Zé do Telhado and the Countess of Almada

Zé do Telhado

One day, the countess's rooms were invaded by a breathless and frightened household maid.

The widow was at Paço de Lanheses, house of her husband's ancestors, where the family had taken refuge during the Civil War.

Those were hard times! Worried about the maid’s expression, the Countess asked her what was happening, fearing bad news from the eldest son who was at war. The answer could not have been more surprising!

Zé do Telhado, the legendary outlaw, was at the entrance door and had politely asked for the lady of the house.

Although frightened, expecting the worst from the Zé do Telhado's due to his preceding fame, the Countess received him. Knowing that he was standing before a noble lady, deeply admired by her kindness, the outlaw explained the reason for his visit in a clumsy way with profuse greetings and niceties.

He knew that the Countess owned a wonderful ancient tiara and would like to borrow it to his daughter's wedding. He would remain eternally grateful. Seeing that she could do nothing against it, without men at home to defend her because they were at war, the widow fetched the tiara and gave it to the robber, believing that this would be the last time she would ever see it.

A few days went by and, as expected, no news of the piece of jewellery were received.

Suddenly, she heard the dogs barking and thundering horses in the manor yard. Zé do Telhado was back. What could it possibly be this time?! He asked excuses for the delay of the delivery but when he intended to return the marvellous piece of jewellery, he noticed that a precious gem was missing and he sent it to be replaced at his own expense.

To the dismay of all, he did not realize that the missing stone had fallen long ago, even before he was born. Where the new one had come from, nobody ever dared to ask.

Legend, or not, the truth is that the Count D. Lourenço de Almada gathered a host of men to form a guerrilla in the Alto Minho and to continue to fight for the King D. Miguel (although he had already been driven into exile). Similarly, Zé do Telhado had the same resolution. Thus, both became brothers in arms, and we may understand their mutual respect and the possible likelihood of this story.