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Preliminary (130A). Fables, Tales, and Legends (131-162D).
130A.* It is proposed to devote this chapter to a collection of legends dealing with the many beasts and birds met with in the forest, interesting in that they are all represented as thinking, talking, and acting as do sentient human beings. They are also believed to possess Spirits just like those of human folk. At the same time we must not be surprised to learn that the events and occurrences now about to be recorded are supposed to have taken place a long while ago; but in those days, so the Akawais say, Makunaima made man and animal all of one speech, advising them to live in unity, and judging by the legends here narrated the injunction seems to have been fairly well obeyed. To put the matter shortly, these creatures with human ideas were born so: they "growed." True it is that now and again the fact of the human actor having an animal form, or the animal an anthropomorphic one, is explained as being due to reasons already stated, i. e., by way of punishment or pure devilment at the instigation of the Spirit of some person departed. It is also a firm article of faith that the medicine-man, to whom nothing is impossible, can effect transformation of himself or others, similar to those produced by the Spirits. In addition, there is a widespread Indian belief that at every eclipse of the moon animals are metamorphosed—a tapir may change into a snake, a man into a beast, and vice versa. And so even in the telling of these stories, the Indian expects his hearers to take quite as a matter of course—just in the same way as he is firmly convinced himself—that animals and birds associate with man; that they are all of one and the same breed; that they may equally live, eat, and drink, love, hate, and die. It is small wonder then that the Indian folk-lore is so largely crammed with this same idea of Man and Animal (used in its widest sense) being so intimately interchangeable.
131.* THE HONEY-BEE SON-IN-LAW (W)
A man made up a little family party to accompany him on a hunting expedition, taking with him his two sons and a daughter; he left his wife and the other two girls at home. He took the party far out into the bush, where they constructed a banab and rested themselves. Next day the girl told her father that she was not feeling well, in other words, that it was not permissible for her to build the babracote, to do p. 200 the cooking, or even to touch the utensils [Sect. 274]. "Never mind," replied the father, "just rest yourself. We are not going very far, and we can manage for ourselves." That afternoon they returned from the hunt with nothing, the same result happening on the succeeding afternoon. Was the young woman the unfortunate cause of their bad luck? Next morning, the huntsmen went into the bush as usual, and, not long after they had gone, the girl, who was lying in her hammock, was somewhat startled at seeing a young man approach the banab and stride up to where she was resting; she became very angry when he jumped in. She fought and wrestled with him, informed him of her condition, and tried to get out, threatening what her father would do when he returned. But he held her firmly, assured her that he had not the slightest intention of troubling her, that he had come only to rest himself, and promised to ask the old man for possession of her in the proper manner. So they both lay there quietly in the hammock, discussing their respective prospects and affairs. She learned from him that he had been long in love with her, and that he was a Simo-ahawara [lit. 'bee tribe']; this information calmed her greatly, because it seems that at his first appearance, she took him for a Bush Spirit or Hebu.1 Now, just as Simo had anticipated, when the father returned in the afternoon, he was not at all vexed at seeing the stranger in his daughter's hammock; in fact, he made not the slightest reference to her even having company. And when on the following morning Simo asked the old man for her, the latter told him he could have her if he desired, and the girl consenting, he was received as a son-in-law. Being now one of the family, so to speak, he told all three men to remain in their hammocks, as he would make himself responsible for supplying them with their evening meal. Carrying his bow with two arrows, he accordingly took himself off to the bush, and returning very shortly, instructed the girl to tell her father go fetch in the game which he had killed.2 The father went off to fetch the waiyarri in which Simo had packed the meat, but could not lift it, much less carry it, on account of its great weight, though comparatively small a bundle. He came back for his two sons to help him, but all three together could not raise it from the ground. When they returned to the banab, the old man told his daughter what had occurred and asked her to get Simo to bring up the bundle: the latter accordingly went, but not before telling his father-in-law, through his wife, to get the babracote ready. As soon as Simo brought in the bundle, one of his brothers-in-law loosened the vine rope and, opening the bundle, brought out of it one of every kind of bird and beast imaginable. They had plenty there to last them for months, and it took all three men a long time to clean and cut up the flesh and get it properly smoked. And when all the meat was dried, they started on the homeward journey, Simo arranging for the old man and the brothers-in-law to carry all they could, he following later on with the remainder, which as a matter of fact was five times greater than all their loads put together. You see what a strong man he must have been! And although he gave them a good start he speedily caught up with them on the road, and they all went home together, Simo taking up his residence as is customary, at his father-in-law's place. About a year later Simo found himself the proud father of a beautiful baby boy; in the meantime he had been busy clearing his field. Now it was just about this time that his two sisters-in-law were beginning to give trouble: they had fallen in love with him and were always jumping into his hammock, but as fast as they got in, he would turn them out. He neither liked nor wanted them, and complained to his wife about their conduct. Of course there was p. 201 nothing wrong in what her sisters were trying to do, because with us Indians, so long as the women are single, it is no sin for a man to live with his sisters-in-law as well as with his wife.1 But in spite of his objections, the two sisters-in-law persisted in following him about, and while they would be bathing with his wife at the waterside, with him minding the baby on the river-bank, they would try to dash spray over him.2 This was very wicked of them, still more so because Simo had warned them that if water should ever touch him, it would act like fire, that is, first weaken, and then destroy him.3 As a matter of fact, none of the three women had ever seen him bathe: whenever he wanted to perform his ablutions, he would wash himself in honey just as the little bees do. His wife alone was well aware of this, because he had told her that he was Simo-ahawara when they had first met under the shade of the banab. As he was sitting one day on the bank with the baby in his arms, while the three women were washing themselves, the two sisters-in-law succeeded in dashing water over him. The result was that he screamed out, "I burn! I burn!" and flying away, like other bees, into a tree, melted into honey, and his child changed into Wau-uta, the Tree-frog [Sects. 17, 18].
131A.* THE MAN WHO WAS CHANGED INTO A POWIS (W)
A husband, his wife, and her two brothers lived together in a house. One day, when the sky was overclouded, and they all heard the noise of the approaching rain, the husband turned to his wife and told her that the rain always made him sleep soundly. When he turned into his hammock that night, and it happened to rain, the good woman accordingly said to her brothers, "I must tie up my man out in the rain," and they helped her tie him up and carry him outside into the rain where he remained all night. Waking up at early dawn, his first remark was: "I have had a good sleep. You may loose me." And they loosened him. Now although he was in a great passion, he did not show it, but he determined to punish his wife. He bade her get ready to accompany him, as he proposed going a-hunting, and when they reached a suitable spot far out in the bush, he told her to make a babracote and get firewood, because he intended killing the alligator which frequented the neighboring water-hole. But he was only fooling her with the alligator yarn, because as soon as she had completed everything, he killed her, and removing the head, cut up the rest of her body and put it on the babracote to dry. When the flesh was cured, he packed it in a waiyarri, which he had plaited in the meantime, and carried it toward his house, leaving it, as is usual, at some distance from the dwelling. Upon the top of a stick fixed in the ground over the waiyarri he attached his poor wife's head in such a way that her face looked in the direction of her late home. The face carried a silver nose-ornament. He took back with him only her dried liver, and his brothers-in-law welcomed him when they saw the meat. He then gave them to eat of the liver, and they ate it. At last he said, "You must go help your sister; she is weary of carrying such a load of meat." They accordingly proceeded down the path, and it was not long before they saw the head staring at them from above the waiyarri; they recognized it as their sister's and rushed home. In the meantime the husband had left the house in another direction, saying that he was going to bathe at the waterside; but he was again fooling, for on reaching the river-bank, he shoved all the corials p. 202 from their moorings, and getting into one, made his way down the stream. The murdered woman's brothers had got home by now, and telling their old mother what they had seen, asked her what had become of the culprit. As soon as they learned that he had gone to bathe, they hastened down to the landing, and finding no corial there, one of them swam across the stream to get one, and both getting in, they gave chase. They pulled hard and soon caught up with their man, but as they drew near, he jumped on shore and climbed a tree, shouting, "Your little sister is there where I left her." They tried to strike him, but he was now changed into a Yakahatata, a sort of powis which thus is always crying out "Sister-little-there" [that is, ija-ko-i sanuka tataha, of which Yakahatata is the nearest approach in bird-language to which he can attain].
132.* THE STOLEN CHILD (W)
A man went out hunting, leaving at home his wife and little baby girl, a child that was just beginning to walk. Night was falling and the mother was preparing food for her husband's return. While thus occupied the child started crying, and just at that moment the old grandmother came from over the way to fetch it. The mother was only too pleased to be temporarily relieved of her responsibilities, and when the old woman asked her to hand the child over, she willingly did so, and was thus enabled to get all the cooking done without further interruption. When this was completed, she went to fetch her baby, and said, "Give me my child." But when the old woman said, "What child? I know nothing about any child," the poor mother knew that she had been tricked. As a matter of fact, it was really a Tiger who had assumed the exact form of the old woman, and so had deceived the mother. When the husband at last returned, the distracted woman told him what had happened, and they both started out to search, but found nothing. Next morning they renewed their search, but were again unsuccessful, and at last gave up their quest. Thus they gradually lost touch with their little daughter, and after a time she was forgotten. A few years passed, and the parents began to lose things about the house. First of all, the beads on their necklaces disappeared one night; on another occasion their cotton garters could not be found; one evening all the ite [Mauritia] starch vanished; one morning the wood-skin [i. e. bark] apron-belt was nowhere to be seen; not long afterward the buck-pots began to disappear one after the other; and so things continued unaccountably to be lost. Though the parents had not the slightest idea that such was the case, it was the Tiger who came every now and then after nightfall to steal all these things for the little girl to use. She was getting of course to be a young maiden now, and Tiger was minding her as his own kith and kin. The young maiden soon became a woman, nourished with all the meat that Tiger provided. [Quandocumque menstruavit sanguinem lambavit.] He was still a tiger and, continuing to do what tigers and dogs do [incepit femmam olfacere]. Moreover, his two brothers, being similarly affected, followed his example. The girl felt very strange at these periods and could not understand the actions toward her of Tiger and his two brothers. So she made up her mind to escape, and asked Tiger one day how far their place was from the spot where her parents lived. He was somewhat suspicious and wanted to know first of all why she asked the question. So she told him something like this: "You are an old man and will die soon. I am young. What will then happen to me? If I knew where they were, I could then go to my parents." Recognizing the force of her argument, he told her that they lived in such and such a direction, that it was not far, and that immediately upon his decease she must hurry to them, lest his two brothers should meet her and tear her up. Contented for the present with this information, the woman bided her time to seize a favorable opportunity of escape—an opportunity which was not long in coming. She planned what to do, she was getting tired of always being alone p. 203 in the depths of the forest. So, taking the biggest of the buck-pots, she put all kinds of food into it, and placed it on the fire. When the contents were boiled, she went to take it off, but pretended she could not stand the heat, and turning to Tiger, said, "No! it is too heavy. I want you to help me." So without more ado, Tiger stooped down, put his paws one on each side of the projecting rim of the pot, and so lifted it off the fire. While thus occupied, she smartly tapped the pot from below up, dashing the boiling contents over the creature's face, a procedure which made him fall, yell with pain, and die. His two brothers heard the roaring and said, "Oh! the old man must be sporting with his girl"; but this was not the case, he never having had intimate relations with her. In the meantime, the woman went to the place where she had been told her people lived, and called out: "I am the little girl that was lost many a long day ago. Where are my parents?" The latter showed themselves and said, "You are our daughter," and would have liked a long chat over what had happened during her absence, but the woman warned them that there was no time for this, that they must all escape because Tiger's two brothers would come and kill them for payment [i. e. in revenge]. So they loosened their hammock-ropes and hurried themselves to leave. While they were doing so, a young man, a cousin, said: "Well! I can not leave this grindstone here: I shall want it for sharpening."1 So saying, he placed it in his hammock, folded the latter, and, in the hurry of the moment, not thinking of what he was doing, slung it in the usual manner over his shoulder. The unprepared-for weight, however, broke his back and he fell down dead, and there the others left him.2
133.* THE TIGER CHANGED INTO A WOMAN (A)
There was a man justly noted for his skill in hunting bush-hog. Though his friends might be more than a match for him in hunting other game, with bush-hog he had hardly an equal, certainly no superior. He would always succeed in killing five or six, when the Tiger who invariably followed on the heels of the pack would catch only one or two. The Tiger could not help noticing his success, and on the next occasion that our friend went into the bush changed himself into a woman, and spoke to him. She asked him how he managed to kill so many bush-hog, but all he could tell her was that he had been trained to it ever since the days of his early boyhood. She next expressed her desire to have him for a husband, but he, knowing her origin, was not too anxious to give a decided answer. She overcame his scruples, however, by convincing him that if they lived together, they could kill ever so many more bush-hog than it was possible to do singly. And then he agreed. He lived with her for a long, long time, and she turned out to be an exceedingly good wife, for besides looking after the cooking and the barbecuing, she made an excellent huntress. One day she asked him whether he had father or mother, and learning that his parents and other relatives were still alive, inquired whether he would not like to pay them a visit, because she felt sure that from not having seen him for so long the old people would think him dead. And when he said, "All right! I would like to go home," she offered to show him the road and to accompany him, but only on the condition that he never told his folk from what nation she was sprung. Before they started, she said they must go hunting for a few days, so as to be able to take plenty of bush-hog with them. This they did, finally arriving at the house of his parents, who were indeed glad to welcome him after so many years. The first question his old mother asked him was, "Where did you get that beautiful woman?" He told her that he had p. 204 found her when out hunting one day in the bush, at the same time taking care to omit all mention of the fact that she was really a Tiger. While at his old home, the couple went out hunting again and again, invariably returning with an extraordinarily large bag. This, unfortunately, proved to be their undoing. All his friends and family became suspicious of his luck, and made up their minds to discover to what nation his beautiful wife belonged. He was often asked, but always refused to divulge the secret. His mother, however, became so worried and upset that he at last did make a clean breast of it to her, strictly warning her not to tell anyone else, as his wife might leave him altogether. And now trouble soon came. One day the husband's people made plenty of cassiri, to get the old woman drunk, but when asked about her daughter-in-law she wouldn't tell: they gave her more drink and still she held her tongue: a last they gave her so much drink, that out came the secret and all the friends now knew that the beautiful creature whom they had so envied was after all only a Tiger. The woman, however, who had heard her mother-in-law exposing her origin, felt so ashamed that she fled into the bush growling, and that was the last that was ever seen or heard of her. Her husband, of course, upbraided his mother roundly for betraying him but she said she really could not help herself; they had made her so drunk. And the poor husband would often go into the bush and call his wife, but there never never came a reply.
