|Seven Noble Knights and the crest of Salas both |
tell the legend in their own colorful way.
Photos in this post 2018 Jessica Knauss unless otherwise noted
|Yours truly with humidity hair and the Culture Palace|
on the site of the seven noble knights' house
Photo 2015 Stanley Coombs
Fast forward three eventful years. Seven Noble Knights had been published to critical acclaim, and I returned to my characters' home territory with that validation and a new sense that life is too short for shyness. I was resolved not to let something as stupid as not asking for what I wanted keep me from seeing the casket with my heroes' skulls and donating a copy of Seven Noble Knights to the city.
|Salas's beautifully historical town hall in the Plaza Mayor with a certain novel|
Even with a big American smile to hide my nerves, I still had to ease into what I perceived as the riskiest part. I asked about the church with the skulls, which is the main parish church in Salas and a reasonably popular tourist pilgrimage. The lady gave me a thorough run-down of what numbers to call and where to walk if I couldn't reach anyone on the phone. She thought her tourism work was done, but I took a dose of when-am-I-ever-coming-back-here with a dash of I'm-holding-this-book-and-what-will-I-do-with-it-if-I-don't-say-anything, and said, "I'm an author, and my novel about the legend of the seven noble knights has been published, and I'd like to donate this copy to the city."
|Sole of a warrior's shoe excavated at the site of the seven noble knights' house!|
Dinosaur Museum, Salas de los Infantes
|There are worthy dinosaur exhibits at the Dinosaur Museum, too.|
|The Culture Palace ensures the land where the|
seven noble knights lived is always usefully occupied.
Their reaction was an author's dream come true. You would've thought they'd just won the lottery. They took my darling Seven Noble Knights and leafed through it as if it were made of gold. "They really looked like they wished they could read English," my mother told me later.
|The stained glass in the Culture Palace illustrates|
the giant battle in Chapter VIIII.
"That's exactly what I was hoping to do next."
Seven Noble Knights, it gives me chills.
They also told me that only a week from the date we were there, Salas was having its "legendary" seven noble knights festival. Events included children's activities, world cuisine, medieval dancing, jugglers and stilt-walkers, high tea, a craft fair, Bulgarian dancing, and the pièce de résistance, 7i, a rock opera based on everyone's favorite medieval legend.
It's hard to describe the beautiful feelings it gives a proud author to see other artistic representations of characters she adopted as her own. I never expected this phenomenon to be so agreeable. I almost wish all my books were based on beloved folklore.
Unfortunately, the festival was to take place during my mother's visit, and we already had hotel reservations and big plans for those dates. I hope they do it again next year, when I'll be ready.
|Santa Maria de Salas and Seven Noble Knights|
|Santa Maria's main door bears the enigmatic legends|
"Misfortune befalls the house of one who swears" and
"The curse of the mother burns and destroys children and house from the roots."
|Notice the niche built into the left side of the altar.|
|What we've come to see.|
I was able to tell Isaac something he didn't know: The ark was last opened in 1974 during Salas's one-thousandth anniversary celebration.
"Oh, before I was born," he said.
"Me, too," I hurried to add. (Just barely!)
And I will treasure these moments in Salas in my memory. My heroes' home is my spiritual home.
|Suggestive sarcophagi in the churchyard|