The word duende is a contraction of the old Castilian “duen de casa” which means the owner of a house, since duendes, sometimes thought of as elves and sometimes goblins, are magical beings that live in a house.
One of the most famous stories about goblins, which our children learn from their parents, is about the existence of a magical pot full of gold that the elves hide at the end of the rainbow and that many seek it to become rich and that at some point even as children when we did not have money we also looked for it.
It is said that the innocence of children more easily perceives these magical beings. It is not surprising to see children playing alone, but it seems that they are playing with imaginary children. Parents call this “playing with his elf.” While the elves are mythical and magical beings, there are stories among adults about appearances. According to some descriptions, these are characters of small sizes ranging from 10cm to 30 or 40 cm. They are mischievous characters, good and bad, involved in the lives of humans with their heavy pranks; among them we have: making things disappear or changing their place, strange noises. Who does not remember putting an object in a certain place and then it disappears. You look for it several times in that place and do not find it. After you stop searching and no longer need it, it appears again in the same place where you left it.
In these celebrations of the Santuranticuy the 24 of December, Christmas Eve, different exhibitors offer their works of art and crafts to the people of Cusco and to all those who want to appreciate or acquire their works. One of these exhibitors is the Flores Diaz family, who for 10 years have created the company “Duendes Indio”, a family business that is responsible for creating goblins all year round and to show them and sell them on these dates.
According to one of the Flores Díaz brothers, the idea of this company was born when they were children and they still remember that they played and talked with goblins in the house where they live, located in the neighborhood of Santa Ana, a typical and traditional neighborhood of artisans in the historic center of our city.
He also mentions that they have a large patio with a garden and fruit trees. There they have very old elves that belonged to their grandparents. These elves like to play with marbles, because they leave the marbles in one place and the day next they appear in another place. They like to hide things and make noise.
The elves are handmade and are unique. Each of them has different characteristics: their eyes are glass, the faces have expressions according to the type of elf that it is, and the most curious thing is that the hands, head and feet which are articulated with wires that allows them to make body movements just like humans.
There are several types of elves, within them we can mention:
The elf happiness: you look at his face and you fill with joy, his features are carefully made to radiate happiness. This elf keeps joy in the home.
The elf cyclops: is the protector elf of a single eye. This goblin takes all the negative energies that enter the home and expels them to maintain tranquility.
The minotaur goblin: has goat legs and is the one that overcomes the strongest negative forces and is generally for big companies because it helps success.
According to the Flores Diaz family when one buys a goblin the one who buys does not choose the goblin, the goblin chooses them and when he takes it home he has to baptize it by giving it a name to welcome it as he becomes a member of the family. You do not have to think it’s a toy, you have to show respect and place it in a place where children cannot reach it.
Many have tried to imitate this Indian Duende company but, according to this family, what sets it apart is that they do not make them industrially. According to their beliefs, the elves do not allow them, to differentiate themselves from others.
They place the Duende Indio logo on the buttons of the suits of the goblins.