Sacred-Texts Native American South American Index Previous Next
|FROM Orinoque, in days of old,|
The Caribs (so their legends told)
Came forth, to ravage and command,
And spread their power o'er sea and land.
|By conquest they the isles possessed,|
Those lesser gems which stud the West.
Where no male Arawâks remained,
They made, of ev'ry isle thus gained,
A cannibal stronghold.
Then, 'gainst the larger islands went—
Or to the southern continent—
Their warriors strong and bold!
Famous for valour and for wiles,
Those seas, for near five hundred miles,
Their red Vikings would roam;
And warlike women guard their isles
While they were far from home.
|When white men came, and conquered all,|
The milder race was doomed to fall:
In Cuba—as in fair Hayti—
Enslaved by Spanish cruelty,
Or slain—all passed away!
But Caribs made a fiercer stand:
Fighting till death, that for their land
Invaders dear might pay.
None thought of yielding—few of flight;
Then women, maddened with the sight
Of their brave husbands slain,
Would rush on pikes and swords—to fight
The battle o'er again!
|Meanwhile their race upon the "main"|
Had fought, supremacy to gain.
And this became their nation's boast—
"From Orinoco to the coast,
We hold the tribes in terror all,
And lord it over great and small!"
|All those who near the ocean dwelt,|
Friendship for English Raleigh felt.
"A naked race," wrote he, "but I
Have met none braver 'neath the sky."
They fought a common foe:
So on Caronit Corentyn,
And Essequibo wide between,
His boats might freely go—
E'en to white Rupununi's wave:
For Caribs loved that warrior brave
Who wrought the Spaniards woe;
And long they kept the flag he gave,
That they his ships might know.1
|Where Caribs held the sovereign sway,|
White colonists they kept away.
The Spaniards and the Portuguese
Fell, by their weapons and disease.
The Dutch, with Arawâks allied,
Might in their settlements abide,
On Essequibo and Berbice;
Importing negroes, they had peace.
But from the Surinam, men say,
The English twice were driv'n away—
And Frenchmen likewise from Cayenne—
By those same "brave, though naked men."
One story of those times will show
How they could strike a fatal blow.
|"Bretigny—man of evil fame—|
First Governor to Cayenne came.
Frenchmen were there before,
Living as Indians there in peace—
Their wives and language 'Caribisce';
Thinking of France no more.
|"Stern their new ruler, harsh his deeds,|
For trifling acts the white man bleeds;
Most cruel was his sway.
The natives, too, he dared oppress.
Then Caribs vowed, in stern redress,
That tyrant chief to slay!
|"But Indian women often love|
The European far above
Their own red countrymen.
So Cortez found in Mexico.
And thus Bretigny came to know
His danger in Cayenne.
|"Soon as, from female lips, he heard|
The Carib plan, he gave the word
To 'seize all Caribs' there.
Each casts himself into the wave,
And in a shark will find his grave,
Ere bondage he will bear.
|"'Ho! hasten, Frenchmen, all of you;|
Bring quickly forth my large canoe—
Myself will take command.
Upon those wretches we must fall,
And slay forthwith, or drown them all,
Ere they can reach the land!'
|"Swim now, ye Caribs, for your lives!|
Or you your children and your wives
Will nevermore behold.
That great canoe can swiftly run;
Her crew have halberd, sword, and gun;
All Frenchmen, strong and bold!
|"They gain the shore. Then, in pursuit,|
Bretigny lands—for without fruit
He will not turn again.
'Tis evening. Still he searches there;
And finds an Indian cabin, where
He may all night remain.
|"Ah!—little does Bretigny know|
The tactics of an Indian foe!
The trees have eyes to see
Where he abides; and all the night
The Carib warriors, armed for fight,
Are coming noiselessly.
|"With morning light they all appear,|
Hundreds of painted warriors near,
Each with his bended bow.
Vain will the sword and musket be
Against their rapid archery;
And that the guardsmen know.
|"Then, roused from sleep, Bretigny sees|
Their forms, red gleaming through the trees,
Surround him everywhere.
Wrapped in his cloak, he silent stands
To meet his fate from Carib hands
By club and arrow there.
|"They slay his guards, then rage around|
Wherever colonists are found;
Destroying all white men.
The Frenchmen come again, but fail;
'Tis twenty years ere they prevail
And settle in Cayenne."1
|* * * * *|
|At length each colony became|
Too strong to dread the club and flame;
While the fierce Caribs had, we know,
A native and more savage foe.
