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The Legend of Violeta Amarilla

August 27th, 2009 Posted in flora

Written by Shanie

The yellow violet, or Pilun-Dewu as it is called by the Mapuche, is a robust and happy flower that bestows its beauty upon Patagonia in spring. A hearty plant, it is known to withstand the strongest of winds and rain. The Mapuche, believing in its beauty and strength, created the following legend to explain its tenacity…

violeta amarilla

Once upon a time, in the rugged and open landscape of Patagonia, the God of the Mountains, Pillán, was wandering the Andes and steppe looking for gold to create his house with. Miles and miles he walked, upturning mountains, searching the ravines; from the highest summits to the lowest valleys he looked for any gold that the mountains would spare to help him build a beautiful home. He found small bits here and there, but desperation began to envelope his soul, for he had no way to build his home if he was not to find the gold he was seeking.

But the mountains had hidden the brilliant metal from him, stashing it in the deepest, darkest depths of earth. They did not want him to find it because they were jealous of his immense fortune and stature.

Not knowing how the mountains felt, Pillán continued in his search. With each step he took, sadness weighed heavier and heavier on his heart. Starting to realize that the mountains may be keeping their golden treasure from him, he began to wonder if he must ask for them to hand it over.

It was at this moment that he came upon a man named Lil and two silent women accompanying him, Domo, his wife and Nañai, his sister.

“What is it that you search for great and wise one, Pillán?” asked Lil.

“I search for gold so that I may build myself a house.”

“Ah, yes. We have been waiting for you,” responded Lil. “You may find at the feet of my wife and sister all of the gold that you need. Take as much as you like.”

Pillán silenced by his gratitude and amazement at such a kind gesture, did not know what to say. How was it that a common man with so little was so generously giving him all that he had?

“Won’t this cause hardship and sadness for you if I am to take everything that is yours?” asked the baffled god.

“Oh no, gold may adorn but it does not create happiness.”

Pillán, incredibly grateful, took what he needed and returned to build his home. Throughout the construction his mind often wandered back to the kind trio that had so selfishly helped him. He wondered how he could repay their kindness.

“What possibly can I give them that will compare to what they have done for me? I must do something that makes them happy and betters their lives.”

He searched for three days but could not find anything that would sufficiently equal their kind gift.

“What is more valuable and lasting? What is more golden and brilliant than gold? Is there anything that can compare to the kindness of Lil and his capability of giving to me that which the mountains wanted to hoard?” Pillán asked himself over and over again, pondering the questions but finding no answers…until one day it came to him.

“I know! I must give him something that is resilient, beautiful and lasts forever. I will give him the greatest gift of all…I will give him life! Better than the gold that has been the building blocks of my home, I will give the generous Lil, his kind wife Domo and his gentle sister Nañai the gift of the Pilum-Dewu, so that happiness never leaves their sides.”

And with that he bestowed upon them a sturdy little golden flower nestled in vibrant green leaves the shape of a mouse’s ears. The strength of the flower is able to withstand freezing temperatures, violent winds and slashing rains because they relish and are cheered up from the boisterous weather that the God of the Mountains sends down upon them to help them survive.

  1. 14 Responses to “The Legend of Violeta Amarilla”

  2. By Flavia on Aug 29, 2009

    What a beautiful legend, Shanie!!!
    Flowers are wonderful, I love them!

    Ps: I sent you the mail I promised with some photos of our garden in spring



  3. By Patagonia on Aug 29, 2009

    Hola Flavia,

    Thank you! I love the Mapuche legends. They have a lot of meaning, I think.

    Thank you, as well, for the email. Beautiful garden! I will respond soon.


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