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“Oh, I’m sure you knew about that, Puma,” Alpaca jeered and added,
“We also know that you spend all your time fooling around with
Prince Huascar, instead of studying or doing your homework!”
“Enough of your arguing,” Professor Amauta demanded, as he
held up a series of colored strings and asked them, “Can anyone tell me
what this is?”
“Professor Amauta, I know! That’s a
quipu
,” Inkala yelled.
“A
quipu,
” repeated Prince Huascar, “What’s that? I only see a bunch
of colorful strings with different sized knots and shapes to them.”
Princess Inkala faced the group and began to teach them, “The
quipu
is a record keeper. It keeps track of everything that happens in this
empire. The different colored strings have various sized knots and shapes
with their own meaning. The only person who’s able to understand it is
the Quipucamayoc.”
With his eyes closing, Puma yawned out, “This lesson is so boring. I’m
about to take a nap. Do me a favor and wake me up when all of this blah,
blah, blah is over.”
At that moment, they heard a strange sound that echoed through
the thick, white fog surrounding the mountain range in the distance.
Princess Inkala looked to where the sound came and was puzzled.
Noticing her confusion, Prince Atahualpa explained, “My dear
princess, that’s just the Chasquis. They’re our imperial messengers.
They travel from north to south, east to west. Rain or shine, they
deliver messages to us, carrying their
pututos, quipus
and gifts in their
pouch slings.”
The Chasquis then made their way up the hill and delivered the
news that the Inka King Huayna Capac was in Cuzco waiting at the
Qorikancha Temple for his sons, Princes Huascar and Atahualpa, and
their friends Puma and Llama. Then, Professor Amauta dismissed the
class.
As for Princess Inkala and Alpaca, they left Cuzco taking a
narrow suspended rope bridge
(puente colgante)
towards Chan Chan. As
they were passing through, Inkala noticed something lying on the side
of the bridge. As she got near it, she realized it was a tiny bird. Seeing
its distress, she asked, “Oh my little friend, what are you doing here all
alone?”