The story that I'm about to tell
has nothing to do whatsoever with that famous peak that is
part of that beautiful scenario that surrounds the Bay of
Guanabara in Rio de Janeiro. The Corcovado in question is the
one that is southwest near this town of Ubatuba. It is an
outstanding stone hunchback that rises from the profile of the
Serra do Mar range being the highest point in this region from
Picinguaba to Martim de Sá in the neighbourhood of
The Corcovado here has not the
distinguished bearing and prestige of his namesake in Rio de
Janeiro, neither receives the visits of flabbergasted
tourists. It doesnt receive them because it rejects them. In
fact, it punishes severely those who dare to enter the mistery
in which it is shrouded.
Right after Jordão Homem da
Costa came with several families to populate the village of
Iperoig, then already called Ubatuba, adventurers of that era
wanted to climb to the top of the Corcovado. The first to try
it were two young boys , Pablo and Juan, sons of a spanish
nobleman, the owner of a great stretch of land in this area.
They started their trip on a
bright and fresh April morning sure that they would succeed in
their endeavour. But days went by without their return and
their family started to worry. They were presumed to be lost
in the range.
A slave from the spanish nobleman, and Pablos favorite,
promised to the Lord that he would bring his son back. His
companions remaining at the bottom of the mountain saw him
climbing steadfast up the escarpment gripping on lianes and
overhangs of the rocks to finally disappear on the top amidst
ferns and bushes.
They waited until the next day. Nothing! Others came back to
search for him but just like Pablo and Juan, the slave never
In 1697, at the first
cenntenial of the death of José de Anchieta, friar Bartolomeu
from the Franciscan order came from the town of São Vicente
to celebrate a mass for the soul of that great catechizer.
This friar remained for a few days in town listening to the
story mentioned above told by the locals. He peremptorily
declared that he would climb to the top of the Corcovado,
where he, proving that he really arived, would unfurl a big
red flag visible to those who had followed him to the base of
the frightening escarpment. Said and done, after hours, the
folks who remained on the lower grounds clearly saw on the
mountains top the flying of that big bloodred banner that
friar Bartolomeu took with him.
A great joy spread through all
those observers who were anxious about the friars return, when
he certainly would finally unravel the mistery surrounding
that mountain. The waited in vain. A few more courageous men
decided to stay where they were through the night to wait for
the missionary. The men passed an aprehensive night in which
the silence was now and then interrupted by moans and screams
from unknown agonizing birds of darkness.
Midnight! It would had been midnight when an almost redeeming
scream of relief escaped from their mouths.
There he is!
In fact, over the naked
boulders friar Bartolomeu was crawling back by the same path
he had left.He must have been tired. Once or twice the men saw
him stop, straighten his brown habit with the white rope slack
around his waist and kissing his ivory cross that hung from
his chest . A patch of white moonlight flowed over the
monastic figure revealing the deathly lividness of his face.
They all ran to welcome him, but...
- Where is friar Bartolomeu?!,
they asked each other with their eyes. They didn't saw him
again. They wited for some more time but the friar didnt came
down. One of the shouted out loud and the echo answered from
the deep and somber crevasses.
Right after, a terrible moan came from nowhere embracing the
A cold sense of death touched
the flesh of those men. Without sayin a word ,trembling with
fear they ran away from that cursed place, still listening to
the lingering echo of that terrible moan loosing itself in the
darkness of that night.
* * *
Even today, at midnight ,
whoever stays posted at the basis of that misterious mountain
, will see friar Bartolomeu climbing down without ever
reaching the ground.
* * *
People say that the Corcovado
is enchanted, hiding a rich goldmine protected by a spirit
that defends it against all men. Gold is there, for certain! I
will prove it as being true, just as true as the story I just
the book "Ubatuba - Lendas & Outras Estórias"
(Ubatuba-Legends & Other Stories)
written by Washington de Oliveira
authorized by the writer