Gupe and Pac: Part One
Gupé y Pac- by Chad Beninati
Long ago in a small village in Mexico there was living a young woman called Rosa Maria. For many years, this woman dwelled happily with her father, mother and little brother, José. One day however, José was off gathering branches form the forest near the town when he was eaten up by an awful snake. That night, when José did not return home his father went out looking for him. The father returned late that night with no success. Next day, the father gathered together many of the town’s men and they all went out in the forest to search for the boy. That night, the men came back without the missing boy, and one young man named Gupé had also been lost to the forest during the search.
Now, Gupé was not just some boy, but the lover of Rosa Maria, and so she became very sad to have lost both her brother and lover in only a few nights. For many weeks Maria cried and she cried for her lover because the leaders of the town had decided it to be too dangerous for any man to go out into the forest, lest he also should not return.
Many years passed and Maria became a very beautiful lady. Because she was such a kind and attractive woman, many brave and handsome men came to woo her away with them. She would have nothing to do with these men however, because she still loved Gupé. One day though, there arrived a very handsome man named Pac who desired to have Maria. He was so kind and so persistent, that one day, she finally told him, “If you can find for me and kill the snake which has swallowed my brother and surely Gupé as well, then I will have you.”
With that mission, Pac set out into the forbidden forest against the law of the town, for he was brave and thought no fears toward the forest or its beasts.
For two long days, Pac searched deep in caves and trees and near the river. On the third day, he came upon a small tribal hut that was overgrown with the vines and flowers of the forest. Inside the hut there was a very ancient looking witch-doctor humming some equally ancient tune. Smoke, steam and ash floated and spewed about inside the little hut.
“Tell me where I can find the snake which consumed two men,” commanded Pac to the old man.
“The snake ate only one man,” mumbled the witch-doctor. “The second I have turned into a monkey, as he meant to tell the town what secrets I shared with him.”
Pac was slightly shocked at this news and began to wonder what secrets Gupé had intended to share, when the witch-doctor spoke again.
“I told him a secret about this land of which only I have the knowledge.”
“Tell me this secret, and I will swear never to tell another.” said Pac boldly. “But first, I implore that you show to me the snake which ate the boy José.”
“The snake hides in the waters of the river Amaru. It is the guardian of these waters and they are named for the snake. This snake has lived for thousands of years and was once the great guardian of a magnificent city.”
“The legendary city of Tachino, the land of the great warriors from the past?” inquired Pac.
“Yes, but this city to its inhabitants was called Acca and it has been dead for thousands of years.”
“Are all of the stories true?”
“What is true will either be seen or is of no matter in this case. Go out now into the forest and you will be found by the monkey Gupé whom you will be able to understand after you have drank this.” and the witch-doctor handed to Pac a hollowed vegetable cup filled with a strange and thick drink.
Pac swallowed all of the drink immediately and went off to meet Gupé.
The following night, Pac was sleeping under some large leaves when he was abruptly woken by a rustling nearby. He slowly turned about so that he could see his company and then he quickly lunged out and pounced upon it. After a brief rustle, Pac rose holding a scared monkey by the tail.
“Put me down!” cried out the monkey.
“You must be Gupé,” said Pac. “And I am Pac, from your village. I have come to avenge the death of the boy José.”
“If you wish to kill the snake-god who has eaten José, then you must follow me to a place that is safer to speak publicly.”
And Pac followed the darting monkey about until they came upon a cave. The outside of the cave was overgrown with many vines so that only parts of carved stone could be seen. Once inside the cave, Pac realized that he was not in a cave, but an old building.
“This is the ruin of the ancient storehouse from the Acca civilization.” informed the monkey. All around him, Pac could start to make out the construct of the building. There were four flat walls with antiquated carvings along the borders and no doors or windows. Against the far wall, there was a heap of clothes and carpets and other faded textiles that almost reached the ceiling. The ceiling itself had some vines falling from it and was only barely higher than a tall man.
“Here,” said Gupé. “You will find spears and some armor which you will much need. You will use your weapons to pierce the heart of the snake-god, but there is only one way to do this. Firstly, you need to hang a piece of meat that has been soaked in the honey of bees over a branch hanging out over the river. The honey will attract the snake, but the meat must be that of an alatupe bird as it will poison the snake. Once the snake has been poisoned, you will be able to kill it with your spear by a strike through the heart.”
Pac wasted no time in collecting three good spears and a suit of armor, which was the least decayed. He also took a small knife and a length of rope to hang the meat from.
When Pac was ready, the two left the storage room and went to gather the bait. Pac took to finding the bird that he might shoot it with a spear. Gupé went likewise to find a hive of bees for some honey.
Pac climbed up into the highest point of a great tree and there he waited for many hours until a flock of alatupe birds flew by. He carefully aimed his spear and took two birds to the ground with one shot. He hastily plucked one bird and ate it, and prepared the other for hanging.
Gupé slid around in the trees until he reached a hive. He picked up a stone and jumped onto the hive, beating it open and spilling the honey from inside. The bees swarmed out angrily. Gupé was stung many times, but he managed to fill his small gourd with plenty of honey and he was soon back with Pac. It took only minutes to marinate the bird and hang it from a branch.
(Continue the story with part two here.)