Gabriela Viseur


Madariwa was lying on her bed. The little girl had her eyes closed, but she wasn't sleeping: the little pale face, the forehead shining with sweat drops, and the trembling hands and body were the clear signs of an illness. The Queen, anxious and worried, was at her side.
Her hair and dress were completely covered by a white veil with black dots.

Madariwa moaned, "Mom!"

Hutan-Taiec caressed gently her hair and said, "Oh, yes, yes, my darling, Mom is here!"

Kayllampas, the Queen's husband, came in. He stood next to his wife, put an arm over her shoulders and asked, trying to sound hopeful, "How is she? Is she doing any better?"

Hutan-Taiec shook her head from side to side, "No, she's burning hot with fever, and nothing seems to work!"

Kanduri came in, bringing a bowl with water and bandages. "Here you are, my Queen."

"Ah, thank you, Kanduri!"

The servant girl held the bowl as Hutan-Taiec soaked the bandages and placed them on Madariwa's face and hands. Meanwhile, Kayllampas' face became somber and his eyes looked at Kanduri with evident hate and anger. He was worried about his daughter's health, but he couldn't help feeling jealous. Hutan-Taiec had been cold and distant with him since she had chosen Kanduri as a servant, so the Prince Consort suspected there was an affair between his wife and the slave girl. (1)

A guard came in and announced, "My Queen, the Mushroom Listener (2) is here and wants to talk with you."

Hutan-Taiec answered, "Let him in."

A middle-aged man entered. His white clothes and hat were decorated with coloured geometric patterns. His traits were regular, except for the aquiline nose and the broad lips. However, his most remarkable features were the dark eyes and their deep, intense, powerful look.

The Queen asked, "Well, Huarayni? What did the Sacred Mushroom tell you?"

The man answered sadly, "I'm sorry to tell you this, but it didn't reveal a reason for the Princess' illness. The Gods are not offended, and I don't know what advice I can give you."

Madariwa moaned again, "I'm thirsty!"

Hutan-Taiec knelt besides the little girl's bed and gave her water.

"Yes, yes, dear! Here you are!”

Kayllampas asked the priest, "Didn't the Sacred Mushroom tell you how to heal our daughter?"

Huarayni answered, "No, my lord. Unfortunately, my visions were not clear."

Hutan-Taiec stood up and insisted, looking at him anxiously, "But she'll be healed, won't she?”

The Mushroom Listener raised his hands and shrugged his shoulders, "It will be what the Gods decide."

Kayllampas held his wife's hand and exclaimed, "There MUST be something we can do!"

Huarayni replied solemnly, "We mortals can't go against the Gods' will."

The Queen was almost frantic. "Madariwa can't die! She is so young!"

Kayllampas held his wife in his arms, trying to comfort her. Kanduri also had a sad look: she was sad because she saw her loved one suffering, and also because she really cared for the little Princess. The poor servant girl didn't know what to do. She tried to come closer
to Hutan-Taiec, but she met Kayllampas' harsh look and stayed in her place.

The priest answered calmly, "That's true... But the Gods don't care if someone is young or old, poor or rich. You, my Queen, you are powerful and courageous, and your fame will be remembered. And yet, no matter how brave and powerful you are, if the Gods want to take your daughter away, you cannot stop them."

A woman's voice interrupted him, "But the Princess' time is not yet come!"

Huarayni faced her, irritated. "How can you say that? What do you know?"

The guard interrupted, "Forgive me, my Queen! I tried to stop this woman, but she insisted she had to see you and came in despite our warnings..."

Hutan-Taiec answered, "Well, now she's here. Leave us!" Then she looked at the middle-aged woman. She had a noble appearance and wore her white robe elegantly. Although she was not beautiful, her big brown eyes had a warm, golden transparence and were full of compassion and understanding.

The Queen asked, "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

"I'm Tuyllu, the Healer. And I came here to bring a medicine that can save you daughter."

Hutan-Taiec said in a pensive mood, "Tuyllu... I've heard about another Tuyllu... A Healer, too. She was my mother's friend, but then disappeared when my mother died."

The Healer smiled and said, "Yes, that's me. I'm the same Tuyllu." Then she sighed and added, "I've left because I was very distressed about your mother's death. We were really great friends... Very close friends, you know... And besides, I was angry and ashamed of myself because I couldn't save her."

Hutan Taiec was puzzled. "Then what brought you back after such a long time?"

