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Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

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Author Topic: Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic  (Read 3242 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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Posts: 4693

« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2009, 11:39:53 pm »

many of their race. To Luis they were always loyal for his cheery ways, although there seemed a change in his spirits as time went on. But an event happened which brought a greater change still.

A Spanish caravel was seen one day, making towards the port and showing signals of distress. Luis, having just then found an excuse for visiting the Cathedral city, was the first to board her and was hailed with joy by the captain. He was a townsman of the youth's and had given him his first lessons in navigation. He had been bound, it seemed, for the Canary Islands, and had put in for repairs, which needed only a few days in the quiet waters of a sheltered port. He could tell Luis of his parents, of his home, and that the northern part of Spain, under Arab sway, was humanely governed, and a certain proportion of Christian churches allowed. In a few days the caravel sailed again at nightfall; but it carried with it two unexpected passengers; the archbishop lost his architect, and the proposed convent lost its unwilling abbess.

p. 166

From this point both the Island of the Seven Cities and its escaping lovers disappear from all definite records. It was a period when expeditions of discovery came and went, and when one wondrous tale drove out another. There exist legends along the northern coast of Spain in the region of Santander, for instance, of a youth who once eloped with a high-born maiden and came there to dwell, but there may have been many such youths and many such maidens--who knows? Of Antillia itself, or the Island of the Seven Cities, it is well known that it appeared on the maps of the Atlantic, sometimes under the one name and sometimes under another, six hundred years after the date assigned by the story that has here been told. It was said by Fernando Columbus to have been revisited by a Portuguese sailor in 1447; and the name appeared on the globe of Behaim in 1492.

The geographer Toscanelli, in his famous letter to Columbus, recommended Antillia as likely to be useful to Columbus as a way station for reaching India, and when the great

p. 167

explorer reached Hispaniola, he was supposed to have discovered the mysterious island, whence the name of Antilles was given to the group. Later, the first explorers of New Mexico thought that the pueblos were the Seven Cities; so that both the names of the imaginary island have been preserved, although those of Luis de Vega and his faithful Juanita have not been recorded until the telling of this tale.



"Latinas letras á la margen puestas
Decian:--'Cuando aquesta puerta y arca
Fueran abiertas, gentes como estas
Pondrán por tierra cuanto España abarca.'"
                                         --LOPE DE VEGA.


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