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Gold’s Tragedy, a Folktale

Ancient Gold to Tempt the Bold (Larco Museum)

Gold is a precious metal that has significant value. As a result many people seek it in any way they can. They look for it in rivers and mines. Others use machinery to extract gold from hidden veins in mountains and hills.

Many stories, tales, and myths in Cuzco speak of the good and bad of gold. In many cases the yellow metal has brought tragedy. In others it has brought blessings.

Some people seek gold in what we call tapados, hidden caches, or in Inca tombs. These bring with them ancient difficulties and curses. Among these is what we call antimonio, antimony. While this word refers to the mineral, in Cuzco’s common usage it refers to noxious airs that come out of tapados and tombs. It is dangerous and can cause great harm.

Once three men decided to go looking for gold. They had heard many commentaries of a place that was difficult to get to and would certainly have gold. They started their trek, taking with them a metal detector and other things they would need in order to find gold.

Their first days were normal and tranquil. The path was flat but then the difficulties began. The trail turned steep and rocky. Their provisions threatened to run out since they were so slowed down by the difficult path that just kept getting worse.

Inca Golden Llama
Inca Golden Llama

One of the men, who was not as big, decided to abandon the mission. Two continued on their way seeking the precious metal. Savage animals appeared. One of the men died trying to defend himself from these beasts.

The last man continued the quest and nothing more was heard from him up till now. The man who returned early had a difficult life. He almost was reduced to begging in the streets.

One day an old man came up to him in the street and embraced him. He was the last man who had continued with the search. He had found the gold.

He said that he had kept the gold since it belonged to him now. After a long conversation he told the other man that he was going back the next day to get the gold and take it to the bank in order to get the necessary papers in order to get the value that belonged to him.

Something strange happened. The man, who had found the gold, after seeing his friend, went home and died suddenly. People think that the gold he found carried a curse and made him ill. That kind of sickness is not contagious and is only for the person who finds the gold. Only he suffers.

The other man kept waiting for his friend to come back to share the treasure with him. Now he is a blind and lonely man.

 

 

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