The Condemned Were Deer

The inhabitants of communities near the city of Cusco tell that, besides being true, their stories served to protect their deities and sacred animals; they prevented them from being in danger of extinction.

When they made trips to trade with other regions, they walked great distances in groups of 10 to 20 people with llamas and mules carrying their agricultural products. They often made these journeys from Apurímac to the valley of Majes. They brought back products such as pisco and dried fruit. From the high mountains, they brought moraya, charqui, and more.

All travelers had to pass through the Coropuna Abra. It is said that on the snowfields nearby, the condemned would pay for their sins.

People would only travel in the daylight and would stop around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. When the twilight was red, they say the condemned began to come out and would attack all who passed through this place. The person who had the most experience traveling through this place would say that the condemned would meet with humans either to eat them or to save their souls.

The condemned had their strategies, people say. They became deer to deceive people since people can hunt deer. Afterall, who would not want to capture a wild deer? They took it as a touch of luck to see a deer and worked hard to catch it.

When they killed and ate the deer’s meat, all the sins it carried would pass to the people who ate it. The condemned soul would be saved from their faults, but when those who ate died, they would become a condemned one.

It was in this way that people protected sacred animals like deer; they would teaching about them in stories.

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