I was waiting for some guest in the local Yanallpa Community; I was talking to a local woman who was drying up fish and just chatting about her life.
“I would like to know more about the pink dolphins, I told her…..do you know any story from your village to tell me about…? and she told me….well I know a real story that happened here while I was a little girl…it was about Cecilia…..my mother’s very good friend…..
“The people here have a belief about the “bufeos colorados” (pink dolphins). They live in our world, but they also live beneath the water in a more beautiful world…..is a underwater world…an enchanted place, where harmony rules, one so beautiful that once you know it, you will never want to come back……we call it “Encante”. The bufeo is boss of this magical world and he has many magical powers too”…..!
Here lived some years ago a very beautiful girl called Cecilia. She used to wash her clothes in the rivers shore as all of us do. One day a bufeo swam by. He saw how pretty she was. He appreciated how hard she worked washing the clothes. He heard her humming a pretty song…..
The girl didn´t notice the dolphin. Day after day he swam by, hoping to see her and hopping she notice how much he liked her, but she didn´t…. She was thinking of other things…weeding the garden…making stew for dinner… she thought about her husband, a young man who worked in the forest.
One day her husband went to the forest to work. Sometimes when he went away he stays months in there..
But this time he came back that very night, and she was glad. He brought her lots of different beautiful fish –some she has never seen before- she made a tasty stew and the couple had a feast.
Very early in the morning though, Cecilia´s husband left. He came back that night and bought her more delicious fish. Things went like this month after month. Then one day, when her husband came home, he didn´t bring any fish. “Why don´t you have any fish tonight, my husband…?” she asked. Her husband was surprised.” I never brought you any fish”….he answered amazed…. “Why.? I have been away in the forest for almost a year.”
What had happened….?
So the husband went to the “village shaman”. He is a combination of a natural doctor and a priest. He knows how to make medicine from the jungle plants to cure sick people. He knows the spirit world of the jungle. He can hear the voices of plants and animals, of fishes and dolphins. Sometimes the plant spirit tells him how to heel people or how to make special medicine. Sometimes the animal spirits tell him where to hunt to find food. And sometimes, the dolphin’s spirits reveal secrets about the beautiful underwater world of the Encanté –only a world a shaman can visit- after a special ceremony asking them for permition.
In a trance, the shaman visited the enchanted underwater world kingdom, where there was music, dancing, feast and festivals. Caimans and catfish, otters and arauanas, piranhas and pirarucus, all danced together in a peaceful world of plenty –a world ruled by the magical pink dolphin-.
The shaman met the dolphin who had fallen in love with Cecilia. And he found out what happened……………
“The pink dolphin has powerful magic”….he said….lonely for Cecilia´s love, each night the pink dolphin left his watery world behind. Each night when her husband was away, the dolphin had come up on the land and magically changed his shape. His flippers turned into arms, his tail into feet. The dolphin transformed himself into the very image of Cecilia´s husband. Dolphins are humans, you see…..-my local friend told me-…..they are not that different after all.
Can pink dolphins change into something else…? Are they really magic…? Just then a pink dolphin showed up to help us answer those questions…
Perhaps these “encantados” really are magic, there is so much still to learn from pink dolphins…they are so beautiful and so mysterious….and when they trap you under their spell…you will never stop being fascinated by them….so you try to search for more and more stories about them.
I wasn´t going to write about this story….but I´ve just read a book by Sy Montgomery, that is called “Encantado” and I found the same story in her book…so I said to myself…well why don´t you tell the same story….it is shared by more of one people that does not live in the jungle….so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…..