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Caraguatatuba Ilhabela São Sebastião Ubatuba

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A gracious young woman with a skin like milk with a dash of coffee, green-grey eyes, long full and curly black hair and a body outlined in gracious curves, Marcelina, till then always light of heart, strong and vivaciously cheerful, suddenly seemed to dwindle, eating sparsely, loosing her colour, visibly shy without pep to perform even the simplest housework, remained hours on end in her bed so that one had to incite her to get up. All kinds of medicine she already had been administered, from herbal concoctions to special wines, even hot baths made with flowers and leaves did nothing to make a change for better. Sinhá Amália told the facts to her friends who tried to soothe her worries.

- Ah, its nothing... its the age... how old is she? Fifteen? Of course, that's the culprit! But this didn't tranquilize the aprehensive mother, who when asking her daughter about the reasons, always got the same answers such as:
- Oh mother, come on ! I'm fine, not feeling anything. You're worried just because I'm getting up a little bit later? Just because I'm not hungry as always? And, faking a smile - ...If I were eating too much you wouldn't like it either, would you?
Sad and aprehensive days went by until one moment at a certain dawn, the mother ,who slept poorly always watching her daughter, heard from her daughters room the sounds of subdued crying and sobs, and entering the room found her girl hugging her pillow, asleep and mumbling disconnected words that sounded like:
- No! Don't go... I don't want... wait...

The mother didn't wake her child, and accomodating herself by the bed started to pray to God to unveil the mystery that was slowly consuming her child.
Suddenly Marcelina started to move . Very slowly raising a hand to her forehead as if to wipe away a hidden tear, seeing her mother, started to talk with a still wavering voice:

- What is it mother? Why you are here? You're crying? Oh forgive me... I know... I'm making you suffer...but... don't cry ! You're desperate to know what's happening I know. Well, then listen, I'll tell you what's happening with me! You know that story of that beast, that dragon that lives in that cave at the Sununga beach, don't you? Everybody knows it! Why is it so that everybody avoids that place ? Because if anyone passes there, the sea raises in anger and throws waves at the mouth of that cave, that swallows everything and everyone that happens to be there. No fisher consciously comes even close to that place, rowing more than 200 yards offshore around the spot. If he eventually dares to come closer, he, his canoe and everything else simply dissapear. It happened before, but up to now nobody ever saw this so called dragon.

That is, nobody ever talked about it, but Old Antero saw, and then he told me! He said that one night coming home late from a long trip back to his house at the Seven Springs beach , he decided to taske a shortcut. He walked over the top of the hill that has the cave on its other side, when he, coming closer, suddenly heard such a great roar that his hair stood up all over his skin.

He tried to run but his legs seemed to be of lead! That was when he saw that beast leaving the cave and coming in his direction ! It was a monstruous animal! The upper half of its body looked just like that dragon we always se in the images of Saint John, wher the Saint spears his lance through its heart. The rest of its body was like a snake, with no legs and winding over the ground. On top of that situation, the full moon suddenly decided to hide itself behind a cloud leaving everything in pitch black darkness. "This is it" Antero thought, "now I'm going to die!". Crossing himself he kneeled down praying the "Crendos Padre". The beast stopped and curled his snakelike body into a coil as if getting ready to strike, but it did no such thing. On the contrary, it turned around and away from Antero. It was then that Antero's legs again felt strong enough to rush him away from that place and to his home, arriving there more dead than alive. Mother, do you remember that day when Antero took me with him to Maranduba to see the wedding of Justina? For it was on that day that he told me the story of the dragon of the Sununga beach.

But mother, I don't know why that man told me the story, don't know... Since that day I never forgot about that dragon, seeing him everywhere in every place, big, slimy and winding like a snake over the ground. For me it seemed that he was watching me when washing clothes by the river, on the path that goes to Gardinos little store, by the acre of land we're cultivating, even by the boathouse where we keep the canoes, he seemed to be everywhere watching me. But he wasn't. But you know, I wasn't even afraid? I even wanted to see the dragon? I really did want to, I swear. Well then, one night, and it was no dream, he came to my room opening the door in total silence. It was the dragon! Looking exactly like Antero had told. At that moment I tried to scream for your help, but who says that I could scream! I couldn't even move! And then the beast came closer and closer and in coming nearer it became smalller and smaller until it fitted right in that corner by the window over there! It didn't took long and it started to roll itself up and looked like the cilynder of the jacitara palm and suddenly it turned into a human being ,in a young man, and God help me, so beautiful that I lost all my fears.

He stood there for a long time, looking at me with sky coloured eyes. He smiled at me warming my heart, and I smiled back as he came closer and sat on my bed stroking my hair with tender hands. And then, then.... he stayed with me mother, and only left when the first light announced the arrival of the morning sun. And I felt so sorry, so sorry that I had to cry, and now I'm not in any mood to work, to eat, not even to talk. My only desire is to stay here and wait for that beast to come back again, turn itself into that beautiful young man and stay with me all night. Just a few moments ago I was crying because I begged him to stay, but he always leaves before the sun rises, no matter how hard I beg he simply leaves me alone thinking about him all day till night falls again and I'm no longer alone in my room.

* * *

Hearing this revelation drove Sinhá Anália to the edge of despair and madness. But what could she do? Seek help with whom? Only thing left was to pray and ask relatives and friends to do the same, hoping for a miracle that would free her child from such affliction.

* * *

The time went by, when on a certain day an old man knocked at her door, maybe a monk because of his tunic, and with a hoarse whisper begged for something to eat, a simple piece of bread would do he said. Sinhá Anália, the beleaguered mother who suffered so much, still found pity in her heart for the stranger and made him come into her house and gave him to eat. They started to talk about this and that and sudenly Amália found herself opening her heart and afflictions to that stranger telling him the reasons aof all that sorrow in the house.

The old man listened to her without a word or gesture as if enthralled in distant thoughts. When Anália finished her tale, he made her sit by his side and told her that in a place far away, during his peregrination he already had heard about the satanic monster which tormented the population of Análias town. That's why he came he said, by divine inspiration , to free her from her despair caused by that evil spirit.

This revelation spread like fire through the village reuniting a considerable crowd which on a certain day followed that old sorcerer on the path that led to the dragons cave by the Sununga beach.

They all stumbling and breathing heavily from the exhaustive journey followed the man up to the top of the hill that housed the dragons cave. Upon his arrival, the monk opened his arm in a wide gesture of the cross and sprinkled some drops of misterious water from a small flask he carrid at his belt over the entrance of the cave. At that precise moment an enormous thunder was heard shaking the ground and frightening the praying crowd. The sea, in sudden violent turmoil charged the rocks with violence and retreated opening itself in front of the cave giving passage to that apocaliptic monster which roaring in fury, disappeared into deep waters.

* * *

Nothing was ever heard again about the Sununga dragon. About Marcelina we know that in spite of still seeming forlorn and sometimes absent, she lived for long long years still showing traces of that young and cheerful woman with lovely skin and flowing black hair, maintaining her well shaped body up to a very old age.

Today, he who positions himself within that cave will notice that from the curved ceiling, as if sprouting from solid rock, small rivulets of silvery drops of cristalline water fall down to the moist sand of the cave.

Some say that they are the remains of the waterdrops sprayed by that old monk, so keeping away forever the dragon. But others, and certainly most of them, swear that those drops are the still flowing tears from Marcelina who went back to that cave many many times, hoping for the return of that dragon and the beautiful young man, to stay again with her through the night until the dawning of a new day.

* * *

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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