Native American Legends
The shepherd and the daughter of the Sun
An Inca Legend
In the snow-clad cordillera above the valley of Yucay, called Pitu-siray,
a shepherd watched the flock of white llamas intended for the Inca
to sacrifice to the Sun. He was a native of Laris, named Acoya-napa,
a very well disposed and gentle youth. He strolled behind his flock,
and presently began to play upon his flute very softly and sweetly,
neither feeling anything of the amorous desires of youth, nor knowing
anything of them.
He was carelessly playing his flute one day when two daughters
of the Sun came to him. They could wander in all directions over
the green meadows, and never failed to find one of their houses
at night, where the guards and porters looked out that nothing came
that could do them harm. Well! the two girls came to the place where
the shepherd rested quite at his ease, and they asked him about
The shepherd, who had not seen them until they spoke, was surprised,
and fell on his knees, thinking that they were the embodiments of
two out of the four crystalline fountains which were very famous
in those parts. So he did not dare to answer them. They repeated
their question about the flock, and told him not to be afraid, for
they were children of the Sun, who was lord of all the land, and
to give him confidence they took him by the arm.
Then the shepherd stood up and kissed their hands. After talking
together for some time the shepherd said that it was time for him
to collect his flock, and asked their permission. The elder princess,
named Chuqui-llantu, had been struck by the grace and good disposition
of the shepherd. She asked him his name and of what place he was
a native. He replied that his home was at Laris and that his name
was Acoya-napa. While he was speaking Chuqui- llantu cast her eyes
upon a plate of silver which the shepherd wore over his forehead,
and which shone and glittered very prettily.
Looking closer she saw on it two figures, very subtlety contrived,
who were eating a heart. Chuqui-llantu asked the shepherd the name
of that silver ornament, and he said it was called utusi. The princess
returned it to the shepherd, and took leave of him, carrying well
in her memory the name of the ornament and the figures, thinking
with what delicacy they were drawn, almost seeming to her to be
She talked about it with her sister until they came to their palace.
On entering, the door keepers looked to see if they brought with
them anything that would do harm, because it was often found that
women had brought with them, hidden in their clothes, such things
as fillets and necklaces. After having looked well, the porters
let them pass, and they found the women of the Sun cooking and preparing
food. Chuqui-llantu said that she was very tired with her walk,
and that she did not want any supper.
All the rest supped with her sister, who thought that Acoya-napa
was not one who could cause inquietude. But Chuqui-llantu was unable
to rest owing to the great love she felt for the shepherd Acoya-napa,
and she regretted that she had not shown him what was in her breast.
But at last she went to sleep.
In the palace there were many richly furnished apartments in which
the women of the Sun dwelt. These virgins were brought from all
the four provinces which were subject to the Inca, namely Chincha-suyu,
Cunti-suyu, Anti-suyu and Colla-suyu.
Within, there were four fountains which flowed towards the four
provinces, and in which the women bathed, each in the fountain of
the province where she was born.
They named the fountains in this way. That of Chincha-suyu was
called Chuclla-puquio, that of Cunti-suyu was known as Ocoruro-puquio,
Siclla- puquio was the fountain of Anti-suyu, and Llulucha-puquio
The most beautiful child of the Sun, Chuqui-llantu, was wrapped
in profound sleep. She had a dream. She thought she saw a bird flying
from one tree to another, and singing very softly and sweetly. After
having sung for some time, the bird came down and regarded the princess,
saying that she should feel no sorrow, for all would be well.
The princess said that she mourned for something for which there
could be no remedy. The singing bird replied that it would find
a remedy, and asked the princess to tell her the cause of her sorrow.
At last Chuqui-llantu told the bird of the great love she felt for
the shepherd boy named Acoya-napa, who guarded the white flock.
Her death seemed inevitable. She could have no cure but to go to
him whom she so dearly loved, and if she did her father the Sun
would order her to be killed. The answer of the singing bird, by
name Checollo, was that she should arise and sit between the four
fountains. There she was to sing what she had most in her memory.
If the fountains repeated her words, she might then safely do what
Saying this the bird flew away, and the princess awoke. She was
terrified. But she dressed very quickly and put herself between
the four fountains. She began to repeat what she remembered to have
seen of the two figures on the silver plate, singing:
"Micuc isutu cuyuc utusi cucim."
