The Golden Voice of Poas
rewritten by Phillip Martin

Long before the arrival of the Spanish, the countryside around Poás Volcano was known for its very beautiful birds and one very beautiful maiden.  But, everyone agreed that the friendship between the maiden and the Rualdo bird was even more beautiful.

The two had been inseparable ever since the maiden saved the Rualdo from a hunter's snare.  The brightly colored Rualdo was eternally grateful.  From that day on, wherever the maiden went, her journey was serenaded by the lovely singing of the Rualdo.  Many people asked which was lovelier -- the maiden, the song, or the bird's colorful plumes. Most didn't care as they enjoyed them all equally.  Even the old shaman, who never seemed to like anything, smiled when the two passed his way.

But, not everything was peaceful and safe in Poás.

Deep inside the earth, the volcano stirred and rumbled.  Smoke billowed from the crater, the earth shook, and lava threatened to flow down the mountainside.  The old shaman knew the dangers of the volcano.  When he was a young boy, he'd seen what the volcano could do when angry.  He never wanted to see the volcano angry again.  So, he decided he had to see what could be done to calm the angry spirit of Poás.

The old shaman crept up to the edge of the crater.  A burst of flame pushed him back and the spirit of the volcano roared!

"Why are you so angry?" cried the old shaman.  "What can I do to keep you from destroying our village?"

More smoke billowed from the crater and then the spirit roared, "Only one thing will ease my anger.  I demand a sacrifice!"

"Yes, great spirit," replied the shaman, "I will gather some of our animals immediately."

"That is not the sacrifice I demand," replied the spirit.  "Bring me the young maiden who walks with the Rualdo."

Another burst of flames erupted from the center of the crater.  The old shaman was too frightened to argue with the spirit of the volcano.  He returned to his village with the sad news.

The young maiden tried to be brave.  She quietly walked with the shaman to the edge of the crater.  But when she saw the fire and the boiling fury of the volcano below, she lost all her courage.  She tried to flee away from the volcano and down the mountainside, but the old shaman held on tightly.

During all of this, the Rualdo never left the side of his friend.  However, all that changed as the maiden struggled for her life.  The bird soared into the midst of the volcano's fury. Neither heat nor fire, smoke nor flame could stop him.  He cried out to the spirit of Poás, "Do not take my friend!  Take my gift instead."

For a moment, the fury of the volcano ceased.  And then, in a burst of flame, the spirit of Poás cried out, "What can you possibly give me that could stop this sacrifice?"

"I offer you my voice," replied the Rualdo.  "All who hear it say that it is golden."

The little bird then sang for the volcano.  It was a song of his love for the maiden who had saved his life.  His truly was a magical voice.  Some say that it was that magic that caused the spirit of the volcano to weep.  The tears cooled the raging lava and quenched the furious flames.  His tears flowed down the mountainside creating Botos Lagoon, still seen today.  And when those tears finally stopped, the spirit of Poás accepted the Rualdo's gift.

Many people considered it a huge price for the little bird to pay.  But, the Rualdo never thought about it.  He and the young maiden remained as inseparable as ever.  However, after that, it was the fair maiden whom everyone heard singing beautiful songs to her silent little Rualdo.