Camahueto

This legend comes to us from southern Chile. It is said that during stormy nights the Camahueto is born. The Camahueto is a mystical animal that erupts from the tops of mountains and hills and comes crashing down the hill tearing apart trees and rocks or anything that it may cross on its rush to get to the sea in order to mate with the Chilote Sea Cow. The Camahueto is a greenish colored calf with a solo horn in the middle of it’s head. They use their powerful horn to carve into the land causing landslides, and leaving a scar in the land. These violent births and rush to the sea gives us the Mapuche story for the origin of creeks and streams.

There are several ways in which a Camahueto can be born:

  • Born from a piece of horn that has been buried into the earth
  • Horn powder or shavings that have been tossed into a pond
  • Natural birth from a Chilote Sea Cow (mythological mother) that had burrowed itself in the hills of the forest or countryside.

The gestation period for the Camahueto is anywhere from 20 to 30 years. If you think that a Camahueto is going to be born on your land, you have to find a either a witch and he/she has to catch it using a knot made of sargassum seaweed. However the best option is to contact a Machi (Mapuche shaman) and she will utilize a knot made from voqui (poisonous shrub native to Chile). The Machi will mount the Camahueto and will attempt to guided it down the mountain in order to find a path that is less destructive. The Machi will also try to remove the horn which will also calm the Camahueto considerably.  All the virility and mystical power of the Camahueto is held in the horn. Machis will regularly save some pieces of the horn to plant into the ground to give birth to future Camahuetos. Therefore a Machi will often know when and where a Camahueto will be born. The Machi will therefore stake out the spot and wait for it to be born.

The horn of the Camahueto is very valuable to the Machis. The Machi will use the horn to cure all kinds of ailments. Horn scrapings are mixed with sea water, course salt and apple cider until it turns into vinegar. This potion is now capable of restoring potency in old men, giving them greatly increased vitality. The potion can also be used to cure rheumatism, anemia, cutaneous skin infections and many more. One has to be careful because an overdose of this potion as it can cause you to become violently insane.

Sometimes in Chiloe you can find people selling this famous Camahueto Horn potion. Unfortunately, it is routinely shaving from the shell of a mollusk or sometimes fangs from a sea lion. There is also a word that a local wild herb supposedly has the same properties of the Camahueto horn.

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