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Mitos y Leyendas: The Bermejo

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Bermejo, Agua, Luz, MundoNow, Podcast
Bermejo legend, Shutterstock
  • Genny de Bernardo shares with you the legend of the Bermejo.
  • It is a story in which two young lovers are punished for going against the laws.
  • Regardless of being separated, their love transcended death to remain together.

In the lands bordering the Bermejo River, two rival tribes, the Toba and the Mataco, fiercely contested the territory.

A conflict that reached its climax when the Toba suffered a great offense: the chief’s daughter was captured by the Mataco and taken to live among them.

Despite missing her home, the young woman became familiar with her new life among the Mataco, especially after meeting the enemy chief’s son. Over time, they both fell deeply in love.

However, their love was an affront to the norms and beliefs of both tribes. The union between a Toba and a Mataco was prohibited by the laws of men and considered cursed by the gods.

The sacrifice of the lovers

Water, Wave, Stones, MundoNow, Podcast

Despite the strict orders of the tribal council to cease their encounters, the lovers continued to see each other in secret, further strengthening their love in the shadow of their forbidden romance.

When the chief took a firm stand in defense of tribal traditions, the council decided that the lovers must be sacrificed.

Their hearts would be torn out and thrown into the river as a warning to those who defied social and divine norms.

Under the midday sun, the young couple was taken to the edge of the cliff and executed. Their hearts, when thrown into the water, dyed the river a perpetual red.

Something surprising happens

Ashes, Fire, Sand, MundoNow, Podcast

A few days later, people returned to the site to check the result of the punishment. To their amazement, the hearts had not been carried away by the current; they floated together in the same spot where they had been thrown.

They decided to take the hearts out of the water and burn them to extinguish any trace of their forbidden love.

During a solemn ceremony, the ashes were scattered by the wind, leaving behind only a grayish mound and a faint column of smoke.

Days later, an envoy returned to the site to ensure that the ashes had been carried away by the wind, but was astonished to discover that, instead of the ashes, a small unknown tree had grown.


Leaves, Heart, Bermejo, MundoNow, Podcast

Among its green leaves, two unique red flowers peeked out, forming the shape of a heart.

This tree, called «letanetá» by the Mataco, was born under the shadow of their forbidden love and the waters of the river that bore its name.

Since then, the friendship between the Toba and the Mataco began to flourish, while both tribes continued to fight together in the mountains for their survival.

Mitos y Leyendas bids farewell for the moment and hopes that the legend of the Bermejo has delighted you as much as it has been enjoyed sharing it.

Mitos y Leyendas
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