Islandmomma

Exploring the Stories of the Islands and the Freedoms of Third Age

Maria’s Rock: Stories of El Médano Nº2

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Islands are breeding grounds for myths and legends. Perhaps it’s the smallness, the lack of alternatives,  which embellishes stories until the truth becomes lost in the mists of time, or in the case of Tenerife, perhaps in the sea of clouds which wreathes itself around the island’s heights. Whatever the reason, storytelling is alive and well and most definitely living on the archipelago.

My first story of El Médano was a true one, a curiosity. The next one is a myth, and, like all good myths, it  varies slightly with the telling, which is the fascination with myths, isn’t it?……but  I get ahead of myself.

Granadilla's older street have changed little. Maria perhaps lived in a house like this one.

Granadilla’s older street have changed little. Maria perhaps lived in a house like this one.

It seems that around two hundred, or it might be three or even four hundred years ago, because the story would be appropriate to any of those eras, there lived in Granadilla de Abona, the municipality in the foothills to which El Médano was once port, a young girl called Maria, and her lover, Juan. Juan desperately wanted to marry Maria, but was poor and had nothing to offer her, so he hit on the idea of hopping on one of the trading vessels which stopped in Canarian ports in those years, and emigrating to the new world in search of his fortune.

This he did. Maria had eyes for no other, and swore she would wait for him until the day they could be together as man and wife. Long years passed. Juan prospered in the Americas and grew rich, and Maria waited.

One day, some say after two years, some say many more, Maria received a letter from Juan, telling her that at last he was wealthy enough to return to Tenerife and make her his wife. He was shortly to embark on a returning vessel which was bringing other émigrés back to their sunlit mountain in the sea.* Overjoyed, Maria spent her days on the sea-shore hoping to spy the ship’s sails on the horizon. Weeks passed, months passed, and finally years also passed without sight, without another word from or of her lover.

How many sunrises did Maria witness in her long sojourn on the shore?

How many sunrises did Maria witness in her long sojourn on the shore?

Speculation about what had happened to Juan and his companions was rife. It was mooted that a ship such as his, laden with treasures from the Americas was a prime target for pirates, and that it had been attacked and captured. Other tattle had it that a huge storm had dragged the boat down to Davy Jones’ Locker. It remained a mystery. Juan had, simply, disappeared.

Distraught, Maria stopped returning to the village at night, remaining on the beach, waiting and watching. She spoke with no-one, and rumors sprang up that sorrow had made her dumb, or that her voice and meshed with the roar of the waves, and she could only cry in anguish.

Then, one day the fisherman, accustomed to seeing her every day, saw that she was gone, but in the place where she used to wait, a small,  rocky outcrop now reached from beach to ocean. They say that the ocean took pity on her and enfolded her in its embrace so that she could be reunited there with Juan, and that in her place it left these rocks in her memory.

These are the rocks most people point to when you ask which is Maria's rock. Buffeted by the waves the windsurfers love to ride.

These are the rocks most people point to when you ask which is Maria’s rock. Buffeted by the waves the windsurfers love to ride.

Although myths always have different versions, most people tell the same story about Maria and her Juan, according to those with whom I’ve spoken or read. What seems to differ is just which rocky outcrop is the one which bears her name. There are two on the stretch of beach from Hotel Médano to the Montaña Roja Reserve, and it’s usually the one at the far end, near the mountain to which folk point.

Another possibility. Some folk claim this to be Maria's memorial. Only the ocean knows for sure.

Another possibility. Some folk claim this to be Maria’s memorial. Only the ocean knows for sure.

*sunlit mountain in the sea ….. those lovely words are not mine, but Bruce Chatwin’s, from his book “In Patagonia,” when he meets there, in the barrenness, a Canary Islander who dreams of home.

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Author: IslandMomma

Loving island life and exploring the freedoms Third Age brings: Challenging myself every day: writing, traveling, snapping pix, running & teaching ESL

9 thoughts on “Maria’s Rock: Stories of El Médano Nº2

  1. This is the first time I have heard this lovely story – it brought a lump to my throat, thank you for sharing. x

  2. Sure it isn’t calima, the lump in the throat, Meryl?? I only heard myself, by chance, recently, but once you start listening to stories they start to come to you. It’s the law of attraction I guess. The next one is a funny one, well at least it’s certainly not one I take seriously, but it will take me a while to write it all out and check the facts in Spanish. This one was much shorter and easier!

  3. Great story! Loved it… and I’m actually wondering if it could be true…

  4. I just love those story’s…….can’t have enough of them !!!

  5. Loved the views! And what a story 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • so glad you like it! I came across it quite by chance, and it struck a chord somewhere, and since I heard it other stories seem to be presenting themselves, so I will hope to post more! Thank you for commenting, Mariana!

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