134.* THE WOMAN IN LOVE WITH A SLOTH (A)
A woman had a sloth [Cholopus didactylus] for a sweetheart. Every time that she went into the field or into the bush she used to carry food and drink for him. She would call Hau! Hau! and the Sloth would clamber down the tree: and they caressed each other just like lovers. Other people began to talk, and wondered what she did with the food and drink that she was continually taking out of the house. Among these was a young man who watched her next day, and saw her call her Sloth lover and caress him. But instead of reciprocating her caresses, the Sloth scratched her, and pulled down her hair, conduct which made her remark, "Are you jealous of me, or vexed?" As a matter of fact, the Sloth was very much vexed as well as jealous, because he could see the young man watching all their movements from behind a tree. The woman did not know this, and turned her steps homeward. As soon as she was gone, the man came from where he was hiding, and killed the Sloth. And when the woman returned next day, and saw the animal lying dead, she fell into a great grief and wept bitter tears, saying, "What has killed you, my sweetheart?" But the young man, who had been following her, came up close behind, and consoled her. "Don't be so foolish," he remarked. "A fast fellow is preferable to a slow Sloth. Take me for a sweetheart." And she did.1
135.* WHY HONEY IS SO SCARCE NOW (A)
In the olden times bees' nests and honey were very plentiful in the bush, and there was one man in particular who earned quite a reputation for discovering their whereabouts. He would find a nest where no one else could. One day, while chopping into a hollow tree where he had located some honey, he suddenly heard a voice from the inside calling, "Take care! You are cutting me." On opening the tree very carefully, he discovered a beautiful woman, who told him she was Maba [lit. 'honey'], the Honey-Mother, that is, the Spirit of the Honey. As she was quite nude, he collected some cotton, which she made into a cloth, and he asked her to be his wife. She consented p. 205 on condition that he never mention her name, and they lived very happily together for many years. And just in the same way that he became universally acknowledged as the best man for finding bees' nests, so she made a name for herself in the way of brewing excellent cassiri and paiwarri. She had to make only one jugful, and it would prove quite sufficient, no matter the number of visitors; more than this, the one jugful would make them all drunk. She thus proved herself to be a splendid wife. One day, however, when the drink was finished, he went round as house-master, in the usual manner, to his many guests and expressed regret that even the last dregs of the liquor had been now drained. He promised them, however, that the next time they came, there would be provided by Maba—yes, he made a mistake and thus spoke of his wife. And no sooner had he mentioned the name, than she flew away to her bees' nest. He put up his hands to stop her, but she was already flown. And with her, his luck flew, and since that time honey has always been more or less scarce.1
136.* THE MAN WHO CLAIMED THE TIGER'S MEAL (C)
One day an Indian went out hunting and came across a freshly-killed Maipuri. He could see that a Tiger must have slaughtered it only the night before, but as he was greedy he intended claiming the meat for himself. With this object in view, he turned back to fetch his wife in order to lend assistance in smoke-drying it. Now, when his wife saw the carcass, she knew at once by the signs on it that her husband had never killed the beast and had no right to it, but of course did not tell him so: she realized the token that something unusual was about to happen, and took measures accordingly. Hence, when her husband had cut up the meat, she built two babracotes, one close to the ground, and another high up on top.2 The husband, having completed his share of the business, tied his hammock near the fire, turned in, and soon fell fast asleep. The wife, however, went on drying the flesh, and continued doing so until late into the night, when she heard a tiger growling in the distance. She immediately called out, "Tiger! Tiger!" and shook the man's hammock, but he would not wake. She then threw a calabashful of water over him, but this did not rouse him, so she took a blazing fire-stick and placed it close beneath him, but even that did not make him stir. By this time Tiger was close at hand, so climbing up on the top babracote she sat there very quiet. With the light of the fire, she saw the brute jump upon her husband, kill him, and eat one arm. The next night it came again and ate the other arm and a leg: and so for four nights it came, until there was "no more man." The poor woman had to remain all this time up on the babracote, but she knew why her husband had been punished.
136A.* THE WOMAN WHO BATTLED WITH TWO TIGERS (W)3
A man, having tired of his old wife, went off to another settlement to fetch a young one, and brought her home with him. But the two women could not agree, and the new one was always getting worsted, so much so, that the husband, finally obliged to take pity on her, was forced to send her to the home from which he had taken her. In order that she should have protection on the road, he gave her a large sharp knife. Starting in the early morning, the road led her along the bush, and she traveled on until night overtook her, when she selected a young ite palm up which she climbed. But before climbing she cut down a lot of "pimpler" palms [Bactris sp.], which she p. 206 stacked all round the base of the trunk, so as to prevent anyone following her. Well, she got up the tree, which had six bunches of fruit hanging from it, and nicked the stalks of every bunch, so that with the least knock or cut they would break off and fall: this done, she coiled herself up in the young palm-shoot, and fell asleep. She slept until about midnight, when she heard the roaring of a Tiger who, scenting her from a distance, rushed up to the very palm on which she was resting. Jumping on the trunk above the "pimplers," he crawled up it, and thence onto one of the fruit bunches. No sooner had he done so than the young woman above made a cut at the "nick," with the result that down went both Tiger and fruit.1 The Tiger had another chance and jumped on another bunch, but with the same result. He made a third attempt, and on this occasion fell down on the pimplers, upon which he was impaled, what with the weight of the bunch of fruit on top of him. Everything was soon quiet, and early next morning when the young woman looked to see what had happened, she saw the Tiger stretched out below. Now she suspected that Tiger might be only shamming, and so she was afraid to come down at first, but when she saw his tongue hanging out, she knew that everything was all right and that he was really dead. She therefore came down and resumed her journey. After a time she heard the sounds of a tree being cut, and then made to fall; thinking that it was her people felling trees, she hurried on in the direction indicated. But what was her surprise to see another Tiger playing an old trick of his, to make the traveler believe that timber was being cut in the near distance. This trick consisted of his hanging from the branch with his front paws and whipping the trunk with his tail, so as to imitate the sound of the ax chopping. To pretend that the cut trunk was then fallen, he would next pull a big bunch of twigs and leaves and throw them with full force on the ground below. Now, fortunately for the young woman, she came upon this Tiger from behind, just as he was hanging from the branch, and without more ado said to herself: "Well, dead or alive, this is my only chance. I must cut off his tail." Suiting the action to the word, she crept forward very cautiously, and with one swish of the knife cut off the creature's tail. Tiger was so ashamed at his own appearance now, that he went off howling with rage and pain, afraid of anyone seeing him, and thus left the woman free to resume her journey. She again heard the sound of timber being cut, but on this occasion made sure before getting too close that the sound proceeded from people and not from Tigers. To her great joy it was her own people. They were all glad to see her, but asked how she had managed to get through that long stretch of bush in safety. She proceeded to tell them that she had killed one Tiger outright, that she had cut off the tail from another, that—but her brothers stopped her before she could get any further: "No woman can do that," they interrupted. So she took both of them back on the road and showed them the severed tail, and farther back the Tiger's carcass. They would not approach too close to the latter, fearing that it might still be alive, but at any rate they now believed what their sister had told them.
