Maria Trinidad Howard Middlemore:
Anyone acquainted with the interior of the cathedral at Burgos will remember a curious little doll over one of the side doors. Now it is as silent as the grave, because it excited so much attention and merriment during Mass that one of the bishops got incensed, and had the wires which were attached to it cut. But in its day it was intended to strike a bell at the quarters and the hour, like the two men on the old clock at Venice, and like the figures which come out by machinery at Strasburg. This little doll is called Papamoscas, and used after striking the bell to give the most fearful shriek, in remembrance of an event in the life of Henry of Trastamare, brother to Pedro the Cruel. The legend runs thus:
While Henry of Trastamare was wandering about in exile and waiting for another chance to revolt against his brother, then King of Castile and Leon, he diverted his mind by hunting with his friends and followers, and by tournaments and other knightly games and amusements.

One day, when he was out hunting, he saw an enormous boar running a little in front of him, but so near that he was tempted to give it chase. Thinking that his comrades were following him, he kept his eyes fixed upon the boar, expecting every moment to get within killing distance.

After a time he discovered that he was no nearer to the boar, that he had left his friends behind, and that darkness was closing in upon him. He could hear the wolves howling in the distance. It is not encouraging to be lost in a forest, and hear the wild animals beginning their nightly prowls. Although Henry of Trastamare was never accused of a lack of courage, his spirits flagged on this occasion; and to add to his discomfort, the boar which he had seen only a second before suddenly disappeared. His superstitious nature (and he was very superstitious) took alarm at once. He almost fell from his horse with fright, and commenced saying his prayers and crossing himself, when the forest was lighted up by a white soft light, and he saw a beautiful graceful woman standing by his side. Seizing his horse's bridle, she silently led him out of the forest through intricate and entangled paths. The branches which overhung the roads separated as though by magic. When the lady reached the edge of the forest, she said in a sweet musical voice:

Turn to the right and then to the left, and it will then be a straight line towards the cathedral.

Prince Henry was still so amazed at his adventure that he could hardly speak. He saw the lovely face of his preserver, and began: How can I thank you, most charming señora?, but all traces of the lady had vanished. The forest behind him was as black as night, and only the stars above showed any light. The moon was rising when Henry of Trastamare arrived at his quarters, where the alarm had been raised, and parties were starting out in search of him. His friends were not a little startled at his adventure, which he told without delay. What did it portend? Success or defeat in their plottings against Pedro?

Cruel and unscrupulous as he was, Henry of Trastamare was a devout Catholic, and never missed going to early Mass. Weeks passed away. Never since his adventure in the forest had he seen the lady who had befriended him in his need, though he had done all in his power to find her. One morning, when he went to early Mass, he saw a very graceful and, as far as he could judge from her profile, an exceedingly handsome woman kneeling on her mat some yards in front of him, intent on her devotions. He could hardly keep his attention on his prayers, so firmly did he believe that she was his unknown friend of the forest, and so earnestly did he keep her in sight. There were but few worshippers at that early hour: only two or three old women going to market with their baskets were kneeling here and there in the vast cathedral, so that virtually he and the unknown Lady of the Woods (as he continually called her in his thoughts) were alone. When the Mass was ended, the beautiful stranger turned to depart. She was dressed entirely in black, mantilla, dress, and fan, and she carried a handkerchief in her right hand. Henry of Trastamare recognised her at once as the lady who had guided him through the forest. She was half-way down the nave of the cathedral when she dropped her handkerchief. Prince Henry hastened to pick it up, and presented it to the fair unknown. She turned and faced him, saying, Muchissimas gracias, mi Rey, and without another word she turned and left him.

The Prince's heart beat high. She, an unknown person, had called him her King. Was it a sign of good fortune or an evil omen? He wished that he could have questioned her a little more, but she appeared and disappeared so rapidly that he had no chance to ask her anything. For many weeks he frequented the early services, and looked carefully for the strange lady who had disturbed his peace of mind so much. But she never came to church again, go at what hour he would, and at last he gave up the search in despair.

Some months later, Prince Henry got belated again in a forest in the Asturias, when he was planning his intended warfare upon his brother, and was attacked by six wolves. He killed two, but his strength was not equal to the other four, and he would have been devoured had not the Lady of the Forest suddenly appeared and uttered a most unearthly scream; upon hearing which the wolves fled terrified, with their tails between their legs, and Henry of Trastamare was saved once more by his unknown friend. He was determined that she should not escape him this time, and advanced with a quick step to meet her. But she had no intention of disappearing as suddenly as she had come, for she came towards him, and, after listening to his courteous words of thanks and of admiration, she said in a sad voice: We shall never meet again. Our ways lie in different directions. Yours leads to honour and glory; mine into oblivion. I can do no more for you, my Prince. Farewell. And with these words she disappeared.

In vain he tried to find her. He searched far and wide in the forest, but with no success.

You shall never be forgotten, he shouted, and the echoes of the forest returned - Never!

In 1366 the people of Castile and Leon revolted against Pedro the Cruel, on account of his continual atrocities; and after three years of desperate fighting, Henry of Trastamare besieged his brother at Montiel, and took him prisoner.

Duguesclin had then joined the standard of Henry of Trastamare, and Pedro begged him, as an old friend, to help him to escape. The wily Frenchman, desirous of entrapping Pedro, pretended that he would do his best to procure his freedom. Pedro accordingly went by invitation to the tent of Duguesclin to arrange the matter, and as everyone knows, when he reached the tent, Pedro was basely assailed and murdered.

The prediction of the Lady of the Forest came true. Henry of Trastamare became King of Castile and Leon; and in remembrance of the help of his unknown friend, he caused the Papamoscas to be made, that the unearthly scream should keep her from being forgotten.

But the Bishop's command has frustrated his design. The figure stands with its mouth open, apparently catching flies, and the Lady of the Forest has sunk into the oblivion which she foretold.
There are few who know the origin and the legend of the Papamoscas.
If the above legend is true, it does not explain why the automaton was made in the form of a mustachioed man instead of a beautiful lady. Some of the mechanical action of the Papamoscas has been restored since the article was written in the late 19th century, although not its scream.