folklore and legends

Men and the Treachery of Birds

Cuzco's Chihuaco Bird (Walter Coraza Morveli)

There once was a bird to whom god confided a very important mission, the pichitanca. “You will go to men and tell them to eat two times a day.” The bird began its journey and along the way stopped to eat something before arriving where men lived.

It got there late and was nervous. As a result when it told men God’s charge, it made a mistake. It told them to eat three times a day instead of two. That is why men eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner today.

God saw that people were now eating three times a day and called the bird back. He hit it in the head with a bag full of grain. As a result its head turned red and it is still red even today.

This is a fun story since it makes us realize that it was due to a bird’s mistake that we eat three times a day.

Another similar story is about the chihuaco. God gave it the charge of taking teeth to men, strong teeth that would not break when they bit into different meats or other foods that they could find to survive.

Along the way the chihuaco stopped in a corn field to eat a few kernels of corn, setting the teeth to the side. After several hours of eating through the field it remembered it was supposed to take the teeth to men. When it turned around it could not find the teeth, only kernels of corn scattered on the ground.

Since it was getting later, the chihuaco grabbed a kernel of corn and took it to the men. That is why our teeth get cavities and turn weak. It is because the chihuaco gave us something different than what God had sent.

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