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About half have never seen the light of day. With only two rooms for five people, the presence of more mouths to feed would have thrown my grandmother, who was tasked with finding and distributing food to the entire family. A dog, however, would have more to her distaste than other animals: her culture saw them as ripe for demonic possession or, at least, as warm to death.

Though the construal of representations to channel the anguish of death is constant to human societies, the different shapes they take are usually meant to allay the anxieties posed by losing touch with the familiar s. This is not the case in some parts of the Andes, though, where a past in which death was but a hiccup in the grand train of life is still invoked. But we do not suffer alone.

Other creatures —many of them, animals— participate in this world-complex and, once dead, reappear in the afterlife to make sure we observe established protocols. The parrot and the hummingbird are among them. It would be a large and most threatening beast, a hellhound that would charge at anyone it found alone and wandering unawares, especially if they were not just guilty —but impenitent.

So dogs were kept at bay. With taboo as the gateway to curiosity, I sought out the forbidden company of dogs in books. I was haunted by Cerberus, whose eldritch shape was first revealed to me by Hesiod, and whom I met again —with fewer heads, but no less bite— through Virgil; first as author of the Aeneid , then as psychopomp to Dante. And so the word persisted as a slur, and it was as a slur that it first reached Peruvian shores. Christianity indented many traditions, its own included.

There, it is claimed that Lazarus became a bishop. News of this miracle was reaffirmed when, in the year , the Byzantine emperor Leo VI had his relics taken to Constantinople along with those of Mary Magdalene, his sister Sgarbossa and Giovannini When Lazarus died, he was seated next to Abraham in heaven, while the wealthy Epulon was buried in Hell, from where he could still see the patriarch and the one-time beggar.

Artistic renderings of this parable and the oral tradition it eventually spawned brought together the figure of death, the passage into the afterlife and —what concerns us— the presence of dogs as participants. We will content ourselves with looking at what form these elements acquired in the Andean area. Andean mortuary rites have been described since the sixteenth century by the extirpadores , missionaries charged with the eradication of aboriginal religions. It makes for a long farewell that is meant to account for, and tend to, the space of the two souls that all living things share —one in the heart, one in the head— each of which suffers a different reaction with the passing of their host.

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This incorporeal exodus was not always the norm. In ancient times and following the five days ritual, the dead would return. But humans multiplied in excess and it became increasingly difficult to keep them all fed, which is why they had to learn how to grow crops and squeeze life from the faces of cliffs on the sinuous andenes that, even today, wind beside the abysses. Man lived to suffer:. His father, his brothers and his wife expected him. The fifth day came, the fifth day passed, and he did not appear; he did not come back.

On the next day, the sixth, he arrived. His father, his brothers and his wife expected him angrily. Every other man comes back without breaking a sweat and you have made me wait in vain. She raised a corncob and threw it at the shade that had returned.

Hellhound's Heaven - KuriaTV

Ever since that day, the dead have not come back. Today, the dead must face a tedious path to reach their final destination. These are supposed to be arid, hot and windy, with their only saving grace being Saint Lazarus himself, who oversees the hardships of those looking for their epithelials. Touched by the plight of these incautious souls, he sends them his dogs, whose task —as it were, in the spirit of Anubis— it is to judge them.

Those who had in life been kind to them would be rewarded with the water of their ears, relieved of their exhaustion and escorted to the Aya Marka, or land of the dead. Yet another version says the animals expect their owners as stones another form of immortality , but that they will attack whomever abused them in life and prevent their passage. These uncharitable souls will thus be doomed to roam the world, inflicting grief and disgrace on their fellow-men. Q uipu or khipu , as we know them, are monochrome or multicoloured wool or cotton strings tied into knots, the net of which comprise a pre-Columbian system of communication that has yet to be fully deciphered.

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