Ollantay & Happy Star

The story of Ollantay, an Inca chieftain, is based on an old Quechua legend. As with any such story, I’m sure there are variations, but this is how it was told to me.

Ollantay — standing proud in Plaza de Armas in Ollantaytambo.

General Ollantay falls in love with Inca Pachacuteq’s daughter Cusi Coyllor (“Happy Star” in Quechua) — a big no, no. Even though it is forbidden by law to wed outside his class, Ollantay asks the Inca’s permission to marry Happy Star. Pachacuteq’s response is predictable — he sends his daughter to the house of chosen women (an Inca convent, if you will) to be a handmaiden to the sun and has Ollantay arrested.

Ollantay somehow manages to escape and flees to the location now known as Ollantaytambo in the Urubamba Valley, where he starts a rebellion. Pachacuteq sends Rumi Ñahui (“Stone Eye” in Quechua) to capture Ollantay. Despite fierce fighting that lasts 10 years, Stone Eye is unsuccessful in his quest to seize Ollantay. In the meantime, Happy Star has given birth to Ollantay's daughter, Imac Sumac.

When Pachacuteq dies (of natural causes), his son Topa Inca succeeds him. Ollantay, in the meantime, continues to be a thorn in the side of the empire. Stony Eye, who is still seething from his failure to capture Ollantay, devises a trap to seize him and deliver him to Topa Inca for justice. This time he is successful. He recommends that the Inca order Ollantay to be hurled off a cliff. Instead, Topa Inca orders Happy Star and Ollantay to be brought to him. Imac Sumac begs for the life of her father and mother. Topa Inca accedes to the pleadings of his niece. Ollantay and Happy Star marry.

Does the couple live happily ever-after? The legend says they do and that Ollantay becomes a sort of deputy-Inca. Historians, however, claim that Ollantay is put to death after his failed rebellion.

There’s a play based on the legend; you can find it here if you’re interested.

Next Up: Day 7 — Another Day in Ollantaytambo

No comments:

Post a Comment