folklore and legends

The Story of Yanacocha Lake

The Black Lake Yanacocha

In the area of Vilcabamba there was a lake called Yanacocha. Translated from Quechua this means black lake. It measured about 300 square meters in area and its banks were very muddy and difficult to get to. Nevertheless, on moonless nights something unusual would happen in this lake, they say.

People walking on trails nearby as well as some animals would find themselves drawn to the lake. The next day it seemed as if the lake had swallowed them. They disappeared.

Not far from the lake some young people lived. One of them farmed and cared for animals while the other worked with explosives in a nearby mine.

The farmer would always go to the lake to fish. He used a cane and bait. Near the lake there was a mound of dirt where he could sit and wait while fishing.

One day, while he was doing his normal activities he threw his hook with bait into the lake and sat to wait for a fish to nibble. After a while he felt a slight pull and the line slowly began to stretch. Suddenly a huge fish broke the water and the young man fled with fear.

The Black Waters of the Lake
The Black Waters of the Lake

He ran to the other young man’s house to tell him what he had seen. Amazed he got out his dynamite that he had saved for his work in the mine and they both ran to the lake to see what had happened.

When they got there they saw two enormous fishes whose appearance was scary. Twice they threw dynamite into the center of the lake and smoke came from the edges of the lake as they exploded. Water rose from the lake and flooded the nearby land leaving in the lake-bed a hole and much mud.

They laughed from the explosions and from seeing that there was nothing left in the lake. From that day on no more people disappeared beneath the surface of the lake and on its shores you could only find the tracks of people who passed by.

Dangerous Waters
Dangerous Waters
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