137.* THE MAN WITH A VULTURE WIFE (W)2
There were once three brothers. The middle one was a very good hunter, and this story is all about him and his bird wife. While out in the bush one day he came across a large house wherein people were "sporting". These people were very fair, much like white persons, a thing not to be wondered at, because they were really Vultures [Sarcorhamphus papa] who had taken off their feathers just for the occasion to hang about the place and decorate it. They were dancing and singing the makuari tune [Sect. 75] on all sorts of musical instruments, from the harri-harri flute to the p. 207 rattle. The whole place looked very pretty because it was decorated with their red necklaces, white dresses, and black wing-tips.1 All around, hung up by cords to the beams, were the dau-u hewére; these were long pieces of wood, shaped somewhat like your [i. e. European] "indian-clubs," bigger below than above, all beautifully painted and tasseled.2 Our friend stood there watching and continued watching: so enchanted was he with the sight that, before he was aware, darkness fell, which compelled him to remain there all night. His mother was wondering what had become of him, and was still more surprised to see him return empty-handed next morning. He straightway went into his hammock, without saying a word: his mind was too full of what he had seen. By and by, he took up his harri-harri and began to play on it, but he told no one of his adventures or why he had not brought back home any game. Next day he quietly slipped away before dawn, and wended his way to the beautiful house he had gazed upon two nights before. It was still there and so were all the people, hosts and guests—fair people as I have said—all singing and dancing. The girls looked so pretty that he set his mind on getting one of them. Now there was "lemon-grass" about a yard high growing thick all around the house, and at a little distance from it and under cover of this he gradually crept closer and closer, on all fours, up to just about the spot where the girls during the progress of their mari-mari dance would retreat backward in their steps.3 As they thus made a move a little farther back than usual, he caught hold of the girl he had taken a fancy to, but no sooner had he seized her than all the other people, house, decorations, and music suddenly disappeared, and everything became the same old humdrum trees and bushes again. He had the girl, however, and although she struggled bravely, he never relaxed his hold. Exhausted in her efforts to secure her freedom, at last she panted, "Loose me! Loose me! I want to go home," but this appeal was of no avail, for the only reply she got was: "No! I want you for my wife. If you will only behave and not refuse me, you shall have everything you like." She yielded and she followed him, only insisting on the stipulation that he must not thrash her. He promised her that he never would do that, and thus he brought his bride home. They lived together a long time contentedly, he always giving way to her insistence of never using the meat on the same day that he brought it home from the chase: she would never eat it fresh, preferring to keep it a day or two until it became tainted.4
Now, one day it happened that her husband returned from the hunt extremely hungry, and he told her that she must cook at once the game that he had brought her, and that he would not wait for it until the morrow. She refused point-blank, and forgetting his promise, he gave her a thrashing. Another time the same thing happened, he wanting the meat cooked immediately, but she objecting: he thrashed her again. And he beat her a third time. She bore this brutal treatinent meekly and never upbraided him. She merely told him that she proposed taking him to see her father.5 So he went a-hunting, and brought back much meat as a present for her family, and when ready to start she gave him Vulture feathers for a covering; he could not visit her people without this garb. After they had traveled a good p. 208 distance into the bush, they came to land that was "like steps," so that the farther they went the higher they got, until at last they reached a very high spot—the very spot indeed where the carrion-crow governors [i. e. the Vultures] lived.1 "You must not be afraid of saying good-day to my father," she was careful enough to admonish him: "although he is a very celebrated man." When therefore the couple reacher her father's place, he went up and shook the old man's hand.2 His father-in-law bade him sit down, and after the usual routine of questions had been asked and answered, told him: "All right. You can stay with me today and return tomorrow. I will come and pay you a visit later on or I will send some of my people to call on you." The old man was well informed as to how badly he had been treating his daughter, and felt too little affection to warrant his asking him to prolong his stay. He knew also that the time would not be far distant when he would have to inflict summary chastisement. Thus it was that the couple returned next day to the mundane home of the husband, who felt sore at the treatment he had received from his father-in-law. Man-like, he vented his spleen on his unfortunate wife, whom he thrashed twice. So badly did he knock her about that even his mother took her part. Addressing her son, the mother said, "You are doing wrong, in beating the girl, especially since she is so far away from all her family.3 I am sure some evil will happen if you continue such conduct." The dame was a wise old woman, because her motherly instincts told her that her daughter-in-law was not "a real person," but had something weird and eerie about her. Did not the girl wear a strange nose-ornament for instance?4 Her son, however, refused "to hear" and commenced beating his wife again.5 On this occasion however, she picked up the feather covering—the very one that she had lent him when they went to visit her father's place—and putting it on, started to fly homeward. He jumped out of his hammock and tried to catch her, but the bird was already flown. As day after day passed, and cheerless night closed in, he became more and more wretched, his misery turning at last into heartfelt sorrow: yes, truth to tell, he wept now because he was so unhappy. But it was too late; the mischief had been done. Every day he went into the bush where the beautiful house once stood, but there was nothing there: he went along the same paths they used to tread together, and cried and called for her, but there never came the voice that he once upon a time loved so well, and now longed so much to hear. And where was she? She too was weeping, but for a very different reason: pain and anguish, not selfishness, were the cause of her tears. Her old father comforted her, saying: "Do not cry. I told your husband that I would come and visit him, or else my people would." And thus it came to pass that he sent the Carrion Crows [Cathartes burrovianus] to visit his late son-in-law. These met him at the very spot where once stood the beautiful house whence he captured his wife, and there, in that very spot, they killed him. They went and told the old man Vulture what they had done, and afterward returned to devour the carcass.6
138.* THE MAN WITH A BABOON WIFE (A)
He had been far out into the bush in search of game, and it almost seemed as if he were to find no use for his bow and arrows. I am talking about an Arawak hunter who lived a long while ago. Late in the afternoon, however, he shot a "baboon," as you Creoles call it [Mycetes], which proved to be a female. It was too late to bring it home, so he built himself a banab with a view to making himself comfortable for the night. This done, he cut off the animal's tail, roasted and ate it, putting the remainder of the carcass on the babracote to get smoke-dried during the night. Next morning he was up early, entered the bush again, was very successful, and returned in the evening laden with game. As he approached the banab, you can imagine his surprise on seeing a woman lying in his hammock, and no baboon on the babracote. Not understanding whence she could have come, he asked her what she was doing there, and she told him that, on account of his loneliness, she had come to help look after the meat and keep him company. After further questioning, she assured him that there was no baboon on the babracote when she had arrived. He had his suspicions as to her origin aroused on noticing that her fingers were naturally clenched, and that with the one hand she was continually trying to keep extended the fingers of the other.1 He accordingly asked her straight whether she herself was not the baboon that had so mysteriously disappeared, but she denied it. She was a good-looking wench, however, and he took her as wife, with the result that they lived happily together, so happily that they kept no secrets from each other. One day her husband asked her again about the baboon, and what had become of it. She now admitted that she was the baboon transformed into her present shape, but that he must not speak about it to anyone. A few days later they took their departure from the banab, and made their way to the husband's house, bringing plenty of game with them. And here they lived a very long time—still quite happily together. It is true that he would frequently be asked by his relatives as to what tribe his wife belonged, but he never told them. One morning early, hearing the baboons "calling," she informed her husband that her uncles were drinking cassiri, and suggested that they should both go and join the party. The uncle Baboon was howling on the topmost branches of an immense cashew tree, the trunk of which was so big that it allowed of a proper foot-path being made up it. The couple made their way to the tree, and followed the track. Up and up they went, until they found themselves in the real Baboon country, and arrived at the threshold of a big house. And what a lot of drink there was! And so many Baboons to drink it! Everyone got drunk and then each began to chatter, the one asking all kinds of questions from the other. Our friend was again asked what nation his wife came from and, being now in his cups, let out the secret, and told them she was really a Baboon. But no sooner had he uttered the forbidden word, than everything—his wife, drinks, house, and baboons—all suddenly vanished, and he found himself desolate and alone on the top of the cashew tree. But how to get down was the puzzle: he was at too great a height to jump to the ground, and the trunk was too huge for him to encircle and scale. He knew not what to do, and he felt very miserable. After a time a bunia bird came along, and asked him what he was doing all alone up there. And when the bird learned how the poor fellow had lost his wife just for having said that she belonged to the Baboon nation, he offered to help him out of his difficulties and get him safe to the ground. The man was perplexed, and asked how this was to be managed, but the bird told him to follow the same procedure as he (the bird) did in the making of the aerial roots of the kofa tree [Sect. 168]. Obeying instructions, the hanging vine-roots soon reached the earth, and clinging to these, the man got down in safety. So far, so good; but even yet he did not know exactly where he was, and he had no means of finding in which direction p. 210 his house lay. A little hummingbird commenced flying about, and then settled on a neighboring bush: it offered to show the man home, and told him to follow its flight. But it flew far too swiftly, and the man could not keep up with it: so it came back and made a second start, this time following the course of a straight line before it disappeared. The man followed the line, and came to a path, where the bird met him again and said, "Follow the path." The man did so, and got home.
139.* THE DISODEDIENT SON KILLED BY A TIGER (W)
Two boys were playing around the house, Their father became vexed at seeing them idling, and said, "It would be much better if you went hunting and fishing or did something useful for yourselves." The boys got angry at being spoken to in this manner and went to another house far away in the swamps. They were obliged to hunt now, whether they liked it or not: there was no mother to bake cassava, no father to bring them meat. They used to eat the grubs of a certain beetle [the hi-bomo of the Warraus] that grows in the ite palm, after killing them by "nicking" them against the trunk. It happened that, while eating one, the elder brother heard it whistle; he knew this to be the sign or token that he was going to die. When they got back to the house, and were resting on the manicole flooring—a flooring which all our houses built in the swamps used to have—both brothers saw a Hebu enter, pick up his harri-harri, and saying, "This is my plaything," warm himself at the fire, and then go out again. Both brothers knew that this Spirit had come from some grave and that its presence was another sure token of impending doom. After the Hebu had left, a tiger came along, and both boys clambered into the roof. "Poor we tonight," exclaimed the elder; "our father is angered, and this is what he has sent to punish us. We must be content, even if we are killed." Tiger made a few springs, and finally succeeded in pulling down the elder brother; he dragged the dead body into the bush, where it was devoured. Returning to the house, Tiger put out his tongue to lick off all the blood oozing from his mouth, and then sought the other brother. The latter, however, was so well concealed by the roof that he escaped detection, and the more Tiger peered into every chink and cranny, the more disguised was the place of hiding. This alternate seeking and hiding went on all through the night until dawn, when the Tiger slunk off into the bush. The boy finally mustered up courage to come down, and what with the fright, fell in a faint directly he reached the floor. Recovering consciousness, he broke his arrow and beat himself with the two fragments.1 He then ran away to a good distance, and listened: no Tiger. He went farther and listened again: still no tiger. And yet farther did he go, and listened once more: yes, he could just hear the brute growling. Still faster did he run, and what with the extra strength which he had obtained from the broken arrow, just managed to reach his old home in safety. Here he tumbled into his hammock, too upset and excited to talk to his parents. Next morning, however, he told them the whole story, and how the Tiger had devoured his brother. Now, staying in the house there happened to be a champion tiger killer, so the father turned to him and asked him to slay the creature, but he replied, "No. As you are the cause of the two boys being vexed, and one of them being killed, it is your duty to do it." The father thereupon gave him a kind of greenish stone as a present, and said he would accompany him: the champion thereupon agreed to destroy the animal.2 The pair then turned to the men in the company and asked them to join in, but they were all too frightened. The champion thereupon twitted them on their cowardice, saying: p. 211 "Now is an opportunity for trying your mettle. I know how well you can thrash your wives. Let me see how well you can thrash a tiger!" This shamed them, and a large number agreed to go, but in direct proportion as they got nearer and nearer to the tiger's lair, the larger and larger became the number of deserters. And, indeed, when they reached the spot, the father and the champion were again alone. The Tiger was lying down, so the champion called out: "Hallo! A small thing like you. Call yourself a tiger? Let us just see if you can hurt me." Of course, all this vexed the animal, which then raised itself up and showed fight; a poor fight, though, because the champion easily slew him. And when dead, they opened the belly, from which they removed the dead boy's flesh and placed it in a grave.1 But they cut up the tiger carcass, "fine, fine, fine." The champion then turned to the father and consoled him thus: "Grieve no more over your son. His death has been paid for [i. e. revenged] by that of Tiger."
140.* DON'T COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY ARE HATCHED (C)
An Indian went hunting one day far away from his hut, so far indeed that when he thought of returning night overtook him. Losing his path in the darkness, he lay down to sleep under an overhanging wood-ants' nest. These insects asked him by and by if he were asleep, and he told them "Not yet!" After a while they repeated their question and received the same answer, and so the game went on all night until early dawn, when they asked him for about the tenth time whether he were asleep, and as before they were told "not yet!" The ineects, who were really only waiting their opportunity for eating him, could restrain themselves no longer, but let themselves, together with their nest, fall right on top of him. Fortunately, the man had betaken himself to a safe distance before the scattered wood-ants had time to secure him and as they were running hither and thither to learn what road he had taken, a humming-bird kept chirping out, "Give me the head! Give me the head!" This was somewhat annoying to the little insects who had missed their intended victim, and as the bird continued repeating its request, they shouted, "What is the use of asking for the head when we haven't got even the body?"
