In some fairy tales they are beautiful Muslim princesses (Princesa Moura) who live in castles at the time of the Reconquest, and fall in love with a Portuguese Christian knight; in other fairy tales a Moura Encantada, who lives in a castle under the earth, is in the place of the Christian knight. In still other variants the Moura Encantada is a Spinning Lady Moor (Moura-fiandeira), who carries stones on her head and spins yarn with a spinning wheel carried on her waist to build a hill fort. The Mouras Encantadas are the builders of the hill forts, the dolmens, and the megaliths, and still live there. The Mouras Encantadas who reside in dolmens and megaliths are named Pedra-Moura.
The fairy tales featuring Mouras Encantadas are thought to be of pre-Roman, Indo-European Celtic origin and are related to other Indo-European and especially Celtic female divinities of the water. Almost every Portuguese town has a tale of a Moura Encantada.