The Two Lovers

The legend of the Two Lovers as told by Daddoo:

“A while after the Spanish came, a young man from a prominent local family fell in love with a girl from another village.  Their families opposed their marriage – his because she was too low a caste for them to be associated with and hers because a Spanish soldier wanted her and falling in with him might raise their standing.  Despite this, the two continued to see each other, and when their meetings were found out, they were exiled from their villages.

“But his family changed their minds and decided they wanted to bring him home; they were sure they could get through to him if they could just get him away from the girl long enough to talk some sense into him.  The Spanish soldier, too, wanted to find the pair; he no longer wanted the girl, whose reputation was completely ruined, but he did want to punish both of them for making him look so stupid.  And so the young man’s relatives went looking for him, and the Spanish soldier went looking for her.  News traveled fast, and other villages turned the two away, refusing to get caught up in the troubles.

“The two continued running, but life away from their home and without the help of other villagers was very hard; they were reduced to hiding in the jungle, living off of whatever they could scavenge.  Then she got pregnant.

“Realizing they could not really ever be together but refusing to ever be apart, they buried their child, then they climbed to a nearby cliff – the highest, steepest they could find, tied their long hair together, held onto each other, and jumped into the waves 300-feet below.

“Their families searched the shores for their bodies.  When they retrieved them from the sea, their hair still tied together, the elders of both villages decided that, because of the dishonor the two had brought to their families by their rebellion and the dishonor they had brought to their ancestors by their cowardice, their bodies should be sent back to the sea rather than granted honorable burials.  And so their corpses, with the hair still tied together, were put into a big canoe and pushed out into the ocean.

“A storm came, then, with huge waves and violent winds, and the villagers fled for the safety of their homes, where they were safe from the rain and the wind that raged all night long.  At sunrise, the villagers left their homes and returned to the beach to find the canoe had washed ashore… but the bodies were gone.  Believing that their ancestors had cursed them for their treatment of the young lovers, the villagers fled in a panic, and the news of this curse swiftly spread through all of the northernmost villages.

two-lovers-cave“From those villages came the manmakahnas (shamans), and they went down to the beach to find this canoe, which still rested there on the shore where it had landed.  They began searching the beach for the bodies, certain that if the canoe had washed ashore so, too, would the bodies.  Instead, in a nearby cave, they found the figures of a man and woman, some 14-feet tall, immortalized forever in limestone, laying just as the young couple had been when placed in the canoe the previous day.”

Behind the Legend…

This tale of doomed love might be the most popular legend of Guam, while Two Lover’s Point is certainly the most popular tourist attraction on the island.  Daddoo’s version of the tale is a mix of the original legend and the revised, post-colonization stories.  Like most ancient tales that have been handed down by word of mouth, it varies in the telling, but the original legend told prior to the arrival of the Spanish is pretty much exactly like Daddoo’s, except the young woman was from the more prominent family.

two-lovers-statueThe most common version told after the arrival of the Spanish is of a wealthy Spanish businessman who wed the daughter of a Chamorro chief.  The two settled in Hagåtña to raise their family and formed close ties with both the locals and the Spanish.  Their eldest child, a daughter, grew to be a beautiful young woman, and, according to Spanish custom, her father arranged for her to wed a prominent Spanish captain.  The daughter, distraught at the prospect of marriage to a man she barely knew, ran away from home.  She reached the northernmost village of Guam, alone, and there she met a young man from a modest family.  At his insistence, she returned to the safety of her home, but she promised to meet with him again.  When she arrived back in Hagåtña and told her father of the young man she’d met and of her love for him, he demanded that she put away her ridiculous notions and marry the Spanish captain immediately.  Dismayed, she again ran away, this time hurrying straight back to the seaside village where she’d last seen her lover.  This time, however, she was followed by her enraged father and the spurned Spanish captain, who, along with a small contingent of soldiers, managed to pursue the pair all the way up to the highest cliffs of Tumon Bay.  Trapped between the sea and the soldiers, the pair knotted together their hair and leaped into the sea below.

Whether there is any truth to any versions of this abiding legend is a mystery.  But the 14-foot limestone figures still rest in Two Lover’s Cave and have been commemorated by a 25-foot high bronze statue at the top of the cliff.  And if nothing else, it is a beautiful – if tragic – tale.

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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