Customs, Literature

The Golden Snake and the Golden Cuy, A Cuzco Tale

A Snake in the Hand (Photo: Wayra)

This is a story that I will tell from my own life. One Sunday some years ago, a day in which my entire family was at home, my three brothers had a heavy cough. My mother was peeling potatoes in the patio and sent me to bring some Eucalyptus branch so that she could vaporize my brothers’ rooms to aid their cough.

All obedient, I went to an enclosure that was by the house.  We were only separated from it by a wall that was one and a half meters high. That enclosure was filled with eucalyptus trees and held a big stone, called a huaca or holy place.  As I was breaking off the eucalyptus branches some sheep ran towards me.

A Eucalyptus Grove (Photo : Wayra)
A Eucalyptus Grove (Photo : Wayra)

At least that was what I thought. In reality they ran up because they thought the eucalyptus branches would be food for them.

In any case I ran away because i was afraid. I hid among the trees and got to the wall that connected with my home.  I was so afraid that I have no idea how I got to the top of the wall.

I turned back to look at the sheep and suddenly I saw on a tree trunk a bright yellow snake, all rolled up. It was so big that it shone like the sun.

It frightened me more than the sheep, and I turned towards my house yelling “momma, help me.” My mother was no longer in the patio, so I yelled louder.

When I turned again to look at the snake it was no longer there. I couldn’t figure out what had happened since only a few seconds had passed since I first saw it. How could it have disappeared so quickly, I wondered.

Suddenly my mother came up all worried and asked me what had happened. I cried from my fright. Seeing me like this made her very worried and she ran up to help me get down off the wall.

A Huaca (Photo : Wayra)
A Huaca (Photo : Wayra)

We went to the patio and sat. There I told her everything.  When I was finished my mother told me: “You have missed the opportunity of your life. You could have been a millionaire.  You did not know how to interpret what nature had sent you.

I did not understand what she meant by her words and asked her to explain. So, she began telling me a story.

“Once up a time there was a couple that lived in the countryside. They were invited to a party that was going to be held in the house of their neighbor.

“As a present, the couple decided to take five guinea pigs that the owners of the feast could cook.  So, they grabbed the five guinea pigs and put them in a sack.

“On arriving at the neighbor’s house they let the cuys loose and were very surprised when six guinea pigs came out of the bag.  Among the original five was a yellow cuy.

“The husband got mad and yelled at the woman, saying ‘why did you bring six cuys when we had agreed to bring just five?’

“The woman grabbed the extra guinea pig, the yellow one, and placed it back in the bag so that when the feast ended they could take it back home with them.

“The hours passed and the feast finished. Then the couple grabbed the bag with the guinea pig and returned home.  But, along the way, the bag got heavier and heavier. This seemed very strange to the couple.

A Guinea Pig ( Photo: Wayra)
A Guinea Pig ( Photo: Wayra)

When they got home they poured the cuy out of the bag to let it loose.  You can imagine their surprise when they saw that the guinea pig had changed in a cuy of solid gold. Now filled with emotion they gave thanks to the Pachamama for this happening and, in this way, they became millionaires.”

On finishing the story my mother told me that nature will offer us only one opportunity in our lives to become rich.

If we happen to see any yellow animal which appears before us surprisingly or in a casual or unusual way, what we should do—my mother said—is not lose sight of it and cover it with something, such as clothes, without ever not watching it. When it is covered, it will turn to gold.

When I heard this I said to my mom, “Why didn’t you tell me this before? I missed my opportunity to become rich.”

Well that is just life, but now I share this tale with you.  When this opportunity comes to you, you will now know what to do and not miss your chance like I did.

 

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