The edges of the stones were mossy and slick. When we tried to climb on them we slipped into the rushing current of the river. We were carried swiftly downstream, looking for a jetty or an overhanging branch on which to cling. There were no helpful signs. The river had run away with us, and in our folly we had lost our way deep in the forrest. The adventure had turned into a nightmare without a map or a plan.
This little hike started out with innocent curiosity about where the source of this river . Some said the tributaries trickled down from the whole mountain range, naturally seeking the sea. Others told stories of a hidden artesian spring deep in a cave, which was the main source of all the water we found in between the river’s banks. It had been said in ancient times a hermit guarded the source of the spring, to keep the enemies from polluting it. The folk tales of the valley mention healing powers, even miraculous restoration of wealth and status, attributed to bathing in the river water. The hermits and the shamans kept the secret of the waters for themselves. They stopped healing the sick, and started selling miracles to those in power at the time. After a time the spring ran dry, and the flow of the river was diminished.
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