Hundreds of years ago, in southern Chile, lived the indigenous people known as Mapuches. The members of these tribes took refuge in caves, did not know fire and survived thanks to what nature gave them.
Every day they went out to hunt some animal to eat and collected all the fruits they could to feed their families. If they wanted to do all these tasks, they had to get up very early and make the most of the daylight, because one of their biggest fears was facing the dark. They never left the town when the sun went down!
One night a Mapuche man named Caleu sat gazing at the moon at the entrance of his cave. His family slept inside and the silence invaded everything. Suddenly, he saw a huge star with a long golden tail streaking across the sky. A glare blinded his eyes and lit up the entire valley at times.
Caleu freaked out because he had no idea what that was! In a hurry and shaking like a pudding, he entered the cavern and huddled in a corner. He stayed awake until dawn and, although he was dying to tell everyone what he had seen, he decided not to say anything to anyone so that fear would not spread through the village. Yes, I would keep the secret.
That morning, as soon as the sun rose, his wife and daughter left in search of food. Accompanied by other women and children of the town, they climbed the nearest mountain and for hours, they were entertained, gathering groceries to spend the winter, which was already just around the corner.
They all worked so hard that the night caught them off guard. They quickly picked up their baskets and tried to go down the mountain as fast as they could, but without light they had to give up. It was impossible to guide oneself through the darkness to find the way back to the village. Luckily, they discovered an abandoned cave and took refuge in it waiting for the new day.
It was then that, in the middle of the darkness, they saw the enormous golden-tailed star that Caleu had seen the night before pass by, and for the second time it was crossing the sky at great speed. As it passed, a rain began to fall, making a great roar. But no, it was not water, but stones that crashed on the mountain and rolled on the slope, causing many sparks to hit the rocky ground.
One of those sparks landed on a tree and the trunk began to burn, illuminating everything around it. When the torrent of stones ceased, the women approached the burning tree with the frightened children clinging to their legs and discovered that, thanks to the fire, they could see each other in the shadows. They also noticed that next to the burning tree, their bodies were getting warm and it was a very pleasant sensation. That was really magical!
The men of the village, attracted by the light, went out to see what it was all about and found their families sitting around the huge campfire. They were happy and everyone got together to share such a special moment, singing songs and clapping their hands.
Dawn began to dawn and it was time for each one to return home. Caleu picked up a branch from the ground and held it up to the fire in the tree. He was fascinated to see that the flames passed from one place to another with ease. All the men did the same and made their way home carrying large torches. During the return journey, the women told them that they had seen that when stones collided with each other, sparks were produced, and that these, when they came into contact with the wood, turned into flames.
This is how the Mapuches discovered fire. From that day on, they lost their fear of the dark, were able to warm themselves during the harsh winters and added the delicious meat cooked on the embers to their daily menu.