upon a time, in the most remote part of "Llabritja" (the actual Sant
Joan de Llabritja), there was a young and beautiful girl called Rita.
was the best looking; the most wanted and courted young girl of the entire neighbourhood.
had two pretenders; two young and handsome boys called Lluc and Marc, both healthy
and honest, deeply in love, from good families, with the honest will of marrying
years before, both had started to walk her back home (the mother following a
few steps behind, watching), from church, after the Sunday mass.
Lluc was the older brother, therefore "s'Hereu" (the Heir)
of most of the family possessions and his family was the richest of all this
part of the Island. Obviously Lluc was the favourite of Rita's parents, especially
of her mother, an ambitious, heartless, dominating woman, already dreaming of
the big amount of wealth that she would have as soon as Rita "fished"
Lluc, a good boy, but without much character, mentally a little wick, easy for
her to handle.
Rita's secret favourite was Marc, the youngest of four brothers, therefore he
could only expect his "Llegitime" (the small part of the inheritance
that all brothers, apart from the heir, must have by the local laws), a small
plot of land where he could build a house and earn a modest living on it.
was aware of his disadvantage and he knew that he couldn't expect any more help
from anybody, but as he was also a good and intelligent worker, he had already
started - without telling anybody - little by little, to build his own house
on his small plot of land, full of enthusiasm and hope, to offer it to his beloved
Rita in case he was the one elected by her heart.
close to Christmas, her parents started to put pressure on her to make a decision.
"Rita," said her father, "as you are soon going to be eighteen,
it is the time for you to take a choice, for the next year it will have to be
Lluc or Marc, you will have to get married soon, in two or three years, and
you can't keep giving hope to both, so make up your mind."
was already expecting this ultimatum from her parents, and she already had an
answer. "Next Saturday, when they come home for courting me, I will let
them know my conditions", she said.
so it happened on Saturday evening, as they were both in Rita's parents' house,
seated one each side, courting her.
said: "Listen my dear friends, my father and mother want me to choose one
of you to marry and so I will, but you are both good, loving friends. I don't
want to upset either of you, but on the other hand I want to live in my own
house, not in your parents' houses because you both have big families and I
just want to live with my husband alone.
have decided that I will marry the first one to build and finish a house for
us to live in".
well", said Lluc, thinking that the amount of money his family had would
allow him to buy all the materials and pay for as many workers as he needed
to finish his house much faster then his opponent.
well" said Marc, thinking that his house was almost finished, just a few
more weeks and the house would even be painted, ready to live in.
well" said Rita's parents, who didn't know anything about Marc's house,
so they thought he would never have a chance, even to find the money to buy
the materials for it.
just a day after, somehow the mother found out about Marc's new house, (some
said she was a bit of a witch) and she was so angry that big red flames came
out of her eyes and mouth. No devil has ever looked more furious and terrifying.
She started then to chase the husband all the time, insisting again and again:
"na Rita s'ha de casar amb en Lluc, devore ell, en Marc es un mort de fam".
(Rita must marry Lluc, Lluc, Lluc...)
three days of listening to her, non-stop with the same old song, as normally
happens with most married couples, the husband surrendered: "All right!
All right! It's enough", said the poor man, dominated by his women. "We
want Rita to marry Lluc and so it will be! His house will be finished first,
but don't ask me how I will do it and don't say anything to Rita!"
soon passed, the "salsa de Nadal" was already eaten and nothing
changed, only Marc's house was a little more and more advanced every day, the
well was already finished, with the lead on, and he was fixing the last windows
and doors, one or two more weeks and it would be ready. Lluc, sad and miserable,
when he knew about Marc's new house, didn't even start his own, thinking that
it was completely impossible to compete. Rita was as happy as a pair of castanets,
laughing and giggling, thinking about how clever she was. "Now I can get
married with the one I want without upsetting Lluc and with my parents' blessings,"
mother was more and more hysterical every day, but the father was very tranquil,
with a funny smile upon his face.
last day of the year, the father said: "I have to go to Vila (Eivissa Town)
for some business, so don't wait for me until the day after tomorrow".
