In our efforts to keep you entertained while staying at home, we have gathered stories and legends from many places in Puerto Rico. Some were told to us as infants getting us to sleep, others were told around a camp fire. The stories, tales, and legends that we will now pass on to you are part of Puerto Rico’s history and culture and some we hold very dear in our hearts as they are also memories of our grandparents way of making us laugh or light up our days.
We’ll start with La India Dormida, the sleeping indian, as it is one that we tell our groups in our West Side Experience and Southwest Day Trip tours; and, the legend goes (please bear in mind that it is a legend passed down in spanish):
“Back in colonial times, way back then, Spanish Conquistadors had reached the Americas and had settled down in the island of Boriken, better known to the conquistadors as San Juan Bautista. At the time, the Tainos, natives of the island, tried not to interact much with the spaniards, thus prohibiting the tribes to talk or be around them.
In the North region of the island lived Caguax, one of the top Caciques in Puerto Rico, he had a niece called Taina over in the Turabo Valley, one of the most important valleys in Boriken up to this day. Caguax was a powerful man and fought against the conquistadors for many years. Taina, known in her tribe as Flor del Aire, wind flower, was a simple yet rebellious girl, and for good reason being the niece of the most powerful man in the tribe.
Yariví, the bravest man in the tribe, was madly in love with Taina; but, what Taina thought to be impossible, falling in love with a conquistador, happened. Yarivi, desperate for her attention, suffering the emptiness by the unrequited love for Flor del Viento, threw himself off a mountain right before Taina’s eyes.
The conquistador, which had also fallen in love with Taina, had to leave the island; but, before leaving he promised her he would return for her. Legend tells of no reason, story, or knowledge on why he never returned. The faithful taino girl spent the better part of her days going to the mountain where Yarivi had thrown himself from to cry endlessly for the fallen tribe warrior and in wait for her conquistador lover to return. After the passing of time she could not hold her eyes open anymore, the wait and crying had taken its toll on her and she started to feel sleepy. In the end, the sadness took over completely and she fell asleep in the mountains.
The gods, full of compassion, decided to make a monument of her faithfulness and enormous heart full of love, and in sort of a miracle from the sky they froze her in perpetuity, petrifying her body and soul into the mountains.”
Now a days, if you travel on the Highway 52 from San Juan to Caguas, south, around kilometer 17, you can pull over on the bridge and capture a perfect picture of the mountains and you will see the beauty of Flor del Viento still laid down in her eternal slumber, awaiting for her Conquistador to come back for her.