Three Mountaineers (Eran tres alpinos)

Song by:
Unknown. Traditional Spanish children's song
Testimony by:
María Cecilia Marchant Rubilar
Experience in:
Cárcel de Mujeres Buen Pastor, La Serena, September 1973 - January 1974

We adapted this song and produced a play based on it. Each of us played one of the characters. We spent a lot of time on this. We performed the play to the other women prisoners in both centres within the prison: Regina Coellys and Alborada. Alborada was a section of Buen Pastor but it was not part of the prison facility. Alborada housed women political prisoners too.

Musical experience most definitely became something pivotal. We also danced. One woman sang tango beautifully, so we would try to dance tango. Sometimes Lucía played tropical music on her guitar and we would dance.

You never lose hope when you are in prison. We knew that we would get out at some point. I think none of the women had been charged with any crime that may justify their arrest. The military coup had been a horrendous event that occurred in this country. They have no right to jail people because of their ideas, for wanting a better country, a country with more solidarity, more justice, greater hope. … In prison you do whatever you can just to survive. Under torture, under pressure, under custody, you do what you can to get out. And I believe that is what we did to try to stay afloat and stay alive.


Published on: 02 January 2016


Three mountaineers were coming home from war,
three mountaineers were coming home from war,
and tia tai, rataplan, coming home from war.

And the smallest carried a bunch of flowers
and the smallest carried a bunch of flowers
and tia tai, rataplan, carried a bunch of flowers.

And the princess was at the window
and the princess was at the window
and tia tai, rataplan, was at the window.

Oh, good mountaineer, give me those lovely flowers
oh, good mountaineer, give me those lovely flowers
and tia tai, rataplan, give me those lovely flowers.

The flowers I shall give you if you will be my wife
the flowers I shall give you if you will be my wife
and tia tai, rataplan, if you will be my wife.

Ask my daddy, he will answer you.
ask my daddy, he will answer you.
and tia tai, rataplan, he will answer you.

Oh my lord king, I’m marrying your daughter
oh my lord king, I’m marrying your daughter
and tia- tai rataplan, I’m marrying your daughter.

Get out of here, or else I’ll have you shot
get out of here, or else I’ll have you shot
and tia tai, rataplan, or else I’ll have you shot.

And the next day he was shot dead
and the next day he was shot dead
and tia tai, rataplan, he was shot dead.

And the princess died of sadness
and the princess died of sadness
and tia tai, rataplan, she died of sadness.

And the king too went to die in China
and the king too went to die in China
and tia tai, rataplan, went to die in China.

And after three days, they all came back to life
and after three days, they all came back to life
and tia tai, rataplan, they all came back to life.

And the princess married the mountaineer
and the princess married the mountaineer
and tia tai, rataplan, she married the mountaineer.

And so the beautiful alpine rose was born
and so the beautiful alpine rose was born
and tia tai, rataplan, the beautiful alpine rose.