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Main > Ecuador folktales > Fairy tale "In Search of the Magic Lake"

In Search of the Magic Lake

Thousands of feet below her, the snow-topped peaks of the Andes Mountains - the world's longest mountain range - raced by and Ampata nervously clutched her fan. At last, she was lowered ever so gently onto the very last peak, and her feet alighted. There before her sparkled the Magic Lake. Indeed, where the sky touched the water, the water in the Magic Lake fizzed and sparkled. Ampata knew she had reached the end of the earth. She tucked the fan into her braided waistband.

Suddenly from the woods slithered a giant rattlesnake, many times larger than she! Shaking its rattle and flicking its long red tongue, it seemed to fly toward her. Horrified, Ampata snatched the fan up before her face and closed her eyes, knowing that if it did not protect her, she was doomed. A loud clump. She lowered the fan to just above her nose and was amazed to see the giant rattlesnake had collapsed on the ground. The rattle at the end of its tail, teetering, pitched over.

The next moment a huge red scorpion, snapping its sharp front claws, surprised her from behind. It scampered toward her on its many legs so quickly that she barely had time to raise the fan. Though as soon as she did, the sound of its rushing along the ground toward her stopped. The scorpion lay on its back as if asleep; its many legs waved in the air and then settled down to rest.

Carefully stepping around the scorpion and the rattlesnake, Ampata headed to the shore of the Magic Lake. Suddenly a low humming started behind her. Spinning around, she saw what looked like a low, dark cloud. Soon the humming became louder and the dark cloud became bigger and darker. She realized with horror that a swarm of ferocious army ants was about to surround her. Quickly she shot the fan in front of her face, not knowing if the feathers would protect her from so many ants coming from so many different directions. Yet in the next few seconds no ants bit her feet and climbed her legs.

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