The Legend of Fura and Tena

The legend of Fura and Tena is a part of the cultural heritage of the area of exploitation of Emeralds in Colombia and there are two mountains that represent them: of 840 meters of height (Tena) and 500 m (Fura), over the mining Guaquimay River, Carare or Zarbi as is described in the legend and that is divided in two. They are a pride and a sign of the natural richness of the region formed by a native forest with an impressive diversity of wildlife, among which highlights the 3.000 varieties of butterflies that are also part of the legend. These mountains were a place of worship for the Muzos Indians, considered the site of their gods and a sacrificial altar.

“The legend is part of the pre-Columbian stories that have been preserved over time thanks to the oral tradition of the people of the region”

“It was Are, the supreme god, creator of the land and people of the Muzos, like an immense inclined shadow that looked out the sides of the Great River (Magdalena) crossing in slow flight the vastness of space and the sway of his gliding step, according to greater or lesser movements, the mountains and valleys were emerging as a grateful greeting to their creator. He stopped after the banks of the sacred mining river and with a handful of earth formed the idols called Fura (woman) and Tena (Male) and then threw them into the stream, where they were purified by kissing the foam, taking breath and life, with them, the first two beings of the human race. Are showed them the limits of their domains, taught them how to cultivate the land, how to make crockery, weave blankets and fight bravely to defend against the beasts and strange beings who came to their territories; he gave them healthy rules to live by, instilling freedom without limitations of any kind, gave them the sun, the moon, and stars and they shall enjoy the land eternally, he granted them the privilege of perpetual youth, but love should be unique and exclusive between the two, the rule of life that would be breached by infidelity, would bring aging and death to both. So Fura and Tena were forming the world of Muzos; years and centuries passed by, generation after generation, but time did not reach them; always in perpetual youth and progressive fertility, they saw their offspring weed out the mountains and populate the domains. Each Muzo, at twenty, chose a plot and formed their home, completely free, without being subject to any regime, with no other obligation than to venerate their sacred parents, Fura and Tena.

Therefore they were arising in the mountains the fields of Turtur, Tununguá, Pauna, Canipe, Misuncha, Quípama, Oquima, Cubache, Sacán, Terama, Corauche, Acoque, Chánares, Bunque, Ibacapí, Macaguay, Cóquira, Quipe, Chungaguta, Maripi, Muzo, Cuacha, Guaquimay, Sosque, Isabí, Miabe, Boquipí, Purí, Quibuco, Pistoraque, Coper, Surapí,Itoco, Yanaca, Ancanay, Otanche, as a tribute of veneration to the first two beings so fruitfully they fulfilled the command of the supreme Are, god creator, in his march to the sun, that had long plunged into the sacred waters of the Carare.

Quiet and sweet within their hard work, the Muzos’ lives passed on, and after many centuries, death-haunted at last, the youth of Fura and Tena. On the western side, where Are appeared, came a young man of a rare breed in search of a unique and miraculous flower, which had in its perfume relief to all pains and in their essences the remedy to all diseases. Interestingly, he roamed the mountains, crossed rivers, climbed trees and waited for dawn at the highest peaks, peering in vain all over for the plant that would hold the sought after flower. Zarbi was the name of this strange character, he wandered many days and many nights in search of the flower and convinced of the futility of his efforts went to Fura hoping to find in her a strong support for its purposes, telling the wonderful properties of such a plant. Such strength of conviction put Zarbi to his words that the compassionate Fura offered to help to search for the flower and looking for it, they went both to the mountain, but the feeling was changing and the primitive impulse of compassion was dying to emerge into love; in the search for the mysterious flower, and under the cover of the jungle, the occasion for infidelity aroused, the poisonous flower that carried death in his secrets.
The accusations from consciousness, the words of Are speaking from the depths of her soul, pushed Fura into sadness and with that aging, irrefutable proof of infidelity and an assured death announcement.
Tena, understood then, that the sacred law of unique and exclusive love that was imposed to them by Are, had been violated by Fura and that they should die. But the unfaithful, as a punishment, would have to hold in her knees for eight days the body of the deceived husband, to in this way, water with tears the remains of the innocent victim and watch and suffer all the horrible process of human decomposition.

Tena carefully sharpened his truncheon, as a dagger and, lying on the knees of Fura, he stabbed himself. Blood began to flow gushing from the wound, covering Fura´s feet with a quicksand purple blanket, while his soul began the march to the sun, the star that Are had made to animate life, but before the eternal absence he then sought his revenge and in a faraway land he turned Zarbi into a bare rock, in order to whip him with strands of rays from the sun’s mansion, the Muzos’ sky.

Zarbi within his stony immobility could yet fight, defend and take revenge, tore his guts transforming all the blood that animated him in life, into a torrent of water, tearing weeds and flooding the land of the Muzos, but when contemplating Fura with the corpse of Tena on her knees, the stormiest waters became angry, crashing against the spouses, isolating them forever and leaving them face to face, turned into two large rocks being cut into slashes that are still looking at each other, separated by the flow of the river.

“Cries of pain echoes when drilling in the stillness of the forest, they burst, transformed into flocks of multicolored butterflies”

Immense was the pain of Fura, the few hours she held the body of Tena in her knees were centuries of bitterness, his regrets and tears live and will live in the history of the Muzos, her cries of pain when drilling echoes the stillness of the jungle, turned into flocks of multicolored butterflies and her tears, her torrents of tears that tried in vain to contain their spoiled son Itoco, were transformed with every kiss from the sun, in a range of mountains, Emerald mountains.
The sad fate of Fura and Tena however, touched the heart of Are, that from his throne of the sun forgave them, leaving to watch the sacred rocks, a permanent guard of storms, lightning and snakes and allowing to be always the waters of the River Minero, Zarbi’s blood, the ones that discover, clarify, wash and polish Muzo Emeralds, tears of the unfaithful and repentant Fura. Therefore and since then, The Muzos have their great temple on the rock of Furatena, the richest Emerald mines, with the most poisonous snakes and most beautiful butterflies.