In the neighbourhood of San Lorenzo, linking the street of Santa Clara with that of Jesus del Gran Poder, runs a long narrow street that is called Stone Man. The reason for this denomination is that in it, embedded in a niche at the level of the sidewalk, you can see a stone statue of blurred relief, which has been there for several centuries.
The street was called from the 13th century until the 15th Street of the Good Face, but in the time of King Juan II changed its name to appear the statue of the man of stone, along with the legend of its miraculous and dramatic origin.
To understand the legend it is necessary that before we move to the Plaza del Salvador; At the corner of Villegas Street and Plaza del Salvador, we find a large cross placed on the corner of the church wall, which is called the Cross of the Culebra by the old name of the street. This Cross belonged to the parish cemetery of El Salvador that was located until the middle of the 18th century in the plaza of the same name. By order of the assistant Olavide, there were so many crosses in the streets of the city that hindered the passage of pedestrians, carriages and cavalries, so they became embedded in the facades of the streets and churches, as happens with this Cross of the Culebra.
Do not confuse this Cross of the cemetery with the Cross of the Spatters, which is in the Patio of the Orange Trees of the Church of El Salvador.
Under the Cross of the Culebra we can read a tombstone that reads, in ancient characters:
El rey i toda persona que
topare el Santísimo Sacramento
se apee, aunque sea en el lodo
so pena de 600 maravedises
según la loable costumbre desta ciudad,
o que pierda la cabalgadura,
y si fuere moro de catorce años arriba
que hinque las rodillas
o que pierda todo lo que llevare vestido...
THE KING DON JUAN, LAW 11
For this tombstone, placed in the church of the Savior, we see the devotion (and obligation) that existed in Seville to get on your knees on the floor when the Blessed Sacrament passed, even if it had been raining because it had rained; a pious custom from which neither the king nor the highest knights were spared, on pain of losing the horse and paying six hundred maravedises of fine; and the one who did not have a horse or goods, lose the clothes he was wearing.
Seen in this way, the reverence with which we looked at the Blessed Sacrament in the past, we return to the neighbourhood of San Lorenzo, in whose street Buen Rostro, (which, as we have said, was what was previously called Stone Man street “Hombre de Piedra”), there was a Tavern, back in the 15th century. And it happened that several friends were in the tavern, drinking wine, when they heard coming from the direction of the parish of San Lorenzo, the tinkling of a bell accompanied by a whisper of voices that prayed.
The friends appeared at the door of the tavern, and they saw appear, at the beginning of the street, a small group of people with candles and lanterns, who accompanied the parish priest, who carried in his hands and pressed against his chest , the box of the Viaticum in which the Host was carried to give the last communion to a sick person.
When the procession approached, the friends of the tavern, although they were non-religious people, more given to wine and play than to piety, interrupted their conversations and prepared to kneel for a moment while the Sacrament passed. But one of them, called Mateo el Rubio, who considered himself brave and was the bully of the neighbourhood, boasting incredulity to demonstrate his courage among the others, said aloud:
- Ea, bunch of chickens, you kneel like women. Now you will see a man have ... And I will not kneel, but I will stand forever.
And indeed it remained there forever, for a deafening thunder broke out on the street, and on the impious fell a ray that turned it into stone, sinking him to the knees on the ground. There remains for more than five centuries the blasphemous sinner who dared to challenge the power of God.
For this exemplary example, the Buen Rostro street is called since then Stone Man, where one can still see the testimony of that terrible event.
Archaeological explanation: At the moment the true interpretation is that it is a Roman statue belonging to some thermal baths, which the Arabs kept pointing to a public bath called "of the statue" and that has resisted to this day the multiple reforms suffered during almost two thousand years.
Fuente: Blog "Leyendas de Sevilla"