Legend has it that in Yucayo aboriginal village, exactly where Matanzas city was born, lived Cibayara, cacique Baguanao´s daughter. She and warrior Canimao had a love affair. But their happiness faded away suddenly, when the young woman fell severely ill.
Nobody knew how to cure her, and the loving man went to see the priest, behíque Macaorí, to ask him for help. To his surprise, he was already waiting for him. Macaorí told Canimao that his lover would live to become his wife, but she had a price to pay to god Bagua.
Canimao swore before the deity’s stone image to give his life for Cibayara´s welfare, and immediately the sick woman laughed again. What he did not know was that she had been cured because in the future she would give birth to a man, and a woman who killed for love would be turned into stone by him.
Canimao and Cibayara got married, and celebrated that they would have a son, because that was behíque Macaorí´s prediction. But the young man had forgotten that she would have to keep her promise to go Bagua.
On night Canimao ran away from the village, headed his canoe to the middle of the river, called Canímar at present, and standing on his feet slowly raised his hand, armed with a dagger, and fell into the waters with his chest open.
Every afternoon, Cibayara and his little Guacumao went to deposit flowers to the river that later changed its name to Canimao, which due to a mistaken interpretation by the Spanish conquerors, came to be known as Canímar.
Behíque*: a sort of medical priest who became the main victim of missionaries and colonizers. They were well-respected figures, considered the link between mortals and goddess Atabey
Translated by Manuel Osvaldo Torres Pérez