10.06.2006

Un duende de piedra asombra Huaraz


Más allá de la belleza que posee Ancash -con su límpido cielo y blancas nubes que asemejan copos de nieve, sus cerros caprichosamente cubiertos de verde y sus rústicas casas- oculta en sus rincones, magia y misterio. Muchas son las historias y leyendas que se conocen sobre esa importante zona del país; una de ellas es la referida al Ichik-Ollco, palabra quechua que significa “hombre pequeño”.

En efecto, según el novelista ancashino Yauri Montero, el Ichik-Ollco no es sino un personaje que vive en los remansos de los ríos o en torrentes de paisajes solitarios, por lo común; entre bosques de alisos y pastizales. En una soleada pero fría mañana de invierno, la noticia nos llegó de pronto.

Fue el conocido periodista de Huaraz, Juan Remigio Aranda, el emisario del insólito dato que parecía traído de los cabellos: según afirmó, había visto y filmado a un Ichik-Ollco. Animados por tal información decidimos ir a su encuentro.

Para ello tuvimos que caminar un largo tramo, sorteando riachuelos ocultos entre extensos pastizales de la zona de Yananmarca, ubicada en el barrio de Tambo en Carhuaz. Con el único sonido que marcaba nuestros pasos y ante un coincidente ocultamiento del sol, hallamos una impresionante piedra sobre la cual aparentemente no había nada. Hubo que regar con agua una parte de esta, para que el llamado “hombre pequeño”, hiciese su aparición, y así fue.

En unos segundos se formó el duendecillo, con su cuerpo perfectamente delineado en rojo, los dedos de sus manos completos, su vientre redondo y sus ojos dulcemente cerrados, como si estuviese descansando. Pese a su aparente fragilidad, éste personaje posee una fuerza descomunal, por lo que no le resulta difícil partir rocas, sacudir torrentes y agitar la tierra, según la leyenda.

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Muy cerca de tal hallazgo se encuentran las ruinas de Tunchucaico, un centro ceremonial pre-Chavín, con una antigüedad estimada en 2.000 años a.C. El lugar, que estuvo a merced de huaqueros y depredadores, tiene ese halo de misterio que envuelve a todo resto arqueológico, a ello contribuyen las miles de piezas rotas de cerámica que están diseminadas por todo el perímetro. Esto sumado a la aparición de los Ichik-Ollco, le confiere a la zona un aire enigmático que escapa a la frialdad de la civilización.

Aunque es prematuro hablar de la relación que podría existir entre la pétrea figura y los restos hallados, hay quienes afirman que la aparente corta distancia entre ambos, no es casual.

Según algunos testimonios recogidos, las campesinas de la zona jamás se atreverían a transitar por el lugar donde aparecen los Ichik-Ollco - a las 12 del día o diez de la noche- pues existe la creencia de que este insólito personaje, podría llevarse a sus hijos o a los que estén por venir al mundo.

Existe también la creencia de que cuando estalla la tormenta, el duendecillo se golpea el vientre con sus puños, que resuena como un tambor, y pone a flamear su cabellera. Cuando la naturaleza entra en calma, y luego de la lluvia salen el arco iris y el sol, el Ichik-Ollco se pone a cantar.

Pero no sólo canta en casos como éste, sino que lo hace en todo momento en que el paisaje reluce. Canta melodiosamente y entonces las jóvenes pastoras, imbuidas de repentina emoción, acuden a la orilla del agua y allí él las hechiza. Ellas pierden la conciencia, al punto de convertirse en mujeres mansas, prestas a corresponder a su requerimiento amoroso, y se zambullen en el agua donde él las toma en sus brazos y se las lleva a su palacio, que yace en la profundidad, todo de oro, plata, perlas y luces.

Allí se hará mimar; recostado en el regazo de la pastora, gustará que se le alise el pelo, con un peine de oro. Mientras tanto los padres y familiares de la víctima, rezarán por su regreso. Su madre llorará, irá a confesarse a la iglesia, y el cura le aconsejará acudir un viernes por la noche al torrente, al manantial o al río, donde habita el Ichik-Ollco. Allí, ella rociará la corriente con agua bendita, sólo así se romperá el encantamiento y la pastora retornará a su casa, olvidando la aventura.

A veces el Ichik-Ollco, para conquistar a la mujer que le gusta, recurre a otra artimaña: se pone a llorar como un niñito. La mujer creerá que se trata de una criatura abandonada o extraviada, y acudirá al lugar del llanto, donde será hechizada.

También dicen que los excrementos que los Ichik-Ollco dejan en las piedras, entre los musgos, es un gran remedio para la cura de la enfermedad del “susto”, y para aliviar las dolencias del corazón. Pero hay que saber buscarlos, y tener mucha suerte. Nosotros no tuvimos esa suerte, pero sí la de estar frente a uno de éstos misteriosos personajes, que tiene variantes, como aquel que muestra su cara agestada y que enseña sus costillas, como para decirnos, ¡aquí estamos!.

Hay mucho por investigar y descubrir sobre éste “hombre pequeño”, que se ha convertido en un motivo más para visitar y conocer el bello departamento de Ancash.

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