The Wings of Butterfly CUSCO WAHCA While the boys of the maloca fished and hunted with the men, Chimidyue and the other girls helped the women with household chores or in the farm plots nearby. Like the other girls, Chimidyue never stepped far into the forest. She knew how full it was of fierce animals and harmful spirits, and how easy it was to get lost in.Still, she would listen wide-eyed when the elders told stories about that other world. And sometimes she would go just a little way in, gazing among the giant trees and wondering what she might find farther on.One day as Chimidyue was making a basket, she looked up and saw a big morpho butterfly hovering right before her. Sunlight danced on its shimmering blue wings.“You are the most magical creature in the world,” Chimidyue said dreamily. “I wish I could be like you.”The butterfly dipped as if in answer, then flew toward the edge of the clearing.Chimidyue set down her basket and started after it, imitating its lazy flight. Among the trees she followed, swooping and circling and flapping her arms.She played like this for a long time, until the butterfly passed between some vines and disappeared. Suddenly Chimidyue realized she had gone too far into the forest. There was no path, and the leaves of the tall trees made a canopy that hid the sun. She could not tell which way she had come.“Mother! Father! Anyone!” she shouted. But no one came.“Oh no,” she said softly. “How will I find my way back?”Chimidyue wandered anxiously about, hoping to find a path. After a while she heard a tap-tap-tapping. “Someone must be working in the forest,” she said hopefully, and she followed the sound. But when she got close, she saw it was just a woodpecker.Chimidyue sadly shook her head. “If only you were human,” she said, “you could show me the way home.”“Why would I have to be human?” asked the woodpecker indignantly. “I could show you just as I am!”Startled but glad to hear it talk, Chimidyue said eagerly, “Oh, would you?”“Can’t you see I’m busy?” said the woodpecker. “You humans are so conceited, you think everyone else is here to serve you. But in the forest, a woodpecker is just as important as a human.” And it flew off.“I didn’t mean anything bad,” said Chimidyue to herself. “I just want to go home.”More uneasy than ever, Chimidyue walked farther. Shamanism encompasses the belief that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit world… 957707108