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The Origin Myth of Lake Titicaca

The Origin Myth of Lake Titicaca

A long time ago, Lake Titicaca was a fertile valley populated by men who lived happily and peacefully. Nothing was lacking: the land was rich and provided them with everything they needed. Neither death nor hatred nor ambition was known. The Apus, the gods of the mountains, protected human beings. They only had one forbidden thing: no one could climb to the top of the mountains where the Sacred Fire burned.

For a long time, men did not think infringing this order of the gods. But the devil, an evil spirit condemned to live in darkness, could not bear to see men living so happy in the valley. He asked them to prove their courage by going to seek the Sacred Fire at the top of the mountains.

One fine day, at dawn, the men began to climb the top of the mountains, but halfway they were surprised by the Apu (a mountain that has a spirit that is alive). It understood that the men had disobeyed and decided to exterminate them. Thousands of pumas came out of the caverns and devoured the men who begged the devil for help. But he remained insensible to their supplications.

Seeing that, Inti, the Sun God, began to cry. His tears were so abundant that in forty days they flooded the valley. Only a man and a woman managed to survive in a boat. When the Sun shone again, the man and the woman did not believe their eyes: under the blue and pure sky, they were in the middle of a huge lake. In the middle of these waters floated the pumas that were drowned and transformed into stone statues.

And so they called Lake Titicaca, the lake of stone cougars.

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