At ViLaCa our students are not only learning the Spanish language, they are also learning the cultures that thrive with the language. Having the opportunity to learn about the different food, animals, and legends found throughout Latin America our students develop a closer relationship to the language and grow a stronger desire to learn! A Mermaid’s Song
For this week our students have the opportunity to learn about an interesting legend from Venezuela. The story begins with an important river that flows through Venezuela, Orinoco. This river is one of the most important rivers in Latin America and it is the largest river in Venezuela. It also happens to be surrounded by many interesting legends that talk about monsters and other mythical creatures. Its name comes from a Venezuelan indigenous tribe that no longer exists today who lived in the area near the banks of the Orinoco river. A Mermaid’s Song
“The mermaids will then drag them to the bottom of the river.”
A Mermaid’s Song
Fishermen of the area believe that there are mermaids who live in this river. One of these mermaids is known as la Carona and she seduces sailors and fishermen. Those who fall in love with her are given a good catch, those who do not are frightened with bubbling water and by rocking their canoes. Sailors have told stories of their encounters with these mermaids. A fisherman named Tortoledo died from shock when La Carona launched his canoe from Orinoco to the mouth of the Caris river. Vicente Reyes, who lives in la Encaramada said that he improved his luck with the mermaid by giving an offering of Anis, a sweet liquor. Every time he went he gave this offering and his catch went well.
In Alto Orinoco, they believe that in the depths of the rivers and lagoons of the Amazon there are enchanted cities that indigenous people call Temendagui, which belongs to the kingdom Mawari. When fishermen arrive at their fishing areas and can not stop thinking about their loved one, these mermaids take advantage of that and transform to look like the women these men love. In looking like them the mermaids are able to trick the men and take them to the enchanted city. Sailors tell stories of mermaid sightings.
They were found sitting on top of a rock, combing their long hair. Sailors with experience warned not to approach them otherwise they run the risk of being seduced by the mermaid’s charm and song. The mermaids will then drag them to the bottom of the river. They would be devoured or become the mermaid’s lover, or if he was successful in resisting them he would be granted supernatural powers.
The Orinoco mermaids are similar to those that exist in the world of mythology. The head and torso of the mermaid resembles a woman and it has the tail of a fish. In Greek mythology similar stories of these mermaids are also told. In Homer’s Odyssey, Circe, a sorceress who owns the island where Ulysses’ boats make a stop on his way home from the Battle of Troy. Ulysses remembers his wife’s warning of the mermaids who live on this island. She warned him of the mermaid’s song. He must cover his ears otherwise on hearing their song he would be caught under their spell. Many stories of mermaids are found throughout different cultures. Sightings of mermaids really bring to question the existence of mermaids. What do you think? Are they simply legends or do mermaids really exist?
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