140A.* THE BITER BIT (C)
Tawaru-wari was a Carib Indian who one day caught a young eagle, which he took home with him. It became quite tame, and Tawaru-wari had to go out regularly and shoot baboons to feed it with. But the baboons did not like this, so they held a meeting among themselves and agreed that if the man were to kill any more of them, they would catch him and tie him up to a tree. Tawaru-wari did kill another baboon however, very shortly afterward. So these animals, having surrounded and caught him, collected vine ropes with which they tied him to a tree trunk, where, after fouling him all over, they left him. Before taking their departure, they said: "That's all right now: the eagles will come and eat him." This was partly true, because soon a big Eagle [Thrasyaëtus harpyia], scenting the man from afar, swooped down close upon him, and asked him why he was tied up in that way. "Only because I shot baboons," was the reply. When the Eagle asked him what he shot them for, he said it was for the purpose of feeding the young eagle that he was minding at home. When the bird heard this, he loosened the vine ropes, giving Tawaru-wari his liberty, and supplied him with two more baboons for the baby eagle to eat.
141.* HOW ALLIGATOR CAME TO HAVE HIS PRESENT SHAPE1
Adaili [Hadalli] is the Sun, but when long ago he came to earth in the shape of a man, he was called Arawidi. Once, after fishing in a favorite stream, he built a dam, with the object of retaining both the water and the fish, for use on subsequent visits. But the otters destroyed it, so he appointed the woodpecker to act as watchman. The latter warned him with a loud tapping of the proximity of an alligator: he hurried along and clubbed the reptile so unmercifully that it offered him a girl for wife if he would only stop, Arawidi accepted these terms, but to this day the alligator shows the marks of the thrashing on its battered head, and in the notches along its tail.2
142.* HOW THE BIRDS OBTAINED THEIR DISTINCTIVE MARKINGS3
An Arawak hunter captures a Vulture, daughter of Anuanima.4 She lays aside her feathers, appears before him as a beautiful girl, becomes his wife, bears him above the clouds, and after much trouble persuades her father and family to receive him. All then goes well until he expresses a wish to visit his aged mother, when they discard him and set him on the top of a very high tree, the trunk of which is covered with formidable prickles. He appeals to all the living creatures around. Then spiders spin cords to help him and fluttering birds ease his descent, so that at last he reaches the ground in satety. Then follow his efforts, extending over several years, to regain his wife. At length the birds espouse his cause, assemble their forces and bear him as their commander above the sky. At last he is slain by a valiant young warrior, resembling him in person and feature: it is his own son. The legend ends with the conflagration of the house of the Royal Vultures. . . . The Kiskedee [Lunius sulphuratus], though a valiant little bird, disliked the war, and bandaged his head with white cotton, pretending to be sick, but being detected, was sentenced to wear it continually. He is noted for his hostility to hawks and other large birds which he attacks incessantly when on the wing.5 . . . The Warracabba, or trumpeter bird [Psophia crepitans],6 and another [the Sakka-sakkali, a kingfisher] quarreled over the spoil and knocked each other over in the ashes. The former arose with patches of gray, while the other became gray all over. The Owl discovered among the spoil a package done up with care, which he found to contain Darkness only; he has never been able since to endure the light of day.
143.* THE DEER AND THE TURTLE (A)
The Deer met the Turtle one day, while cleaning his hoofs—for in those days turtle wore hoofs and the deer had claws,—and said: "My friend, you have nice sandals.7 p. 213 Let me have a trial of them." The Turtle, who was very proud of them, said: "Certainly. Why not?" and handed them over, receiving in exchange the Deer's nails. When the Deer now put on the hoofs, he found that he could walk ever so much quicker than before, and trotted off. The poor Turtle, however, found his progress impeded, and stood still, waiting every minute for the Deer to return, but he never did so.1
144.* BLACK TIGER, WAU-UTA, AND THE BROKEN ARROW (W)
There was once a man who had two brothers-in-law. While he was one of the unluckiest of mortals, they invariably returned home of an afternoon with plenty of game. They said, "As he has no luck, we will lose him away" [i. e. get rid of him]. So one day they took him into the bush: all three went in together, but soon they told him to go in one direction while they went in another, arranging to meet at a certain place. The route which the two wicked brothers instructed him to follow led to the lair of Tobe-horoanna,2 but the intended victim did not know this. He went on and on and came to a big path, which caused him to exclaim, "Where am I going now?" While thus talking to himself, he heard a great rushing noise approaching, and wondered what it was. He had not long to wonder, because he saw the Tobe-horoanna coming. He ran as fast as he could toward an immense tree, with Black Tiger after him. Running round and round the trunk, the one after the other, the man just managed to reach the animal's hind-quarters and cut off both its heels. Tiger then sat down, for it could not walk at all now. Next the man shot it through the neck with his arrow, and after finishing the job with a knife went back home. Now his two brothers-in-law, knowing well how poor a hunter he was and whither they had sent him, never for one moment doubted that they had seen the last of him. Hence, on his arrival at the house, they were greatly surprised, and made excuses to hide their guilty intentions, saying: "We went to the place where we told you, but you were not there. We shouted for you, but we received no answer. So we thought you were dead, and came away. But we were just coming to look for you again," and more of similar tenor. Of course all this was a lie. And when the man told them that he had actually killed the Tobe-horoanna, the two brothers-in-law, as well as their old father, could hardly believe him, but insisted upon his taking them to the place. They all went together, and when at a distance they saw Black Tiger on the ground all except him who had killed it were afraid to go near. He told them again that it was "all dead, dead," but they were still afraid, so, to show them that he spoke true, he boldly went up and trampled on the carcass. It was only now that the old man would approach; his two sons continued to be afraid, and then the whole party returned home. Upon arrival there, the old father-in-law gave him another daughter, so that he had two wives now, the brothers-in-law built him a bigger house, and he was henceforth recognized as Ai-ja´mo [i. e. chief, head-man] of the settlement. But our friend was very anxious to have a reputation for being clever in hunting all other animals, in addition to the glory he had earned in ridding the country of Tobe-horo-anna. Whom could he consult better than Wau-uta, the Tree-frog?3 So he went along until he found the tree wherein she resided, and stepping underneath, he commenced calling upon her to help him; and he continued p. 214 calling until the day began to darken. But there came no answer. Yet he went on calling and begging her to show him all the things that he was so anxious to learn, and now that night came on, he started crying. He knew full well that if he cried long enough she would come down, just as a woman does when, after refusing a man once, she finally takes pity when she hears him weeping.1 As he stood wailing underneath the tree, what should come trooping up but a whole string of birds, all arranged in regular order, according to size, from the smallest to the largest? The little Doroquara [Odontophorus] came first, and pecked his feet with its bill, to make him clever in hunting it, and so on in turn with all the other birds, up to the very largest. Wau-uta, you see, was now beginning to take pity on him, but of course he did not know that. When all the birds had finished with him, all the Rats came in the order of their size, to be followed by the Acouri, Labba, Deer, Bush-hog, and so on up to the Naba [tapir]. As they passed, each one put out its tongue, licked his feet, and went on, so as to give him luck in hunting its kind. In a similar manner, next came the Tigers, from the smallest to the largest, all going through the same performance and passing on. Last of all, the snakes put in an appearance, did the same thing, and crept past. Of course, time was required for this performance and it was not until daybreak that it was brought to a completion, when the man finally ceased his weeping. With the daylight he saw a stranger approach. This was Wau-uta, who was carrying a curious looking arrow. "So it was you making all that noise last night and keeping me awake, was it?" "Yes," replied the man, "it was." "Well," said Wau-uta, "look down your arm from your shoulder to your hand." He looked accordingly, and saw it was covered with fungus; he looked at his other arm, which was just the same. It was this same fungus that had always given him bad luck, so he promptly scraped it all off.2 Wau-uta's arrow was very curious looking, as said before. It had been broken into three or four pieces, which had been subsequently spliced. Wau-uta now gave it to the man in exchange for her own, and bidding him put it to his bow, told him to shoot at a thin vine rope3 hanging a long way off: the arrow hit the mark. Replacing the arrow on the bowstring, Wau-uta instructed him to shoot into the air, and in whatever direction he sent his arrow, so soon as it came to earth it stuck into something—first of all a doroquara, and so on in the same rotation of birds that had pecked his feet, right up to the powis; every time a different bird, and yet he himself could see nothing when he started the arrow on its flight. As he went on shooting into the air in all directions, he found that he had hit a rat, an acouri, etc., until there fell to his arrow a beautiful tapir. Continuing to shoot as directed, he knocked over the tigers and snakes according to their proper order. When all this was finished, Wau-uta told him he might keep this broken arrow, for which she would accept his in exchange, but on condition that he must never divulge to anyone that it was she who had taught him to be so good a marksman. They then said good-by and parted company. Our friend returned home to his two wives, and soon gained as great a reputation for stocking his babracote as he already bore for his bravery in killing the Tobe-horoanna. All did their level best to discover the secret of his success: they asked him repeatedly, but he refused to tell. So they bided their time, and induced him to attend a big paiwarri feast. The same old story: Drink proved his undoing; he let loose his tongue, and divulged what had happened. Next morning, after regaining consciousness he went to fetch his arrow, the one that Wau-uta had given him, but he found it replaced by his own that he had given in exchange. From that time he lost all his luck.
145.* THE STORY OF ADABA (A)
There were once three brothers who went out to hunt, taking their sister with them. Far out in the bush they built a banab, where the sister was left all alone, while they wandered about in search of game. Every day the three brothers went hunting in all directions, but never brought back any meat except a powis. This happened for many days. Now there was an Adaba [tree-frog] living in a hollow tree [Sect. 144] which contained a little water, close to the banab, and one afternoon he was singing his song, Wang! Wang! Wang! when the girl heard him. "What are you holloing for?" she said; "it would be much better if you stopped that noise and brought me some game to eat" [Sect. 130]. So the Adaba stopped holloing, changed himself into a man, went away into the bush, and returned in about two hours with some meat for her. "Cook this," he told her, "before your brothers come back: as usual they will return with nothing." Adaba spoke truly, for soon after the three brothers came back empty-handed. You can imagine their surprise when they saw their sister barbecuing plenty of meat and a strange man lying in one of their hammocks. Yes, he was a strange man indeed: he had stripes all the way down his thin legs, and he wore a lapcloth; otherwise he was quite naked. They spoke to him, and they said, "How day" to one another. After Adaba had asked them whether they had been hunting, and was informed that they had shot nothing, he told them he would like to see the arrows they were using. When they showed him these, he burst into a hearty laugh, and pointing to the fungus that was growing everywhere on them, said that so long as they did not remove this stuff their arrows would never shoot straight [Sect. 144]. He also cleaned their arrows for them. Adaba then told their sister to spin a fishing-line which, when completed, he tied between two trees. He next told the brothers to take aim at the fishing-line, with the cleaned arrows, and shoot. They did so, and each brother's arrow stuck into the very center of the fishing line. Adaba also had a curious trick in shooting with his arrow, because instead of taking aim at an animal direct, he would point the arrow up into the sky, so that in its descent it would stick into the creature's back. The brothers began to learn this method, and soon became such adepts at it that they never missed anything. Indeed the brothers became so proud of themselves and of Adaba that they took him home with them, and made him their brother-in-law. And Adaba lived a long, long time very happily with their sister. But one day, the woman said to him, "Husband, let us go and have a bath in the pond." They went away together, and when they reached there, the wife got in first and called upon Adaba to come in also. But he said: "No, I never bathe in places like this, in ponds. My bathing-place is in the water-holes inside the hollow trees." So she dashed some of the water over him, and after doing so three times, she jumped out of the pond and rushed to seize him, but directly she put her hands on him, he turned himself into a frog again, and hopped away into the hollow tree, where he still is. When the sister came back home again, her brothers asked her where their brother-in-law was and all she would tell them was that he had gone away. But they happened to know how and why he had gone away, and so they beat their sister unmercifully. This, however, did not mend matters, because Adaba never came out of the hollow tree again to bring them luck. The three brothers often went out hunting after that, but they never brought back of an evening anything like the quantity of game that they used to get when Adaba was present.
