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Uaia Guatavita aquycaua / The legend of Mother Guatavita

Written by Carlos Mamanché - Comunidad Indígena Muysca De Sesquilé. Illustrations by Camilo Conde. Muysc cubun translations & narration by Brenn Romero. English translations written by Mariana Suarez. English narration by Lizzie Dunn.

This story was brought to you by our amazing partners at Latin America CAPE. Find the full 'Legendary Links' project and other language combos for this story here.


Muysc cubun


Chicacas chiuexicasaz xis chihuc aguquy. Zaitan, fanzaquie, Chunsuaguia fuhucha Guatavita apquyquychieinz aiquie amucans, xis apquen suza muysca hoc abgaz abga.

Our grandparents tell us that many moons ago, the goddess Guatavita, a woman of great wisdom, wanted to share her deep knowledge with the Muysca people

Zaca, chies fauasa achiez hichas aza, Chunsuaguiaz chuecuta cuhumac agas gua cuspquana xis quycaca anyquys xis gua auec abga.

One night, illuminated by the full moon and the stars, she came to these lands in the form of a great emerald and found refuge inside the mountains.

Ie fiez aquyne nga Chunsuaguia Suaz xiua mepquaoac gaia chuecuta chysquyco abchibyioa uaca, guaz hyquis aza.

After a long time, the mountains agreed to reveal her to the Sun God in the form of a beautiful emerald-green lagoon.

Asnxie fa sua, Sua paba quycaua azonucas anynz anguague xis xiuana apquys aza anyns achahane. Sua Guatavitan zocamata zocamata fihistan aies anaioa ysc abquy.

On that day, the Sun decided to complete its journey around the world in this place and start anew every year on a special day.

​Xiua chuecuta guehespqua nga Guapaba achihizan mague, chusc han ubin yc tyzuca, obaz aga. Ys guy Guatavita aguasgua fuhucha Guaginasie ahycac guesca. Ahyca 'gua gyna xie' chigusquanuca cuhuc aguene.

​From the union of the emerald lagoon and the mighty hills had grown a love that would soon bear fruit in the form of a girl named Guaginasie, 'Mountain Water', daughter of Guatavita.

Fuhucha mepquaoa yn eba bahazc bique guehespqua apquas azye gahaxio muyhyxioz aguequac gaia Guaginasiez amuysquynxie zocam fiez aquyne. Asz, Sua aie ica ahusgoia, hyca guacacac aguequa bohoza acubunioa, xiuquyhycac anas apquac aga.

A few years later, Guaginasie grew up to become a beautiful woman with bronze skin and long black hair.​She used to venture to the edge of the lagoon to talk with the grandmother mountain stones and learn about the ways of the Sun.


Sua atan, Guatavita usaque as xiuaca anyquy. Ys psihipqua, chyquy cuhumac aguequa, Quycauaia pquyquychie cuhumin xiuana ysuaczona abchichuaioa hizcatoba abquys hymnez abgaipquans, atamsagosqua.

​One day, the Chief of Guatavita visited the lagoon. ​He was a powerful Muysca priest who was there to perform his rituals and learn from the lagoon about the immense wisdom of Mother Earth.

Psihipquaz anyquys Guaginasie xiuquyhycan suza abchiby bohoza supquaguec han ubin yquie tyzucac aga. Fuhucha ica husgonga cuhuc aguenpquaca, abohoza acubunioa, maxieobe yc abziioa uacac anguac apqua.

​On arriving, the Chief saw Guaginasie on the shore and they both fell in love immediately. ​He approached her to talk and find out where she was from.

Psihipquaz Guaginasie bon yca mabiec ami ypquana, chie mabiez aquyne. Etamuys, as chan 'zyguic umgas zuena, zycana, Tominéxie hichcatana chiamuysca bohoza zybohoza hataca ubuca umsucunynganan zypquyquyz ynie achuensuca' yc aguque.

​Then, after visiting her for many moons, he finally asked her to be his wife and to go live with him in the valley of the Tominé River.

