Land of winds. Digital magazine on Andean music. Header picture
Andean traditions Andean music
     Land of winds > Traditions > Legend | Issue 10 (May.-Jun. 2012)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

A girl, a boy and a cherrufe

Una chica, un muchacho y un cherrufe

(A Mapuche tale, by Miguel Ángel Palermo. Extracted from "Los superhéroes de nuestro pueblo" [The superheroes of our people]).

There was once a boy that went out a lot: he liked being away and touring the world. One day he made the decision to go up to a very high volcano. Of course this was not a very good idea, since volcanoes were full of cherrufes in that part of the mountain range.

What are cherrufes? Cherrufes are evil monsters, high as a tree; they like eating people and committing evil deeds.

The thing is that the boy went on walking and walking, reached higher and higher, until he finally found a very house. (It was the volcano cherrufe’s house: that is why it was so big; had it been smaller then the cherrufe would not have gone in there). The monster appeared as the boy went closer, and asked him what he was doing there. The boy said the first thing that came into his head so as to prevent the monster from getting angry with him: I am looking for a job.

— Oh, great! —was the monster’s answer—. I need a labourer, stay with me.

However, what the cherrufe was really thinking was: "I am going to ask him to do the most difficult tasks and if he can’t do them I’ll eat him".

Then, a busy girl turned up. The boy fell immediately in love with her, and so did the girl. Like him, she had also been a globetrotter, reached the volcano slopes and ended up working for the cherrufe.

Their employer looked at the boy and told him:

— Tomorrow I want to eat corn cobs; go, plant and harvest them at once, and do as I’ve ordered you to do! —and he went away.

The boy was very scared (how was he to manage to harvest corn cobs in a single day?), but the girl said to him:

— Don’t worry. Lie down on the field and get off to sleep peacefully. You will see.

He did as he was told and, tough he was quite worried, lay down on the grassy ground and felt asleep. He woke up to find himself in the middle of a cornfield. The girl came up right away.

— How can it be possible? —he asked.

— The thing is that I know a lot about magic. How do you think I would be alive, otherwise?

Then the monster turned up, saw the corn, mumbled a "Mmm" with surprise and told the boy:

— This is a boring place. For tomorrow I want a lake full of birds, ducks and fish. And do as I’ve ordered you to do!

The boy was again scared: how was he to manage to do a lake like that from one day to another? The girl came closer and told him:

— Don’t worry. Lie down on the field and get off to sleep peacefully. You will see.

The boy lay down and felt asleep after a while. When he woke up it was the next day; he was beside a huge lake, a flamingo was perched on his head and there was a noisy racket of quaks, chirps, screeches, croaks, hisses, whistles and splashes. Then the cherrufe turned up, mumbled a "Mmm" and not being able to think of a new task at once, decided to go and take the time to do it.

Meanwhile, the girl and the boy have got tired of pleasing a monster that was always changing his mind and run away on a cherrufe’s horse, which was as ugly as fast.

As they were galloping they heard strong footsteps behind: "boom, boom!" The furious cherrufe was chasing them. He was loosing his labourers, his food, his horse... The horse run very fast, however, the cherrufe had almost caught up with them. Then the girl said:

— It is going to be foggy.

— How can it be if right now there are cloudless skies? —the boy asked.
— You’ll see —she answered. And the girl used her magic.

A thick fog formed around them on that very moment; the cherrufe could not see anything and run straight into several trees and they managed to move away from him. However, he finally got out the fog and continued chasing them. When he was catching up with them the girl said:

— There is going to be a mountain.

And a very high mountain was created behind them. The cherrufe lost a lot of time going up the slopes gasping for breath and snorting. But in the end he was again on their heels. Then the girl made a lake appear and turned him into a duck and herself into a lighting candle placed on the duck’s head. When the cherrufe came to the shore and saw such a strange sight he only managed to say:

— I had never seen a duck with a candle before. They don’t know what to invent anymore! What a silly thing! —for he was as evil as stupid and had no interest in novelty.

Annoyed, he went straight past and looked for them somewhere else. Not being able to find the couple, he made the decision to go back to his volcano and remain there forever. ("It is better not to go out", he said "I’ve never seen anything like it! Ducks with candles! Oof!").

The girl and the boy became persons again, went back home and got married. They went on wandering from one place to another, however (just in case), they never went up a volcano again.

Picture A.

> Top    |    > Traditions    |    > Cover    |    > En español

Disclaimer of Land of windsEditorial staff of Land of winds