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The Legend of Laguna del Incas
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

A long time ago in the land of the Inca lived a young couple in love. Like most Incas they felt close to their gods like Febo the god of the sun and Eolo who blew clouds into shapes like giant umbrellas, much like some old men in the villages do today, only they blow their smoke into rings, not into giant mushrooms.

Illi Yupanqui and the Princess Kora-Ilé were to marry and, because the Incas considered themselves children of the sun, they chose Aconagua, the highest peak in the Andes, for their wedding. There they could be as close as possible to Febo's warmth and Eolo's magic. Aconagua was not only the highest mountain in all of the Andes, it was the highest in all of their world. It was so high, so very, very high that the peaks were carved into giant black teeth, pure and barren, by glaciers and Eolo's icy gusts.

Kora-Ilé's eyes were blue-green. They looked as if the gods had mixed lapis lazuli found in the veins of the mountain rocks with the silver waters of the lagoon at the foot of the Aconagua. For her wedding, she chose to wear white linen, much as brides do today. It was summer and though it was often cold on the mountain even in summer, the sun god, Febo, shone so her dress looked as pure as glacier ice against the dark peaks that surrounded them. The princess walked regally followed by her séquito down the steep dark precipice where all could see her, much as modern brides make their entrance down a curving staircase.

The cliffs were smooth and slippery from the morning dew. She chose her way carefully.  Trying to glimpse her Illi, she looked away from the path. Her soft slipper caught on a piece of smooth black basalt and she fell to her death.

Illi Yupanqui could not bear to have her removed from the place where they had experienced the bliss of true love. He wrapped her in his arms and carried her to the edge of the silver lagoon at the foot of the peaks. There he kissed her lips, immersed her into the pure, clear water and watched her sink. The lake was so clear he could see her still as she descended deeper and deeper. He didn't think he could leave the lake as long as he could see her hair flowing in the water, her dress shining up at him like a white pebble from the bottom of the clear lagoon . The gods knew his thoughts. As Illi watched, Eolo moved the surface of the water into tiny ripples that obscured the young bridegroom's view of Koru-Ilé and Febo moved across the sky so shadows from the peaks darkened the water. Soon the water turned from crystalline to turquoise. Eolo's breath no longer pushed it into tiny waves. It became a smooth cabazon, rounded and opaque like a semi-precious stone set in black metal, just as the Laguna del Inca looks today.

Illi Yupanqui knew it was a sign that all would be well. When the moon is full, high up in those mountains where the country of Chili meets the border of Argentina, the village people who trek to the summit can hear the princess' voice blend with Eolo's call. Eolo, for his part, has never disturbed the surface of the lagoon from that day to this, though some say it is only because the peaks that surround it protect it from his sighs. Descendants of the Incas are reminded of this love story by the blend of Eolo's quiet moans and Kora-Ilé's high, young cry that can be heard in the thin mountain air, and, of course, by the tales that are told today of a love still pure in the this place so close to the gods.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is collecting stories from around the world for a book that will include little known legends from places she has visited.  A work in progress, it includes myths and legends, stories of monsters and princesses.  She is the author of THIS IS THE PLACE and HARKENING, both award winning books, and THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T, USA Book News' Best Professional Book 2004.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author - THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T, Winner USA Book News' "Best Professional Book 2004" #1 Bestselling E-book at: http://starpublish.com/starbooks.htm.
Purchase the paperback at http://www.amazon.com/.
Learn more at: http://carolynhowardjohnson.com/ .

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