause admiration and
appreciation of Zalema to the Christian. Two days later, Zalema
in the morning is doing her work next to the gate of the road to Huesca.
When she looks approaching a well put gentleman, that when he passed
gallantly greets. Zalema replied grateful and watch the gentleman
continues looking at the gate after passing. Then she will find out
that he is the Christian Guati and that his mother has died.
Unable to present himself in the presence
of her father, Zalema writes a note to comfort him and makes
reach it by a Christian slave named Maria. "Your God comfort
you, Christian gentleman ..." writes Zalema, exposing she
has also lost her mother, adding:
"Do not worry too much, because I heard
that Heaven sent the remedy that the mortals need, and even more to
you Christians, according to my Christian slave told me. Additionally,
your affliction afflicts me and I will work according to the desires
of my heart." Guati, leaving the castle, pulls out the
paper from his pocket, kissing three times, and many others he takes
it to his heart lifting his eyes to Heaven. That afternoon Zalema
goes to the source of the Channels to tell his friends what happened.
Not many days passed without the card
would have its answer with humble words of thanks. And the corresponding
replica of Zalema. Either in their letters show feelings that
come from the heart. A few days later both agree in the Novales
Castle and, although at no time they can talk without witnesses, turns
the flame of love in their hearts.
The exchange of letters is continuous.
With one Guati sends to Zalema the medal, consisting
of a ribbon, which had won in the monsoon tournament. He had saved
for his beloved and deceased mother. The gentleman of Siétamo
shows his love for the muslim lady of Argavieso.
Zalema lives in a constant dream
of love. In her thought the gentleman always appears. In the afternoons
continues to meet with her friends of Novales and when she
arrives reaches previously down to the river and the bark of trees
types Guati name. Meanwhile, her father takes over the correspondence
with Guati and learns the passion that pervades lovers and
ordered to assassinate the slave who brings correspondence.
Zelmira health suffers, very
affected by the death of her best slave and the cruelty of her father;
in the region the news spreads and many are declared supporters of
Youngs, aware of the inscriptions on
the trees of the river, come to this place with baskets of flowers
to decorate their names. They say not "we go to the river"
now , but extends the term "we go to Guati and Zalema".
(The saying evolve to "go with Guati and Zalema" to
say one that was already in love. The name, which pointed to a part
of the river, over the time gave name to Guatizalema river).
Guati and close friends of Zalema
try by all means to save their life. Neither the prayers and tears
of Zelmira or request by letter by Guati made resigned
Zalema to give up her love, getting at hands of fate. I can
not lie or truthfully -says Zalema-. My father and the world
will see that respect the religion in fact of not lieing. Guati
will die with me. After death we will join. Neither the past delusions
of dying Zalema soften the inflexible heart of her father.
Before her death leaves a short letter to Zelmira to have it
delivered to Guati.
This (Guati), to receive it, kiss it
three times and close to his heart. The letter says: "I see death
and not scare me, my Guati. Forgive me for not giving taste to your
desires. In eternity we will be united forever. I love you and I want
the world know it. I feel the ice of death and my heart burns ...
... Allah forgive us and bring us together ... forever ... Guati Guati
... ". After reading these lines Guati directed his last
words to the friends around you. -"So-and hear, Zalema calls
me and I must obey ... My God will absolve me; I ask Him ... You get
me, my Zalema. Goodbye friends, weep the Zalema death"-.
Their bodies are buried in Ola
village, where the Guati tomb is and secretly placed in the same funerary
urn the two lovers with the following inscription: "Guati and Zalema.
Tyranny and superstition separated them. Friendship and death united
For the region run a thousand versions
of the disappearance of the body of Zalema, but people believe
the story of a woman who saw a group of ghosts dressed in white entering
in the mausoleum without openning the doors; They took the corpse
and went to a nearby hill. Ghosts formed a circle around her, came
one by one to kiss her hand, bowing and kneeling. After forming a
smoke they disappeared. Then there was a terrible roar, like the sound
of thunder and Zalema was turned into a huge rock that once
was separated of the hill. There he remained forever the rock of "Muslim
This story, transmitted by oral tradition,
appears more fully in a manuscript of 1840 signed by JPL and dedicated
to Teresa Cavero Rossigue Andriani.