Cristobal de Molina. THE FABLES AND RITES OF THE YNCAS.
THE FABLES AND RITES OF THE YNCAS,
CHRISTOVAL DE MOLINA,
Priest of the Parish of Our Lady of Healing of the Hospital for
Natives in the City of Cuzco:1
Addressed to the Most Reverend LORD BISHOP DON SEBASTIAN DE
ARTAUN,2 of the Council of His Majesty.
AS in the account which I submitted to your most illustrious Lordship of the origin, lives, and customs of the Yncas, Lords of this land, of the names and number of their wives, of the laws they gave and the wars they waged, and of the tribes and nations they conquered; I also treated, in some places, of the ceremonies and worship they established, though not very fully; I now propose, chiefly by reason of the wish expressed by your reverend Lordship, to take similar pains to describe the ceremonies, worship, and idolatries of these Indians. For this purpose I assembled a number of aged persons who had seen and participated in them in the days of Huayna Ccapac, of Huascar Ynca, and of Manco Ynca, as well as some leaders and priests of those days.
And first with regard to the origin of their idolatries, it is so that these people had no knowledge of writing. But, in a house of the Sun called Poquen Cancha, which is near Cuzco, they had the life of each one of the Yncas, with the lands they conquered, painted with figures on certain boards, and also their origin. Among these paintings the following fable was represented.
In the life of Manco Ccapac, who was the first Ynca, and from whom they began to be called children of the Sun, and to worship the Sun, they had a full account of the deluge. They say that all people and all created things perished in it, insomuch that the water rose above all the highest mountains in the world. No living things survived except a man and a woman who remained in a box, and when the waters subsided, the wind carried them to Huanaco,3 which will be over seventy leagues from Cuzco, a little more or less. The Creator of all things commanded them to remain there as mitimas;4 and there, in Tiahuanaco, the Creator began to raise up the people and nations that are in that region, making one of each nation of clay, and painting the dresses that each one was to wear. Those that were to wear their hair, with hair; and those that were to be shorn, with hair cut; and to each nation was given the language that was to be spoken, and the songs to be sung, and the seeds and food that they were to sow. When the Creator had finished painting and making the said nations and figures of clay, he gave life and soul to each one, as well men as women, and ordered that they should pass under the earth. Thence each nation came up in the places to which he ordered them to go. Thus they say that some came out of caves, others issued from hills, others from fountains, others from the trunks of trees. From this cause, and owing to having come forth and commenced to multiply, p. 5 from those places, and to having had the beginning of their lineage in them, they made huacas and places of worship of them in memory of the origin of their lineage which proceeded from them. Thus each nation uses the dress with which they invest their huaca; and they say that the first that was born from that place was there turned into stones, others say the first of their lineages were turned into falcons, condors, and other animals and birds. Hence the huacas they use and worship are in different shapes.
There are other nations which say that when the deluge came, all people were destroyed except a few who escaped on hills, in caves, or trees, and that these were very few, but that they began to multiply, and that, in memory of the first of their race who escaped in such places, they made idols of stone, giving the name of him who had thus escaped to each huaca. Thus each nation worshipped and offered sacrifices of such things as they used. There were, however, some nations who had a tradition of a Creator of all things. They made some sacrifices to him, but not in such quantity, or with so much veneration as to their idols or huacas. But to return to the fable. They say that the Creator was in Tiahuanaco, and that there was his chief abode, hence the superb edifices, worthy of admiration, in that place. On these edifices were painted many dresses of Indians, and there were many stones in the shape of men and women, who had been changed into stone for not obeying the commands of the Creator. They say that it was dark, and that there he made the sun, moon, and stars, and that he ordered the sun, moon, and stars to go to the island of Titicaca, which is near at hand, and thence to rise to heaven. They also declare that when the sun, in the form of a man, was ascending into heaven, very brilliant, it called to the Yncas and to Manco Ccapac, as their chief, and said:—"Thou and thy descendants are to be Lords, and are to subjugate many nations. Look upon me as thy father, and thou shalt be my p. 6children, and thou shalt worship me as thy father." And with these words it gave to Manco Ccapac, for his insignia and arms, the suntur-paucar5 and the champi,6 and the other ensigns that are used by the Yncas, like sceptres. And at that point the sun, moon, and stars were commanded to ascend to heaven, and to fix themselves in their places, and they did so. At the same instant Manco Ccapac and his brothers and sisters, by command of the Creator, descended under the earth and came out again in the cave of Paccari-tambo,7 though they say that other nations also came out of the same cave, at the point where the Sun rose on the first day after the Creator had divided the night from the day. Thus it was that they were called children of the Sun, and that the Sun was worshipped and revered as a father.
They also have another fable, in which they say that the Creator had two sons, the one called Ymaymana Viracocha, and the other Tocapo Viracocha. Having completed the tribes and nations, and assigned dresses and languages to them, the Creator sent the sun up to heaven, with the moon and stars, each one in its place. The Creator, who in the language of the Indians is called Pachayachachi8 and Tecsiviracocha, which means the incomprehensible God, then went by the road of the mountains, from Tiahuanaco, visiting and beholding all the nations, and examining how they had begun to multiply, and how to comply with his commands. He found that some nations had rebelled and had not obeyed his commands; so he turned a large number of them into stones of the shape of men and women, with the same dress that they had worn. These conversions into stone were made at the following places: in Tiahuanaco, and in Pucara, and Xauxa, where they say that he turned p. 7 the huaca called Huarivilca into stone, and in Pachacamac and Cajarmarca, and in other parts. In truth there are great blocks of stone in those places, some of which are nearly the size of giants. They must have been made by human hands in very ancient times; and, by reason of the loss of memory, and the absence of writing, they invented this fable, saying that people had been turned into stones for their disobedience, by command of the Creator. They also relate that in Pucara, which is forty leagues from the city of Cuzco on the Collao road, fire came down from heaven and destroyed a great part of the people, while those who were taking to flight were turned into stones.
The Creator, who is said to be the father of Ymaymana Viracocha, and of Tocapo9 Viracocha, commanded that the elder, named Ymaymana Viracocha, in whose power all things were placed, should set out from this point, and go by the way of the mountains and forests through all the land, giving names to the large and small trees, and to the flowers and fruits that they bear, and teaching the people which were good for food or for medicine, and which should be avoided. He also gave names to all the herbs, and explained which had healing virtues and which were poisonous. The other son, named Tocapo Viracocha, which means in their language "the maker," was ordered to go by the way of the plains, visiting the people, and giving names to the rivers and trees, and instruction respecting the fruits and flowers. Thus they went until they reached the sea, whence they ascended to heaven, after having accomplished all they had to do in this world.
They also relate, in this same fable, that at Tiahuanaco, where all mankind was created, all the different kinds of birds were made, male and female, and that each was given the songs they were to sing; those that were to live in the p. 8forest being sent there, and each kind to its respective place. In like manner all the different beasts were created, male and female, and all the serpents and lizards that are met with in the land; and the people were taught the names and qualities of each of these birds, beasts, and reptiles.
These Indians believed for a certainty that neither the Creator nor his sons were born of woman, that they were unchangeable and eternal. The tribes have many other fables teaching their origin, insomuch that if all were to be told, there would be no end. I will, therefore, only insert some of these fables.