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Legends Legend: "O Corcovado" (the hunchback) Gold Mine
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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 Caraguatatuba.

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.

Lets listen:

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 came back.

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 whole forest.

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 told.

 

Abridged from the book "Ubatuba - Lendas & Outras Estórias" (Ubatuba-Legends & Other Stories)
written by Washington de Oliveira ("seo" Filhinho)
 authorized by the writer

 

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