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  • Alex Giroux et Jacynthe Boudreau

Chilean legends: Licarayen

Well knowned in Puerto Varas, Licarayén is one of the most famous personage of the mapuche folk tales.

A long time ago the Huilliche people lived at the feet of Piri Pillén (now known as Osorno volcano).

They were led by a wise Cacique, who ruled with kindness and justice, supported by his daughter Licarayén. She was in love with the Toqui Quitralpique, and their love was pure and brought them happiness, so they were to be married in the spring.

Piri Pillén was not happy with the Huilliche, and envied them being created by Antu. The sun god who had trapped him inside the mountain. So he set out to ruin their happiness.

So he set out in his quest for destruction. He made the earth quake under their feet, movements that could be felt miles away and threatened to destroy the Huilliche's labor. And when this wasn't enough to destry them, Piri Pillén started spiting lava, fire and rocks. Destroying the crops and everithing else in his wake.

The Huilliche were desperate, the Cacique was at a loss at what to do. The days run by and Piri Pillén's fury only got worse. One day a stranger showed up in town, he came for far away, and saw how the Huilliche were suffering, and so requested an audience with the Cacique. The old stranger explained that the only way to calm the Piri Pillén was to sacrifice the most beautiful girl in the village.

"To bring calm to the village you must rip out the heart of the most beautiful maiden among you. Then you will place it on top of the Pichi Juan hill,and cover it with a Canelo branch.

The Cacique gathered his people to find who would be the chosen sacrifice. After arduous discussion he came to a terrible realization: his daughter was the chosen one. Licarayen proved she was in fact the kindest and most beautiful maiden in the tribe by offering her life right away without argument so her people could be safe. She had just one condition: Quitralpique was to take her heart from her chest since he was its rightful owner.

Osorno Volcano or Peri Pillan

Quitralpique prepared a bed of flowers for Licarayen, and with his own heart filled to the brim with grief, ripped the maiden's heart out of her chest. He handed it to the Cacique so the ritual could be finished and proceeded to launch himself onto his spear. If Licarayen was gone to the afterlife, he would go with her.

Licarayén's father took her heart to the top of Pichi Juan and laid a Canelo branch on top of it. They all stood around waiting for something to happen, and just as they were losing hope, a giant bird came down from the heavens and ate the hart in one fell swoop. It picked up the Canelo branch branch and flew away. The bird dropped the branch into the mouth of Piri Pillén.

When the branch burned up, suddenly, snow started to fall into Piri Pillén's mouth. For days the snow fell and melted in the crates, flowing down the sides of the mountain. It was a battle between the pure heart of Licarallén and the fiery dark mouth of Piri Pillén. So much snow melted and ran down that three lakes were formed: the Chapo, the Todos los Santos and the Llanquihue. And after the fierce battle was over, Licarayen had won, and the snow she let fall from the heavens quieted Piri Pilén and saved the Huilliche.

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