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Celebration of Fantasy


Ollantaytambo, Peru

Context/Current Issues



drawing by Eduardo Galeano from the personal collection of Patrick Madden

To hear Galeano read this abrazo in English, click here.

In Spanish, click here.

~Celebration of Fantasy~

It happened at the entrance to the town of Ollantaytambo, near Cuzco.  I had detached myself from a group of tourists and was standing alone looking at the stone ruins in the distance when a small boy from the neighborhood, skinny and ragged, came over to ask if I would give him a pen.  I couldn't give him my pen because I was using it to write down all sorts of boring notes, but I offered to draw a little pig for him on his hand.

Suddenly the word got around.  I was surrounded by a throng of little boys demanding at the top of their lungs that I draw animals on their little hands cracked by dirt and cold, their skin of burnt leather: one wanted a condor and one wanted a snake, others preferred little parrots or owls, and some asked for a ghost or a dragon.

Then, in the middle of this racket, a little waif who barely cleared a yard off the ground showed me a watch drawn in black ink on his wrist.

"An uncle of mine who lives in Lima sent it to me," he said.

"And does it keep good time?" I asked him.

"It's a bit slow," he admitted.


Galeano, Eduardo. "Celebration of Fantasy."  The Book of Embraces. Trans. Cedric Belfrage.  New York:  Norton, 1992.  41.

This abrazo was the favorite of each of the members of our group.  Its outward irreverence and internal meaning begged us to explore it more closely.  The links at top-left are links to our analysis; more information on Ollantaytambo, Peru; contextual examination and references to current issues; and our take on the possible symbolism of the animals in the abrazo.  Click on each of the links at left to begin your journey into the depths of "Celebration of Fantasy."

These pages were created by:  AnnaLiesa Dunn, Becca Jump, Ashby Rosenberger, and Kelsey Edwards.