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The 10 most interesting and memorable Peruvian legends

The 10 most interesting and memorable Peruvian legends

January 17, 2022

Peruvian legends are characterized by a mystical and religious content whose main characters are the elements of nature. Taking as stage lagoons, forests, jungles, beaches, rivers, hills and mountains, Peruvian legends explore natural and supernatural phenomena, as well as everyday experiences, religious events and historical accounts of the colonial era.

In the following article we will see several of the most popular Peruvian legends.

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10 Peruvian legends

Legends and myths are part of the historical and cultural heritage of humanity . They tell us about the origins of towns, cities, women, men, animals and ecosystems. They talk about loves, secrets, enigmas and fantasies, besides explaining a multiplicity of religious and supernatural phenomena.

Precisely, the legends of Latin America have common themes such as enchanted forests, witches and ghost women, mystical and protective animals, among others. In this line, we will see below 10 typical legends of Peru.

1. The enchanted bull (Ayacucho)

In the province of Huanta, Ayacucho Region, there is a lagoon called Razuhuillca. It is the largest of three lagoons and is located at the entrance to the village, on a hill that has become a dam. Legend has it that in this lake there is a beautiful and burly black bull that an old woman with white hair has fastened with a gold chain. They say that once the bull managed to beat the old woman to come to the surface, but this resulted in the flooding of Huanta. The settlers had no choice but to return to chaining the bull and constantly monitor that he does not escape again.

2. The Huega (Ica)

The city of Ica is the seat of this legend that talks about a beautiful woman with long blond hair, who always looked in the mirror. One day, a traveler walking around the area was lost. Suddenly he found himself among hills and palm trees, where he found the beautiful woman. Guided by her beauty, he approached her to ask her why she was alone in the forest. The woman was surprised and scared, so she ran away, throwing her beloved mirror into the bushes. The villagers say that the Huega lagoon has formed from this mirror .

3. The enchanted child (Lima)

Legend has it that one day, a 12-year-old boy lost his ration of meat and corn. Crying, he went to a lagoon, from which emerged a young woman who asked him why he was crying. The boy explained that he was hungry and she offered him food. He took his hand and directed it towards the depths of the lagoon, from where they never left. After searching for several days, the parents found the boy and the girl a cave of Huayanqui .

To remove the child's spell, the father wrapped him in a woolen scarf and, after asking how he got there, the boy explained that he had walked with the girl across the lake to the cave in search of food.

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4. The mysterious lagoon (Lima)

Near the city of Cañete there is a river that has a lagoon-shaped part, which they call "the mysterious lagoon". They say that this lagoon has the divine blessing, since, every time the river grows and its volume of water increases, the lagoon is the only part of which remains in its original course, surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers. They say that every year, at the San Juan festivities, a beautiful leg appears along the lagoon followed by little ducklings, which represents a good omen.

5. The stone toad (Pasco)

Legend has it that many years ago there lived an old woman dressed in black near the hill of Pasco. Each harvest, the old woman had the largest potatoes, which aroused the envy and curiosity of the neighbors. One night, while the old woman slept, a huge toad that had sneaked into her crop, finished with all her potatoes. When waking up to the frog scandal, the enraged old woman cast a spell so strong that it blew roofs and tree roots .

The toad flew through the air until it was caught on a gigantic rock, where it remains until today, turned into stone. In addition to ending the life of a potato stealing toad, the neighbors proved the suspicion that the old woman was in fact a powerful sorceress.

6. The hill of the old and the old (Lambayeque)

In the center of the road from Lambayeque to Motupe there is a large hill. They say that there lived a couple of old people, to whom one day Jesus Christ presented himself. He was thirsty and asked for water, but the elders refused to offer it to him. In punishment, Jesus Christ turned them into a couple of hills, and They say that every time a stone falls, it is a sign of their laments .

7. The stone that heals the evil of loves (Ancash)

This is the story of one of the many recipes for alleviating wounded hearts. Many years ago there was a jealous father who decided to poison the suitor of his beautiful daughter, considering it unattractive. He soon realized the great sadness he had caused his beloved daughter, who had taken refuge in the lagoon of Cotacocha indefinitely.

So, repentant, the father went to the hills of Quito, Educator, to pick up an enchanted and healing stone that had fallen from the heavens. He took her to the Cotacocha lagoon to heal her daughter's sorrows. He prepared the stone in a mate, and when he drank it, the daughter was cured and forgave her father. They say that the stone is still there , and that has been spent for each evil of love that heals.

8. The Lord of Chacos (Huánuco)

Legend has it that many years ago, in the town of Chacos, a woman pastor heard a hammering that came from an old man carving a huge cross. The pastor asks the old man who he was and why he was doing that. He replies that he is a carpenter, and that he built a cross for himself. The shepherdess offers her her basket of food and the carpenter refuses, but asks her to take a bouquet of flowers the next day.

Thus, the shepherdess returns with flowers, and with surprise finds the carpenter dissected and crucified. The people of Chacos tried to move the carpenter and his cross towards the town, but it was impossible: he always appeared again in the same place. Since then, the carpenter is known as the Lord of Chacos and numerous miracles and annual celebrations have been attributed to it. In other versions of this legend, she is not a pastor but a group of children who meet the carpenter.

9. The mysterious little boat (Piura)

Legend has it that, mysteriously, people who were engaged in night fishing in the cove of Cabo Blanco, never returned from their work. What did come back after several days was his boat, lonely under the current of the same waves.

They say that the disappearance of the fishermen is the product of a charm and that, in Easter, a light boat appears from midnight. This causes fear and even paralyzes the observer , while disappearing slowly when entering the cove.

10. The town of Narihualá (Piura)

Near the city of Catacaos there is a town called Narihualá. It is a town that has been inhabited by different tribes. Upon learning of the arrival of the conquerors, the last settlers of Narihualá decided to bury themselves alive, along with all their riches, so that they could not be possessed.

Among his most precious objects was a huge golden bell. It was hanging from a large temple that the Spaniards were not long in finding. In the attempt to capture it, the bell collapsed in the dream and sank into the earth, and the conquerors could not find it. They say that every Holy Friday a little man of this ancient tribe appears .

He carries in his hands a lighted lamp and a small bell that makes noise. Guide the villagers to the buried objects, who have found pearls and gold objects. They also say that there is a curse for any stranger who tries to possess these treasures.

Bibliographic references:

  • Arguedas, J.M. and Izquierdo, F. (2013). Myths, legends and Peruvian stories. Reading point: Peru.
  • Ocampo, J. (2006). Latin American myths and legends. Plaza & Janes: Colombia.

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