On Orinoco fierce the strife—
Many a warrior lost his life.
Then the brave Eastern clans would go
To fight and crush that native foe.
|THE way they marched to all was known,|
Custom had made that track their own.
'Twas to those rovers mere child's play
To plunder there, sometimes to slay,
And often to enslave.
And all the peaceful tribes, who dwelt
Around—the heavy hand had felt—
Of Caribs, fierce and brave.
|Their large canoes were often seen|
As they sailed round from Marowin
And Surinam to Corentyn,
Then towards that river's head.
Above the falls they cross Berbice,
And march where all is perfect peace
(For peaceful are the dead).
That region they have swept quite bare,
And all the people who lived there
Are captive, slain, or fled.
|O'er Essequibo then they go;|
Plunder Macusis, or, below,
Sweep the Brazilian plain.
Or towards those mountains bend their course
Where noble rivers have their source—
The Pacaraima chain.
|Then, northward of that mountain line,|
With the Caroni men they join.
There many rivers have their rise.
Descending one, they soon surprise,
Near Orinoco's tide,
Some peaceful village; or destroy
A warlike band, and thus annoy
Their foes who there reside.
|On rafts concealed they float near shore,|
With grass or branches covered o'er.
Sometimes on fallen trees they glide,
Such as come downward with the tide.
Woe to the victims they surprise!
All adults slain, each girl a prize
Must in their hands remain.
Then with the plunder of the place,
Their own far distant homes to grace,
They eastward turn again.
|* * * * *|
|Once from those parts a message came|
That tarnished was their ancient fame,
And from their nation's warlike name
The glory had been rent.
To reassert the Carib might,
Her thousand warriors for the fight
Then Essequibo sent.
That number largely was increased
By Caribs who lived farther east;
By Surinam's bold fighting men,
By warriors even from Cayenne;
And they all westward went.
For sore was then the nation's need,
And every Carib man made speed.
|Gay ornaments they cast aside,|
War's stern equipment to provide.
Weapons and hammock each man bore,
Cassava bread, and meal in store;
With paint each face was reddened o'er,
To terrify their foes.
All left their families that day
The stern war summons to obey.
Burning their enemies to slay,
None could in peace repose.
|Now when they reach Caroni's banks,|
They find additions to their ranks.
From fair Barahma, Waiini,
And Amacūru, men they see;
Some from Bowruma's head.
All come to fight the Cabré race,
In Cabré blood wash out disgrace,
And thus avenge their dead.
|By desultory fights enraged,|
Both sides in earnest had engaged.
The Cabrés made their clans unite
Under one leader for that fight,
And dealt a deadly blow.
The Caribs, who till then believed
Themselves invincible, received
A total overthrow!
|Most of them were in battle slain,|
Many were drowned, and few remain
To tell how went the fight.
But there is one1 remembers well,
Who has been spared that he may tell
Of the succeeding night.
|He then was forced to climb a tree,|
That thence he might the better see
The savage victors eat the slain;
And there the wretch had to remain
Till morning, legends say.
The chieftain, Tep, released him then,
And bade him "bring his countrymen
For food some other day."
|Ah! better had the victors spared|
That horrid deed and taunt, which, heard,
Inspired with deadly hate their foe,
Who vowed to strike a mortal blow.
|They vowed, and had it in their power,|
Their strength increasing every hour.—
Allies by hundreds came.
At length ten thousand men, they say,
The Caribs mustered for the fray,
To wipe away their shame.
|In deadly fight they met again;|
Each meant to conquer or be slain.
The Caribs victors were.
Their fury nothing could withstand—
Though Cabrés met them hand to hand,
And fought with wild despair—
Nor thought of turning from the fight:
They found the memory of that night
Was heavy then to bear.
They saw the numbers of their foe,
Which seemed continually to grow;
And so—returning blow for blow—
They fought; and perished there!
|Their warriors then in battle fell:|
And stern the fate, as legends tell,
Of all who bore their name.
For, soon as that grim fight was done,
Extermination was begun;
Soiling the victor's fame.
|The conquering Caribs then could go|
Where Orinoco's torrents flow;1
Where castellated rocks are seen,
O'er the vast foam, with summits green;
Whose graceful palms and forest trees
Seem shadows, till the wished-for breeze
Disperse the mists around.
Returning home, each Carib brave
Would pass by many a bloody grave:
But, from those falls to ocean's wave,
No living foe was found!
|THE Caribs now from foes are free,|
Enjoying feast and revelry.
A large canoe is brought on shore,
And with "paiwari" running o'er.
