folklore and legends, Travel, Uncategorized

The Tale of a Pageant, Water, and an Impossible Love

The Inca Of the Legend of Unu Urco

At the feet of the mountains in the Sacred Valley, where the earth unites with the air and the inspiration of the sky, a story of love is born, one that is told by the people of Urco.

Today in the community of Urco in the District of Calca people carry out every year a pageant remembering the cult of water as a vital element that has been venerated for generations in different parts of the world. The Inca culture was not a stranger to that cult. Within it, though, is hidden something even more profound, a story of forbidden love. The people of Urco express it and perform it on the town’s esplanade.

Perhaps the presentation is not the kind we are used to, with the principle figures performed by famous actors from the City of Cusco. The people of the town organize it and perform the play. As we watch the performance side by side with the people of Urco we can hear them speak with admiration that their brother, their cousin, neighbor, and even teachers from the local schools appear before them, with roles in the drama

The inca Worriors
The inca Worriors

The show takes us to the epoch of the Incas with its colorful clothing and precise details. We see how the Inca Urco concerned about the drought that was afflicting the people. They plea with the Apus, the mountain deities, and the Mother Earth to bring them rain so that the seeds they planted can grow and feed them.

The gods have no pity. The Inca can find no other option that to give the hand of his daughter, the princess Paucar Killa, to whoever can bring water to the parched soil. Three daring men declared themselves interested and promised the Inca they would bring water and, as a result, carry out the ceremony of water and celebrate their marriage to the princess.

Arriving to Urco
Arriving to Urco

The three candidates were strong and astute. With the same energy and sacrifice they began the search for the best way to bring water. One worked with ropes, the other opened rows with the chaquitaqllas, the foot plows, and the other made the project even more complex by working with stones. The first died in the effort and so only two remained: Usca Paucar and Rumi Maqi.

Time passed while princess Paucar Killa prayed that Usca Paucar would prevail since her heart belonged to him. The work starts coming to a conclusion and a battle opens between the two contenders. Rumi Maqi comes the winner. After defeating Usca Paucar he brings water by opening canals, even through the stone of Orqoq mountain. He brings them to the town.

Rumi Maki Brings the Water to Urco
Rumi Maki Brings the Water to Urco

Having won and fulfilled his promise after hard and difficult work, he goes looking for his reward. He asks Inca Urco for the hand of Paucar Illa. The population and the Inca’s retinue celebrates. There is water all over the town.

Happiness and joy should have been the general feeling given the double celebration with the water and the marriage of the princess and Rumi Maqi. She, however, is the only person who does not celebrate. For her everything is sadness and sorrow since Usca Paucar is not taking her as his wife.

Fighting for Paucar Illa
Fighting for Paucar Illa

There is nothing she can do, however. She can only continue and follow the orders of her father, the Inca. Everyone celebrates and dances. They celebrate the couple who is presented to all the ayllus and the recently married.

You can see, however, a conspiracy. With the help of his generals, Usca Paucar orders that people distract Rumi Maqi during the celebration and help Paucar Illa escape in order to find herself with her love. They are successful and the two escape.

Rumi Maqi finds out, though, and he orders that the two lovers be trapped. The effort is unsuccessful. Wounded by the loss of the princess, Rumi Maqi curses the couple so that they will never be together. While running away, the two lovers suddenly turned to stone.

Paucar Illa and Usca Paucar and Suddenly Turned to Stone.
Paucar Illa and Usca Paucar and Suddenly Turned to Stone.

 

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