The fourth story in my hummingbird folklore series comes from the Aymara people, who live in the region around Lake Titicaca and the Andean Plateau (Altiplano); regions that are now part of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. In this story, Hummingbird helps foil Condor’s plans.
One day, as he flew down from the peaks where he lived, Condor saw a young woman tending her llamas in the field. She was so pretty that Condor wanted her for his wife. So he decided to talk to her.
The girl was the chief’s daughter. As she wandered through the field, keeping an eye on her llamas and picking berries, she saw a tall, handsome young man approaching.
“Hello,” he said to her. “Can I help you pick berries?”
“Okay,” the girl said, shyly.
Together the two of them picked berries, laughing and talking all the while. Soon she had two baskets overflowing with ripe, delicious fruit.
“We picked them so fast,” the girl said. “Now what will I do to pass the time?”
“Let’s play games,” said the boy. “What about ‘Carga, Cargitas’?”
“What’s that?” She asked.
“First I carry you, then you carry me,” he said.
And he picked her up on his back and ran through the fields, around the startled llamas, while the girl shrieked and laughed in delight. After some minutes of this, he put her down.
“Now you carry me,” he said.
“But you’re too heavy,” she protested. The boy ran behind her and put his arms on her shoulders.
“You can do it,” he said. “Just try.”
So the girl tried to pick the boy up, and to her surprise, he wasn’t heavy at all. In fact, as she ran around the field with the boy on her back (I can imagine the llamas rolling their eyes in disdain as they watched) it seemed as if he got even lighter. So light that she felt as she were running without her feet touching the ground….
But wait! She wasn’t touching the ground! She looked down in confusion as the earth fell away from beneath her feet, and then noticed that the hands on her shoulders — were no longer hands. They were claws: the talons of a great bird. Her friend, the handsome boy, had turned back into the mighty Condor and was carrying her away to be his wife.