Gay feathers crown each warrior's head,
Each has his body tinged with red;
And each, with strip of cotton dressed,
Disposes it o'er back and breast.
|Their women, who most wild appear,|
Less clothing than their husbands wear,
Yet each herself adorns.
For anklets, woven bands we see;
Another band below each knee.
(Pins now through lower lips project,
As if each would her face protect,
But then they all wore thorns.)
Some stain their skin with spots of blue,
And thus, attractive to the view,
They watch the dance, and join it too.
|Men beat the drum, or sound the flute|
(The thigh-bone of some human foe);
But all at length are hushed and mute,
And empty is the large canoe.
|The feast is o'er; but old men stay,|
And pass in talk another day.
Of wise old chieftains, warriors bold,
And battles in the days of old,
They tell. While some, from eastern streams,
Discourse on these more ancient themes.
|From on high mankind descended;|
Not (as some would say) for food:
They to cleanse this world intended,
That it might be fair and good,
Bright and free from soil or stain,
As the moon, or starry train.
|While they toiled, the clouds receded,|
Which had borne them from on high:
Vainly for their help they pleaded;
None restored them to the sky.
Thus mankind remained below,
In a world of toil and woe.
|* * * * *|
|As they wandered, pangs of hunger|
Forced them clayey earth to take;
Which, that they might starve no longer,
Making fire, they tried to bake.
But their cakes, when they were "done,"
Were like sand, or crumbling stone.
|Tamosi1 had there provided|
Wild fruits, suiting beast or bird.
By those creatures kindly guided
To the trees which each preferred,
Men partook: but still would sigh
For the food they left on high.
|Tamosi, the Mighty Maker|
(Whom no mortal eye can see),
Made, that man might be partaker
Of His gifts, a wondrous tree.
Though on earth huge trees have grown,
None like that was ever known.
|High o'er all its head uprearing,|
Cloudlike mass of brilliant green!
On its noble branches bearing
Fruits, which none before had seen.
Each a different kind would bear;
Beauteous clusters, high in air!
|Lower down—its trunk surrounding,|
Plaintains grew, bananas sweet:
All choice plants were there abounding
Which we now (in gardens) meet.
Golden maize, so fresh and fair,
Waved its plumy tresses there.
|Sweet cassava one might find there,|
With the bitter, 'neath the fruits;
Yams, potatoes, every kind, where
Widely spread its mighty roots.
There was found, in pristine state,
All that men now cultivate.
|* * * * *|
|'Twas Maipuri, that way roaming|
(Whom some white men "Tapir" call);
From the river's margin coming,
He observed it first of all;
In the woodlands, where it grew;
While no other creature knew.
|Daily, through the forest stealing,|
He devoured its fruits which fell;
Its existence still concealing:
What he fed on none could tell.
Men, who saw him fat and sleek,
Sent forth scouts the truth to seek.
|First, "Woodpecker." He kept tapping|
(From long habit) each old tree.
Shrewd Maipuri heard him rapping,
And another way went he.
But the Rat, with silent toil,
Tracked his steps—then shared the spoil.
|Shared it—till some food, delicious,|
Sticking to his lips was found;
And mankind, become suspicious,
Made him show that feeding ground.
All exclaimed, "O noble tree!
Precious gift of Tamosi!"
|* * * * *|
|Then an oracle commanded—|
"Cut it down!"—They wondered all;
Yet sharp stones, as fate demanded,
Caused it in ten months to fall;
Crashing, thund'ring to the ground,
While they fly, or tremble round!
|Then, a fair division making,|
For his field each man provides;
Slips and cuttings freely taking
From its branches, roots, and sides.
"Gaining thus at once," 'tis said,
"Precious fruits and daily bread."
|Pleasant as the breath of morning|
Was the life which all lived then.
But misfortune came; a warning
Of still greater ills to men.
'Neath the roots of that great tree
Some a sacred grot could see.
|Saw they there the Water-Mother|
Bathing in her loved abode?
That it was her form, none other,
Soon the swelling waters showed.
Men had all been swept away
By a gushing flood that day—
|But a rugged rock, befriending|
(By what power none can know),
Closed the fountain. They, attending,
Saw it stop the mighty flow;
And drew near that rock, which then
Gave forth oracles to men:
|Saying, "Though I from the waters|
Save you, there may come a day
When yourselves, your sons and daughters,
In a flood will pass away.
Listen, then, mankind, to me,
That your years like mine may be.
|"In yon wood are spirits dwelling,|
Who will tempt you day by day.
