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The Story of the First Biobay

Fairy tale legend of the golden heron

The Legend of the Golden Heron

....It so happened that the gates to paradise were near the sea. And there lived a magnificent bird, a Golden Heron, who watched over the gates by day. This lovely golden bird would fly down to the earth every afternoon at sunset to stretch his wings.

One day a young prince was resting under a tree, when the beautiful bird flew by. The golden dust from the wings of the bird caught in the late afternoon rays of sunlight, sparkled like magic and enchanted the prince. The prince began to hide himself, every afternoon, under the tree to wait for the bird. He was in awe. After a few weeks the prince began to want the golden bird for himself. He tried tempting the bird with all sorts of things but the bird was not interested in anything the young prince offered. The bird was always mindful never to land on the earth. He had been warned by the keepers of paradise that, once he set foot on the earth, he would never again be able to return to paradise.

One day a Grand Sultan came to visit the princes father, the king, from across the desert. The Sultan brought the king a bag a beautiful rubies as a gift. A few days later, the young prince took the bag of rubies with him to look at under his favorite tree, where he was now spending most of his time. It was a cloudy day and the young prince got bored with the rubies and threw them away. The rubies sparkled as they flew through the air and were lit by a single ray of sunshine, just as the bird flew by. The golden heron became confused and swooped down to the earth to eat what he thought were the pomegranate seeds he was fed in paradise. The very moment the golden heron landed on the ground he turned into a gold statue! The young prince was sorry about what he had done and picked up the statue of the golden heron. He took it back to the castle with him and placed it on the window ledge of his room.
As the days went by the young prince became very sad to see the plight of the golden heron. Every moonlit night, when the first rays of moonlight touched the golden statue, the bird would come to life and fly all over the kingdom looking for his way back to paradise. He would visit other birds and ask if they knew how to get to paradise. His cry grew more and more mournful as he searched the earth for his way back to paradise. Just before dawn the bird would return to the window ledge and become a statue again with the first glimmer of sunlight. He never found his way back to paradise. The young prince knew he had caused such misery for this beautiful creature and he stayed in his room in the castle more and more, with his 'golden statue'.

His father, the king, became worried about the prince and tried to take the statue away from him. As they argued, it fell and shattered into a million pieces. The young prince cried as though his heart would break, as he picked up the pieces. The king did not know what to do to console his son so he left him there. Hundreds of tiny fairies came into the room from the garden below to help the unhappy young prince collect the pieces and put them into a velvet bag. Just then, the king came back into the room! The fairies were so startled some of them jumped into the bag to hide. The king was so upset to see his young son distraught over the shattered statue that he picked up the bag and threw it out the castle window as far as he could. A tremendous gust of wind caught the bag and carried it across the sea.
Now, what was in that little velvet bag that the king threw so far? The thousands of pieces of gold of the golden heron statue and a dozen little fairies whose wings were covered with magic fairy dust! and the princes tears of sorrow. The velvet bag came to land in a lagoon on a tiny island far away (now called Vieques). The gold dust from the heron pieces and the magical fairies dust and the young princes tears got so mixed together that when the bag landed on the water and opened up, the bioluminescent bay was formed.

The descendants of the magnificent Golden Heron from paradise are the night herons who continue to keep watch over the biobay every night, to this very day. All the herons today have inherited the mournful cry the Golden Heron made as he could not find his way back to paradise. But the magic from those days so long ago lives on in the bioluminescent bay and lights up the lives of all young children to this very day.

... a fairy tale written by Elena, who spent many years in the biobay at night.