Guaginasien 'xiua ai inanzingaco' yc absuns auaia eca yc abzi. Auaia ehe abganan nohocan, ysz 'umchuta ummxiquynxie chie guebozas asac quihicha cuhupquaz aquynan, muhuscanyngaco nga sihic umquynan umnangaz aquyne' abga.

Guaginasie knew she could not leave the lagoon without her mother’s permission, who agreed under one condition; Guaginasie would have to return when she had a daughter, and she was thirty-seven moons old.

Nga Guaginasiez Guatavita usaque utaca anas Guatavitauaia, Guapaba, Hycacaca ipquabe azonuca guisca nxie Sua ie ica nguisca nxie anabiza muysca hoc abgas amny.

​Guaginasie left to live with the Chief of Guatavita and his people. She taught the Muysca everything she had learnt from her father the mountain, her mother Guatavita, the grandmother stones, and the Sun, who showed her path every day.

Guaginasien muysca bohoza choinc aguensan, muysca bon hataca azonsucac aga.

Guaginasie was very good to her people and helped them selflessly.

Muysca mabie quycaua azonucasa Guaginasie pquyquycho amucane. Muysca mabie quycaua azonucan anyquys Chunsua fuhucha muys anas fie yc abzisqua.

​Her fame of kindness and love extended across the land. ​People came from far and wide to ask her for favours.

Ie fiez aquyne, nga Guatavita uza cuhuc Guaginasie chuta fuhucha ataz abxiquys Chutamasie ahycac abga apquas ys chutaz amuysquynxie chie uetas asac quihicha cuhupquaz aquyns xiuaca ahuscao.

​After some time, Guaginasie had a daughter called Chutamasie and, when she turned thirty-seven moons of age, they both returned to the lagoon, just as her mother had said.

As fuhucha xiua tacac ana nga Guatavita usaque amuysca apquanuca bohoza Guaginasie sucas ana. Uaias chutasa anaca Guatavitauaia bohoza Zetamasie muyso aquycague bohoza hataca ubuca abizinsucac aga. Zetamasie ynaca chunsuaguia mica amnyquysuca.

​The Chief of Guatavita and his people accompanied Guaginasie and their daughter Chutamasie to the bottom of the lagoon and left them there to live with their mother Guatavita and Zetamasie, the water snake in charge of looking after them.

Xisnpquaca, muysca azonuca Guaginasiec uaque san abziioa, Guatavita ipquabe azonuca ucoz abchichuaioa, xiuac anas hymnez amnys atamsagongaz amahaquysucaza, xis ubuca apquen abgasqua.

​The Muysca people kept their memory alive by visiting the lagoon to perform ceremonies and rituals in search of Guatavita’s ancestral wisdom and to ask Guaginasie for help when they needed it.

Nga sua atan chunsuaguia fuhucha mica, muysca pquen hataca ubuca abizinioa uaca, xiuan fac aians gua chican oque abchihiquy. Gua yn oquez aguequa, 'Chutqua mica' ahycac aga.

​Guatavita, Guaginasie, and Chutamasie didn’t want the Muyscas to ever forget them, so one day they decided to come out of the lagoon and leave their mark in the famous ‘Peak of the Three Old Ones’.

Zetamasie muyso aquycague, chunsuaguia fuhucha bon hataca ubuca suza, aies amis achuta mabie xis guas abxiquy, quyc nyquy nxie xi nyquyc abga.

​Zetamasie, the water snake that would never abandon them, left her daughters as she made her way through the mountains—the small snakes we know today as guardians of the water and this sacred land

Suec aguequa nyia amihistyioa, gua xiuan zona asacan cuhuma nxie axie nxie abtanan nohocan, ie xiuac sienga sas asucune, nga chunsuaguia mica epqua hatacuhumin nxie xiua tacana sas apquyns asoane, muyso aquycague nxie sas asucune, nga xiua tacana, chunsuaguia azonucan muyscaz fihistan amuysquynyngaz amachysucaco.

​Although part of the mountain’s slope has been destroyed and part of the lagoon has been drained in search for hidden gold, the way back remains intact—as does the infinite treasure in these three women and the water snake: at the bottom of the lagoon where they continue to live with all their wisdom awaiting the coming rebirth of the Muysca people.

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