Presently all the fountains began to sing the same verse.
Seeing that all the fountains were very favorable, the princess
went to repose for a little while, for all night she had been conversing
with the checollo in her dream.
When the shepherd boy went to his home he called to mind the great
beauty of Chuqui-llantu. She had aroused his love, but he was saddened
by the thought that it must be love without hope.
He took up his flute and played such heart-breaking music that
it made him shed many tears, and he lamented, saying: "Ay!
ay! ay! for the unlucky and sorrowful shepherd, abandoned and without
hope, now approaching the day of your death, for there can be no
remedy and no hope." Saying this, he also went to sleep.
The shepherd's mother lived in Laris, and she knew, by her power
of divination, the cause of the extreme grief into which her son
was plunged, and that he must die unless she took order for providing
a remedy. So she set out for the mountains, and arrived at the shepherd's
hut at sunrise. She looked in and saw her son almost moribund, with
his face covered with tears. She went in and awoke him.
When he saw who it was he began to tell her the cause of his grief,
and she did what she could to console him. She told him not to be
downhearted, because she would find a remedy within a few days.
Saying this she departed and, going among the rocks, she gathered
certain herbs which are believed to be cures for grief.
Having collected a great quantity she began to cook them, and the
cooking was not finished before the two princesses appeared at the
entrance of the hut. For Chuqui-llantu, when she was rested, had
set out with her sister for a walk on the green slopes of the mountains,
taking the direction of the hut. Her tender heart prevented her
from going in any other direction. When they arrived they were tired,
and sat down by the entrance.
Seeing an old dame inside they saluted her, and asked her if she
could give them anything to eat. The mother went down on her knees
and said she had nothing but a dish of herbs. She brought it to
them, and they began to eat with excellent appetites. Chuqui-llantu
then walked round the hut without finding what she sought, for the
shepherd's mother had made Acoya-napa lie down inside the hut, under
So the princess thought that he had gone after his flock. Then
she saw the cloak and told the mother that it was a very pretty
cloak, asking where it came from. The old woman told her that it
was a cloak which, in ancient times, belonged to a woman beloved
by Pachacamac, a deity very celebrated in the valleys on the coast.
She said it had come to her by inheritance; but the princess, with
many endearments, begged for it until at last the mother consented.
When Chuqui- llantu took it into her hands she liked it better than
before and, after staying a short time longer in the hut, she took
leave of the old woman, and walked along the meadows looking about
in hopes of seeing him whom she longed for.
We do not treat further of the sister, as she now drops out of
the story, but only of Chuqui-llantu. She was very sad and pensive
when she could see no signs of her beloved shepherd on her way back
to the palace. She was in great sorrow at not having seen him, and
when, as was usual, the guards looked at what she brought, they
saw nothing but the cloak. A splendid supper was provided, and when
every one went to bed the princess took the cloak and placed it
at her bedside.
As soon as she was alone she began to weep, thinking of the shepherd.
She fell asleep at last, but it was not long before the cloak was
changed into the being it had been before. It began to call Chuqui-llantu
by her own name. She was terribly frightened, got out of bed, and
beheld the shepherd on his knees before her, shedding many tears.
She was satisfied on seeing him, and inquired how he had got inside
He replied that the cloak which she carried had arranged about
that. then Chuqui-llantu embraced him, and put her finely worked
lipi mantles on him, and they slept together. When they wanted to
get up in the morning, the shepherd again became the cloak. As soon
as the sun rose, the princess left the palace of her father with
the cloak, and when she reached a ravine in the mountains, she found
herself again with her beloved shepherd, who had been changed into
But one of the guards had followed them, and when he saw what had
happened he gave the alarm with loud shouts. The lovers fled into
the mountains which are near the town of Calca. Being tired after
a long journey, they climbed to the top of a rock and went to sleep.
They heard a great noise in their sleep, so they arose. The princess
took one shoe in her hand and kept the other on her foot. Then looking
towards the town of Calca both were turned into stone. To this day
the two statues may be seen between Calca and Huayllapampa.
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