A Trio of Tenerife Legends

Sat, October 1st, 2011 - By Andrea Montgomery

Always surrounded by mystery, from their very birth and how their first inhabitants got here, to the mysterious eighth island which appears and disappears at will, the Canary Islands have been a place of legends – these are just three of Tenerife’s:

Cursed Garachico

From floods, pestilence, swarms of locusts and devastating fires, Garachico has been the butt of nature’s bad temper over the course of its 500 year history. Yet at the turn of the 18th century, it was the wealthiest town on Tenerife, trading in silks and slaves from the exciting New World, brought in the ships that filled its deep harbour.

Amidst all the glamour, one Garachico family grew tired of playing host to the indolent monk who spent his days eating and drinking at their table whilst preaching about the virtue of poverty. Finally, their patience exhausted, they threw him out of their house. Furious, the monk cursed the town as he left saying:

“Garachico, rich town
Squanderer of wealth,
Let an evil rock fall on you!”

The very next day the town was engulfed in a volcanic eruption which wiped out 384 neighbourhoods and filled the harbour with lava, thus destroying the source of its wealth.

The dragon’s tale

 In Greek mythology, when Hercules was asked by the Oracle to perform 12 labors, one of them was to steal the golden apples from the tree in the Garden of Hesperides, or Tenerife as it’s better known today. The Garden was guarded by a 100-headed dragon called Ladon, and when Hercules slayed him, a tree sprang up from every drop of the dragon’s blood that fell to the ground. The trees all had 100 heads, just like Ladon, and when you cut them, the dragon’s blood flowed anew.

Today the trees are known as Drago trees and they grow across northern areas such as Los Realejos, Icod de Los Vinos, La Laguna, La Orotava and the Anaga Mountains sprouting a hundred heads. When cut, the sap of the tree oxidises and turns red and is known as Dragon’s blood.

Bewitched

The hidden paradise of Masca has long been associated with tales of witchcraft and shapeshifters. One evening a Masca  boy was getting ready to go out to see his girlfriend in Erjos when his mother asked him not to go as she’d heard the sweet song of witches and was worried they might attack him. The boy ignored her advice and set off to meet his girlfriend.

As he walked through the woods of Monte del Agua, he came across a large sow and she began to chase him. Frightened, the boy picked up a stick and began to beat the pig to scare it off but the pig kept chasing him and he had to beat it harder and harder. Eventually, panic stricken, the boy ran home. The following day he went to Erjos to explain to his girlfriend why he hadn’t shown up but he found her heartbroken and in mourning for her mother who’d died in the night – she’d been beaten to death with a stick in the Monte Del Agua forest.

Posted : Saturday, October 1st, 2011 at 9:57 am
Category : about tenerife
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One Response to “A Trio of Tenerife Legends”

  1. […] Apparently, a monk cursed the town, departing with the words: Garachico, rich town Squanderer of wealth, Let an evil rock fall on you! […]

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