1. The lake where the Indians lived was …………… .
2. The golden god they believed in was supposed to live …………… .
3. Intheir ceremony they put ……………on a child.
4. They placed …………… on a raft.
5. The offering consisted of …………… .
6. The attempts of European adventurers to find the treasure of El Dorado ……………. .
7. In1904 they tried to find the treasure of Eldorado by …………… through a tunnel.
8. When they finished it, they found that it was impossible ……….. .
9. And the problem was that after a while the lake ………. .
10. When people speak of El Dorado, they think of things like …………… .
The treasure of El Dorado
The most enduring Latin American legend is that of El Dorado – the Gold Man. Spanish soldiers heard it as they rampaged through Peru and Columbia in search of treasure. Captured Indians told them a story that probably originated from a mysterious Indian religious ritual. There was an Indian tribe that lived in the highlands near an almost perfectly round lake. Every year the Indians gave a ceremony to thank the golden god that they believed lived at the bottom of the lake. During the ceremony the child was anointed with sticky oil and then sprayed with gold dust until he was completely covered and became a glittering living statute. At the head of the procession, he went to the lake. They placed him on a raft and at his feet they placed a great heap of gold and emeralds to offer to their god. He paddled the raft and when he reached the centre of the lake made his offering, throwing out all the pile of treasure into the middle of the lake. Then he dived in and washed away the gold from himself.
The concept of El Dorado underwent several transformations, and eventually accounts of the previous myth were also combined with those of a legendary lost city. The resulting El Dorado myth enticed European explorers for two centuries. Adventurers have tried to find the treasures, but all have failed. Finally, in 1904, pumping equipment was hauled up the mountains, and the water was pumped out of the lake through a tunnel. When all the water was pumped out, the workers saw that the lake floor was covered in a black layer of slime and mud, which was impossible to walk on. Within hours the hot sun baked the mud as hard as concrete. This hardened mud blocked the tunnel completely, allowing the lake to fill up again after a while.
The sacred lake is now a protected area and the gold of El Dorado – if it really exists – will probably stay hidden forever. El Dorado is now used sometimes as a figure of speech to represent something much sought after that may not even exist, or, at least, may not ever be found like true love, heaven, or happiness.
1. (almost) perfectly round
2. at the bottom of the lake
3. (sticky) oil and gold dust
4. the child, a great heap /a lot of gold and emeralds
5. throwing all the treasure in the (middle of the) lake
6. all failed / were not successful
7. pumping the water out
8. to walk on the lake floor
9. filled up again
10. true love, heaven or happiness