146.* WHY THE INDIANS KILLED BLACK TIGER (W)
A man went to fish. He went far into the bush to the upper creeks, and while fishing heard a noise like thunder, but did not pay much attention to it. By and by he heard the noise again; this made him exclaim "Well! What can that be?" When he came to think over the matter, he recognized that the sound came, not from p. 216 the clouds, but from some spot on the earth. The horrible sound approached closer, and he now knew it was the voice of Tobe-horoanna, the Black-skin Tiger. "I must get away from here," he said, and with this he fell into the water and hid under tree-root alongside the creek bank. Tiger now reached the spot, sniffed away, and felt right round the root. As he crept along one side the man shifted his position to the other. It was time now for the man to say, "I shall die if I stay here; I must get away." Suiting his actions to the words, he dived from under the tree-root deep into the water. After a while he put just his nose above the surface to catch his breath and then went down again. He repeated this performance a second time, and again a third time, when he landed on shore. Here he started running as hard as he could go. By and by he stopped to listen whether anything was coming up behind, but he heard nothing. Nevertheless he rushed on again, and after a while stopped to listen as before, when he distinctly heard the Tiger following him. Running as fast now as possible, he managed to reach home in safety, and told his wife and the other people in the settlement to clear out at once, as Tobe-horoanna was coming along. He and his family accordingly got into their corial and paddled away down the creek, but all the other occupants of the settlement paid no heed to the warning—they said the man was lying. The corial went gaily along the stream and after two days' paddling the man said, "I wonder what has happened to my friends at the settlement," and thereupon returned to find out. When he got back, there was not a single person to be seen: he saw only blood all over the place as well as scattered beads from necklaces, bracelets, and garters, but no bodies anywhere. He then said, "I must see where this Tobe-horoanna has gone. I will collect the remnants of my people and kill him in payment for my friends." So he traveled far and wide and gathered together the remnants of his people. Having made plenty of arrows and lances, they all proceeded to where Tobe-horoanna had his lair, and at last reached a large open space in front of which was an immense tree. Up this they clambered and then one of them blew his shell. Tiger heard the noise and, replying with a terrible roar, advanced toward the tree, where he was met with a volley of lances and arrows, but these had no effect on him. Tiger drew nearer, and, as he reached the spot exactly below the hiding-place of the people, they all jumped upon the immense brute's back. This contained a large cavity, so they were able to work with their axes from the inside, and soon Tobe-horoanna fell dead. After they had thus killed and cut him up, they blew their shell again, but getting no answer, knew that there were no more tigers about. They then said, "Let us go see where Tobe-horoanna lived," and after a while they discovered the spot: it was a rocky cavern as big as this house. Looking carefully around, they found a number of human heads at the cave-mouth, and searching further they came across Tiger's baby. Although this creature was as big as a Maipuri, it could not walk yet; nevertheless all helped to kill it, and when they had beaten the carcass out of shape, they returned home.
147.* BRAVERY REWARDED WITH A WIFE (W)1
Some men were out hunting, when they came across a dead mora tree that had a daiha creeper2 growing over it. So soon as they reached home they told their wives, who were very glad to hear of the find, and arranged among themselves to go next day to gather the bark. They took a little boy with them for company, and, having reached the spot indicated, started removing the bark. Each pounded a piece to make it pliable, and while they were thus engaged, the child amused himself by climbing into a manicole tree. The noise made by their wooden staves drowned the roar of an immense Tiger, which, before they were aware of its presence, suddenly appeared p. 217 among them, and without giving them a chance of escape killed every one—all except the little boy, who, like a watchman, could see everything that took place. He saw the Tiger eat a piece out of this body and a bit out of that, finally dragging the bodies into the bush. As soon as the coast was clear, the child slid down the tree, ran fast down to the landing, jumped into the corial, and loosening it from its moorings shoved off. He was only just in time, because Tiger was after him, but unable to catch up with him, on account of being gorged with human flesh. The boy reached home all in a tremble, and could not speak, but next morning told the men about everything that had taken place, and how all their women had been killed. The men then went off to kill the Tiger, but when they reached the spot they saw only blood: they went farther, and one of them, Tobe-akuba, recognized the body of his wife, whose breasts had been eaten away: still farther on they found another body, also mutilated, and so on, one after the other. At last they came across the Tiger, but what with the ghastly scenes that they had just witnessed, all except two of the search party turned cowards, and climbed for safety up the neighboring trees. The two exceptions were Tobe-akuba and Sika-waka [lit. jigger-plenty], the latter being half-lame owing to the number of jiggers that infested his feet. These two men alone fought that tiger and ultimately managed to destroy it. When he was stone dead, Tobe-akuba called on the remainder of the search party to come down from under cover of the trees which they had climbed during the progress of the fight. He then taunted them, "You have no jiggers in your feet as this man has, and yet none of you dared come help me as he did." After leaving all their dogs behind to eat Tiger's carcass, they returned home, where Tobe-akuba picked out the jiggers from Sika-waka's feet, and then gave him his daughter to wife. When ten days were finished, they went to fetch their dogs, but the latter had not yet devoured all the flesh, and did not want to return; so they went for them again after another ten days had passed, by which time all Tiger's flesh had been consumed. You can easily learn from this what a big brute he must have been.
148.* WHY BLACK TIGER KILLED THE INDIANS (W)
One day Tobe-horoanna caught a young man out in the bush and, dragging him home, put him inside the pot, saying: "You must not be frightened. I do not intend killing, cooking, and eating you. You are going to live." When Black Tiger's brother and sister came home they said: "We have heard that you caught a young man. Where is he?" "In the pot," replied Tobe-horoanna. "Have you fed him?" was their next inquiry, and upon receiving a negative reply, they said, "Well, give him a bush-hog, and if he does not finish the whole of it, we shall have to finish him." The man was indeed frightened to hear his captors talking like this, and when they gave him the hog, did his best to eat it, but by the time he had stowed away the two hind legs his belly could hold no more. Tobe-horoanna then handed him a calabashful of cassiri, telling him to drink it all, but the poor fellow insisted that his belly was full, and that he could not possibly do so. However, as they all three insisted on his drinking, he swallowed the cassiri, but he was forced almost immediately to vomit it all. "Eh? What are you doing?" said Black Tiger who, thinking there must be something wrong in the man's mouth, got his brother to help hold him, and keep his jaws open while he should pour more cassiri down. But their sister told them to let the man alone, as she had taken a liking to him, and wanted to live with him. Therefore they loosened him, but told him to go into the bush and hunt, so as to show them that he could support a wife. When he returned next time from the forest, he brought back with him ten dried bush-hogs, which made Tobe-horoanna say: "All right! I am satisfied. You can have my sister." Thus the man came to live a long time there with his Tiger wife, who ultimately bore him twin sons. As the children became older, and could manage to crawl and creep, the father was minding them p. 218 while his wife went out to the field: all of a sudden they howled and made a noise just like Naharani [thunder]. This frightened him somewhat, but when their mother returned she told him that such a noise really meant nothing, that it was but the same row which the Black Tiger nation always made when they traveled in the bush. Soon after this he began to feel homesick, and told his wife that he proposed visiting his mother and sister; and he went. How happy indeed was the welcome he met at his old home, where they had long given him up for lost. His mother asked him whether he had a wife, and when she learned that he had not only a wife, but also two boys, who could make peculiar noises, she begged him to bring the family with him when next he paid her a visit. This he did very shortly, but when they reached his mother's place all there were drinking and the old woman's tongue was well stimulated. She upbraided him for bringing home to her such a daughter-in-law; could he not see that she was not "a proper people" but a tigess, who would fall upon and destroy him some day? Was he not ashamed to bring such an one home to her? and so on. And in her drunken fury she and her daughter killed him: his wife did her best to defend him, but they slew her also. His two boys would have shared the same fate had they remained, but they managed to make good their escape, and reached home in safety. Uncle Tobe-horoanna asked them, "Where is your father?" "Dead," they replied. "Where is your mother?" "Dead also," they answered. When he learned from them what had happened, he became very angry, changed himself into a Black Tiger again, trotted off to the place where they were all drinking, and killed everyone—mother, daughter, and all the guests.
149.* BÁ-MU [BAHMOO] AND THE FROG
To account for the division of mankind into races, the following little story is given by Brett (BrB, 167):1 it is not Arawak.
Bamu came to visit some friends who were about to go frog-hunting—hunting for none of your small-sized frogs but for frogs as large as bush-hogs. They told Bamu to take a cudgel and come with them, but he, being a braggart, said that he did not want any weapons, but would jump on the back of the first frog he met and twist its neck around. The Chief of the Frogs heard him boast, and purposely squatted close to the river just in front of the path along which Bamu was coming. Bamu made a jump and so did the Frog, right into the water, the latter taking him over to the opposite bank, where he jerked him off. When his friends first saw Bamu on the Frog's back in the water, they started laughing, and when they saw him on the other side, they continued chaffing, telling him to twist the Frog's neck and bring the dead animal over to them. Having finished their frog-hunt, his friends again called on him to come over and join them, but he was too much ashamed to swim back and be laughed at again. So it came to pass that Bamu remained on that side, begat children, and became separated from us.
150.* HOW THE MAN FOOLED THE TIGER (C)
An Indian went to a somewhat distant settlement to drink paiwarri, and on arriving there in the early afternoon, commenced imbibing. By midnight, the drinks being finished, he started on the return journey, although the house-master warned him not to leave then but to wait for daybreak, because an immense Tiger was known to be prowling about. Our friend would not be persuaded, however, to postpone his departure, but only said: "Oh! never mind. I am not afraid, and if I meet him I p. 219 will kill him." So saying, he hung his poto [stone-club]1 over his arm, and went out into the darkness. Being more or less drunk, he staggered along, and soon fell dead asleep on the road just about the very spot where the Tiger, of which he had been warned, used to cross. Tiger found him lying there motionless in the early morning, felt and sniffed him all over to see whether he was dead or alive, and finally sat down on him. This sobered the Indian, and Tiger, seeing that he was alive, started pulling down the bushes so as to clear a pathway along which he could drag the body to his lair. Having thus cleared a few yards, the animal returned and slung the man over his back so that the head and arms hung over one flank and the legs over the other. This gave the man his opportunity, for as the animal carried him along he caught hold of the bushes with his teeth and hands and so impeded Tiger's progress. The Tiger thought that the pathway which he had cleared was still too narrow, and accordingly replaced the burden on the ground and pulled down more bushes. The Indian thus fooled his captor some three or four times and, having now collected his wits, watched for the tiger to sling him once more on his back. No sooner had Tiger done so, than he struck the animal's head just above the ear with his stone-tipped club, and thus killed him. Making sure that Tiger was quite dead, he returned to the place where he had been drinking the night before, and told the house-master what had happened. The latter would not believe that any drunken Indian could have killed so big a tiger, but when he went and saw with his own eyes, he had to admit that his late guest had spoken truly.
