Storytime: Punta Arenas, Chile – Leyenda del Calafate


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[Courtesy of Solange, age 11] It is said that once a powerful chief had a beautiful daughter with golden eyes. Her name was Calafate. One day the girl was out walking and encountered a young man from the rival tribe, the Selnams. Despite knowing this, the two young people couldn’t help that it was love at first sight.

They began planning to run away together. Calafate’s father caught wind of the plans. Afraid of losing his daughter and angry that it be to a boy of his sworn enemy, he went to the shaman, asking that he cast a spell so the girl could not run away.

The shama agreed, but believing Calafate must be possessed by the demon Gualicho, cast a strong spell. He turned the tribal princess into a shrub, very populous in the area. Her golden eyes are in the flowers and see the land she loves.

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On their appointed day to run away, the Selnam boy could not find his love. He searched for her, until his heart broke and the boy died.

Only now did the shaman see the error in his actions. This had been the work of love, not a demon. The spell could not be undone, but he did make it so that each year the golden spring flowers become purple berries, lovely and sweet as the hearts of the two young lovers.

So we say here, “el que come Calafate, siempre vuelve a la Patagonia.”

The sweet, tall 11 year old beams at me upon concluding the story.

“And the berries make a delicious jam,” her grandmother adds.

We all exchange besos and head to bed.

La hora del cuento: Punta Arena, Chile – La leyenda del calafate

Traduccion por Henry Tovar

[Cortesía de Solange, de 11 años]. Se dice que una vez un poderoso jefe tenía una hermosa hija con ojos de oro. Su nombre era Calafate. Un día la niña estaba caminando y se encontró con un joven de la tribu rival, los Selnams. A pesar de saber esto, los dos jóvenes no podian negar que era amor a primera vista.

Ellos comenzaron a planear el huir juntos. El padre de Calafate se enteró de los planes. Con miedo de perder a su hija y enojado de que se tratase de un hijo de su peor enemigo, se fue al Chamán, pidiendo que se le hiciera un hechizo para que la hija no huyera.

El chamán estuvo de acuerdo, pero creyendo que Calafate debia estar poseída por un demonio Gualicho, lanzo un hechizo muy fuerte. Convirtió a la princesa tribal en un arbusto, muy popular en la zona. Sus ojos dorados están en las flores y ven la tierra que ama.

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En su día designado para huir, el chico Selnam no pudo encontrar a su amor, él la buscó, hasta que su corazón se rompió y el niño murió.

Solo entonces el Chamán vio el error de sus acciones. Este habia sido el trabajo de amor, no de un demonio. El hechizo no se podía deshacer, pero sí lo hacen para que cada año las flores de oro del muelle son bayas de color purpura, encantador y dulce como el corazón de dos jóvenes amantes.

Por eso decimos aquí, ´´el que venga a Calafate, siempre vuelve a la Patagonia.´´
Los dulces, altos de 11 años me sonrien al concluir la historia.

´´ Y las bayas hacen una deliciosa mermelada´´, añade su abuela.

Todos intercambiamos besos y nos fuimos a la cama.

3 thoughts on “Storytime: Punta Arenas, Chile – Leyenda del Calafate

  1. jaki and henry florsheim says:

    Sweet story. By the way, Roger Cohen, a regular op-ed writer for the NY Times, wrote a few days ago about young people needing to be adventurous. I wrote to him about you and he replied that he would look at your website: “Good for her!”

  2. Clifford B. Rawley says:

    WE appreciate the wonderful legend about the beautiful yellow flowers and the love story of two beautiful young people from different tribes.
    Love, Cliff and Martha Rawley

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