The Salvatierra healer lived over 300 years ago and was very popular. His memory has come down to the present day thanks to the stories of his own family. It was his descendants who, generation after generation, remembered the adventures and misadventures of this character in the heat of the fire. Just as some historians have mentioned its existence in more or less malevolent form. This is Anastasia, the famous healer of Salvatierra or Agurain.
The healer of Salvatierra
It was a time when doctors did not have the knowledge they enjoy today. So, the illnesses, wounds and other pains of people, rich or poor, especially the poor for that matter, were treated by healers. These were mysterious characters, having powers unknown to the majority of those around them and who practiced most often, as veterinarians or diviners. They were said to be a curious mixture of sorcerer, doctor and pharmacist, generally practicing clandestinely. To tell the truth, luck did not always smile on them, often they ended up beaten in prison or on the stakes of the Inquisition.
Anastasia was a bit of all of these things and people came to consult her for various ailments. From a simple cold to chronic rheumatism. From a simple childbirth to a complicated abortion. She also knew the filters of love, the remedy against impotence, and against the excessive fertility of certain women.
She was also able to cure an eye disease or make a wife's infertile womb fertile. For this people came from distant places like Lagrán, Orbiso, Villodas, Sobrón, Andollu…. And even from Valdegovía.
It is said that during her youth she was of great beauty and broke the hearts of many men. Why did she become a healer? Difficult to answer, some say that it is following a disappointment in love. Apparently she was madly in love with the mayor, justice of the peace, of Salvatierra but this one repudiated her for things today unknown but after a moment of cohabitation. What seems to be proven is that, following the disappointment in love, Anastasia was about to enter the convent. But she didn't. On the contrary, she began to study medical sciences as well as other lesser known ones such as pharmacy and zoology. In addition to acquiring certain esoteric knowledge.
Once converted into a healer, she settled in a modest house, under thick trees and near a stream in her native village of Salvatierra. It was in this house that she spent the rest of her days, receiving people from whom she used to collect something for her consultations. We could talk about a lot of things, some positive, some less so, the majority completely forgotten these days. But one in particular still lingers in popular memory.
One day she was called by the Ximénes de Aberasturri family to go to their house in Gaceo, a place near Salvatierra. The motive was none other than the headache of such an illustrious lineage: Count Ximenes. She had to treat an intestinal pain and to be able to diagnose, the healer began by auscultating the patient. Then, with the seriousness of her gestures, she recommended a mustard poultice, to be applied very hot on the patient's stomach.
This preparation must have been very hot because the patient died during the night, victim of serious burns to the abdomen. But this same Ximénes, because of his cruel character and the abuse he committed on people, was not mourned at his funeral. We did not put the healer in prison either, on the contrary, we buried the affair and we decided to have a party that day in the village until we had fireworks, the work of the local pyrotechnician, a certain Mosen Pablo.
The last and fatal act of her life, Anastasia will do it one day when the spirits of the inhabitants of Salvatierra are excited. It was there that she was asked to heal the natural son of Ramiro Xandoval, elected councilor of the city. She diagnosed a pernicious dog cold, prescribing a curious diet. Do not eat frozen meat, green beans, chickpeas but on the contrary, recommending to eat hake at will. At that time, this fish was so expensive that the little patient was left without hake. He ended up dying in a short time in his father's arms.
Everyone started insulting the healer who was already old at the time. Everyone saw in her the cause of all the evils of the village, past and present. And all also wanted Anastasia's death with the cry of:
"The healer at the gallows!" »
Finally the villagers mutinied, the healer was arrested and in front of a large crowd, hungry for macabre emotions, was hanged as if it were a witch.