151.* Among the Arawaks tradition has it that the old stone axes, or wakili-na-baro (lit. ancients-their-ax), came from a far distant country, from a place so far away that it took years for those who went in search of them to get back home again. Many a bizarre exploit is told in connection with the search for these stone implements, in the same way that many a superstition is attached to the weapon itself among several nations, both civilized and savage, elsewhere. The very length of the supposititious journey to be accomplished has given opportunity for fictions to be introduced with regard to the rivers and seas that had to be crossed, and the animal and plant life met with on the way. But beyond all the exaggeration consequent on the well-known desire of the foreign-traveled narrator to tell his stay-at-home friends so much more than his real experiences, and after making allowances for all the personal additions and embellishments that, in the absence of any written records, must necessarily and pardonably have crept into the telling of the story from one to another—there still flows through most of these extraordinary adventures a sort of ethical undercurrent conveying the lesson that disobedience to one's elders never remains unpunished. At the same time, I am not prepared to say whether the introduction of this ethical element is purposeful or accidental on the part of the old people, who usually relate these legends. The following exploits and occurrences, as well as others which I can not detail here, are all comprised in a story which I propose naming—
*THE SEARCH FOR THE STONE AX (A)
There was a corial full of people, with a very old man, a medicine-man, in charge. They were about to search for some stone axes, but as they had a long, long way to go, their wives whom they were leaving at home had made a plentiful supply of cassava for them. In the boat they took also cassava-sticks, so that when they reached the spot where the axes were found, they might plant them, and after reaping obtain cassava for their home journey. It might be years before they would be able to see their wives and children again. Down the river they paddled, out into a sea which had blue water in it, and with so many submerged rocks that there was a great risk of the vessel being smashed to pieces if they went farther. The old man told the crew to shoot arrows into this blue water; where an arrow sank, there did danger lurk; where one floated, there the corial was enabled to pass. The sea was ultimately crossed in safety by this means. (Cf. Sect. 330.)
*THE HURI FISH NATION
152.* They visited many nations. One day, as they were traveling along, the old man told them that they were approaching the Huri [Macrodon sp.] Fish Nation [Sect. 178] and that, when they reached the landing place, they would see large numbers fish lying in the sand, but they were neither to shoot them with their arrows nor chop them with their knives, because they were really men and women. What the old man said actually happened when they landed that night. But when all the others slept, one of the crew stealthily arose, and went down to the water-side to have another look at these fish. He drew his bow, shot one of the fish, roasted it without making any noise, ate it all by himself, and returned to his hammock without anyone else apparently being the wiser. Next morning at early dawn a large body of Indians came trooping down to the encampment, and asked for the head the boat's crew. The old man arose, and said he was the head of the crew. The Indians said, "One of our men is lost: we suppose some of your party have killed him." Turning to his crew, the old man made inquiry as to whether anyone had been killed while he had been sleeping, but of course received a negative reply. So the Indians took the old man with his whole party away out back to their own camp. Arrived there, they put water into a large pot over the fire. When boiled, they gave to each of the visitors, beginning with the old man, a calabashful of the hot water to drink, so as to make each one vomit. The individual who had killed and roasted the fish remained to the last: when he was called, he did not want go, so the Indians took him by force and compelled him to have a drink. And as soon as he had drunk, he vomited all the bits of the forbidden fish. They said, "You are the one that killed our brother." Whereupon they threw him into the boiling pot, in the presence of all his comrades. The old man and his crew were now free to resume their journey.
*HOW THE ANT-EATER FOOLED THE MAN
153.* They went on again and, reaching another country, woke up one morning very hungry. The old man sent all his crew out a-hunting, and told them that no matter what animal they saw, they were to shoot with their arrows, or club it, as the circumstances warranted. With one exception, they all did as they were told and brought back late in the afternoon plenty of game. The disobedient one was tired, and went to sleep in his hammock the greater part of the day; he went out into the bush only as the sun was already in the west. He took only his knife with him. He had not walked very far when he came on a large ant-eater lying fast asleep in the shade. So soundly was it sleeping that it allowed the man to come quite close. Then he touched it with his big toe, and said: "Hullo! I wonder what has killed p. 221 you; but as you are yet quite fresh, I will take you home." He accordingly went in search of a piece of strong bark-strip wherewith to tie up the animal and carry it. He was very slow, and sauntered about carelessly, and when he had secured the strip, he even then dallied in returning where the carcass lay. But when he did get back to the spot, lo and behold, the ant-eater was gone! He looked up, and he looked down, and he looked all about. "This is the very spot," he said, "where I saw it lying dead. Some one must have taken it away." When finally he returned empty-handed to the camping-place, he told the rest of the crew what had happened. The old man said; "You are a fool. The ant-eater was not dead, but only sleeping. Didn't you see it blowing?" (i. e., breathing). They all laughed heartily at him, and he recognized only too late that if he had obeyed orders, he would have had something good to eat.
*HOW THE INDIANS LEARNED TO PADDLE
154.* Another country which they visited in the course of their peregrinations was peculiar in that its inhabitants could travel in their corials only with the tide. As a matter of fact, they had paddles, but did not know how to use them in the proper way: they held the paddle edgeways instead of broadside to the water. Furthermore, this method of progression entailed always having to travel with a very long pole. When the tide turned against them, they would drive this pole into the bottom of the stream, and make fast their corial in it until the tide turned again. The old leader, who, as has already been stated, was a medicine-man, changed himself into a bunia, and yelled out its note Tarbaran! Tarbaran!1 Now, when some of the people who were paddling in this curious fashion heard what the bird said, they were annoyed, and remarked: "Nonsense! If we were to take the broadsides of our paddles and hit you on the head with them, how would you like it?" But the bird still continued shrieking, Tarbaran! Tarbaran! and would not stop. So each paddler at last turned his paddle round, and pulled it broadside with the water, and found he could travel three times as fast as before. And then all the others and their friends tried the new method that the bunia had shown them, and found that by this means they could go up and down the stream quite independent of the current. They never used their paddles edgewise again.2
*THE BIG BATS
155.* The search party continued their journey, and at nightfall reached a landing. Now this was in the country of the Bat Tribe, and the old man warned his crew that it was very dangerous for them in sling their hammocks on the trees (as Indians usually do in the dry season) because the Bats here were as large as cranes. He therefore called on them to build an inclosed camp, that is, a banab with covered sides. One young man, however, was slothful, and very backward in assisting the others in build the shelter. He said he did not believe that the Bats, however big they were, would hurt him before the morning. In spite of the old man's entreaties, he refused in come into the inclosure, but, fixing his hammock between two trees, rested outside. The others did as they were told, slinging their hammocks inside the banab. Late in the night, when it was quite dark, they heard the man outside entreating in be allowed to come in. But they said: "No. We cannot open the door now. You must bear what comes on you [i. e. you must take the consequences]." And when they opened the door in the morning, all that was left of the individual was some bones. The Bats had sucked him dry indeed.
*THE MAGIC BOAT
156.* On and on the party went, and in the afternoon they came to a landing where there was a beautiful canoe with a paddle inside it. But the old man warned them to leave it strictly alone. "Don't," he said, "any of you get into that boat, because if you do, even without touching the paddle, you will be carried off immediately, and we shall never see you again." They all took heed, except one man, and went to sleep. This one man kept awake and could not sleep: the more he thought of the boat, the greater was his desire to go and have another look at it. He quickly slipped out of his hammock, and gazing at its graceful lines, began wishing that he had so beautiful a canoe for himself. He approached nearer and nearer, admiring it more and more, until he finally jumped in. No sooner had he done so, than the vessel went off with him and neither boat nor occupant was seen again.1
157.* Again they all started away, and after a time arrived at a landing-place whence an Indian house could be seen. With the old man leading his crew Indian-file up the pathway, they soon reached the house, where they asked for lodging that night. An old woman came out and said, "We are all females living in this settlement." This was quite true. There were several houses in the settlement, but all full of women—not a boy nor a man to be seen anywhere. "All those who pass this way have to remain at least a year with us before we allow them to proceed on their journey. We will do our best to make you happy while you stay. Both you, old man, and every one of your companions must take two or three of our women to wife. At the end of the year, those of you who become fathers of girls are free to go your way, but those to whom boys are born must stay with us from year to year until you beget girls. You now know what is expected of you." The boat's crew, recognizing that there was no help for it, made up their minds to stay. Now the woman in charge was indeed a sly old dame. To every hammock she attached a rattle, and then kept awake all night. If she heard the rattle sounding frequently, she knew that everything was as it should be. But when the rattle remained silent, she would proceed to that particular hammock [atque commonuit marem ut neligeret officium suum]. The men had only to give good cause for the rattles shaking all night.
Of a morning the females went hunting with the bows and arrows, or else they went fishing, just reversing the usual order of things, and leaving the men in the hammocks to rest. It was naturally many years before the crew finally got away from this settlement.2
*THE COUNTRY OF THE STONE ADZES
158.* At last they arrived at the country of the stone adzes, where all the people were really stones,1 and some of these they brought away with them, The party finally reached home again, and the old man warned them [ut abstinerent de copulatione cum uxoribus suis per tantas noctes]. One of the men, however, disobeying the instructions, was punished in a very peculiar fashion by being immovably fixed in [positione copulationis].
159.* HOW TURTLE FOOLED THE YAWARRI (W, C)
It was a time of scarcity and drought, and the Bush-rat [yawarri] in the course of his search for food came upon Turtle, also on the lookout for a bite. After saying "How day?" to each other and inquiring after their respective business—whence they had come, and whither they were going—they began to discuss the hardness of the times, and thus from one thing to another, the question finally arose as to which of them in case of necessity could fast the longer. Each one's assurance of his own superiority in this respect led them to arrange a competition, it being agreed that the one party should choose any tree, and the other party abstain from food until this tree should bear fruit. Yawarri accordingly chose a plum tree and, fencing it all round, put Turtle inside the inclosure. Every month did Yawarri visit his willing captive and ask whether he were still alive. "Still alive! Why not? No harm can befall me," was the reply he received. This conversation was repeated once a month for six months, at the end of which time, the plum-tree buds had opened, the flowers had bloomed, and the ripe fruit had fallen. So the fence was broken down and the Turtle let out. It was now Yawarri's turn to show what he could do, so Turtle built him a fence around a wild cashew tree, shut him in, and went away. At the end of a month Turtle came up to the fence and shouted out to Yawarri, asking him if he were still alive. "Yes! alive!" was the answer. After the lapse of another month Turtle visited him again with the same question, "Yes! alive! but a bit exhausted," was the reply on this occasion. On completion of the third month, Turtle came again, but this time he received no reply at all. Yawarri was no longer alive: only the flies on his dead body were alive. Yawarri did not know that the wild cashew bears fruit only once in every three or four years.
