"The White Rainbow"

Narrator: Paco Santillan,  Pululagua Crator, Pichincha Province, Ecuador.  June 18, 1989.

Recorded and translated by Tod Swanson

[The fog] can also make you lose your way, because the fog descends to the ground and when you do not know an area, you get disoriented of course.  It can make you sick, if you are weak of heart, as I have told you. For example if the white rainbow hits someone, but that is, if its one of the boys, one of the children, it hits a child, it catches him.  And if you do not have that child cured, then that [child]gets the fright and dies.  The rainbow forms a circle like this.  But that one does not take the form of the colored rainbow, rather it is white like fog.  The natural rainbow is the one that is formed out of the sun and the mist.  That is the colored rainbow.  The one that takes the form of blue, red, yellow and green.  But this other one, this one remains pure fog.  This is the one that they say is the trickiest (mas bandido): the white rainbow.  As you pass by, then that one may hit you.  They say it is also bad for women, that it can have relations with a woman, that is what they have told me.  But when his children are born, when he has had his effect, they say they are like baby pigs, the children of a white rainbow. And when a pregnant woman is going to pass, they say that he can also have an effect on her.  That is what they have told me.  For example at six in the afternoon, when a child is weak and afraid, its worse.  The fog pursues him when he is afraid, it pursues him all the more.  But if one is brave, more energetic, it will not do anything to him.  But if you start to say, "I am not going to go it might harm me," that is worse, that is timidity.

In the worst of the rainy season, for example January, February, March, April, the fog stays closer, in its natural state, all around.  Then in the summer, May, June, July the [fog summer] keeps lifting more and more and taking off.  Around here it almost always disappears at the hour when the sun starts to shine and then in the afternoon the fog always falls.  It is almost always dangerous, since there is almost no time when the fog [completely] disappears. It harms the children easily, or there are people who have come in [from outside the area] whom it harms.  They go along there and they get frightened by something.  And the curandera goes and says to them, "The rainbow has struck you! That white one!"

One time the white rainbow made my brother run too.  He himself was to blame. He used to say " I, when I see that [white] rainbow, I'm going to hit it with the machete!"  I say to him "It will come against you all the more," I say to him.  And one day he says "Let's make a bet."  "And if the [white] rainbow comes?"  "Yeah right! (Que va!).  So one day I say to him, "Let's go bring a jug [of water] from the [irrigation] canal.  He says, "Alright."  He goes. [Then] he says to me, right? "You know something, the fog was crowded in on the water, it was dark, and the fog had crowded in on the water.  And as I was getting [the water] someone hits me with a pole her behind," he says.  So I say, "but there must have been someone there right?" "There was no one there when I was hit with the pole, and I have looked for who it might be, and there was no one.  I thought it was my father or someone, or maybe it was you who had followed me."  I said to him, "It was not me."  When it came more over this way, he says it spoke to him, "I am going to catch you, I am going to catch you."  When suddenly it takes the form of a white rainbow.  This one, he said, stretched itself out.  He said it would place itself in front of him and would not let him pass. It stationed itself there and began to grab the [water] containers.  Little by little the meeting began, he says.

And I'm  [calling out to him], "What is wrong with you anyway? Move it!"  He says, "Look! It won't let me pass!"  At that point I come out.  Since my dad was peeling potatoes, I come out with the knife and say to him, "Who is it!"  He says, "This fog won't let me pass."  And after that when he gets to the house, He gets hit with vomiting and he starts to faint. He did not want to eat. Just on account of that.  He just had a fever.