From its remote Arab origins, Fain Viejo has always been an important property in Arcos de la Frontera and repeatedly mentioned in its chronicles. Arcos de la Frontera, as its name indicates, was for many years a border frontier and a place of constant battles between Moors and Christians. This explains the existence of numerous legends of hidden treasure in the region. Most famous of all the lore, is the legend of Fain Viejo. Legend has it that “the Treasure of Fain consists of solid and innumerable gold bars...”. Alas, The Treasure has never been found.
Fain, an Arab name that comes from Ain, meaning water or spring, exhibits one of the most important facades of rural Andalusian architecture. At the top of the inner door there is an inscription that says thus: “Oleum effessum nomen tuum” (your name is like spilled oil). Seventy years ago the adjective “old” (Viejo) was add to the name of this grand rural building when its façade was copied for the construction of another building on the original property, now the club house for the nearby golf course. The property still conserves its spring, its old olive oil mill, its orchard, gardens and palms, part of its olive grove, and its magnificent and legendary Ombu tree.
This 500 year old Ombu has its own legend: They say that when the property was in the hands of the Church, from far beyond the seas, an old ailing missionary journeyed to settle at Faín in order to spend the last years of his life. His strength failed him on several occasions along the way and he believed he would never reach his destination, but he always managed to recover, perhaps helped by Faith, and continue his way toward his longed for goal. He reached it, with little life left on him, and with his dying eyes he managed to gaze upon the façade of Fain. Just meters from the entrance, he knelt down exhausted and fell dead. He was buried at the site in his missionary’s habit. In one of his pockets he carried, from the New World, the seed of the Ombu that miraculously germinated. Since that day, the old, legendary tree faithfully watches over the entrance of the property with its tired and twisted trunk. Numerous legends of ghosts and tales of mystery are transmitted from generation to generation by the people of the region.
© 2013 Faín Viejo
Arcos de la Frontera (Cádiz)