In the symphony of the lush rainforest of Boriken made melodic by San Pedrito and Reina Mora songbirds, crickets, and other singing animals, one charming voice stood out. It was the love song of COQUI, a prince among his people the Taino, and son to the Cacique who oversaw them.

He was carefree, running amongst the trees, feeling the damp forest floor beneath his feet, breathing in the air, heavy and moist. His skin was coffee brown, eyes the color of dark chocolate, hair long and fair, a russet brown with gold highlights where the strands would catch the sunlight. Coqui personified the joys of youth.

the joys of youth."

The prince’s favorite pastime was fishing. As royalty, he did not need to hunt for survival, but still, he partook in the bounty of El Yunque, the sacred rainforest, as it was a chance to escape the duties of status and expectations of society.

He was in love with the trees covered in moss, the blood-red Flores de Maga hibiscus that bloomed in their branches, and the many hidden ponds that gave him refuge beyond the human world. It was while fishing, in all its patience and silence, that he would meditate on the life surrounding him. At this moment, like so many others before at this very same pond, his emotions swelled within his chest, and he began to sing.

This time, unlike the many times he had sung to the forest, Prince Coqui had an unexpected listener. The Goddess Bella heard his praises to El Yunque. He sang of the flowers and animals and gave thanks to whoever tended them. Unbeknownst to him, it was Diosa Bella who raised this forest from infancy. The earliest sprouts were watered by her, the seeds bursting with life at her command. She created the Mariposas Arlequín, the Gallina de Palo Iguanas, and other animals that helped her maintain balance in this vast garden of life. But only Prince Coqui thanked her for it. His voice was bright, and reached into the rainforest floor and canopy, stirring roots and burrowing animals alike. And that is how Prince Coqui convinced the Goddess to fall in love with him, by first expressing his love for her through his song. Boriken

"fall in love."

"And that is how Prince
Coqui convinced the Goddess to fall in love with him..."

Diosa Bella blessed Coqui’s catch, and he hauled in a very large dajao fish. And then again. Again. And again he was blessed with many large fish, which he hurried home to share with his family of a fellow tribesman. The Goddess sent her parrot companion, La Iguaca, to follow Coqui on his trek home so she could see which of the many tribes of the Taino he belonged to. It was there, while he was celebrating his catch with family, that she came before him in the form of a human Taino woman of his tribe. While everyone else conversed around the fire, the songs of maracas rattled and trombones beaten into the air, the newly human Bella conversed with Coqui, sharing stories of their time in El Yunque, their mutual love. The tribesman, music, and all other distractions began to dissolve and only the two of them and their words existed. It was here in this bond that their love for each other bloomed.

Time passed, and the relationship between Bella and Prince Coqui grew with each meeting. Sometimes they would run into the rainforest and purposefully lose each other, only to reunite at the same pond where they first met, led by Coqui’s song.

Bella was infatuated with his voice. He would sing to her while they fished in the pond, and rested against the trunks of the ceiba and tabonuco trees. He was kind and patient, and she was taken by his respect for the forest and its inhabitants. Bella, while looking into Coqui’s eyes as she lay in his embrace, realized she wanted to love him forever as he looked out into the forest, singing of its beauty. Bella was ready to give up her responsibilities as a Goddess to be with him.e dajao fish.

"...the tree suddenly
ripped from its roots."

At that very same moment, when she decided to stay human, the tree suddenly ripped up from its roots. Branches flailed violently and Coqui’s voice was suddenly overcome with the deafening cries of the forest, as animals, plants, and all other living…

…things flew into the sky. Dark storm clouds rolled in and the thunderous roar of a hurricane blared. The Evil God, Juracan, opposed Bella’s decision since her responsibility to El Yunque superseded her love for Prince Coqui. Juracan would not allow her to forsake her duties for one man, and foolishly exchange her divinity for humanity.

""...she would not abandon her Prince, her love was stronger than the pain.""

Coqui embraced Bella as if to protect her from the roaring winds that lifted the lovers from the ground, throwing them about and back into the ground. As her body became bruised and vision blurred, she knew Juracan was attempting to force her to resume her divine state and overcome the frailty of the human body. But she would not transform, she would not abandon her Prince, her love was stronger than the pain. She was stronger than the winds of the hurricane.

"...her love was stronger than the pain."

Juracan had taken her trees, her animals, and her flowers, and even harmed her and her lover. She could grow the trees again, restore the animals, and heal their wounds. Bella would not give in to the thundering God’s wrath, she only needed to outlast it. So he took the one thing she could not protect or restore. Coqui was holding her tightly throughout the onslaught of the hurricane’s winds, never letting go. It seemed like it had been throwing them around, wreaking havoc for hours. It had only been minutes, but their heads rattled with the tumbling and flailing, and eventually, Coqui lost his grip and slipped away from Bella. She grasped his hands and tears streaked her cheeks as the winds rampaged. Bella tried to save her Prince, but she could not use her divine power in human form. She would risk revealing her identity and losing her human form before him as a result. It all happened so fast then. Before she could make a decision, they were torn apart, fingers slipped, and Coqui was flung into the endless dark vortex of the hurricane, never to be seen nor heard again.

The hurricane dissipated, the winds calmed, and the rainforest grew silent. Bella’s chest fell into her lap. She kneeled there on the damp forest floor, and fell to the ground bawling into tears and crying out over the massive loss of her Prince Coqui. Her face twisted with pain, her eyes reddened, hot tears dripped from her chin, and her lungs emptied with the realization that she would never hear his voice again. The Goddess then shed her human form and resumed her divine status once again.

She moved with an immediate purpose, restoring the damage done by the God of Winds and Destruction. She placed new seeds that would sprout into trees and materialized rocks in the ponds to restore the flow of water to nourish the seedlings. She worked tirelessly, keeping her mind off of her loss and focusing only on her responsibilities to El Yunque.

"her love was stronger than the pain."

After days, that turned into weeks, that turned into months, the forest was restored. , But her heart was still broken. Yes, Diosa Bella had resumed her Divinity, saving herself from Juracan. She had healed every last bruise. But even Devine Ones can suffer from a broken heart. The mourning Goddess then remembered Coqui and his wonderful voice. From that memory, she created a small thing. So small that Juracan would not notice it. She poured her love into it and gave it life.

It would sing the prince’s name, in a sound that recalled the prince’s voice. She created it to love and preserve his memory. It was a tiny, somewhat green frog, hidden amongst the beauty of the forest, with a striking feature: an immense voice that outsung all others. The frog and its voice would forever memorialize her love for the lost Taino Prince, and share with the people of Boriken his beautiful voice. Coqui, Coqui, Coqui!

"Coqui, Coqui, Coqui!"

"Coqui, Coqui, Coqui!"

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