The Tarlà

tarla2Sometimes, city characters go into story and the story makes them become a legend. In Argenteria street we find a clear example, El Tarlà, also called El Xato.

Between 1348 and 1654 the number of catalans death increased due to pests that plague the whole Catalan territory. The plague was one of the worst diseases that could endure a city, which caused many deaths and many poor to the ones who lived there.

Citizens from Girona were so scared that decided to declare quarantine. This meant that people had to stay locked at home.

Thus, residents of Argenteria street, in order to prevent the plague that affects their neighborhood, decided to closed the entrances to the street with green canes fences so nobody could enter or leave and avoid the disease spread on their street.

Residents could not enter or leave their street and everyone was discouraged and bored. This situation made a neighbor decided to cheer them all. He disguised as a wandering minstrel and spent day doing turn head and buffoonery. He used to climb to the balcony, jump, dance and work all sorts of tricks to make Argenteria street residents have a great time.

The neighbors were so happy and thankful that they still remember him and continue thinking of him yearly. Every spring, on Sant Agustí day, residents in Argenteria street take a jester doll and walk over a car while people play drums and sing. Then, they hand the doll in a bar that goes from one side to other of the street, about five feet high, and make it swing and do all sorts of flips.

It’s said that many years ago El Tarlà was a real person and not a doll. El Tarlà is also known as “El Xato” due to the doll fall that caused his wooden nose was crushed.

Visca el Xato! Visca el Tarlà! Pataplam plam plam!

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