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BEJAR, Spain – Men covered from head to toe in moss have paraded through the streets of Bejar in western Spain to commemorate a daring raid that local legend says helped liberate the town from Muslim occupation some eight centuries ago.
Locals believe that during the reign of King Alfonso VIII of Castile (1155-1214) men camouflaged themselves in moss from local forests to enable them to approach the gates of a Muslim fortress.
Once there, they waited until the drawbridge opened before ambushing the unsuspecting guards. One version of the legend says the guards took fright at the moss-men's appearance and fled.
Every June the parade coincides with Bejar's Corpus Christi celebration and town-dwellers shower the moss-men with flower petals as dignitaries and youngsters who have done their first holy communion accompany them.