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The Wisk’ahuara River and the Magic Spring

Wisk'ahuara River

Sixty years ago, when there were only houses in the center of Cuzco and only a few on the hills covered with trees. In those times, the times of poverty, my grandmother lived with her mother in a house by the Wisk’ahuara River, some three kilometers from today’s neighborhood of Huayracpunco (the Wind Gate).

They had a humble home above the river surrounded by large hectares of fields. In that area only a very few families lived and they supported each other to be able to survive. Every day they had to go down to the river to draw water in order to prepare their food. They could only get the water before it got dark, since they had no electric light. The sun illuminated them by day and at times they could use a rustic, wick lamp in their home for some light at night. The only times they could go out at night was when there was a full moon.

A nice view of the Mountains Near Wisk'ahura River
A nice view of the Mountains Near Wisk’ahuara River (Photo: Wayra)

The years went by. My grandmother had to leave home to be able to work. I those days when she was away from home she met my grandfather and they became a couple.

After a while my grandmother began to feel ill and did not know why. Her belly suddenly began to grow and she was frightened. She did not know what was going on because they had no education. They were unaware.

Frightened, my grandmother went to the river were her mother lived. Only then did she find out she was going to have a baby. At the time she was only thirteen years old and my grandfather was fifteen.

Every time she went to visit her mother she would stay for a few days. On one occasion here mother told her she should not leave the house after 11 pm. Surprised and scared my grandmother asked her other why. She said because down by the spring in the river after 11 pm sirens gather to sing and play guitar. They have a very sweet voice and if they see you you will never be able to come back home.

A Natural Fountain of Water
A Natural Fountain of Water (Photo: Wayra)

My grandmother could not sleep all night. She was thinking over and over how she had never heard about this before. By the next night she was very curious.

She waited until it was 11 pm and then, just to see what all the story was about, she pulled her courage together and went down to the river. Very carefully she took the trail down to the spring and hit herself in some brush. Then she heard a song and the sound of a guitar. While hiding among the branches she could look out and see some beautiful young women with long blond hair who were in the water.

Amazed, my grandmother saw that one of them held and played the guitar, all the while bobbing in and out of the water. That is when my grandmother saw that they only had half a human body. One of the women had a fish’s body for the other half, and the other siren had a rooster’s lower body.

Carefully, my grandmother sneaked away from that spring and climbed back up the hill to her house. She told her mother everything. Her mother got after her: “How could you have done that. I warned you. Many people have already disappeared in that spring. Everyone says that it is possessed by the devil.”

The next morning, my grandmother returned to the spring, but there was nothing unusual. She just found a pool of water and some enormous rocks.

Terraces close to the River, View from Huayracpuco
Terraces close to the River, View from Huayracpuco (Photo: Wayra)
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