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St. Catherine – Popular Legends

The Golden Table

The legend of a large golden table which rises occasionally from the bottom of Jamaican rivers and ponds is perhaps the most widespread in Jamaica. One such story surrounds the Rio Cobre River.

A St. Catherine planter, hearing of the richness and beauty of the Golden Table, decided he would take it from the river when it next surfaced. It is said that the table rises exactly at noon, and so the planter waited patiently by the river bank until that time. The table, as he saw it, remained on the surface of the water for about twelve seconds, and then disappeared.

Having actually seen the table the planter devised an intricate plan, which he thought was guaranteed to get it out of the river. Twelve yoke of oxen were harnessed to a strong cattle chain with grappling irons at the end. Three slaves were readied at the water’s edge to dive in as soon as the table appeared and fix the irons onto the legs of the table.

Once again, the planter waited, and as the table appeared, he signalled for the irons to be attached and the oxen driven, to pull the table out of the water. As legend has it, the table sank, carrying with it the straining oxen and the slaves who were still in the water.

Not much is known of this brave and perhaps reckless planter, but somewhere on the property of Caymanas Estates is a cane-field, which some say rests on top of a buried plantation house and sugar works. Could this have been the residence and property of the hapless planter?