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Main > Peru folktales > Fairy tale "The Frog and the Condor"

The Frog and the Condor

HIGH in the Andes Mountains there once lived a frog in a cool stream. This poor frog was born not like the others - her front right leg was nearly twice as long as her left one. "If only I had two perfect legs like my brothers and sisters," the frog bemoaned whenever she caught her limping reflection in the rushing waters.

Near the stream, and feeling just as sad as the frog, lived a girl in the cave of a condor, a huge black vulture. She was forced to remain at his nest in a faraway cave on a rocky mountain outcrop. The giant black bird had plucked her from her happy livelihood as a shepherdess and carried her back to its nest, where she had to work hard every day, beating his vicuna skins into blankets for his bed and into rugs for his nest, and preparing huge meals to satisfy his voracious appetite.

The little frog would sometimes watch the condor sail high in the air, then swoop for his prey. And the frog sometimes followed the condor home, to the girl and her wailings, a sound that reminded her of her own sad heart. One day, she overheard this conversation-

"So - did you beat the new vicuna skins to add to my bed?"

"Yes, sir."

"And where is my dinner?"

"It's ready for you, sir. Now please, may I go to the stream to wash my clothes?"

"Absolutely not! Do you take me for a fool? You would try to escape!"

"No I wouldn't - please - I simply must wash my clothes. And besides, as long as you hear me beating my clothes on the rocks, you'll know I'm still there."

"Hmm, very well then, but be sure I hear you beating your clothes or I'll fly there in a second and beat you myself!"

So the girl, whose parents had named her Collyur, which means Morning Star, wrapped herself in one of the vicuna skins and tied her clothes into a bundle that she carried to the stream.

As Collyur beat her clothes against the rocks, she cried bitterly for her lost freedom.

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