Folktales were a challenge to find in Peru. So, I went back to the beginnings of the Inca empire which stretched from Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru to Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. And, since the story takes place in Lake Titicaca and Cusco, where I traveled, it is all the more special to me.
As the sun god looked down upon the earth that he created, he didn't see the sparkling clear waters in the rivers. He didn't notice the lush green mountains either. All he could see were the people. And, that didn't bring a smile to his face. "They are so miserable. These people roam the land just like wild animals."
"This just is not acceptable," muttered the sun god. "This is not the way that I meant for them to live. I must find a way to help my people."
The sun god shook his head in sadness. "I have to find a plan." And, it did not take long for a plan to form. Finally, a smile crossed his face. "I'm going to have to have the help of one of my sons and one of my daughters to accomplish this," he thought. So, he called for Mama Occlo, his daughter, and Manco Cápac, his son. "I have a plan for you, my children," declared the sun god. "I need the two of you to go down to earth and show my people how to improve their lives."
As the three of them looked down from the sky, the sun god said, "I give these people light and warmth. I protect them. I help their food grow by day and give them rest by night. I am the source of life for my children on the earth. But, every day as I cross the sky, I can only see their suffering. These people do not know how to live properly."
"What can we do to help them?" asked Mama Occlo and Manco Cápac.
"I need you to teach them, my children," replied the sun god. "These people are uneducated. In order for them to survive in the world, they need you to teach them about justice and kindness. They need to learn to live together instead of like animals. Just as I have taught you, now you need to guide them."
Of course, the children agreed to do as their father requested.
When all preparations were made, the sun god brought Mama Occlo and Manco Cápac to the gateway of the sky. "I give you this golden rod," he declared. "Use this rod to find where you should build Cuzco, the city of the sun. As you travel the land, each night push the rod into the ground. If it sinks into the earth, you know this land is rich. It is where I want my city to be built."
Mama Occlo and Manco Cápac first arrived on earth around Lake Titicaca. "Surely, this must be where we are to build the city," cried Mama. "It is so beautiful!" However, when Manco tried to push the rod into the ground, it would not go in.
"No, my sister, this is not the spot," answered Manco Cápac. "We must continue looking."
Every evening the two tested the rod. They left the area around Lake Titicaca and climbed into the high lands. As they climbed higher and higher, there were fewer and fewer people. Still, the rod would not sink into the ground.
One day, the brother and sister found a hidden valley where no people lived. "It's so green," cried Mama Occlo, "I know this is the right place!"
"I think you are right," agreed Manco Cápac. "Look at how our father is shining down upon us. I think we'll reach the crest of that hill by evening time. And, that's where I'll test the golden rod."
Of course, the land was so rich and fertile that the rod instantly sank deep into the ground and disappeared completely. "This is where we must build Cusco," cried Mama Occlo. "And rule the people as our father instructed," added Manco Cápac.
Together Mama Occlo and Manco Cápac searched the lowlands and the mountains for people to bring back to Cusco. Everyone who saw them wanted to follow after the Children of the Sun. They became the very first people of the Inca civilization. And, just as they were instructed by their father, Mama Occlo and Manco Cápac taught the people about justice, kindness, and how to live much happier lives.
After that, every day when the sun god crossed the skies and looked down on his people, he had a smile on his face.