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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 4757 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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« Reply #120 on: January 27, 2009, 11:47:17 pm »

such health that, when their bodies were pierced through and through by arrows, they would recover rapidly from their wounds. These things convinced the Spaniards that, even if the Indians would not disclose the source of all their bodily freshness, it must, at any rate, lie somewhere in the neighborhood. Yet a little while, no doubt, and their visitors would reach it.

It was a strange journey for these gray and careworn men as they passed up the defiles and valleys along the St. John's River, beyond the spot where now spreads the city of Jacksonville, and even up to the woods and springs about Magnolia and Green Cove. Yellow jasmines trailed their festoons above their heads; wild roses grew at their feet; the air was filled with the aromatic odors of pine or sweet bay; the long gray moss hung from the live-oak branches; birds and butterflies of wonderful hues fluttered around them; and strange lizards crossed their paths, or looked with dull and blinking eyes from the branches. They came, at last, to one spring which widened into a natural basin, and which was so deliciously aromatic that Luis Ponce

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said, on emerging: "It is enough. I have bathed in the Fountain of Youth, and henceforth I am young." His companions tried it, and said the same: "The Fountain of Youth is found."

No time must now be lost in proclaiming the great discovery. They obtained a boat from the natives, who wept at parting with the white strangers whom they had so loved. In this boat they proposed to reach the mouth of the St. John, meet Juan Ponce de Leon, and carry back the news to Spain. But one native, whose wife and children they had cured, and who had grown angry at their refusal to stay longer, went down to the water's edge and, sending an arrow from his bow, transfixed Don Luis, so that even his foretaste of the Fountain could not save him, and he died ere reaching the mouth of the river. If Don Luis ever reached what he sought, it was in another world. But those who have ever bathed in Green Cove Spring, near Magnolia, on the St. John's River, will be ready to testify that, had he but stayed there longer, he would have found something to recall his visions of the Fountain of Youth.


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