Origin Stories: Relatives who went away
A central theme of Kichwa origin stories is that plants and animals were originally human relatives who became estranged from their families, usually when they were teens and often in amorous breakups. Whether because of laziness, immaturity, or simply as a natural response to overcrowding, tensions arise and certain people are excluded from the sharing of food and drink that defined the communion of relatives. In anger and heartbreak the excluded ones stop eating the common human food and begin consuming wild substitutes. This in turn results in a changed body, the body of a new species. Since this new species now has its own distinctive food it no longer feels its exclusion so sharply and no longer needs the sharing of human food.
These breakups that result in speciation are inevitable, and, in the long run are for the good because biodiversity is necessary. Each species needs its space. Still, the estrangement is not complete and different species need each other. For this reason the sight and sound of wild animals sharing their different food evokes a feeling of wistful curiosity and empathy for the company of relatives who are like us but with whom we can no longer communicate because they have become permanently estranged.
Bélgica Dagua, “How an Unwanted Man Became the Spirit Eye Tree.” YouTube video, 02:08. Posted [October 2, 2016]. https://youtu.be/-SM-n3Dv2wg. Quichua Text English Translation Spanish Translation Tags: origin story
Bélgica Dagua, “The Strangler Fig Loved a Girl.” YouTube video. 6:29 Posted [Au- gust 15, 2016]. https://youtu.be/Q6bYzbGCOJQ. English and Quichua subtitles.
Bélgica Dagua, “Origin of Wooly Monkeys.” YouTube video. 6:18. Posted [August 11, 2016].. https://youtu.be/NwUNqMBYVo8 Quichua Text English Translation Spanish Translation. A newly married girl makes vast quantities of chicha to serve to her husband’s brothers whom she has invited to clear forest for her manioc garden. But the immature husband and his brothers just drink up all her chicha while making fun of her and doing no work at all. So she pours the chicha over her husbands head telling him he him he would never drink her asua again. “Now wild fruits will be my only food!” the husband tried to say in human languages as he sprouted a tail and ran up a tree but all that came out was the sad but otherwise unintelligible cry of a woolly monkey. His immature brothers became other kinds of monkeys.
Eulodia Dagua and Delicia Dagua, “A Generous Host Becomes the Chuku Tree (Erythrina poeppigiana).” Youtube video. 3:49. November 27, 2011. https://youtu.be/8aF02E9rbYo
Bélgica Dagua, "On the origin of the kingfisher." Youtube video. 8:11 January 1, 2019. https://youtu.be/hr2QOT3xq2s. English and Kichwa subtitles.
Eulodia Dagua, "The Moon's Sister Becomes the Kingu Constellation." Youtube video. 2:07 November 10, 2015. https://youtu.be/_iqgbM0S-M8 English subtitles. Version with Quichua subtitles
Eulodia Dagua, "How the birds get their voices." Youtube video. 6:56. October 18, 2018. https://youtu.be/rreP2bOlDv0
Eulodia Dagua, "On the Origin of the Flute.” Youtube video. 4:03 December 21, 2016. https://youtu.be/fYqrA-gR_-Y