Myths and legends of Chiloé

18 September 2019
Myths and legends of Chiloè. Why is this mysterious arcipelago so full of myths, legends and supernatural creatures? What are they? Let’s go through them together!
In the region of the Chilean Lakes there is a mysterious arcipelago of islands which the people who live there are very jealous of  and like keeping their traditions and are very respectful in  regards to the myths and supernatural creatures which they all swear live on those islands. Let’s try to find out more about these Chilean islands.
If you start from the Southern part and the capital of Cile – Santiago -not far from Patagonia, you  will find yourself in a region called ‘the Lake District’, which consists of many islands grouped together of different sizes, big and small. Together they are called the Arcipelago of Chiloe. It is an area which for the moment doesn’t get many tourists as many people don’t know of its existence. (this  for me is a fortune) but notwithstanding it is one of the most interesting places in the entire South America.
The climate and landscape are surreal…
In a morning when Chiloè is  covered in a thick fog, you realise you are in a different place than usual. The geography of the region,  the climate, the Ocean nearby, the flora and the fauna, above  all the isolation, have contributed in helping the population, even to have a strong sense of the supernatural. If  one leaves the centre which is highly populated and goes along the roads where there is silence and where the road divedes the forest into two, you get a funny sensation that you are being watched and followed by something magical and mysterious. Probably only our feelings! Probably that is the answer – but you can feel it very strongly.
Rocks, lakes, trees, torrents, animals, flowers, the moon and the stars, even the people and all the nature around us in Chiloè seems to give and power to all the creatures and it is easy for one to imagine things – which then  become a myth! Legends which in the end condition our lives and daily activities especially of the inhabitants in this part of the world.
Green Hills which surround these  forests are part of Chiloe, also the very high winds and the hills often hidden by the mist just as in  Ireland, all make a natural scene for stories of witches, ghostly ships  and forest dwarfs which frighten, even today, adults and children of all ages who live in this splendid Chilean region.
The disagreement between Tentenvilu and Caicaivilu
Tentenvillu is the God of the Serpents on earth, the embodiment of good, who lives on the Tenten mountain. Caicaivillu on the other hand is  the embodiment of evil, mythical monster half horse and half serpent who sleeps on the bottom of the ocean. One day Caicaivillu awakes and sees that all the men have disappeared from the sea and gone to live on the land. So he decided to get his own back and so he covered the land with water but Tentenvillu intervenes and highers the land and transforms the men who are already covered by the sea water into fish so avoiding the disaster.
Huenchula, Millalobo and Pincoya
Huenchula, the only daughter of a couple who lived near the Cuca, was a splendid creature admired by all the village for her beautiful figure and her lovely character. One day returning from the lake near Cuca where she had collected water as she did every day, she exclaimed she didn’t like this task any more, not because the water was heavy to carry and you needed a lot of strength but because she was afraid of meeting a strange being who was half man and half fish. This being stopped her every day and asked for a drink of her water, always more and more. Her parents didn’t believe the story and thought she was imagining it all and they told her not to worry. Huenchula was an obedient girl and slowly she got used to this mysterious creature who eventually didn’t frighten her any more. Then one afternoon the monster grabbed the girl and took her with him to the bottom of the pacific ocean. Her mother started to get worried when she didn’t return home, so she set off to the Lake to look for her. She finally found her by the side of the lake with a bottle of water full of a red liquid which looked like blood. The woman, desperate, returned home to tell her husband. They passed almost 12 upsetting months, the after exactly one year had passed Huenchula reappeared and told her parents of places far away where she had been taken and of the many presents she had received from a powerful king, her husband to be and the father of a creature he had in his arms and which he laid in a wooden box where it had to stay and was not to be shown to anyone. Her parents couldn’t resist looking in the box when their dauhter was not around and to their horror before their very eyes, the creature became water. Huenchula when she returned and saw what had happened ran away from her mam and dad to rejoin her husband, Millalobo who was on the bottom of the sea. Upset and crying she  told her husband what had happened, but before she finished her story she saw a boat slowly coming towards her. In it was the lost baby, but now she had become a beautiful young girl and she was given the name Pincoya. Millaloba distributed a variety of fish and shell fish to the people of Chiloe, on land and sea. He ordered Pincoya, his daughter, to distribute this food and she came up from the bottom of the sea dressed only in seaweeds and she danced on the beach. When she danced, with her face towards the sea, it meant that there were many fish to be had in that part, Instead if she turned her back on the sea it meant that the population would have to go a long way to find food. If the people of Chiloe shipwrecked, it was always Pincoya who went to help them but if she failed to do so, the bodys are transported to  Caleuche, where they will live on a ghost ship in eternal happiness.  For this reason the people of Chiloe are not afraid of the sea, even though most of them are unable to swim!
The Basilisk
If by any chance you have to go to a hen-house to collect fresh eggs, and you find by chance a small round egg with thick ruvid skin, you must get rid of it immediately by throwing it in the flames as it is of the Huervo Basilisk.The story goes on to say that it is an egg laid by a rooster or hen (of which the real sex is not known) and only the flames can get rid of the bad germs which it contains and if you let it grow it won’t have pity on anyone. Basilisk, half reptile and half bird , during the day, hides under the floorboards of the house it has invaded and waits for night-time when Basilisco, half reptile and half bird comes out singing  a monotonous lullaby which has the magic power of making people go into a very deep sleep.or on the other hand if you are not already asleep, makes you nod off immediately.. Once it has chosen the victim, it inhales their breath and deprives them of any energy, so the victim turns pale and becomes weaker, also begins coughing and can’t stop, until  finally he draws his last breath. One by one all the people in the house die. The only way to stop all of this is by setting the house on fire.
The Trauco
Trauco is the name of a disgusting gnome of the forest who goes around the woods half nude frightening the people. Seems he can destroy any tree with a small trail of stones. It can’t resist the sight of a young virgin, and he gives impudic erotic dreams and  sometimes goes as far as leaving them with illegitimate children.  In fact, whenever a single girl is expecting he is always the one to be blamed
Minor figures
Other mythological creatures wellknown, feared and respected by the population of Chiloe are:
  • The Brujos witch gifted with black magic power and who keeps itself hidden away in a very secret place (probably in a grotto near Quicavia who passes its time by corrupting and harming the people.
  • The Fiura who is nothing but another wizard that lives in the Chiloe forest, who  is never gets  enough sex and is full of sickly ideas such as causing bad backs to human beings and killing smaller animals.
  • The Invanche, the guard of the Brujos cave, who has been horrible disfigured by Brujes and so his hand is turned around 180 degrees, attaches itself  to a leg on the backbone and puts an arm under the skin. It feeds on human beings and is extremely dangerous.
  • The Viuda (which means widow in the local language) is a tall woman dressed in black who frequents lonely places and entices men only. Then the following day she abandons them wherever it suits her.
  • The Voladora, the messenger who during the night vomits its entrails so it is lighter and delivers the messages to the Brujos, flying across the sky. Before sunrise it eats the same entrails which it vomited the night before and once again appears like a normal woman.


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