The Peuquen are small gnomes that live in Chiloé. I have only found one reference about them, written by Guillermo Cox, in 1862. He calls them “mountain genies”.
They are in his words: “small men that are clothed in “avellano” [Gevuina avellana is a native Chilean tree] leaves… they also have a hat made from bark and an axe whose handle is of avellano.” The Peuquen lives in the forests chopping trees with its axe in this it resembles the other dwarf that the Mapuche natives place in the same region, Trauco. Yet (just like the Fuegian Yosi dwarf) it does not light fires with the wood.
Those who come across him face a nasty fate, their heads are turned around for the rest of their lives.
Pequen, like Yosi and Trauco, is a lewd and lascivious creature. It likes to have sex with women. If a child is born of these trysts, its skin is like the bark of an avellano.
The similarity between these three gnomes (Trauco, Yosi and Peuquen) is incredible considering that they are mythical creatures belonging to different groups of people (the Chilotes of Chiloé the Mapuche of northern Patagonia and the Selk'nam of Tierra del Fuego) separated by thousands of miles of barren steppes and dense forests.
This may imply a common origin for this myth, which may have been inspired by a real "dwarfish" hominid.
Cox, G., (2006). Expedición de la Patagonia Norte: un viajero en el Nahuel Huapi: 1862-1863. B. Aires: Continente-Pax. pp. 67-69.
Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia2010 International Year of Biodiversity Copyright 2009-2010 by Austin Whittall ©