If you dread the waters swelling,
Answer not, whate'er they say!
You are safe while you obey,
Heeding well your rock-stone grey.
|"And if age bring evils on you,|
Wrinkled skin, and whitening hair,
You at will may cast them from you,
Youth renewing, bright and fair:
As the serpent glideth clear
From the slough he scorns to wear!"
|* * * * *|
|Time has passed. Deteriorating,|
Men grow careless day by day.
Till their hearts, long hesitating,
Voices from the wood obey.
Heeding what those demons say,
They despise their rock-stone grey.
|From the grove then comes, beguiling|
(Sent by man's malignant foes),
Yarrekáru.1 Men, all smiling,
See, as towards the rock he goes.
None prevent; whilst he, alone,
Undermines their guardian stone.
|As the shades of night close o'er them,|
To their hammocks all repair.
Little reck they that before them
Stand grim death and dark despair.
From the grove come, mockingly,
Cries of "Waters cover me!"
|They respond, "O friend, we hear them!"|
Laugh, and turn to slumber on;
Till the rush of waters near them
Terrifies the stoutest one.
And these words, in solemn tone,
Issue from the outraged stone:
|"Lo! the swelling floods before you,|
See their waters cover me!
Soon they will be closing o'er you;
I no more your help can be.
Yet had you but faithful been,
Death no man would e'er have seen!"
|* * * * *|
|Swell the mighty floods, prevailing,|
Death's approach in them they see.
Loud their cries, but unavailing,
"Climb the hill!" or "Climb the tree!"
Tempests rage and torrents flow,
O'er mankind wild waters go!
|Yet to three or four is given|
Safety till the floods subside,
For a "komoo" palm (by heaven
Made to grow) surmounts the tide.
All whom that tree does not save
Sink, as rocks, beneath the wave.1
|Thus they—while, round the evening fire,|
All in their hammocks swing.
Some curious youth might then inquire,
"Who made some wondrous thing?"
"What mighty hand could ever trace
Those figures on the lofty face
Of rocks, which now our eyes
View—near the Orinoco head,
And elsewhere (they are widely spread)—
With wondering surprise?"
|And then some western sorcerer old|
Would to the young the tale unfold
Of him who held high place, we see,
In Tamanac mythology.
No hand but his, they think, could trace
Those carvings of an ancient race,
Which vanished long ago;
Where savage Indians, in their place,
Now wander to and fro.
|WHILE the deluge was subsiding|
From some land of unknown name,
O'er the mighty waters gliding,
Great Amalivaca came.
Sailing on where now are seen
Widespread plains and forests green.
|Ocean waves he had crossed over,|
Sailing in his large canoe;
From that other side a rover,
Seeking lands and people new.
Doubtless sent our race to raise,
Helping men in many ways.
|In the sculptures I am showing,|
Now so high, his work you see!
Waters at that height were flowing,
So he carved them easily.
Carved them from his great canoe,
Taught mankind to carve them too.
|Each device and time-worn figure|
Had, of old, its well-known lore;
Voiceless all—they spake with vigour
To the eye in days of yore.
But our wisest all allow
None can read their lessons now.
|* * * * *|
|When the mighty floods were failing,|
And the land again was seen,
There were not (as now) prevailing
Widespread plains and forests green.
Wildly rugged all the ground,
Then Amalivaca found.
|But his brother gave assistance,|
And by that good brother's aid,
Overcoming all resistance,
Smooth and gentle slopes he made.
Many rocks and cliffs, men say,
By their power were charmed away.
|Thus the earth for habitation|
Much more suitable was found:
Then said he, "Communication
There must be with all around.
In a forest path or road,
Each perforce must bear his load.
|"But when a canoe is bearing,|
Heavy burdens light become;
So let each man make his 'clearing'
Near some stream, and fix his home.
All around us streams we see;
On them let your traffic be."
|Men, who heard him thus advising,|
Said, "Amalivaca, hear!
With the falling tide, or rising,
Easy is our course, and clear.
We the current then obey,
Going with it either way.
|"When we pass the tidal power,|
Going up, no help is found:
Heavy is the work each hour,
Weariness and toil abound.
Now exert thy wondrous skill—
Strive to remedy this ill."
|Then he spent much toil and trouble|
On great Orinoco's flood;
Strove to make its current double;
Grand idea—wise and good!
But that stubborn stream, they say,
Would persist in its own way.
|With a double current flowing,|
One side up, the other down,
We might either way be going
Swiftly from each little town.
