Some stories are so fantastical that they are passed from generation to generation, becoming legends. And nothing tickles the imagination than legends. One such legend is the Fountain of Youth. The Fountain of Youth is the fabled spring that supposedly restores the youth of those who drink the water or bathe in it.
The Story Behind The Legend
For thousands of years, tales of lost travelers, stumbling on a mysterious spring that restores youth kept appearing in writings and stories.
Perhaps one of the earliest accounts of the legendary spring was made by Herodotus. Herodotus is a Greek philosopher and historian who lived in the 5th BC. He said the key to the Macrobian’s unnatural longevity is a special kind of water that exists only in their land. The Macrobians are a legendary tribe of Aethiopia. Below is a passage taken from Herodotus’ writings:
“The Ichthyophagi then in their turn questioned the king concerning the term of life, and diet of his people, and were told that most of them lived to be a hundred and twenty years old, while some even went beyond that age- they ate boiled flesh, and had for their drink nothing but milk.
When the Ichthyophagi showed wonder at the number of the years, he led them to a fountain, wherein when they had washed, they found their flesh all glossy and sleek, as if they had bathed in oil- and a scent came from the spring like that of violets. The water was so weak, they said, that nothing would float in it, neither wood nor any lighter substance, but all went to the bottom. If the account of this fountain be true, it would be their constant use of the water from it which makes them so long-lived.”
Meanwhile, the indigenous people of the Caribbean are also recounting similar tales during the Age of Exploration. They said that the spring is located in the mythical land of Bimini.
The legend of the fountain of youth by the indigenous people of the Caribbean attracted many travelers, including Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. De León was the first governor of Puerto Rico. And throughout his career, he traveled far and wide to look for the fountain. He even travelled as far as what is now known as Florida in 1513, but he never found the legendary spring.
Other Spanish explorers tried but failed to locate the land of Bimini. Caribbean islanders said the land is renowned for its wealth and prosperity. De León located the land northwest towards the Bahamas but never found the fountain of youth.
The restorative powers of the Bimini waters began spreading to other parts of the Caribbean that even Italian historian Peter Martyr mentioned the magical waters in a letter to the pope in 1513.
Does the Fountain of Youth Exist?
Since then, the fountain of youth became a folk story, a legend that continues to mystify the brave, the vain and the beautiful. After all, the entire beauty industry is founded on preserving youth. It’s not surprising that such tale continues to fascinate people to this very day.
Unfortunately, there is no proof that such spring exists. And if it does, it continues to elude those who seek it. Then and now, the fountain of youth remained as it is, a story.