The Cuy (Guinea Pig) Who Became Gold

My grandmother tells me that one day a very poor couple was invited to a roofing for a neighbor’s house some 100 meters from their house. The day before that event, the couple wondered what they should take to contribute for lunch because, although they are poor, they should not go empty-handed. Among their alternatives was to take some chickens or guinea pigs. The husband said “It will be better if we take maybe 5 guinea pigs, since we only have a very few chickens.

At dawn the next day, they got up very early to catch and put the 5 guinea pigs in a bag. Having the animals ready, they left their house for the neighbor’s house. They arrived early. The other neighbors were not there yet.

The woman quickly set out to help her neighbors with the preparations. They put their guinea pigs in a pen to kill them one by one, skin them, and take them to the oven. He woman saw that 6 guinea pigs, not 5, came out of the bag. She was very surprised said, “weird. We only put 5 guinea pigs in the bag. She called her husband immediately and asked him, “How many guinea pigs did you catch?” He replied, “I caught 5 guinea pigs. Why do you ask?”

Crianza de cuyes en Cusco, Pisac (Walter Coraza Morveli)
Crianza de cuyes en Cusco, Pisac (Walter Coraza Morveli)

She showed him and said, “we brought 6. See them with your own eyes.” The husband saw that there were 6 of them. He then said “we must have counted badly and should quickly save one of them before the neighbor sees him.

Quickly the husband put a guinea pig in the bag, yellow one. He said, “this yellow cuy will be good to mix with the other guinea pigs. Wife, I do not remember that we have had this guinea pig color. Well it does not matter, we will keep it in this corner until the roofing ends and we leave.

At the end of the house roofing, everyone was full of joy began to drink chicha. When it was getting dark, the the poor couple, now a little drunk, decided to go home. They took the bag they had kept with the guinea pig and walked towards home. As they walked, the guinea pig weighed more and more. Since they were a little drunk, the husband laughed and said, “either this cuy is heavier or I am weaker.” The wife also commented and said, “what? Are you now old and without strength?”

Día nacional del cuy (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)
Día nacional del cuy (Photo: Walter Coraza Morveli)

Finally, they arrived home. The tired man lay on his bed and the woman decided to let the guinea pig to eat with the others. She was surprised to not be able to carry the bag with the guinea pig. So, she had to call her husband. Annoyed, he had to get up to help her release the guinea pig from the bag. They were surprised that the guinea pig did not walk and even more surprised when they realized it had become gold. They were so astonished they quit being drunk. They could not believe it. They had a very heavy golden cuy. They hugged and cried with happiness, because with this would change their life completely.

Something similar happened to me. I did not know this story. My grandmother had not yet told it to me.

One day when while running away from some sheep, out of fear I climbed the fence that surrounded our house. This fence divided the house from an enclosure with several large eucalyptus trees. Feeling a lot of fear, I looked from the fence for the sheep not to come closer. Suddenly, something caught my attention. On a tree that was near me there was a big yellow snake wrapped in the tree.

I was even more scared and turned to call my mother to help me, when I looked at the tree again, the snake was gone. It had disappeared completely.

When my mother came to help me and see why I was screaming so much, she helped me come down from the fence and I told her and my grandmother what I had seen. My grandmother told me: “you should not have lost the snake from your sight. You should have taken your sweater and covered it. It would have turned into gold. It was your luck but you lost it.

My friends, this is why I am sharing this story with you today. If one day you see any animal that has a strong yellow color that is not usual, do not lose sight of it and cover it with something. It will turn into gold. My grandmother that each one of us has one of those opportunities in life. But as you now know, I missed out on mine.

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