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Apu Ollantay, by Clements Markham, [1910], at

p. 375


A garden in the house of the Virgins of the Sun. Chilca shrubs and mulli trees (Schinus Molle) with panicles of red berries. The walls of the house at the back, with a door. A gate (L.) opening on the street.

(YMA SUMAC discovered at the gate looking out. To her enters (R.) PITU SALLA. Both dressed in white with golden belts.)

  Pitu Salla. Yma Sumac, do not approach
So near that gate, and so often;
It might arouse the Mother's wrath.
Thy name, which is so dear to me,
Will surely pass from mouth to mouth.
Honour shall be shown to chosen ones, 1
Who wish to close the outer gate.
Amuse thyself within the walls,
And no one then can say a word.
Think well what you can find within--
It gives you all you can desire,
Of dresses, gold, and dainty food.
Thou art beloved by every one,
E'en Virgins of the royal blood.
The Mothers love to carry thee,
They give thee kisses and caress--
You they prefer to all the rest.
What more could any one desire,
Than always to remain with them,

p. 376

Destined to be servant of the Sun?
In contemplating Him there's peace.
  Yma Sumac. Pitu Salla, ever you repeat
The same thing and the same advice;
I will open to thee my whole heart,
And say exactly what I think.
Know that to me this court and house
Are insupportable--no less;
The place oppresses--frightens me--
Each day I curse my destiny.
The faces of all the Mama Cuna
Fill me with hatred and disgust,
And from the place they make me sit,
Nothing else is visible.
Around me there is nothing bright,
All are weeping and ne'er cease
If I could ever have my way,
No person should remain within.
I see the people pass outside,
Laughing as they walk along.
The reason it is plain to see--
They are not mewed and cloistered here.
Is it because I have no mother,
That I am kept a prisoner?
Or is it I 'm a rich novice?
Then from to-day I would be poor.
Last night I could not get to sleep,
I wandered down a, garden walk;
In the dead silence of the night,
1 heard one mourn. A bitter cry,
As one who sought and prayed for death.
On every side I looked about,
My hair almost on end with fright,
Trembling, I cried, 'Who canst thou be?'
Then the voice murmured these sad words:

p. 377

'O Sun, release me from this place!'
And this. amidst such sighs and groans!
I searched about, but nothing found--
The grass was rustling in the wind.
I joined my tears to that sad sound,
My heart was torn with trembling fear.
When now the recollection comes,
I'm filled with sorrow and with dread.
You know now why I hate this place.
Speak no more, my dearest friend,
Of reasons for remaining here.
  Pitu Salla. At least go in. The Mother may appear.
  Yma Sumac. But pleasant is the light of day.

[Exit, R.

(Enter MAMA CCACCA, L., in grey with black edges and belt.)

  Mama Ccacca. Pitu Salla, hast thou spoken
All I told thee to that child?
  Pitu Salla. I have said all to her.
  Mama Ccacca. And she, does she answer freely?
  Pitu Salla. She has wept and asked for pity,
Refusing to comply at all.
She will not take the virgin's oath.
  Mama Ccacca. And this in spite of thy advice?
  Pitu Salla. I showed her the dress she will wear,
Telling her misfortune would befall
If she refused to be a chosen one--
That she would ever be an outcast,
And for us a child accursed.
  Mama Ccacca. What can she imagine,
Wretched child of an unknown father,
A maid without a mother,
Just a fluttering butterfly?
Tell her plainly, very plainly,

p. 378

That these walls offer her a home,
Suited for outcasts such as she,
And here no light is seen.

[Exit, L.

  Pitu Salla. Ay, my Sumac! Yma Sumac!
These walls will be cruel indeed,
To hide thy surpassing beauty.

(Glancing to where Mama Ccacca went out.)

What a serpent! What a puma!


375:1 Aclla Cuna, the selected ones, the Virgins of the Sun. They were under the supervision of so called Mothers--Mama Cuna. The novices were not obliged to take the oaths at the end of their novitiate.

Next: Scene 1