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  • Shamika Daga

THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH




“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18." -Mark Twain

Who would not like to go back to merry days of youth and childhood, where one could be free of worries and laugh and dance under the blue sky. Growing up, all of us have thoughts like “Oh! I wish I could go back in time and be a child again“. Without a doubt the days of our youth would be the ones with the most colour and pomp, days which to revisit, we would give anything.

Throughout history, people have sought magical ways to turn back the biological clock, and so there have always been rumours and hopes that someday such means could be discovered. Water iconography is often known to represent restoration or awakening, like in Christianity, Baptism is a spiritual rebirth and in Hinduism, a dip in the holy waters of the Ganges purifies the soul and washes away sins. This has led to sources of water becoming symbols of immortality and rebirth. The spring located at St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S is named the so-called miraculous ‘‘fountain of youth’’. Tale has it that it supposedly restores the youth and cures the sickness of anyone who bathes or drinks from the Sulphur-smelling waters of this mythical spring or causes the drinker of this magical water to live forever.

This spring of eternal hope flowing forth for centuries which is said to be discovered five hundred years ago by Juan Ponce de Leon has been a tourist attraction and one of Florida’s most important historical sights since at least 1901 and maybe even earlier, around 1860. The spring issues forth directly from the Floridan aquifer, which lies below ground under much of North Florida. The water contains over 30 minerals and this has led many to believe that it has healthful properties.

Although these stories are entertaining, no real evidence exists to indicate there is any truth to them. And thus, the mystery of this mystical fountain remains unsolved.



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