The Legend of Lovers’ Leap

During the eighteenth century, the Apache and the Huaco tribes were sworn enemies. One day, according to legend, love blossomed between an Apache brave and Wah-Wah-Tee, the daughter of a Huaco chief. They met in present-day Cameron Park as the girl picked spring wildflowers along the Bosque and Brazos rivers. They continued to meet in secret along the banks of the rivers or at the top of the highest peak overlooking the valley. Try as they might to keep their love a secret, their tribes soon suspected something. When Wah-Wah-Tee was in the Huaco village, tribe members often commented on her glowing appearance and the lush colors of her cheeks.

One day, news of an Apache war party on the eastern side of the river (now East Waco) circulated through the village. The Huaco grew anxious, fearing an imminent battle. That evening, as the Huaco tribe slept, Wah-Wah-Tee snuck out of her hut and crossed the Brazos to rendezvous with her Apache lover. Unbeknownst to Wah-Wah-Tee, a Huaco brave saw her crossing the river by the light of a full moon. He immediately woke her father and brothers, who swiftly fell into a silent pursuit. The warriors tracked them to their favorite cliff, and in the moonlight, the chief witnessed his daughter kiss the enemy brave. Furious at the betrayal, her brothers drew their weapons, but the young lovers already knew their fate. Fearing a life apart from one another, they quietly embraced and sprang together from the cliff’s edge.

Even now, during a spring’s full moon, the shadowy figures of Wah-Wah-Tee and her Apache brave appear on the cliff, walking hand-in-hand, and passersby can hear their loving whispers in the dark.

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The legends and folktales in Cotton Bales, Goatmen & Witches: Legends from the Heart of Texas, compiled by Bradley T. Turner and accompanied by photographs from Mark Burdine, bring to life the whispered stories and forgotten secrets that illuminate the darkest recesses of the Texas psyche from the distant past to the present day.

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