La India Dormida, Panama

This legend was collected from a friend, who was born and raised in Panama City, Panama and is 20 years old. It is about the story of La India Dormida, which translates to English as “the sleeping Native woman.”


She told me about a story from Valle de Antón, or Anton’s Valley, which is a rural area about two hours away from the city. The place is known as a place of “eternal spring,” where people go to meditate and escape from the city. It is believed that an Urracan casique’s (Indigenous leader) daughter, often called Flor del Aire (Air’s Flower), fell in love with one of the Spanish conquistadors. Yaravi, the strongest warrior in the tribe, was in love with the woman, so he threw himself off a mountain as the woman watched. Stunned, the woman decided to forget about the Spanish conquistador and started wondering around the mountain in grief, until she fell asleep. It is said that nature decided to perpetuate her silhouette, and now that mountain has the shape of the sleeping woman.


I had also heard about this story before but didn’t know much of the background, and I actually drove by this mountain and thought that the shape was somewhat similar to a sleeping woman. I’ve heard that today, people regularly even go to that mountain for hikes. I’ve noticed that forbidden love is a constant theme in South and Central American legends, often punishing the woman involved.