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Mitos y Leyendas: The Enigma of the Toad Grotto

2024-01-03T13:38:05+00:00
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  • Genny de Bernardo tells you the legend of the toads of the grotto.
  • The toads in this grotto seem to be tied by some kind of rope that doesn’t let them leave the place.
  • The look and song of these toads are sad, and many say that they are not really toads.

On the way to Guañacagua, there is a grotto populated with toads with melancholic looks and restless songs, as if they were trapped by an invisible chain near a freshwater well.

Interestingly, it is the women who venture to fetch water instead of the men, avoiding meeting the eyes of these toads that seem to implore help with their sad gazes.

There is a legend that holds that these are not simply toads, but that in ancient times, when it was still possible to communicate with the stars, there was a whole town next to the grotto.

This town thrived with its crops, flocks, adobe houses, and beautiful courtyards, embraced by the warm winds of the good Waira and the love of Pachamama.

The well takes the men

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However, everything changed when a crystalline stream began to flow from the top of the mountain and accumulated in the cursed well that precedes the grotto.

No one knows why this water descended, perhaps the inhabitants of the town offended the gods, and the stars refused to reveal the cause of the punishment.

This well was a curse that gradually took the young men of the town one by one, leaving the elderly and women alone to lament the loss of husbands, lovers, friends, and brave sons.

This punishment completely destroyed the ancient town, leaving no trace of its existence.

A being seduces the men

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It is said that at first, a beautiful unknown woman bathed in the waters of the well, apparently related to the lupakas, ancient prisoners of the Incas who used to live near Titicaca while cultivating tubers and guano.

This enigmatic woman moved with a grace that seemed weightless, like the totora reeds swaying in the summer breeze.

The men were enchanted by her gaze, and the women, even the wives, could do nothing against her evil charm. This woman was undoubtedly malevolent and possessed witchcraft abilities.

Thus, she gradually lured the men of the town towards the waters, seducing them from the bottom of the well with her call, which sounded like the wild croak of a night heron.

The prisoner toads

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When there were no more men left in the town, the women and the elderly were forced to abandon it, never returning.

They never witnessed how the toads, of different sizes and colors, came out one after the other from the well.

These toads, which even after countless days and nights, rains and winds, as well as wars, leap without ever moving away, remain united by an invisible chain to the well.

Their eyes are full of sadness, and their song seems like a lament that pierces the air.

The toads of the grotto

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Although the lupaka was never seen again near the grotto and not even a trace of the existence of the ancient town remained, the women of the nearby towns still approach the grotto in search of water, as their mothers before them and the mothers of their mothers did.

They carefully avoid meeting the sorrowful eyes of the toads, as if that sadness belonged to them, as if those eyes were a window to their own past.

Thus they continue, on the way to Guañacagua, next to the grotto.

Mitos y Leyendas says goodbye for now and hopes you enjoyed the legend of the toads of the grotto. Until next time!

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