The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid is based on the legend of La Sirena De Hurtado, in Valledupar, Colombia. It dates back to 1917 and tells the story of a young girl who defied her parents and went swimming in the river on Good Friday. According to the legend the girl turned into a mermaid because she was cursed for her disobedience and non-observance of Good Friday a traditional Catholic holiday. See the pictures of the monument of La Sirena De Hurtado located at the edge of the Guatapurri River in Valledupar, Colombia. Every summer, the swimming basin attracts hundreds of tourists who want to see the monument of the mermaid and swim in the crystal blue waters of this legendary river.
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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite Every legend is a story with a lesson to share. A mermaid kidnaps children swimming in a Colombian river on Good Friday, a day of religious observance, and many, fasting, easily fall victim to the mermaid who only wants children to play with her in her underwater kingdom. You see, this mermaid was once a child in this village, a child who went swimming on Good Friday, diving off the cliffs into the river and instantly turning into a mermaid. Over the years, more children disappeared. La Sirena was the name given to the mermaid because her call attracted children and gold-laden ships to their doom. As well as children, whom the mermaid turns into mermaids, La Sirena has a passion for gold. In The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid, ten-year-old Judith plays with her five-year-old brother Tomas near the Guatapuri River, and other children from their village of Valledupar play with them. Judith, being the oldest, is reminded every day to watch over her younger brother. She does, until the day before Good Friday, when she looks away briefly and then Tomas is suddenly missing. Frantic to find her missing brother before Good Friday, she learns from the wildlife that live at the water’s edge that the mermaid might consider trading Tomas for gold, since the mermaid loves gold more than she loves children. The author Janet Balletta heard this legend as a child from her mother, Judith A. Cardenas Reyes. Of the many stories her mother told, this was her favorite. A delightful story, very colorfully illustrated, it teaches a lesson to young people: listen carefully to what parents instruct and always be careful around the water. Lovely story, told in the fashion of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale.