Legend of potato

Version rewritten by N. Brachet, based on the book "Leyendas de mi tierra"
of Antonio Diaz Villamil (Libreria - Editorial "Juventud")

Very a long time ago, the Sapallas lived a peaceful and harmonious existence. Nature was generous and entirely provided everything each one could possibly need, and the Entente Cordiale with the close countries had made them forget what violence and war meant.

One day, the sudden eruption of a volcano disturbed the harmony of this small apparently perfect world. The Karis neighbors of Sapallas, who lived in the North near the volcano, were forced to flee their devastated country and to leave the majority of their goods and belongings. Attracted naturally by the richness of the Sapallas territory, Karis used the force to invade the rich country. The impotent Sapallas were immediately reduced to slavery without opposing any resistance to the invader.

During many years, all Sapallas accepted their sad fate and worked without slackening for their Karis Masters. All except one man, a young man named Choque, the last descendant from the Sapallas country leaders, refused this domination and preferred to receive the terrible punishments from the Karis rather than to work for them. Many times, the Sapallas tried to convince the young man to give up the fight and to accept his slave condition, but in vain. Choque was convinced that the Gods would not leave unpunished such an injustice.

The Gods observed indeed the scene and were impressed by Choque's bravery and faith. One of them Pachacamaj took the appearance of a white condor and came down earth to meet the young man. He rewarded Choque by showing him a site where seeds of a plant called papa (potato) were stored. This plant was still unknown to the mankind. The Sapallas started in secret to sow the potato seeds, replacing the traditional cultures of quinoa and broad beans which were only reserved for the Karis.

A few months passed, and the seeds started to germinate. As usual, the Karis immediately rushed to collect all the green leaves and bays of the new plant. The Sapallas had no other choice than picking the remainders left on the fields, and it was still not clear in their mind what was the benefit of having utilized the holy seeds. However, it was a great surprise for when they later discovered fabulous tubers hidden under ground which had been missed by the Karis. This invaluable food gave them hope and new strength to fight against the oppressor.

Many Karis who had consumed the potato leaves and their poisonous fruits suddenly fell sick or died. The Sapallas organized their rebellion and definitively kicked the Karis out of the country. Choque was elected as the new Sapallas chief. He set up a new happy and strong society, and potatoes continued to be cultivated with respect as a sacred gift from the Gods.