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The Fox and the cunning Cuy (Guinea Pig)

The Fox and the cunning Cuy (Guinea Pig)

This tale was taken from the original in Quechua language (Quwipa siminpi iskay kuti upmasqa atuqmanta) and freely translated into English. This story is based on the famous Peruvian “Cuy” (Guinea Pig) that is native to the Andean zone of Peru. It contains a high nutritional value for the rural population with limited resources and is considered a delicacy in Peru.

Near the sea in the area of the Peruvian desert coast lay one of the most beautiful vegetable gardens. It is said that in the same place a long time ago there was a great kingdom of Mochica princes, famous for living in green valleys surrounded by endless expanses of sand and stone.

In the garden grew an abundancy of fruit trees and countless vegetables; there was potato, beet, tomato, and carrot as far you could see. But recently, a small guinea pig had been in charge of destroying the garden - neither time, nor the desert, nor the sea, nor the wind had been able to do that to the extend this little creature did.

the fox and the cunning cuy beautiful garden
The guardian with his beautiful garden

One day, the guardian of the garden decided to set a trap for the guinea pig. He made a scarecrow and covered it with tar. He placed it conspicuously in the place where there were more tubers and vegetables. That night, the guinea pig arrived as always, stealthy, and hungry. When he saw the strange figure, he thought it was a thief, and set out to defend his territory. He approached the menace and swung at it with all the force of his right front paw.

Obviously, he found himself stuck to the scarecrows body, so he launched another blow but this time with his left front leg, which also got stuck to the tar. Now getting really annoyed, he threw a terrible belly punch at the supposed thief, and when he was trapped even more, he launched a tremendous blow with his two hind legs. But to the surprise of the guinea pig the strange thief didn't even flinch, and besides, he was now glued to his opponent's belly and legs.

"You'll see," said the guinea pig to the scarecrow, in a defiant tone. “You will see...!” and then he sent in a last effort to defeat his opponent a double blow with his nose and his tail. Now the little rodent was completely immobilized and stuck.

The guinea pig spent the whole night grumbling with his supposed enemy.

the fox and the cunning cuy the attack
The guinea pig stuck on the scarecrow

The next morning the guardian of the garden arrived and while he pointed to the guinea pig he said:

“So, you are the thief who's been ravaging this place for months.”

“You'll see... “, and he went to heat water to cook the guinea pig.

The guinea pig understood that he had been deceived and began to fight desperately to free himself, but the more he tried, the more he got stuck. At that moment the fox arrived, and seeing the guinea pig in such a strange situation, he asked him: “Why are you, compadre (Spanish = “buddy”), attached to that figure?”

“Ha!” answered the cunning rodent, well, because they want to force me to marry the daughter of the guardian of the garden. I won't deny that she's very beautiful, but I don’t get along that well with humans.

“Uh-huh” responded the ambitious fox, widening his big eyes. That is no problem for me. I will replace you! So it was that the fox freed the guinea pig and immediately attached himself to the scarecrow. Shortly after, the guardian of the garden arrived with a large pot of boiling water to cook the guinea pig.

The lying rodent, trying to hold back his laughter, ran off to hide. The fox, seeing the guardian, began to shout full of emotion:

“I will marry your daughter! I will marry your daughter! I will marry your daughter!”

The guardian, who was famous because he had never been able to have a daughter, and instead had nine sons, turned red with fury, and shouted:

“Not only do you eat my food and ruin my garden, but you also transform into a horrible and stinky fox who says he wants to marry my daughter …just to make fun of me... you'll see...”

And then the guardian of the garden bathed the fox with boiling water, until he was without a single hair. Even so, the fox was saved from dying at the hands of the furious man, because the tar on the scarecrow melted and he was able to escape.

The guinea pig, on the other hand, did die, but from laughter!

the fox and the cunning cuy condor
The friendly condor

The fox spent a lot of time hidden and ashamed in his lair, but once his hair grew, he decided to go out and look for the guinea pig. A condor with great wings and sharp eyes, who was a good friend of the fox, told him that he had seen the guinea pig climb the mountains:

“Maybe he's looking for a lagoon up there,” he commented.

“I often see guinea pigs hanging around there from the air. It is a lagoon surrounded by fruit trees.”

The fox thanked his friend and immediately headed for the mountains. He spent several days going through them until, one night, he spotted the guinea pig drinking water on the shores of the lagoon marked by the condor.

Stealthily, the fox approached the guinea pig, and “paff!” he caught it between his paws.

“Now I finally have you, compadre,” he told the guinea pig in an ironic tone.

“You'll see... I'll eat you!”

“Well, it's fair that you eat me,” the guinea pig said to the fox, in a false tone of humility, “but first help me get the big cheese that floats in the lagoon.”

The fox looked towards the lagoon and saw a large cheese floating on it. His mouth watered and he thought that it was his turn to trick the guinea pig after all, so he decided to accept the deal.

“Compadre, I'll give you what you ask for, but then I'll eat you,” said the fox, opening his big mouth.

“It's fair,” said the guinea pig, “but since I can't swim and neither can you, this is what we'll do: we'll drink the water from the lagoon and, once it's empty, we'll go to the bottom for the cheese.”

the fox and the cunning cuy full bely

Then the fox eagerly began to drink the water. The guinea pig, for his part, said that he would go to drink on the other side of the lagoon, to empty it faster; but what he did was get to safety. The fox, the more and more he drank, the fatter and fatter he got... until he collapsed and felt his head start to spin. Then he began to call the guinea pig to help him up. The cunning rodent sneaked up on him and started to tickle him, until he ended up making him die... from laughing!

The guinea pig had tricked the fox once more: the desired cheese was nothing more than the reflection of the moon on the lagoon. The fox had fallen twice for the cunning guinea pig.

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