160.* HOW THE TURTLE TRICKED THE TIGER (W)
Tiger really wanted to eat the Turtle, but was a bit of a coward and none too sure whether his intended victim was the stronger or not. Wishing therefore to find out, he approached the Turtle and pretended to make friends. The latter, however, was no fool, and knowing quite well what reliance could be placed on such a pretended friendship, saw that he must exercise every craft and cunning to save himself. Tiger began telling him what a big strong man he was, that he ate only meat, with such and such results, thinking thereby to impress Turtle with his physical superiority. But nothing daunted, Turtle said he could do the same, and suggested that their respective statements be put to the proof. This was agreed on, Turtle stipulating only that during the test they should both keep their eyes shut, an arrangement to which Tiger agreed.2 "Now, didn't I tell you?" said Turtle, "that I could do exactly the same as you and even go one better?" Tiger was loth to admit this, and therefore maintained: "Well, even if you are stronger than I, I am faster than you; I can run more quickly. Let p. 224 us have a race, and prove it." They accordingly arranged to run to a certain spot, along a certain path, and whichever got there first would be admitted to be the faster, Turtle stipulating only that he must be allowed a little time in which to get ready. Tiger again agreed. Turtle spent the interim in visiting his many friends, telling them what had happened, and arranging for them to place themselves at stated intervals along the course of the pathway where the race was to be run. The two then started, and Tiger, taking a spring ahead, was soon out of sight. Turtle utilized the opportunity by slipping into the bush, taking a short cut, and reaching the spot agreed on, where he awaited his opponent. Tiger, racing along, called out "Hullo!" on seeing just in front of him a turtle, whom he believed to be his friend. He raced on, finds another turtle ahead of him, thinks the same thing, and so meeting turtle after turtle finally reaches the goal, where his original "friend" had certainly arrived first.1 Tiger therefore had to admit, "Yes, man, you have beaten me," Turtle adding: "So you are not after all either the stronger or the faster. Come, let us see who is now the cleverer. I will put marks on you and you put marks on me: that will be a good test." The Tiger again agreed. They then started painting each other. As to the Tiger's handiwork, just look at a Turtle's shell, and you will see how roughly and slovenly the marking was done. Of course Tiger was planning to get the better of his opponent if he could, but the latter well knew this and so had to be very smart in pleasing the Tiger. Look at the beautiful spots and stripes that Turtle put on him—and of course Tiger was delighted at seeing how handsome he looked, and had to admit that Turtle was cleverer than he. Now all the time that they had been talking, racing, and painting, they had had nothing to eat, and hence Tiger suggested their going into the depths of the bush, and finding some game, but Turtle, who had good reasons for not trusting his companion, refused. "No!" he said, "You can go and raise the deer and I will catch and kill it for you." So Tiger went and raised a deer, and drove it down the pathway. In the meantime Turtle climbed up a dead log that was lying across the road, and waited: as the deer raced underneath he dropped off the log and, falling straight on the animal's neck, broke it. Turtle then sucked the dead deer's blood and smeared it all over his mouth, so as to make Tiger, who just then came up breathless, believe that he had caught and destroyed the animal. "I have killed the deer and eaten my share; you can come and eat yours now." After having gorged himself, Tiger said, "Let us have a nap now," and curling himself up, soon fell asleep. Turtle, who kept awake, saw what a pretty necklace his companion was wearing (what we Indians call a "tiger-bead") and became envious of it.2 Turtle watched very carefully and, assured that he was in a deep slumber, quietly and softly removed the necklace, which he handed to one of his friends in the neighborhood, telling the latter to make off with it. When Tiger at length woke, he missed his necklace and asked Turtle where it was, but the latter of course said he did not know. Tiger however, accused him of being the thief, and said that whether he had stolen it or not he would eat him unless he replaced it. Turtle, however, protested that necklaces were of no use to the like of him: he had no neck to put one on: all he had was a back! Tiger, however, insisted on killing him if he didn't return it, but Turtle, who was now on his mettle, let him know that he could not kill him if he tried. Had he not already proved to him that he was the stronger, the quicker, and the cleverer? On the other hand, there was much more reason for believing that he, the little Turtle, could easily kill him, the big Tiger, if he only wanted to. And thus they continued, contending, and finally they arranged to fight it out to a finish, the Turtle only insisting that each be allowed a little time to get ready for the fray. The conditions were that they should go in opposite directions, and return within a short interval to the same spot, when the fight must be fought to a finish and no quarter shown. Tiger went his p. 225 way, and on a given signal returned to the trysting place. But there was no Turtle to be seen. Of course not! hadn't he crawled into a hole in a log for safety? And there he still is, and there Tiger is continually on the watch for him to emerge.
161.* TIGER AND ANT-EATER (C)1
One day Tiger met the Tamanoa (Great Ant-eater) in the forest, and chaffed him about his funny mouth and his clumsy toes. "Never mind," said Tamanoa; "even if my mouth is small and my feet are clumsy, I can eat at all events meat quite as well as you, and I am certainly as strong as you." "Oh, no, indeed you are not!" replied Tiger. Thus they went on arguing. At last, Tamanoa said he would like to have a peep into his rival's mouth, and when Tiger opened his jaws wide and showed him his fangs, told him he did not think much of them. This annoyed Tiger, who then wanted to look inside Tamanoa's mouth, and having done so, exclaimed: "What! Do you mean to tell me that you can eat meat? I don't believe you have ever tasted it in your life." "You lie!" replied Tamanoa, "because it was only this very morning that I finished the deer carcass that you had left behind. [Si stercus meum observes], you can see that I ate even more of the meat than you did," It was agreed, therefore [ut ambo defecarent instanter], Tamanoa stipulating that while thus engaged both should keep their eyes tightly closed. This also was agreed to, but while occupied in carrying out the conditions of the wager, Tamanoa surreptitiously opened his eyes and silently exchanged [stercus suum] for that of his adversary, "Open eyes!" shouted Ant-eater, whereupon both turned around to see what had happened. [Felis Tigris animadvertavit stercus suum], and was much puzzled, but, when he went to examine Tamanoas', he had to admit at once that his opponent had indeed eaten meat, and a goodly quantity of it, that very morning. Tiger was still puzzled over [stercore suo], and said that a similar thing had never happened before—very likely he must be sick. "Sick indeed you are, and weak too," retorted Tamanoa; "for though my feet are so clumsy from walking always on their outsides, I am more than a match for you." Tiger was much angered at this last remark, and the result was that they commenced fighting. Tiger made a spring forward at the same time that Tamanoa ducked his head; the latter, seizing Tiger by the ribs, once his hold was secure, easily crushed him—and Tiger "soon dead."2
162.* HOW BIRDS GOT THEIR PRESENT PLUMAGE3
Once upon a time there was a Water Serpent, a huge creature with a most brilliant skin of red, yellow, green, black, and white in extraordinary patterns. He became such a terror to all other living creatures that the men and birds, who were friends in those days, combined forces to destroy him, and the creature's skin was promised to the first one who made him come out of the pool. But all were afraid to tackle him except Cormorant,4 who, darting down into the water, drove an arrow through his neck—an arrow fastened by a string to a tree on the bank, by means of which he was finally drawn to land, where he was skinned. Cormorant claimed the skin, and the warriors, never thinking he would be able to carry it away, told him he could have it. He nodded to the other birds, who, each seizing part of the edge, managed to lift it off the ground and bear it to a secluded spot, where Cormorant told them they could divide it among themselves, each to take the part that he had just helped p. 226 to carry. Each bird carried his load home on his back, and ever since has been marked by the hues of the section of the serpent's skin that he carried happened to bear—parrots green, macaws scarlet and gold, and so on. But Cormorant as his share got only the snake's head with its somber tints; however, he remained content with this.
162A.* HUNTING IS NO PART OF WOMAN'S WORK (W)
While going to her field one morning an old woman found a Deer fast asleep on his back in the pathway. Returning to the house, she got a piece of an old knife and began sharpening it. All the grandchildren were making remarks at her, as: e. g., "Look! What is the old woman sharpening the knife for? She's going hunting." "What do you say?" She sneeringly retorted: "Yes. I am going hunting. You are all too lazy to go, but I am not. You are not fit even to hunt, but I am. I found some dead meat this morning, all spoiling, and I intend bringing it home." So saying, she went about her business, taking a little granddaughter to keep her company and give help. When they arrived at the spot where the Deer was still lying on his back, she approached the beast and commenced jagging her knife under his chin straight down his neck, and so right in the middle line of his body. The knife was blunt, however, and the old woman's arm weak, with the result that at first she did hardly more than scratch the skin. But when she tried to make an incision lower down—[videt pulchrum veterem caprum esse, qui titillatus in tanta delicata parte corporis eius], awoke with a surprised start, kicked the old woman to one side, and sprang off into the bush. "Damn you!" she cried, as she threw the blunt knife after him.
When they got home, the little girl told her parents exactly what had happened to her grandmother, and how they did laugh at her! It was her first and last attempt to go hunting and do man's work.
162B.* HOW THE TAPIR PUNISHED THE INDIAN (W)
While traveling through the forest one day an Indian came across a party of men seated, eating something that smelt very savory. Now, instead of waiting to be asked to partake of the cheer, our traveler roughly inquired of them what it was that they were smacking their lips over. They told him that it was bush-cow [tapir] liver, and that if he wanted some he would have to hunt it himself. On further questioning, they told him exactly where he would find a bush-cow sleeping, and advised him that the best and quickest way to get the liver was [manum cum cultro in ano inserere atque exscindere], and the silly old fool believed them. Proceeding to the spot indicated and finding the beast asleep [inseruit cultrum in ano]—but, with the tapir now wide awake, he found it impossible to release his arm. On rushed the animal through thicket, bush, and forest, dragging the miserable hunter behind him. So they traveled night and day, only to be released when they found themselves on a sheet of water. Here the tapir relieved himself, thus freeing his would-be captor. By the time the man reached home all the skin had peeled off his arm, and when folk asked him what had caused the trouble, he told them, and they laughed at him. He had been punished for his want of manners.
162C.* THE TURTLE AND THE ARURESSO BIRD1 (W)
A woman had a daughter with whom Turtle and Aruresso were anxious to go courting, and, not knowing which to choose for son-in-law, she bade each cut a field. Though the Bird left at daybreak, Turtle would be up and away long before, and p. 227 hence found greater favor with the old woman who, more than satisfied with his perseverance and industry, would supply him each morning with beltiri. She did not trouble herself about Aruresso. The old mother at last talked to both of them, telling them that she proposed taking a walk the following morning to their respective fields to see what progress they were making. Following Turtle, she watched him rolling here and there, thus pressing down and smoothing the undergrowth on a large area where the trees, old and decayed, had fallen helter-skelter for ages past: as a matter of fact he had never felled a single tree. It was by starting away so long before daybreak each morning that he fooled the old woman into thinking that he must necessarily be working hard. She therefore went after the Bird to see what he was about, and found him in a nicely-cleared space [i. e. his "playing-ground"]. "Well," said she; "you shall be my son-in-law, and I won't bother about Turtle any more." Turning to the latter, she added: "Yes. You shall always remain like that, rooting about decayed leaves and dead logs, and it is in such places that Indians will come and hunt for you." "On the other hand," addressing herself to the Bird, "your nation will always be cutting fields, ever obtaining cassava, and making drink and singing songs."
162D.* SISTERS BUSH-COW (TAPIR) AND WATER-COW (MANATI) (W)1
There was once a lovely big plum tree, and two sisters would come regularly and pick the fruit. One day while thus busily engaged, a Bush-cow [tapir] came along, so they squeezed some of the fruit into a manicole-palm spathe and offered it to him to drink. He drank it. Next day the same thing happened, and so on day by day, until in a very short time he became so tame that all the girls had to do when they reached the tree was just to give a little whistle, when he would put in an appearance immediately. Their two brothers, however, became suspicious of the young women's frequent absences from home, and setting a watch, saw them whistle for and then feed the creature with squeezed plums. "What does this mean? Why tame a wild-cow?" Realizing something to be wrong, they made up their minds to kill the beast. The opportunity was not long in coming, and, leaving their sisters in the house one morning, they made straight for the tree, squeezed some of the fruit, and, imitating their sisters' whistle, called the Tapir. So soon as he came near, they shot him, cut up the meat, and brought it home. The sisters were glad to see their brothers return with so much meat, and all had their share in eating it. By and by, the girls repaired as usual to the plum tree, squeezed some of the fruit into a spathe, and gave the customary whistle—but no Bush-cow came. They then went home and began to cry, but they wouldn't say what they were crying for. At last the brothers said: "Come, dry up your tears and eat. There's plenty of meat in the house." But they refused to be comforted and declined to eat, having now realized what had happened. "That is our pet whom you have killed," they said. With this, they left the house, crying and continuing to cry all the way until they reached a river bank, over which the younger sister attempted to jump into the water. But the elder seized her by the waist and begged her not to leave, because she would then have to grieve alone. The younger managed, however, to slip into the water, and coming to the surface, exclaimed, "People will henceforth call me water-cow." Then, diving three times, she came up finally entirely in the shape of that creature.2 The elder sister thereupon rushed into the bush, and changed herself into a Bush-cow. Bush-cow and water-cow often meet nowadays at the waterside and have a chat. Of course they understand each other; haven't they both the same talk [i. e. grunt]?
