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Speaking of Feathers - A Favorite Love Story

(Sarasota, Florida)

During the early 1500's, Sara de Soto, beautiful daughter of the famous Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto,* fell in love with a handsome brave of the Calusa Tribe (Seminole). Before they could be wed, the young man fell deathly ill with a fever of the times. Fearless, Sara raced to his side and nursed him back to health, but in so doing, fell ill herself and died. Grief stricken, Chichiokobe, the young warrior, had her body placed in a canoe, and accompanied by 100 warriors, carried it across Sarasota Bay, where he let her body sink beneath the water. Then, overwhelmed with grief, he is said to have chopped holes in his own canoe to join her in a watery grave. The 100 warriors, loyal to their leader, chose to go down, too.

It is wonderfully told by local people, that when the waters of Sarasota Bay are rough, to this day you can see the feathered bonnets of the 100 braves within the rolling white caps. It is a favorite story in this region, particularly the courage of the hundred warriors. It makes it hard to remember that Sarasota Bay, named like the region for the maiden, is on average 3 to 5 feet deep. But then, who's counting?

Source: Mote Marine Laboratory (, Sarasota, Florida, 2001.

*Spanish discoverer of the region known as Sarasota in western Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, below what is now known as Tampa.

--Wild Birds of the 21st Century
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