Would the river not do so?"
Orinoco answered, "No!"
|Then he strove the tides of ocean|
To the upper stream to bring;
But the river, with emotion,
Said, "You seek a fatal thing:
If the tide should higher go,
All will be submerged below!"
|Water seems a yielding creature,|
Mov'd by passing breeze or shower;
None can change its stubborn nature
Who has not its Maker's power.
This Amalivaca learned;
And from fruitless labour turned.
|* * * * * *|
|When he from this land departed,|
Having done what he could do,
Some with tears, and all sad-hearted,
Watched his lessening canoe.
And from that time nevermore
Comes he to this Western shore!
|When the black-robed teachers found us,|
We inquired "if they had seen
Him, who left such marks around us,
Who had our Great Teacher been;
Who those high rocks sculptured so?"1
And we grieved when all said, "No!"
|The Caribs, in their conq'ring hour,|
Had reached the zenith of their power.
A few years pass; and then we see
Those who were near the Caroni
Beneath the monks live peacefully;
Till revolution shatters all,
And in the crash those missions fall!
|SWEET is his Essequibo home:|
Yet still Manárowa will roam
To gain more power and fame.
Though, from that river's sources—south—
To Dutch plantations near its mouth,
The tribes all fear his name.
|From Orinoque to Corentyn,|
Fighting and plund'ring he has been,
The bold Manárowa!
The Indians round him own his sway.
And slaves, as tribute, to him pay:
All, save the Tarumá.
|They on that stream above are found;|
But he, to reach them, must go round,
Ascending the Rewa.
For the great Essequibo Fans,
Never yet passed, like mighty walls,
|The chief has pondered long, and said,|
"Those Tarumas we must invade,
And take them by surprise.
O'er those grim cat'racts we will haul
Our light canoes; and on them fall,
As coming from the skies!"
|Now he has scaled one wat'ry wall,|
Where a small island in the fall
Precarious footing gave.
With toil they hoist and carry o'er
Their craft; which float where none before
E'er danced upon the wave.
|With that great fall they scarce have done,|
Ere they come to a greater one.
No footing there is found.
Their chieftain says, "We now must clear
A pathway through the forest here,
And drag our vessels round."
|Thus they, still toiling day by day,|
O'er falls and rapids work their way
With labour most severe.
They pass the mouth of Cuyuwine—
Some woodskins are before them seen;
"The Tarumas appear!"
|The rocks are high, the Caribs nigh,|
No power is theirs to fight or fly;
They sink beneath the tide.
The Caribs line each rocky shore,
But those poor Tarumas no more
Will be by them espied!
|"Have we," the chief exclaims, "thus far|
Come through such perils to make war
On an amphibious race?
Themselves and woodskins they now hide,
In caverns deep beneath the tide:
And thus elude our chase!"
|Abandoning that river then,|
The Carib chieftain leads his men
By land, to hunt their prey.
Returning homewards (says our tale),
With captives, to the Dutch for sale,
By a less dangerous way.
|* * * * *|
|To all on Essequibo known,|
The tale had to a legend grown,
Of that "amphibious race"
Eluding him, "who ventured o'er
A path no mortal man before,
Or after, dared to trace!"
|Thus they, for near one hundred years:—|
A white explorer1 then appears;
Who to the Taruma
Crosses, o'er every dangerous fall,
Giving thar highest, worst of all,
|The rule of Holland passed away,|
"Stabroek"2 now owns the British sway.
Manárowa has come
The British governor to see,
With his red-coated soldiery,
And hear the fife and drum.
|Stout Caribs, chosen from his band,|
Attendant on their chieftain stand,
Each with his feathered crown,
Red paint, and scarf, of cotton made
(Six yards), o'er back and breast displayed,
With tassels hanging down.
|The governor receives him well;|
For one is there the tale to tell
From Aruabisi shore;
"How Arawâks and Caribisce
Had both prepared to break the peace,
And fight it out once more.
|"But when the British magistrate|
Had called their chiefs—to mediate
At 'Henrietta' there,
All Caribs, by Manárowa,
Were ordered (and his word was law)
From fighting to forbear."
|'Twas so. An aged man told me,|
When he made peace, I went to see
(Though then a little thing),
His stately form I viewed with awe,
And white men said, 'Manárowa.
The Caribisi King!'"
|In Demerara 'twas the same;|
When he before white rulers came,
The savage he could hide.
