Love, death, and a Bridal Veil falls.
September 3, 2014
I KNEW THE STORY.
I had heard it before.
The story had not changed.
It never does.
I watched the lacy white water come cascading off the rock cliffs and tumble down a steep precipice into the timbered valley far below.
We weren’t far from the magnificent Morency Falls near Quebec City.
I was more interested in the grace and beauty of Bridal Veil Falls.
“Some call it the Dame Blanche Waterfall,” the guide said.
“A lady’s name?”
He shook his head.
“It means White Lady Falls.”
“She was young.”
“She was in love.”
He sadly shook his head.
“On her wedding day,” he said, “her true love, a French soldier, marched away to war. Their parting broke her heart.”
I thought he might cry.
He chocked it back.
He was French, you know.
Caught up in the moment.
Hoping for a good tip.
“The young soldier did not return from battle,” he said. “The French were at war with the British, and he died with a British bullet in his heart.”
“Are you sure it was his heart?”
The guide grinned
“It makes a better story that way,” he said.
The lovely Quebec maiden was torn with grief.
That’s what he said.
Her grief was heavy.
She mourned for a year.
Then in the darkness of a sad night, with the glow of a new moon christening the ground around her, she dressed herself in her wedding gown, walked to the crest of Morency Falls, and threw herself into the turbulent water.
Death had separated the maiden from her love.
Death would bring them together again.
Death, like love, was eternal.
As she fell, her long, white wedding veil was caught by the wind and blown against the rocks.
When morning came, the veil had been transformed into a glistening white waterfall.
As I said, I had heard the story before.
In the mountains that would one day surround Gadsden, Alabama, an Indian princess had walked to the summit of a great falls.
She, too, was stricken with grief.
She, too, had a broken heart.
The princess was in a love with a young man from another tribe.
Their love was forbidden.
He had been taken away from her.
She would never see him again.
She, too, threw herself into the treacherous, churning water of the falls.
He was not there.
She would wait for him.
There would be no life without him.
The hereafter would be her waiting room.
The stories were nations apart.
Hundreds of years apart.
But they remain, and they always will.
The stories may be truth.
They may be legend.
But they are woven together by the two basic themes that make all stories great.
Without them, I sometimes wonder if there would be any stories at all.
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