The Gift of Freedom – An Incan Story
A Gift of Freedom. Legend from the Mochica people of Peru.
The tribe of the Caris invaded the land of the Aymara people and treated them as slaves. Choque the son of the last Aymara cacique, used to climb the nearest mountain and play his flute, hoping that the God Viracocha would free his people. Viracocha disguised himself as a giant condor and handed Choque some rare seeds, and told him to plant and nourish these seeds, wait until they flowered, and give them to the Caris as a gift.
Wait for them to eat them. Then during the night, dig up the fruits that grew underground each plant. Boil them and eat them. The Caris became ill and weak from eating the plant, while the Aymara people grew strong and healthy. The time came when Choque led his people to revolt and expelled the Caris from their land.
They considered the new food a gift from God and called it “papa” (potato).
We were told this legend while we were in Cuzco, Peru, but, as I was researching the names to get them right, I found out this legend is shared by the people of the Altiplano, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
Fact: The potato plant’s foliage, the flowers, and the tomato-like fruit should be discarded as they contain solanine, an alkaline that is toxic to humans and many animals.
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