The legend of Elal

The creation according to the vision of the ancient Tehuelches

In the beginning of time Kooch, the creative god of all things, was so overwhelmed by his lonely existence in the darkness that he began to mourn inconsolable for a long time, creating with his tears Arrok, the primordial sea. When contemplating his first creation Kooch gave a sigh giving origin to Xoshem, the wind. Xoshem was the one who separated the water from the mainland. But Kooch could not see his creation clearly until it tore apart the darkness leading to the appearance of Xaleshen, the sun; and so that the nights would not be so dark he created Keenguenkon, the woman-moon, who soon became a malignant and powerful creature. Xalenshen and Kéenquenkon fell in love and gave birth to Karr, the first star of the day, who was given the power over the tides.

Kooch had thus created Patagonia and the oceans, one in the rising and the other in the west. In this last one, he created an island inhabited by giants and other creatures like animal-men. One of those giants, Nosithej, kidnapped the mouse-woman and in her he breeded Elal. Upon discovering the pregnancy, Nosithej furious murdered the woman with the intention of devouring the fetus, but at that moment the earth roared, and Nosithej was disoriented. Taking advantage of the moment of shock Terrguer, the field mouse - Elal´s grandmother - rescued the creature and hid it in her cave saving his life.

Elal began to grow very fast and soon became a being of great physical strength and determination. When the moment came, he decided to face his father’s tyranny and challenged him. Finally he ended up killing him and consequently releasing all man-animals from the cruelty of the giants. Because of that Elal had to leave the island, which he did flying on his friend Kóokne, the swan. Thousands of other birds followed them on their journey to sunrise until they reached Patagonia and descended on the top of the mountain now known as Chaltén.

From the summit of El Chaltén, Elal spotted a desert land so he decided to turn one of the flocks that had escorted him into the first men, the Tehuelches, and later he created the rest of the living beings. Elal taught the men to hunt, creating for it the bow and arrows. He also gave them fire so they could cook their food, and he divided the year into seasons. He also established the moral rules and laws for his people, the prohibition of incest and exogamous marriage.

But the giants wanted to avenge the death of Nosithej and punished Elal by seizing his kingdom and destroying his work. Elal could not face them all, so he decided to separate the world of men from the world of the giants, but in doing so the Tehuelches became mortal beings.