A Distant Consular Posting

From the day of her birth, she was perfect, and as she grew from infant to beautiful young girl, it became obvious to all in her seaside village that she was highly favored by the gods. The priests in the temple cautioned her parents to take good care of her lest some tragedy befall her. And they did. Everyone did. And she was loved.

She reached puberty with her purity intact and her body unscarred, and not long after, word had reached the seat of government in Cusco that a new candidate was ready to accept an ambassadorial scholarship. When the official delegation arrived to escort her to the Incan capital, a great feast was ordered. It was the first time the village had been honored in this way, the first time that one of their own had reached such a pinnacle of grace. Surely they would be blessed for the rest of their days.

In Cusco, she was treated like royalty. She was assigned a small army of grooms and maids and teachers, given the finest clothes. She ate fresh vegetables and fine fat llama meat at the table of all the great nobles. The king himself would visit her personally to check on her well-being and progress.
At the end of the year, she was deemed ready. She was given her assignment and an enormous entourage set out on the thousand mile trek. Though only fifteen, it was to her credit that she only sprouted a handful of white hairs by the time she arrived at her post on the top of Llullaillaco on February 6, 1499. Her job title, after all, was fairly stress-inducing: sacrificial virgin.

Beautiful in life, the archaeologists who discovered La Doncella’s incorrupt body 500 years later also found her breathtakingly beautiful in death.


td Whittle said...

Oh, wow, Christopher. I should have seen that coming, but did not. Beautifully written piece, and also a sock in the gut. Thanks for the link, too, to the NYT article. I am glad, at least, that the children had each other for company, but that is a terrible way to die.

cyurkanin said...

A pic of her popped up when I was googling something else a few hours ago and I remembered seeing it before and having a very strong reaction to it, so I thought I'd do a quick story for her. The ones with kids in them are always easiest for me to write, I don't know why. I guess the sadness is so overt that they write themselves. We've always killed our own children throughout history and still do today in many varied ways.

Enbrethiliel said...


I saw it coming. =(

It may have been an awful way for a child to die, but La Doncella and her companions still got more dignity in death than our age's child stars ever get from the studios which immolate them for our entertainment. And from the public: mea maxima culpa, of course.

cyurkanin said...

BAM. :)

Sandra Peterson Ramirez said...

Lovely and sad, Christopher. And now i want to go see it!