Literature

Guardian and Terror of the Forests, the Chullachaqui

The Countryside Over Cuzco Mountains (Wayra)

The chullachaqui is a personage from our myths and legends about the forests. He is both a guardian and a terror. Many people claim to have had contact with this creature and, in many cases, they are not such nice contacts. Some people say they got a present from him and others claim he caused them losses.

The name chullachaqui come from Quechua. Chulla means backwards and chaqui means foot. He has, as a result, various description in which he seems as if he were a person, though a short one, about one meter tall, and with small feet and a wrinkled face.

They say that once some soldiers who did not show up to a meeting were punished and were sent to gather corn from the fields. On the way to the cornfields, while joking around, they sat down to take a rest like lazy procrastinators who leave their work for later.

At midday they began with their difficult work of gathering the corn in bags. Evening came and something called out to one of the soldiers. He began to walk towards what had called him and in a few minutes he had walked quite a ways down the road when his friend called to him and asked what he was doing so far away.

He did not pay attention and came back to get the corn and then began to climb the mountain with the sacks of corn. The soldier who was behind got tired from the climb and felt different from carrying a weight that was not that of the sacks of corn. He suddenly fell down the slope, got up and continued to walk. This happened two times and when his friend looked back he saw that a small man with small, thin feet and wrinkled face was playing on top of the sack that the other soldier was carrying.

Suddenly the chullachaqui realized that he was being watched and he fled the spot. The soldiers finished up their work, but the story is not over. The chullachaqui had stolen one of the soldiers’ children. They became very impatient and asked the older people of the community and they told them all that had happened. They said that he would be able to find the child in the mountain but the access to that place was difficult.

After passing through a lot of obstacles they arrived at a places that was closed in with thorns. They arrived late and the child was already dead. After making payments to the earth and performing other rituals they were able to drive the cullachaqui out of the community.

Just like this story there are many others that affirm that the chullachaqui exists and is both the guardian and the terror of the forests.

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