Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Indigenous Stories > Kawashkar > Story of the Forbidden Otter and the Great Flood

Narrated by José Tonko Wide (Kstákso)
Puerto Edén, 1975

A long time ago, while his father….was out hunting otters and birds, a young man went out after him to find a forbidden otter, and he killed it, they say.

And when his father was out, and his mother was out [for they had left before him], while they had gone out before him, he killed it, the story goes.

Then came a giant wave, and the land, the land…rose up from below, goes the story,

and he who had killed the ottersurvived by running, they say, to the top of a hill, to the top of the hill he ran, they say.

And at the top of thehill he made camp… the tide always goes out quickly, no?

and later, the tide went out, seeing that the tide was out, he left, the story goes.

Afterward, he saw his brother, and his mother with his father, drowned and hanging from a tree they were, and he went down, they say.

And he saw that everyone was drowned,and as he returned he saw animals too, orcas and whales littering the forest, they say … after the tide had gone out.

And afterward, that young man from the past  left, with his woman he left, and built a hut, they say.

They had no canvas, so they covered the hut with grass, and there they remained until the new day dawned, the story goes.

And that animal, he ate it,they say, so he would not go hungry,no?

He ate it [in his dream] and when he awoke, they say, he cried out:

“What was that about … why did I dream about a coypu? The coypu, I killed it in the dream, with what fire [did I cook it] as I dreamt?”

He fell asleep once more and did not wake up, and afterward, he woke his wife… he woke his wife, they say.

“Hey, listen, go and get a broken stick, listen to what I was dreaming, that is why I am sending you to … do that… a coypu will come in and you shall kill it.”

After he fell asleep he dreamt, and he saw the same vision in his dream and, so they say,

Afterward a pack of coypu came in and with a garrote she killed them one by one, they say.
Kawésqar Stories
Collected, transcribed and translated by: Oscar E. Aguilera Faúndez and José S. Tonko Paterito