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The Moth

The Moth

A sad Peruvian Myth about a secret lover

Freely translated from Arguedas and Carrillo

A man and a woman lived happily together with their only child, a little boy. But the man went off on a journey, leaving his wife in tears, and while he was away, she spent the nights sleeplessly spinning.

One night, as the little boy lay awake, he asked his mother, “What is that flutters there beside you, that I hear you talking to?” The mother answered, “Oh, just someone who loves me, a little friend who comes and keeps me company.”

When the man returned from his journey, his wife was out of the house. He began talking with his little boy, asking him how his mother had spent the nights while he was gone. Someone who loves her came every night, said the little boy, and she stayed up late, spinning and talking to him.

Hearing this, the man went out to find his wife. When he found her, he threw her over a cliff and killed her. Then one night, as he sat quietly before the fire, thinking of what had happened, his little boy cried out, “There he is, Mama’s lover! The one who came and kept her company!” and he pointed to the moth that had come to his mother’s side during the long nights of her husband’s absence.

Realizing his mistake, the man sank into a deep despair. His grief overwhelmed him, he no longer moved and at last he was dead.

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