Today, this meerkat is exploring the mountains of Ecuador, in search of a Muki.
A Muki is a dwarf-like entity, said to be no more than two feet tall, with long, bright blond hair, a head upon a body with no neck, and a reddish face with a white beard. Because Muki dwell in the mountains of the Andes, they wear safety helmets, for they do a lot of mining! They are said to walk like ducks, due to their over-sized feet.
Muki are said to kidnap children, and it’s believed they inspire a lot of fear in their enemies. It is advised to use one’s belt to fight them off, and it helps to show no fear. It is also said that unbaptized children are the chief targets of the Muki, and that eventually they will become Muki themselves (this particular element of the tale is more recent, influenced by Christianity).
Another aspect to the legend is that Muki are said to strike deals with miners. In exchange for making it easier to mine any given mineral, the miners are to give the Muki gifts, but sometimes the demands of the Muki are virtually impossible for the miners to meet, and there is a dreadful punishment that awaits those who fail to meet those demands. The moral of the story could well be that striking deals with untrustworthy creatures can only yield disaster.