“Likarayén” is a story from the past that is believed by many people but cannot be proved to be true. This legend has been handed down by tradition from earlier times, and belongs to the area where the Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes are located, in the Los Lagos region.

Once upon a time, when no white man had still set foot on this land, there lived several ‘williche’ (‘willi’ = south; ‘che’ = people) families around Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes. Their princess was Likarayen – the most beautiful and purest young woman, who was in love with Kitralpi, a handsome and brave ‘toki’ – a military chief. Both had fallen in love at first sight, and they were meant to get married the next spring.

However, Peripillan – an old ‘pillan’ or spirit who lived inside Osorno Volcano – envied Kitralpi. He could not resist the young couple’s true love and decided to interfere in their happiness. He started to vomit smoke and fire from Osorno Volcano, and made the earth tremble. The other mountains and volcanoes seemed to burn with fire, too. Their craters looked like the entrance to hell itself. The nights near Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes were lit with the huge flames coming from these giants.

The situation was worrisome, and the williche people decided to hold a council in order to find a way to stop the pillan’s anger. When they were in the middle of the discussion, an old ‘machi’ suddenly appeared among them. Nobody had noticed him before or knew him, but he said:

“If you want to get to the crater, you must sacrifice the most beautiful virgin of the community. You must take her heart and place it at the top of Pichi Juan’s hill covered with canelo leaves. Then you will see that a bird will appear soaring in the sky which will eat the heart and afterwards will take the canelo leaves to let them fall inside the crater of the pillan’s home”.

And after saying these words, he disappeared as fast as he had appeared.

The ‘logko’ – the leader of the mapuche community – wanted to know who the purest virgin was. Unfortunately, he found out it was his own daughter Likarayen. With tears in his eyes, the logko gave the bad news to his daughter – she was chosen to save them from Peripillan’s anger.

“Don’t cry, father” – answered the young princess – “I’ll die happily to save our people. Just do me a favor. Please, don’t use axes or spears to kill me, and I want my dying bed to be prepared by Kitralpi, who can be the only one to touch my heart, because he has been its owner since I met him.”

The next day, Kitralpi had everything prepared. A group of young mapuches escorted the beautiful virgin to a ravine, where the toki had a bed with the most perfumed flowers of the forest of the region. Likarayen arrived at the site and, without a word or complaint, lay on the flowery spot.

When her beautiful eyes closed forever, Kitralpi kissed her on the forehead, and trying not to burst into tears because of the pain in his heart, he opened her chest and took her heart out and handed it to the virgin’s father.

The strongest man of the place was in charge of taking the heart and the canelo leaves to the top of the hill. At the very moment he placed the heart and the leaves on the highest rock of Pichi Juan’s Hill, a condor appeared soaring in the sky and, with amazing speed, came down to eat the heart and, taking the canelo leaves, the bird flew to the crater of Osorno Volcano, spiraled three times over it, and dropped the sacred leaves inside the crater.

As if by art of magic, at that very moment, flakes of snow of the whitest colour started to pour down from the clouds. It was as if the pure soul of the princess was coming back to earth in search of her beloved Kitralpi. And at that very moment, the young toki threw himself against his spear, piercing his wide chest to tear his heart in two and in this way he could be reunited with his loved Likarayen.

And it snowed and snowed – days, weeks, months, and whole years. It was a real battle between the fire coming out from the guts of the volcanoes and the cleansing snow that fell upon them.

In the end, the molten snow ran down the mountains forming torrents of water that washed the slopes of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, and ended at their feet filling their gorges up. That is how the lakes Llanquihue, Todos los Santos and Chapo were formed.

When the mapuche went back to the place where the sacrifice was consummated,  they saw with amazement that the flowers that served as a dying bed for Likarayen had already grown roots and that their branches had formed the most beautiful palace that no man has ever seen.

That palace still exists today at Devil’s Gorge near Puerto Varas. Many have climbed down to see the palace and admire its beauty, but only a few have been able to really see it, for it is only visible for those who have no stain in their mind or soul.