The White Lady

The legend(s) of the White Lady as told by Daddoo:

“We have a story about doomed love.  In some versions, he is Chamorro and she is Spanish – the daughter of some official or high-ranking officer; in other versions, he is the Spanish officer and she is a village girl.

“In the first version, the couple met in secret in Agat, on the Old Spanish Bridge.  Her father obviously didn’t want her mingling with the natives, so when he heard that his daughter was having an affair with this boy, he had him killed.  The daughter found out what had happened and went back to their meeting spot on the bridge and threw herself off.  This White Lady is said to walk the bridge at night; sometimes she weeps, mourning the love that was taken from her, and other times she screams and howls in rage at her misfortune.  Because she was not allowed to marry and have a family as she had wished, she especially dislikes children and other women.

“In the second version, the Spanish officer wooed a girl from Mai’na.  He was charming, and he won her trust and love by showing her how kind and caring he could be, so she no longer feared or distrusted him and his people.  But once they were married, he became controlling and abusive.  One of the things he forced her to do was to go down and fetch water for him to have with his dinner – but he would only drink the fresh water from the Fonte’ River in the valley below their home.  At first, she disliked having to run down to the valley every evening and haul a clay pitcher full of water all the way back up to their home, but after a while she began to find peace in her time alone on these walks, away from him and his watchfulness and obsessiveness.

“After a few months, her husband realized it was taking her longer and longer to make the journey to and from the river.  On the night of their first anniversary, he insisted she make the journey as she always had, despite the violent storm raging outside.  It was cold and pouring rain, and the sky was so full of clouds that it turned the entire night pitch-black.  The downpour had made the stream overflow its banks, turning it into a flood of cold, muddy water, but without the moon to light her way, she could not see it; she reached the embankment, but, just as she bent to scoop water into her pitcher, the rushing water tore the ground apart below her feet, and she fell in.  No one could hear her screaming for help over the sounds of the storm, and she was dragged under.  It is said that you can see this White Lady only for a brief period, from the time the sun sets until the moon rises, and she can be seen anywhere along the Fonte’ River, from Mai’na to Adelup Bay, her silver hair flying all around her, weeping and wailing, her open mouth a pit of blackness.

“Despite their unfortunate deaths, both of these women loved Guam – the first, because it was the homeland of the man she loved, and she knew only cruelty and deprivation from her own culture; the second, because it was her own home and, unlike the man she married, had always been beautiful and good to her.  So, because of this, the White Lady – no matter which version you know about – will appear to warn the people of Guam when there is danger coming, a bad storm or an attack.”

Behind the Legend…

Every culture seems to have some form of a “doomed lovers” legend.  Whether or not either of these Ladies ever truly existed is impossible to determine, but the locations of their alleged deaths truly do exist, and there have been numerous sightings of a ghostly woman walking along both Fonte’ River and the Old Spanish Bridge.

One interesting aspect of the second legend is the description of the woman’s apparition: silver-haired and mouth as black as night.  During the late 17th-century, it was reportedly common for Chamorro women to stain their teeth both red and black and bleach their long black hair almost white by repeatedly treating it with lime, oil, and sea water.

All sources of historical information are listed here:  Chamorrknow.  The above legend was recorded as it was told to me by my Daddoo.


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