Tuyllu answered, "I went to the South, to the land of Tiawanaku, and there, in the Temple of the Sun, I learnt many things. Last moon I had visions that told me you and your daughter would need me, so I traveled here. I only want to help."

The Queen encouraged her, "Well, go ahead, then!"

Madariwa, delirious because of the fever, called again, "Aah, the Crab-man (3)! Please, help me! Save me!”

Hutan-Taiec went to the bed and hugged her daughter. "Oh, don't worry, my dear! Mom's here and will make that monster go away!"

The Healer opened her bag and picked out a smaller bag containing something greenish-grey, apparently, the dried bark of a tree.

Huarayni, completely upset, came and stood beside Hutan-Taiec. He showed Tuyllu with his hand. "And you believe her, My Lady? She's lying!"

Kayllampas replied first, "If she can help our daughter, then.."

Hutan-Taiec interrupted him and in a harsh tone, asked Huarayni, "How can you say she's lying?"

Huarayni answered, "We did all we could! The priests made their prayers and sacrifices and yet the little Princess didn't get any better. .. The Sacred Mushroom didn't tell me how to heal her. And you think this woman can do what we couldn't?"

The Queen said, "She's a Healer... And she's been at the Temple of the Sun in the land of Tiawanaku... She offers me hope, so I will trust her wisdom."

The Mushroom Listener replied arrogantly, "All right, then! With your permission, I'm leaving, because I have nothing more to do here!"

Hutan-Taiec nodded, "Go, then."

Huarayni bowed curtly and left the room.

Meanwhile, Tuyllu had broken the dry bark in smaller pieces, putting them in a bowl.

The Queen asked, "So, is the medicine ready?"

The Healer answered, "Not yet. I need boiling water to make the infusion."

Hutan-Taiec looked at her servant and said, "Kanduri..."

The girl nodded and left the room, "I'll be right back, My Lady!"

Meanwhile, Tuyllu explained, "This is bark of the sacred Quina Tree...It stops the fever, soothes pains and helps recover normal strength."

Kanduri came back, carefully carrying a bowl of boiling water and offered it to the Healer. "Here you are, Madam."

"Thank you!" Tuyllu prepared the infusion and let it cool for a while.

Hutan-Taiec, her husband and the servant watched her in silence.

The Healer crouched next to Madariwa's bed and made her drink the medicine. The little Princess made gestures and tried to refuse it.

Tuyllu smiled and said gently, "Yes, my dear, I know it's very bitter, but you have to drink it to be healed."

At last, Madariwa drank all the infusion.

The Queen asked, "And now?"

The Healer answered, "And now, we have to wait until the medicine works."

Soon they noticed that Madariwa was not trembling anymore, and her cheeks were recovering a normal colour. Now she was sleeping completely relaxed, enjoying a normal rest.

Hutan-Taiec knelt besides the bed. She touched her daughter's forehead and said smiling happily, "She hasn't got fever!" Kayllampas and Kanduri also sighed, relieved, and smiled. Tuyllu looked at them, proud and satisfied.

The Queen asked the Healer, "Ah! How can I pay you for this? There's no amount of gold that could express my gratitude!"

Tuyllu also knelt besides the bed. She held Madariwa gently in her arms and said, "Pay me? Oh, no! I'm glad that I could help. I couldn't heal your mother, but I'm glad that I could save your daughter. A bit late, I know, but this medicine is my present for you."

Hutan-Taiec received her daughter in her arms. Then, the Queen and the Healer looked at each other and smiled.

(1) In the first story, also posted on the T-Wall, on this same thread, we already learnt that the Queen and Kanduri were actually lovers, and that Kayllampas was jealous.

(2) It´s only a guess, but I suspect a cult of hallucinogenic mushrooms existed among the Moche, as it did in Mexican cultures. The mushroom was said to "speak" to the shaman/ess and tell him/her the reason for an illness, along with the way to heal it. When I was in Peru, they told me that the drug they Moche used was the “San Pedro” cactus, and that they did not use mushrooms. However, there are Moche portrait vases of men with one or two mushroom- like protuberances on the forehead painted with small white dots, very much like the Fly Agaric and similar mushrooms. At Museo Larco Herrera in Lima I was answered it was a kind of adornment or headdress. However, I still find it odd: why would an adornment look like a Fly Agaric? But well, I warn again, it´s only a hypothesis.

(3) There are Moche vases portraying a strange creature, half crab, half man.


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