JUNE – JULY 2017
A brace of tales collected in South America.
El Salto del Fraile – The Diving Friar A Peruvian Legend
Legend has it that in Peru, around the 1860’s a noble Marquis was left to take care of his young daughter Clara, after his wife passed away. The Marquis hired a nanny to take care of his daughter and she brought with her, her son Francis, who was three years older than 12 year’s old Clara.
Over time Francis and Clara fell in love, and she became pregnant, which caused a real upheaval in the society of Lima at that time. The Marquis, obfuscated and offended by such an outrage, ordered that Francis be locked in a convent and become a friar. As for Clara, he decided to bring her back to Spain.
The day of the departure, Clara was filled with sadness because of the separation from Francis. When the ship was in front of the cliffs, Clara took a telescope with the intention of finding her beloved, since his mother had told her he would be there that afternoon to wish her farewell.
Suddenly, she was able to see him, standing on top of the highest rock, waving the cape he had removed from his head. A minute later he dived from the highest point of the cliff to the ferocious ocean below and attempted to swim to his love. Alas, the sea overwhelmed him and he drowned. Upon witnessing this, Clara threw herself into the ocean to join her sweetheart.
This tragic story has become a well known known legend in Lima and in memory of this misunderstood love, a restaurant called “El Salto del Fraile”, specialising in Peruvian cuisine was built near that infamous cliff.
Now each day, if enough people are there to pay, a man dressed in Franciscan robes, stages the friar’s dive into the sea from a high rock in front of the restaurant.
La Guitara. A dramatic tale from Argentina
Here’s a melodramatic Argentinian tale for next leg of tour with http://dreamonproductions.com/ in Buenos Aires. Will substitute the killing of the woman by the evil man with the sting of a scorpion being the cause of death.
Once upon a time there was a gaucho named Froilan who lived on a ranch far from people. Solitude was his only companion. Alone he met one dawn after another and one twilight after another. Alone, with his horizon of sky and land.
He was accustomed to his loneliness, but when the dark night covered the countryside and he slept, a woman inhabited his dreams. So often and so strongly he dreamed, that at last one day he met her. The woman was Violeta, a beautiful and gracious creole lady who looked at him with enormous eyes.
With the presence of Violeta, he no longer had dark nights, only a road illuminated by the eyes of the woman he so loved. His life had been transformed, and now he met the dawn as well as the twilight accompanied by the soft caresses of Violeta, by her sweet voice and by her tender gaze.
One afternoon when Froilan had left for town, an evil stranger arrived. On seeing the beautiful woman alone he decided to take advantage of her. Violeta resisted with all her force and screamed for help. Nearing home, Froilan heard her cries in the distance. He galloped as fast as possible and arrived in time to join in a ferocious fight with the attacker. Froilan was able to rescue the wounded Violeta, but it was too late. The despicable man had mortally wounded his lover and she was bleeding to death.
Desperately, he clutched his lover’s body in his arms, all the while weeping and screaming. “So many things I did not get to tell you! What can I do with all these words clogging my throat.” Then, exhausted by the fight, the pain and the tears, he laid his head against hers
and thus slept, remembering her caresses.
When daylight came, he awoke to the sound of a mysterious music and found in his arms a box in the form of a woman, instead of the body of his lover. With this he sang all the rest of his life, caressing the strings as if they were his beloved, speaking all the words which had been accumulated in his throat.
And thus was born the guitar, to caress with music, to relieve sorrows, and in order that those pent-up words might be released.
Retold by Paula Martin in Pachamama Tales published by World Folklore Series.