Three White Lilies (Tres blancos lirios)

Music piece by:
Unknown composer. This song probably relates to European early-years pedagogy.
Testimony by:
Domingo Lizama
Experience in:

They arrested me at my workplace in October 1973 . I was 31 years old and worked as a porter at a logging business in Chumpullo, near Valdivia.

First I was at a police station where they tortured me. They then kept me at a military base in Valdivia.

When I arrived at Valdivia Prison, I was physically broken. They sentenced me to three years. When I appealed, they sentenced me to five years.

The prison had four floors. It was meant for 400 people but there were 1400. We were piled up. I was on the second floor with other political prisoners. I was lucky to land there. There were other lumberjacks, teachers and intellectuals. I also met a seminarian that I knew from when I studied in the seminary.

The days were very hard. We would chat, tell jokes and sing to entertain ourselves and shorten the wait for the trips to the SIMMilitary Intelligence Service..

I would come up with religious songs. They would say: 'this guy with his past as a priest, he should stop this silly stuff'.

One time, the prison authorities brought in a singing teacher to form and conduct a choir. He was not a prisoner.

I participated in that choir. For Christmas in 1973 we sang for the relatives that came to visit us. We sang 'Arrorró mi niño', 'Noche de Paz', and 'Señora doña María'.

The warden liked the choir a lot. Afterwards, he wanted the choir to sing for some official ceremony or event to receive authorities. We refused to sing for those purposes.

The teacher had to leave because we sang 'Tres blancos lirios' ('Three White Lilies'), a children’s song which spoke about an unhappy horse rider who destroyed a garden. Really, the song said that the squaddies had broken the garden. After the teacher left, the choir dismantled.


Published on: 22 November 2017

Three white lilies I planted
care for them with love
once a horse rider crushed them
once a horse rider crushed them.

Why do you destroy my garden?
Unhappy horse rider
I don’t want my flowers
be hurt by you
I don’t want my flowers
be hurt by you.