Young officers, prepared to laugh,
Found him no object for their "chaff,"
But calm and dignified.
|Some wished for an experiment,|
And gained the governor's consent
To test the Carib's nerve.
A well-rammed cannon, placed near by,
Was, without warning, fired, to try
If he would shrink or swerve.
|It startled some of them (the "bang"|
Shook the whole house with fearful clang);
Manárowa was calm.
Nor limb nor muscle moved he then.
The governor said, "Gentlemen,
For, nerve—who bears the palm?"
|Loaded with gifts, see him return|
(Allies of white men such can earn);
And his glad tribe behold
A crescent on his breast appear,
Not silver, such as "captains" wear—
Manárowa's is gold!
|Yet glory is but for a day,|
Prosperity will pass away,
Old age must still come on.
And when Great Britain, with a frown,
Viewed the slave-trade, and put it down,
His business was gone.
|(Then to the governor, a slave—|
A Carib—for a present, gave,
As chiefs of old would give.
Refused, he clave the young man's head,
Turned to his men, and sternly said,
"Let no more captives live!")
|And when, for such, a sale was found,|
In Surinam, upon new ground;
Manárowa was dead.
Small-pox and rum consumed his clan;
He saw them dying, man by man;
Grieved, and his spirit fled!
|THE remnant of his once great clan,|
Which held its head so high;
Then withered, as by deadly ban,
Brazilians forced to fly.
For they an English teacher heard,
And learned from him the Saviour's word.
|They came to Georgetown with their grief,|
For who such grief could hide?
And there I saw their youthful chief
Walk by his pastor's side,
With that broad crescent on his breast
His grandsire wore of old.
In sad procession came the rest
And their sad story told.
Macusis mingled with the band,
All driven from Macusi land.
|And here it boots not to relate|
How war almost befell;
Nor that good Christian teacher's fate,
Which mission records tell.
His work and he have passed away;
Both will be found another day!1
|On other rivers Caribs live;|
To whom we long have sought to give
The knowledge of our Lord.
And courteous they have ever been
To us amidst their forests green.
Some think their ancient ways the best,
But many Christians are, professed,
And learn the Saviour's word;
Which taught and held in Christian love
(That gentle power—all powers above)
Is mightier than their club of old,
Wielded by warriors strong and bold;
More piercing than their arrows keen,
More glorious in its triumphs seen,
Than white man's conquering sword!
1 Bancroft (1769) mentions it as still preserved by them.
1 In 1664, under M. de La Barre. The English had by that time made a settlement on the Coma, or Surinam, which, in 1667, was exchanged with the Dutch for "New Holland," the present New York. Essequibo and Berbice (now English) were colonised by the Dutch in the early part of the seventeenth century, and remained in their possession nearly two hundred years. Demerara was also founded by them, though at a much later period.
1 Humboldt's account, Some of our Caribs say that two men were thus spared.
1 The great cataracts (or Raudales) af Atures and Maypures.
As the Caribs themselves have always been accused of cannibalism, it is but fair to the survivors of that race in Guiana, to say that all those whom I have spoken with deny that their fathers ever were guilty of it, save in mimic action, as a vaunt or threat, to terrify a foe.
Humboldt, who treats the subject fully in his "Narrative," acquits the continental Caribs of the charge, while admitting the cannibalism of the Cabrés (as stated above), of various other inland tribes, and of the Caribs of the islands in former days.
1 "Tamosi Kabo-tano" (Ancient one of Heaven), The Supreme Being.
1 I-arreka-ru (Acawoio, "Iwarreka"), the monkey.
1 There is an episode, usually given here, of a "cocorite" palm, which mankind strove to ascend, because its top reached the heavens. A poor woman, not in a condition to climb, led the way. When halfway up she was turned into stone by terror and exhaustion. None could help her, and none could pass over her. All who tried to do so became rocks likewise. The terrified survivors then climbed the komoo, and were saved.
1 Humboldt, who records the legend of Amalivaca, considers those rock-carvings to be "traces of an ancient civilisation, which may have belonged to an epoch when the tribes, which we now distinguish by various names and races, were still unknown."
Whether the mystery attached to those rude sculptures will ever be solved, even in part, it is at present impossible to say. In the interest of science, it is desirable that a collection of photographs of the most remarkable—not only on the Orinaco, but (if possible) from the Rio Negro to the Corentyn—should be made and compared.
1 Mr. C. B. Brown, 1870.
2 The present Georgetown.
1 Rev. T. Youd. Founded Pirara Mission, 1838. Driven from it, 1839. Died (at sea), 1842.