THE CALDERA LEGEND

Caldeira do Santo Cristo

Many years ago, as is still the case, sometimes people from the various parishes of S. Jorge went to Fajãs to spend parts of the year with their cattle or just for a bit of the day fishing, catching limpets. In one of the Fajãs there was a beautiful and gentle saltwater lagoon.

Here they caught clams that thrived abundantly in the clear, still waters. At other times they caught limpets, octopuses, moray eels from among the stones of the shore in the puddles around the lagoon.

One day a man from above came down to the boiler. He walked a long, costly and narrow path, and when he reached the boiler, he sat down for a rest before going fishing. His legs even trembled from the effort of his descent, but with the view he enjoyed, he soon felt rested.

Caldeira do Santo Cristo

As he looked around the lagoon, he came across an object that seemed to him to be an image of the Lord Christ. He got up quickly and took the picture that, though it was in the water, was not rotten at all. He was happy with that finding. And no wonder because, in those days, finding a bottle on the shore or a board was already lucky, let alone such a beautiful saint.

When he returned home he was so pleased that the difficult climb didn’t cost him anything. They put the Holy Christ in the best room in the house.

But the next morning, to the chagrin and dismay of the whole family, the saint had already disappeared. They sought him out and came to find him in the sand on the banks of the caldera. And the episode repeated itself. Finally someone said:

Holy Christ wants to be down by the caldera.

The people came together and decided to make a church. They thought of raising it in the other side of the pond, but when they tried to take the stone there they could not. The place was there, near where Holy Christ had appeared.

After much sacrifice and hard work, the church was completed and they put the image there.

Thus, that beautiful Faja was renamed Caldeira do Santo Cristo.

And the people, who love to have fun to forget work and suffering, soon began to have a very big and beautiful party, where religious celebrations were completed with profane diversions. He danced happily and often heard during the dance men sing this song:

The Lord Holy Christ

Where did you go to live?

To the boiler rock,

Near salt water.

 

At one point the priest, for whatever reason, did not want the Holy Christ in the church and decided to take him home. He took the picture but couldn’t move, his feet clinging to the floor. Then he said to the sexton:

– Help me out here that I can’t walk.

The sexton tried, but finally confessed:

– Oh, Father, I can’t pass by either!

“Then leave the saint here,” said the priest.

And so it was. Soon the feet and legs became nimble and the priest and all the people became convinced that this was where Holy Christ had to stay.

Source: FURTADO-BRUM, Ângela Azores: Legends and Other Stories Ponta Delgada, Ribeiro & Caravan Editors, 1999, p.203-204