folklore and legends, Food Culture

The Holy Child of Marcacocha

The Child of Marcacoocha (Walter Coraza Morveli)

The Child of Marcacoocha (Walter Coraza Morveli)

The people of Marcacocha in Ollantaytambo, Cusco tell there was a waterfall and by it were found large flat lands with good pasturage for sheep and cattle.

One single mother sent her small boy to pasture their sheep on these flat lands called pampas near the waterfall. Every day the mother would fill a container with lunch (fiambres) for the boy so that he would have something to eat before he had to come home round nightfall.

Late one afternoon, the boy arrived home and the mother saw the container of food still full. The boy had eaten nothing. She asked him why and he responded that a friend of his and shared fruit with him and as a result he had not eaten the food his mother had prepared.

The next day, the mother, along with the priest from the local church and other neighbors went to see what was going on. When they got there they saw another boy come out of the falls bringing fruit for the woman’s son. When the people who were there saw him, the boy from the falls turned into a statue.

As a result, the priest took the child-turned-statue into the church, but at nights he would wake up and go out to play. The next day would come and his clothes would be dirty. Seeing this, the father decided to tie the child down. The next morning the eyes of the statue were red from crying because he could not untie himself in order to go play.

Some time later thieves broke in and stole things from the church, including the statue of the child. The priest dreamt the stolen child was begging him for help, begging to be rescued. He wasn’t able to, however and after a few years, when he died, the dreams of the child died too.

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