THE WITCHES OF CACHICHE by Consuelo Amat y León
A very, very long time ago, in a town called Ica, a beautiful young woman of brown skin and big black eyes lived amongst dunes and the scorching sun. She lived with her grandmother in a small house made of cane and mud, in the hamlet of Cachiche. She was different to the girls of her age, somewhat lonely; she adored animals, cats in particular. Sometimes she would take a walk with her grandmother and everybody would admire and envy her singular beauty.
On her fifteenth birthday her grandmother organised a modest party in their humble home for a few friends and some relatives. Then a strange present arrived, from some secret admirer, in a very colourful box. The girl, filled with curiosity, opened the gift and a beautiful black cat carved in wood came out, she was fascinated with the present.
One night when the countryside was bathed in moonlight, at exactly 12 am, the cat came to life and woke her up saying: “Lovely, wake up, your love is waiting for you under the kiawe tree, on the way to Saraja”. She obeyed without a blink, she got up carefully, went passed her grandmother who was deeply asleep and she headed to the indicated place.
When she arrived there was a handsome young man of bright blonde hair, an unusual type in a county full of dark skin and black eyes. He waited on a spirited horse with eyes of fire, she was like hypnotised and not at all afraid, she climbed on the horse’s rump, held tight to the young man’s waist and they rid through the desert sands until they reached the grand dune of Saraja.
The following day she woke up and stared at her still cat, she smiled thinking that all had just been a wonderful dream.
This strange event kept repeating every full moon, and her life carried on amongst the desert sand, the cotton fields, the butter beans and the sweet fruit of her homeland campiña iqueña.
But then, a night with a full moon arrived and the cat once again came to life and woke her up at midnight: “Lovely, get up, your love is waiting for you at the usual place” the grandmother was fast asleep, and just as before, she went to meet the handsome young man, who she wasn’t able to forget. She climbed onto the horse and headed to the dune.
Once there, on the young man's order the hill shook and a huge door opened for them to go in. Inside the dune there was another reality, luxurious ambiences unseen before, varied and exotic people, elegantly dressed waving and smiling at them. There was music and colour lights, the tables were lavished with fruits, desserts and delicacies.
Next morning she woke up once again thinking that everything had been a dream because she never knew how she got back, she was so spellbound that she was hoping to dream again.
This carried on for a long time, every night of full moon these dream like encounters were repeated, each time becoming more and more romantic. Until one night grandmother unexpectedly woke up and saw her granddaughter leave like she was sleepwalking, she followed her in silence and saw her leave very fast with the strange young man.
The grandmother had heard that the devil presents itself as a handsome blond on a black horse, she got really scared but decided to stay quiet for now.
Next morning she went to church and told the priest everything, he asked her if the girl was christened, she said no. Then the upset priest told her that for that carelessness the devil had captured her and that she had to be christened immediately.
When the priest arrived to christen her, the girl strongly refused, but she couldn’t help it anyway.
Since the christening, the cat didn’t talk anymore on those full moon nights, or any other night; the girl fell into a deep sadness, she didn’t wish to speak to anyone and lived locked in her room. As the months went on, her belly grew bigger and bigger: she was pregnant and grandmother was taking care of her.
Every single friend and the priest were anxiously waiting the birth, but it took longer than usual; after ten months she gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl and the young mother died. The distressed grandmother buried her granddaughter and christened her great-granddaughter at once. People say that:
The grandmother lived for a very long time, she lived over a hundred years with good health and great energy because her great-granddaughter had been born with extraordinary gifts: she knew the plants proprieties to heal or damage, she possessed mental energy to generate success or failure, she could predict events and had other inexplicable and magic talents.
Afterwards, with the years going on, it was clear that the daughters, granddaughters and the direct female descendants of this girl, inherited her extraordinary talents, and they are known as The Witches of Cachiche.