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Mitos y leyendas: The Mapuche Sisters

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  • Mitos y leyendas shares with you the legend of the Mapuche sisters.
  • Painemilla and Painefilu are sisters with different destinies.
  • The wrath of one of them is severely punished.

Painemilla and Painefilu, two young sisters of exceptional grace, resided near Lake Paimún.

An influential Inca chief, passing through the region, became enamored with Painemilla.

After a wedding ceremony that lasted several days, the couple began a happy life in a stone palace. Their love grew over time.

When Painemilla learned of her pregnancy, the Inca consulted the priests, who predicted twins, of great beauty with golden locks from birth. However, they also prophesied a rupture in their happiness.

Paineflú’s Envy

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With the imminent birth, the great chief had to depart north, asking his sister-in-law Paineflú to accompany Painemilla.

Upon reuniting, Paineflú, envious at the sight of her sister’s happiness, decided to usurp it. When the twins were born, a girl and a boy, healthy and beautiful, with golden locks, envy consumed her.

She locked the babies in a chest and threw them into the lake, replacing them with puppies she passed off as her own children. Then, she fell into an ominous silence, consumed by fear and guilt.

Devastated, Painemilla wept incessantly. When her beloved husband returned and discovered the puppies, he confined her to a dark cave. Desperation engulfed them both.


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Meanwhile, the twins, in their chest, were rescued by an elderly Mapuche man and his wife, who raised them with love, though they never needed food.

One day, the Inca, distressed, was walking along the lakeshore when children’s laughter caught his attention. There, he saw two children playing, as beautiful as the sun, with golden hair.

He remembered the prophecy and understood. They were his children. He embraced them and took them to his stone palace, seeking to regain the lost happiness with Painemilla.

Paineflú was discovered and knew she would face a relentless punishment for her betrayal.


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The Inca took a magical stone, raised it to the sky, and cried out, «Oh Lord, help me to deliver justice. Let your warmth pass through this stone and let it execute punishment upon Paineflú.»

The stone became transparent, charged with light and fire. A green lightning bolt emerged and sought out Paineflú.

Where she stood, only ashes remained, and a tiny hummingbird, a symbol of death according to Mapuche tradition, fluttered restlessly and sadly, like Paineflú, never alighting or finding rest, fearing eternal punishment.

Mitos y leyendas bids you farewell for now and hopes that the legend of the Mapuche sisters has pleased you. Until next time!

Mitos y Leyendas
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