Native American Legends
A Caraja Legend
At long time ago, the Caraja didn't knew how to plant and farm.
They lived off the hunting and fishing and life was hard because
often there was no food in the village. We didn't knew how to plant
corn, mandioc or pineapples. Hunger was specially bitter during
the rainy season, when hunting was more difficult.
Now in the village there lived two sisters, the older one named
Imahero and the younger one Denake. One night, when they were with
their father who was telling them stories, Imahero saw a beautiful
star in the sky and asked what that thing was and said she would
like to have it. She was spellbound by the star, her heart beating
hard and breath almost gone.
Her father smiled and said: "It is Tahina-Ca. It is very far
away, nobody can reach out for it. The only way how you can get
it is to wish it with all your heart. If it listens you and be willing
to come, then maybe you will have it." So Imahero started to
wish for the star every night. Until one day she listened to someone
coming into their house. She was afraid and asked who that one was.
The newcomer answered: "I am Tahina-Ca." Out of joy she
rushed to the fire place were she rekindled and made grow a fire
and called her father and sister for all of them be able to see
how the big star looked like. But she was really disappointed when
she realized that the big glowing star was only a very old man with
long white hairs.
She became very angry and shouted for him to go away. "I don't
want you for my husband" she said "You are too old and
too ugly. Go! Go! Go away!"
Tahina-Ca turned his back and started to cry in a very low voice.
Now the younger sister, Denake, got very sorry for the poor old
man that had traveled from the sky up to her village and grabbed
his hands saying: "Don't cry! I will marry you."
The old man was very happy and so the wedding was celebrated the
Now on the day after, the old man turned to his young and beautiful
wife and said: "I must go to the forest prepare a piece of
land to plant in it lots of good plants that your people Caraja
has never seen. I must cut the forest and do all that work but I
must go alone."
So Denake, although worried for he was a very weak man, let him
go. Tahina-Ca went to the river. He said some magic words and entered
it up to his knees. Every now and then he would lean over and dipping
a hand into the water would bring from it's inside corn seeds and
all the other plants that the Caraja farm today.
After this has been done, Tahina-Ca headed for the forest were
he set to the heavy work of cutting the trees, clearing the soil
and all that.
Now it has passed a entire day and the night was rushing to take
over the sky and we all know that at night the forest is even more
dangerous. So Denake, was now absolutely scared, for something must
had happened to her old husband. He was so old to do such hard work!
He could have been injured and unable to return home! So she decided
to disobey him and look for him into the forest.
When she came by the clearing her husband had made she couldn't
find him. She was becoming increasingly anxious when she saw in
the clearing a strong, handsome young man, toiling in the field
as someone engaged in a very important work that must be finished
He was spreading the still hot ashes in the ground. She came to
the border of the clearing and asked: "Young man, have you
seen my husband? He is an old man and I am very worried for he hasn't
returned yet to our village. I am so afraid that something bad has
come to him!"
The young man smiled and answered: "Don't be afraid no more.
I am Tahina-Ca. I am not an old man. I just took that disguise to
see if the one that wished me so much really wanted me. I got the
answer. I am very happy that you had wished to marry me in spite
of my looks. It was to reward you of your good heart that I offer
now to your people all these plants and their products. Come. Let's
go back to the village and tell them all."
When, back in the village, Tahina-Ca finished his tale, Imahero,
the one who had despised him, said that she was the one who had
wished him, so she was the one who should be his real wife. But
Tahina-Ca refused so.
Hearing his refusal, Imahero set out a mournful piercing cry and
fainted. In a matter of moments her human body disappeared and in
it's place was a prey bird, a urutau bird as the Caraja's call it,
that as soon as the stars start to shine in the sky, it roams endlessly
through the night shouting it's piercing cries, for Tahina-Ca's
refusal in marrying her.
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