Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Anchimallén" and Nahuel Huapi dwarves


Lake Nahuel Huapi is not only the home of Nahuelito, its forests also conceal a dwarf, Anchimallén".

Two different sources mention dwarves at this lake; one is Francisco Moreno, who in 1876 was threatened by Mapuche chief Saihueque with evil “Anchimalleguen or midget walichus [evil genies] that live in the caves of the Nahuel-Huapi […] the pygmies would throw stones at me to hurt me”.[1]

The other is the native legend of "Amun-Kar’s petrified chiefs" which was first recorded by Jesuit Father Mascardi in 1670.

It tells of a bloody battle that took place between a fiercely brave Mapuche tribe and an army of well armed dwarves.

They met on the slopes of an extinct volcano, Amun-kar, now named Mount Tronador (41°09’ S, 71°53’ W), where the brave Mapuche were defeated by the thousands of “spear bearing […] tiny mountain men not taller than an Anchimallén. Strange creatures […] repugnant dwarves […] tiny and miserable Anchimallén”.[2]

This Anchimallén (or Anchimalleguen) mentioned above is a mythical spiritual entity of the Mapuche, with magic powers that usually appears as a child-sized ghost that floats as a ball of light.

Originally regarded as a benign fairy, the Anchimalguén (“sun-maiden” in Mapuche language) morphed into the Anchimallén during the period of Hispanic conquest, a grotesque and bloody dwarf that fed on humans.[3]

The Amun-kar legend uses the term Anchimallén to stress the tinyness and evil nature of these bellicose “mountain” dwarves.

As the Mapuche use two different words to name their dwarves, it may be possible that Trauco and Anchimallén are different creatures.

See our posts on the other Patagonian dwarves (Yosi, Tachwül).


[1] Moreno, F., (1876). Viaje a la Patagonia Septentrional. [Conference]. B. Aires, Anales de la Sociedad Científica Argentina I.
[2] Parodi, L., (2005). Leyendas indígenas de la Argentina. B. Aires: Andromeda. Pp. 105-109.
[3] Guevara, T., (1925). Historia de Chile: Chile prehispano. Santiago: Balcells. v2. Chap. 1.

Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©

Patagonian Monsters

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