1 This ahawara is the Warrau term for race, nation, tribe, etc.; thus Arawak-u ahawara signifies the Arawak nation.
2 Three Indian customs are involved in this action: (a) The wife was tabooed from touching the meat, owing to her physiological condition (Sect. 274). (b) Her newly-acquired husband must not bring it into the house, otherwise he would lose his luck in hunting that particular animal (Sect. 244). (c) A man and his father-in-law, though they may converse in a friendly enough manner on everyday general topics, must never give each other any orders or instructions except through the medium of the wife, she being the go-between, so to speak.
1 Quite recently a woman complained about having been turned off a certain mission-station, for the sole reason discoverable by me that she wanted to live with her deceased sister's husband. On the other hand, when the missionary joins certain cousins in wedlock, the old Indians regard this as bestial and incestuous: it is a matter of blood-relationship.—W. E. R.
2 During the promiscuous bathing indulged in by the untutored Indians, the fact of a woman doing this to a member of the opposite sex is tantamount to solicitation.
3 The idea intended to be conveyed here is that just in the same way that water mixed with honey weakens and spoils it, so fire melts and destroys the wax. As already mentioned, Simo belonged to the great Bee Nation, whose members are not made of flesh and bone, but of honey and wax.
1 The grindstone referred to here is a large chunk of sandstone, which is brought into the Pomeroon District from the Waini by way or trade and barter.
2 When, through the interpreter, I pointed out to the old woman who told me the story that the ending was somewhat unsatisfactory, she reminded me that when Tiger's two brothers came to the house, they found only the corpse there. Hence there was no one left to tell her what actually did transpire subsequently.—W .E. R.
1 I happen to know a woman who has a child with a flexed, deformed hand, with regard to which scandal gives the explanation on somewhat the above lines. The mother, however, accounts for the deformity in a certainly more rational way by the statement that, during her pregnancy, she was frightened one day on suddenly coming across a sloth lying in the foot-path.—W. E. R.
1 I am afraid my readers will be weary ad nauseam of the reptition, in these legends, of cases in which the tongue gets loosened under the influence of drink. When, however, one realizes that these bacchanalian orgies constitute an integral part of the Indian social life, it will be no matter for surprise that the old adage, In vino veritas, so often finds application here.—W. E. R.
2 Among all these Indians the making of the babracote is woman's work.
3 For another Warrau version of this story see Sect. 300.
1 This part of the story will be understood by remembering thst in this Maurtita palm the bunches of fruit form around the top of the trunk a more or less circular obstacle to anything passing to the foliage above.
2 This story bears somewhat close comparison with those given in Sects. 142 and 303.
1 These birds have a feather-coloring somewhat as here mentioned.
2 I have failed thus far to learn the use or meaning of these obsolete ornaments, if ornaments indeed they were: on the other hand, there is the possibility of them having been the dummy-figures of enemies slain in battle, as we know, from historical evidence, it was the custom in old-time Carib houses to keep such figures.—W. E. B.
3 In the mari-mari dance, the name applied to it by Caribs and Warraus, a row of women linked together by their arms round waist and shoulder faces a similar row of men. In the course of the numerous evolutions each side advances and retires with a rhythmic stamping movement. The idea intended to be conveyed in the story is that as the women retreated from the row of men, with their backs toward him, the visitor ran but very little risk of being seen by them, and yet gained a position of advantage for carrying out his designs, as will be immediately seen.
4 Though in human form, she still had the attributes and tastes of the Vulture.
5 The only people that a married Indian woman can lawfully seek redress from, a procedure but very rarely followed, however, are her father and brothers.
1 Upon my asking for further information about the "steps," I was told that this structure had been erected by the birds specially to admit of their human visitor reaching the Vulture country.—W. E. R.
2 When I expressed doubt as to the practice of handshaking among the Guiana Indians, my informant insisted that it certainly constituted the Warrau form of greeting. Thus, at a party, or on other occasions when the house-master was expecting friends, he would go to meet his guest halfway between the water-side and the house, to which, taking him by the hand, he would lead him. In other words, the salutation was rather in the form of a hand-lead than of a hand-shake.
3 She means to indicate that the young woman has nobody near to look after and protect her interests.
4 My informant is firmly convinced that when vultures assume an anthropomorphic form the wattle-like growth on top of the beak becomes a sort of nose-ring.
5 It is not a little remarkable that all my English-speaking Indian friends invariably employ this expression "to hear" for "to heed." I have noticed and recorded the same peculiarity among the Queensland savages. Compare "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," used as a preface to many important statements in the Christian Scriptures.—W. E. R.
6 Creoles as well as English-speaking Indians in the Pomeroon and elsewhere, from the association of these two species of birds, speak of the Vulture as the Carrion-Crow Governor or "Boss."
1 When a monkey is barbecued, the digits, owing to muscular contraction, invariably become strongly flexed.
1 It was a custom of the old-time Warraus thus to castigate themselves with the halves of a broken arrow (Sect. 331) to the belief that this would endue them with strength and courage.
2 All that I can learn from the old Warraus about the stone specially singled out here, which they called hebu-bakka, is that people to the days of long ago used to wear it on their necklaces, and that it then passed current to trade and barter in just the same way as does our money. (Cf. Sect. 241.)—W. E. R.
1 Old Warraus have told me that it was customary thus to open the animal and bury the human remains, whenever they succeeded in catching any alligator, camudi, or tiger that had recently secured a human victim.—W. E. R.
1 According to Brett (BrB, 27), this is an Arawak story, but it is practically identical with the first part of the Makusi legend of Makunaima and Pia (Sect. 39).
2 According to the Akawais, during the course of creation Makunaima missed his fire, which the marudi had accidentally swallowed, and began looking for it and making inquiries. The other animals told him that the alligator, whom they all disliked, had stolen it, so he forced open the reptile's mouth to search, and finding its tongue in the way, pulled it out. The tongue of the alligator, previous to this calamity, is supposed to have been long and flexible. (BrB, 132.)
3 See BrB, 29.
4 I find that this name should be Annuánna, the carrion crow: indeed it almost would seem that the legend is but an Arawak version of the latter part of the Warrau story given in Sect. 137.—W. E. R.
5 An Arawak woman told me that two somewhat similar birds, the Tillili and the Fai-fai-a, joined the Itiki (the Arawak name for the kiskedee) in playing malingerers. The Fai-fai-a is now always making kind of moaning noise to show how much he grieves at not having taken part in the fray.—W .E. R.
6 In the Akawai story of Creation Brett (BrB, 131) speaks of the trumpeter bird flying down into a ants' nest, thus getting her legs, which had previously been nice and plump, picked quite clean. On the same occasion, the Marudi (Penelope sp.), thinking some glowing hot embers to be an insect, swallowed them, and so got his fiery throat. Compare Brett's story in Sect. 162.
7 Sandals are in common use in the hinterland of Guiana.
1 It is of interest to note that among the Gran Chaco Indians, the head of a turtle should be an 'amulet' for hunting deer (Nor, 53).—W. E. R.
2 Tobe-horo-anna, signifying literally in Warrau "Tiger-black-skin," is the name given to an immense cruelly-savage beast believed to exist in the depths of the forest. From the information which I have gathered it appears that this creature is a tiger only when it goes for a walk in the bush; that at home it is "like a man, people."
3 There is some intimate connection between toads, frogs, and kindred creatures, and success in the chase. See Sect. 228.
1 This was the exact explanation given when I interrupted my informant, to ascertain why the crying took place.—W. E. R.
2 In the Arawak story of Adaba (Sect. 145) it is the fungus on the arrow itself which prevents it hitting the mark.
3 In the Arawak story just referred to fishing-line serves the purpose of the virgin rope.
1 For another Warrau version of this story, see Sect. 221B.
2 The daiha is the tree (Lecythis), the cortex of which is used, after pounding and other preparation, for making apron-belts, chemises, and cloaks.
1 The Booroo! Booroo! chorus in Brett's verse is onomatopœic for the Bura-bura-u, the Arawak term for a certain frog with a particularly loud croak.
1 Most of the clubs have attached to the handle a cotton ring through which the wrist is passed so as to prevent the implement being dropped when fighting.
1 This word in Arawak means "broadside."
2 There is an island in the Essequibo just above Groote Creek called hiarono-dulluhing (woman's pole). The story goes that onre upon a time the women there were traveling in the old-fashioned way with the paddles edgewise, when the tide being against them, they fixed the pole as usual in the mud. But they drove it in so firmly that they could not get it out again, with the result that it remained there. The timbers, grasses, and sand collected round it, forming the present island.
1 Here follow a whole series of exploits, all detailing the results consequent on disobeying the old man's instructions. They arrived at a place where there was a field full of ripe plantains, of which they are told they might pick two each, but no more. Among the crew was a greedy man, who did eat more, and at night the rest of the party were awakened by the noise caused by his grinding his teeth so loudly: looking into the hammock whence the noise proceeded, they saw that its occupant had been changed into a tiger. At another place they passed a house where some cassava cakes had been left to dry on the troolie roof: there were no occupants anywhere to be seen, and the old man gave orders that the cassava was not to be touched. He, being a piai-man, could distinguish the Yawahus (Spirits), who were invisible to the remainder of the crew. One of the latter, however, took one of the cakes away, but he had no sooner proceeded a few steps, than he suddenly disappeared: he had joined the Spirits. Another scene shows the search party arriving in the country of the Baboon Tribe, where the old man warns them not to laugh—laughter would indeed prove the death of them. The Baboons performed all the dirtiest tricks imaginable to excite the risibilities of the boat's crew: one of these yielded to the temptation and was made into pepper pot. And so on.
2 For a further reference to Amazons, see Sect. 296.
1 For the Indian belief that all mankind were derived originally from rocks and stones, see Sect. 58.
2 The details of what now takes place are identical with those given in the next story, in which the Ant-eater replaces the Turtle.
1 This procedure savors of African origin.
2 This "tiger-bead necklace" is a rope-vine of some kind with more or less globular enlargements throughout its length, like beads threaded on a string.
1 Von den Steinen (383) gives a similar Bakairi story.
2 So dreaded is the strength of the ant-eater's limbs, that not even an Indian will venture into close quarters with the animal.
3 Bee BrB, 173; compare Brett's story in Sect. 142.
4 im Thurn (382) cavils at Brett making the attacker a cormorant, which, he says, is not a Guianese bird, and in his version replaces it by a duckler (Plotus anhinga), Schomburgk, however, speaks of cormorants (Scharbe), Halieus brasilianus Ill., on the Essequibo (BcR, I, 293).
1 This bird is the korasiri of the Arawak, well known for its habit of making a "playing-ground": it is said to whistle three different tunes morning and afternoon.
1 In connection with this story see Sect. 183.
2 Suicide is not unknown among these Indians. I have received particulars of three cases of Arawak women making away with themselves by means of bitter-cassava water owing to "unrequited love."—W. E. R.