Time for another legend!
For 2, actually… 🙂
Remember I asked you to choose what kind of legend you wanted to read next? Well, there was a tie between Moorish, Heroic and Names of Places.
And, once I’ve already given you one legend about the continent and another one about Madeira, it’s only fair that Azores should also be represented.
So, I’ll tell you about the legend of the Lake of the Seven Cities (Lagoa das Sete Cidades, in portuguese), one of the most beautiful places nature can give you. You can learn a little more about it here.
Like many islands, some of Azores’ legends also claim to have emerged from the ruins of Atlantis…
If you remember, the same happens with Madeira, as I posted in The Legend of the Night of Saint Sylvester.
One of the legends, based on the Atlantis myth, goes like this…
Many, many years ago, there was a Kingdom so great and flourishing that its King, White-Grey (Branco-Pardo in Portuguese) didn’t even know how many vassals, castles, cities, villages it had. It was Atlantis. Despite this wealth, the King and the Queen, White-Rose (Branca-Rosa), who had been very happy in the past, were now truly sad for not having children. White-Grey became more and more vindictive and treated his vassels really bad.
One night, when the King wandered through the palace gardens with the Queen, he had a vision that said:
– King of Atlantis, I bring you joy! Soon, you will father a very beautiful and virtuous daughter. But, for the evil that you’ve become to end, no man, not even yourself, can ever approach the princess. She will live within the walls of seven wonderful cities that I will raise in the most beautiful part of your Kingdom and she will only be served by maidens. Pay attention! If you dare to cross the walls of the seven cities before she becomes 20, you will be killed and a cataclysm will destroy your Kingdom.
The King, overjoyed, promised to do everything the voice had said and, nine months later a beautiful little princess was born. Without even looking at her, the King sent her to the seven cities, fulfilling the vision’s demand.
Years began to creep, slow and painful, for the parents who were separated from their beloved daughter. Princess Green-Blue (Verde-Azul), laughing and singing through the city gardens, surrounded by a retinue of virgins, grew beautiful and good at heart.
White-Grey was consumed with longing and became more and more angry and so anxious to see his daughter that it exploded from his chest. He prepared an army of his bravest warriors and marched into the seven cities.
The march was long and, as they approached their destination, the sky became dark and strange sounds came from the earth. But the King, crazy, kept marching until, in the tragic darkness of the day, there stood the walls of the seven cities.
White-Grey, dark and disturbed, lifted his sword and struck heavily on one door. In the precise moment the main gate was open, some kind of thunder rumbled, an intense fire rose from the split earth and the walls came down on the King, his vassals and all the virgins living in the seven cities. A huge volcanic cataclysm destroyed Atlantis. Finally, there was silence, the sun shone again and you could see nine small islands in the sea. The seven cities where the Princess lived became a crater covered by two quiet pools: one is green because at it’s bottom lie the green little shoes of the Princess; the other one is blue and reflects the color of the hat she was wearing when she was killed by her father’s bad judgement, the King of Altantis.
The other legend has a much more romantic tone, and, personally, it’s my favorite…
Many, many years ago, in the Kingdom of the Seven Cities, there lived a little Princess named Antilia.
The girl was the only daughter of an old widower King who was known for his bad temper. Master of Alchemy and Lord of Wisdom, the King lived exclusively for his daughter, and didn’t like the Princess to talk to anyone. The girl was always with his father or with the old nanny who had raised her since birth, when the Queen, her mother, died.
The years went by, Antilia grew and one day she was no longer the girl with long blond braids hanging over her shoulders, adorned with wild flowers. She had become a beautiful young woman, a princess able to charm any boy in the Kingdom.
However, though everybody heard about the beauty of the young Princess, few if any ever knew her, because the King did not like her to leave the castle or the surrounding gardens.
But Antilia was not intimidated by her father and, with the help of her old nanny, she used to evade every afternoon, while the King was taking his after lunch nap. She would go out the back, without anyone seeing it, and would ride in the mountains and nearby valleys.
One day, in one of these tours, while walking through the woods, the Princess heard a song. The music was so beautiful and enchanted her so that she let herself be guided by the sound and discovered a young shepherd playing flute, sitting on top of a hill. He was the author of this wonder!
The Princess, charmed, kept hidden to hear the young man playing the flute. And, hidden, kept hearing him for weeks, until one day the shepherd found her behind some bushes.
When he looked at her, it was love at first sight, and she loved him back instantly too. They kept meeting. They would spend the whole afternoon talking and laughing, the shepherd would play for the Princess and she would listen delighted, and they both felt very happy together.
One day the shepherd decided to ask the princess’s hand in marriage.
Early in the dawn, the young man knocked on the door of the Castle, and asked to speak to the King. Soon after a servant came back and took him to the king. Very nervous but determined, the shepherd bowed to the kind and looking into his eyes, said:
– Your Majesty, I deeply love Antilia, your daughter, and I would ask her hand in marriage.
– The hand of my daughter, NEVER … Did you hear … NEVER! – shouted the king – Servant, take this shepherd out immediately!
The young man tried hard to argue, but he would not let him talk, and kicked him out of the Castle.
Then the King sent for Antilia and forbade her to see the shepherd. And so Antilia did, obeying her father’s royal orders.
That same afternoon she came to her love and told him they would never meet again.
The two youngsters embraced and cried all afternoon.
Their tears were so abundant that two beautiful and large lakes were formed, one green after the Princess’ eye color, one blue after the shepherd’s.
And so these two lakes still remain in the Valley of the Seven Cities, on the island of Saint Michael (São Miguel, in portuguese), Azores, always reminding the by-passers about the tragedy of two lovers.
Hope you enjoyed these stories and you become interested in visiting Azores. You will surely spend some good time there!