In ancient times, the native people of the beautiful Andean Highlands lived in peace and prosperity. They had a harmonious and respectful relationship with nature and shared their living space with animals of the region. Highlanders and animals helped each other, each kind lending their unique abilities to make living on the highlands a blissful utopia.
Of all the animals, the llamas spent the most time living with the Andean highlanders. The highlanders helped the llamas with shelter, food, and medicine. The llamas helped the highlanders with transport, guarded their livestock, and were great companions. Highlanders were often found talking to their llamas, who were wonderful listeners, even though they couldn’t talk back.
While the Andean highlanders communed with nature peacefully, the rest of the world were ravaging the planet. People greedily took from nature without giving back. Entire forests were cut down and burned, animals hunted for sport and fun, and waste dumped into oceans, rivers, and lakes. Continents and islands that used to be green and fertile became dry and desolate.
Seeing how the Earth’s condition was getting worse every day, the Ancient Gods decided to stop human’s destructive behavior. The Gods wanted to heal the drylands with water and get rid of the greedy humans at the same time. They planned to make the oceans, rivers, and lakes overflow and cover the Earth with water. It was going to be the Great Flood.
The Gods than to told the animals to start moving to higher grounds. When the llamas heard about the news, they were very worried about their highlander friends. They asked the Gods if they can warn the highlanders about the coming flood. The llamas told the Gods that the highlanders are good people and will take good care of the Earth and animals. The Gods listened to the llamas’ plea and granted the llamas the ability to speak, so they can tell the highlanders to move to even higher grounds.
When the llamas start to talk to the highlanders, the highlanders didn’t believe what they were saying. They first thought that the llamas are getting worried for no reason. The llamas became very sad and stopped eating for a few days. The highlanders tried to give them different kinds of food and even offered corn crowns, which usually are their favorite food. When the llama refused to eat the corn, the highlanders realized that they were telling the truth.
The llamas told the highlanders that a great flood is coming in five days and that they should start moving to the great mountain called Huillcacoto. The highlanders gathered everyone in their village and moved to the very tip of the mountain. The animals also followed them and stayed with them at the mountain peak.
After five days, just as the llamas had foretold, a great flood came, and water covered the Earth. Only the Andean highlanders and the animals that went to mountain tops survived. Legends said that the fox was late to come to the mountain, and the water touched it’s tail as it was running up, which is why the fox’s tail was blackened to this day.
After another five days, the water began to descend. The Highlanders came back down from the mountain and began to rebuild their village. They then went to different parts of the world, and the number of people started to increase again.
As for the llamas, the Gods took away their ability to speak when they came down from the mountain. They continue to be loyal companions of the Andean Highlanders to this day.
The end? Not yet! While most llamas went down the great mountain to accompany their human friends, a few llamas decided to stay at the top of the mountains. The Ancient Gods decided that they enjoyed the llamas’ presence and gave them a single horn at the top of their heads, as well as the ability to fly. These llamas stayed with the Gods and happily plays with the Gods’ other mythical friends, including the unicorn. The llamas became llamacorns.
Once in a while, usually after a spring rain, the llamacorns would visit their brother and sisters that stayed with the highlanders. The highlanders would see the llamacorns fly down from above the clouds, sliding down rainbows, the mountain top, and then visiting their villages. Llamacorn sightings are considered good luck, bringing good harvest and happiness to those fortunate enough to experience it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the story! The legend of the llamas, Andean highlands and the great flood was adapted loosely from the Huarochiri Manuscript.
The part about llamacorns is not taken from the manuscript. We made that up, just for fun!
Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check out the llamacorn song!
You can also watch the narrated version of this story on our YouTube channel:
Llama Unicorn Song Book