But instead of going to Vila, he went to Santa Eulari.
as the Sun was going down and went under the old bridge of Santa Eulari River
with a little black bottle that he left there, without the top, and he started
looking all over the floor, in between the stones and the river-side plants,
until the new day of the new year began to dawn.
was when he found what he was looking for, a small rare herb, "s'Herba
des Fameliar" that he put immediately in the bottle. As soon as the
herb was in the bottle it turned heavier, then he put the top on, jumping and
shouting: "Ja et tenc! Ja et tenc!" (I've got you! I've got
you!) because he knew he had found what he was looking for, his own "Fameliar".
with this fantastic spirit trapped in the black bottle, he went to see Lluc,
and said to him: "Lluc, you want to marry Rita, don't you? So, show me
where you want the house built and don't worry about anything".
of course" Lluc said, and showed him the land on top of a little hill where
he wanted his house, thinking that the poor old man had lost his head.
right!" said the father, "come back here tomorrow and see what happens".
soon as it was dark, the father was already on the hill with his little black
bottle. He took off the top and a scruffy little man, less then a foot tall,
with long arms, its head without a hair, like a little marrow with an enormous
mouth and tiny sparkling red eyes, the "Fameliar", jumped out
of the bottle shouting "Menjar o feina! Menjar o feina! (Work or
food! Work or food!).
worry," said the father, "I will give you plenty of work" and
told him to bring the materials and build a house big enough for eight or ten
less time than I need for writing it, the materials were there, the tools were
moving so fast that they looked like they were flying by themselves, the, almost
one metre thick, stone walls were ready in less then two hours, an hour later
the roof was done, and so on until the Sun started to show. By then, the house
the father said a little prayer and put his "Fameliar" back
in the black bottle and put the top back on. After doing this, and as he has
to spend two nights without sleep, he went back to his house looking for his
bed. "Now that Lluc's house is finished, knowing that he will be our son-in-law
and all his possessions will be also ours, I think that I will sleep for two
days" He said.
in the morning, when Lluc walked alone up the hill and found the house already
built just over night, he was so shocked that he couldn't move for a long while.
His eyes jumped out of their sockets and his mouth was so wide open that he
could keep the mule and cart in it. His fragile mental health couldn't cope
with it, he came down the hill running, screaming and shouting like a real fool.
Marc saw his opponent's house already finished before his own, he never finished
his, he left it all and started walking away, disappearing for ever. Someone
said that he took a ship to Cuba, but no one really knows.
had to marry Lluc and both moved to their new house, as she had promised, but
nobody could hear her laughter any more.
both died young. She died of annoyance, Lluc died of real fear, he was terrified
every time he walked into the house, he couldn't sleep at night and never was
the same man again.
the young couple died, nobody else wanted to live in this dammed house. Rita's
parents also died of remorse very soon after their daughter, so little by little
the house just became a ruin and nobody wanted to work on this part of land
you walk by "Es Torrent des Jonc" not far from "Sa Cala de Sant
Visent", in between the forest of one of the most lonely areas, you still
can see a big pile of stones where the house used to be, and some swear that
if you are there the first day of the year, you can hear Rita crying: "Marc,
Marc, take me with you, away from this damned house".
and similar "histories" of "Barrugets" "Follets"
and "Fameliars", have made generations of Ibicencos cry and
laugh, to dream and to fight about it being the truth or not, they have kept
the young children awake in their beds for many hours, as I remember myself,
with my eyes and ears completely open trying to spot one of the "Barrugets"
that I was one hundred percent sure was living in our house.
there was a time that this history was of interest to others, apart from children
and simple peasants.
Inquisition had at least two Court cases in Eivissa that involved the "Fameliar."
In 1675, there was a hearing in Eivissa by the "Santa Inquisición"
(the Inquisition Tribunal) asking to denounce anybody who have or have had a
Fameliar by invoking Lucifer.
1744, Francesc Tur de Bartumeu from "Quartó de Santa Eulari" was taken
to the Inquisition Tribunal because he wanted to buy a "Fameliar"
from Pere Antoni Puiggros, a merchant from Vila.
some of our historians, the legend of the "Fameliar" was just
a cover to hide something more serious, something that it could not be said
in our Roman Catholic society, such as the use of slaves in our Islands.
this is another history...Anyway, don't forget to leave a slice of bread and
cheese somewhere inside the house every night, just in case!
Pictures © 1998 Marià Torres Torres - Antropologia d’Eivissa I Formentera Volum