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Smithsonian Institution, 
Bureau of American Ethnology. 

Washington, D. C, July 30, 1909. 
Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith the Thirtieth 
Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, com- 
prising an account of the operations of the Bureau during 
the fiscal year ended June 30, 1909. 

Permit me to express my appreciation of your aid in the 
work under my charge. 

Very respectfully, yours, 

W. H. Holmes, Chief. 
Dr. Charles D. Walcott, 

Secretary qf the Smithsonian Institution. 




Researrli work 9 

Special researches 21 

CollectionB 2i 

Publications 22 

Illustrations 23 

Library .■ 23 

Linguistic manuscripts 24 

Note on the accompanying papers 25 


Ethnol>otany of the Zuni Indians, by Matilda Coxe Stevenson (Pis. 1-3) 31 

An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-lore of the Guiana Indians, by Walter E. 

Roth (Pis. 4-7; figs. 1-6) 103 

List of publications of the Bureati of American Ethnology 387 

Index 427 






W. H. Holmes, Chief 

The operations of the Bm'eau of American Ethnology for 
the fiscal year ended June 30, 1909, conducted in accordance 
with the act of Congress making provision for continuing 
researches relating to the American Indians, under du'ection 
of the Smithsonian Institution, were carried forward in con- 
formity with the plan of operations approved by the Secre- 
tary June 18, 1908. 

As in previous years, the systematic ethnologic work of 
the Bureau was intrusted mainly to the regular scientific 
staff, which comprises eight members. As this force is not 
large enough to give adec{uate attention to more than a 
limited portion of the great field of research afforded Ijy the 
hundreds of Indian tribes, the deficiency was supplied in a 
measure by enlisting the aid of other specialists in various 
branches of ethnologic work. By this means the Bm'eau 
was able to extend its researches in several directions at a 
comparatively modest outlay. 


The work of the Bureau for the year comprised: (A) The 
continuation of various unfinished I'esearches among the 
Indian tribes and (B) the summarizing for publication of 
available data from all sources. 

(A) The unfinished researches were in continuation of 
systematic investigations already in hand and were essential 


to a reasonable rounding out of the work among the tribes. 
These researches were distributed as follows : 

Regular force: Matilda Coxe Stevenson, the Pueblo tribes; 
James Mooney, the Great Plains tribes; J. N. B. Hewitt, th6 
Iroquoian tribes; J. R. Swanton, the Southern tribes; F. W. 
Hodge, literary researches for the Handbook of the Indians; 
J. W. Fewkes, archeology of Southwestern tribes; W. H. 
Holmes, technology of the tribes; Cyrus Thomas, bibliog- 
raphy of Hawaii. 

Collaborators: Franz Boas and eight assistants, the lan- 
guages of the tribes; Ales HrdliCka, the physical anthro- 
pology of the tribes; Frances Densmore, ceremonj' and 
songs of the Ojibwa tribes; J. P. Dunn, linguistics of the 
Algonquian tribes of the Middle West; N. B. Emerson, the 
Hawaiians; H. M. Ballou, the Hawaiians; H. E. Bolton, 
the tribes of Texas; J. P. Reagan, Northwest Coast tribes; 
Alice C. Fletcher, the Omaha tribe; Francis La Flesche, the 
Omaha tribe; W. R. Gerard, etymology of Indian names. 

(B) The summarizing of the materials now available 
relating to the tribes was initiated by the preparation of 
the Handbook of the Indians, which assumes to cover the 
whole ground in brief articles arranged in alphabetical order. 
Its preparation has led to a clearer understanding of the 
work done and to be done, and the researches now in hand 
contemplate the preparation of a series of handbooks, each 
to be devoted to a full presentation of a single branch of the 
subject, as follows: 

(a) Handbook of the Tribes: History, distribution, settle- 
ments, population, etc., of each stock, tribe, and minor 
group. Preliminary assemblage of the data is embraced in 
the present Handbook of American Indians, of which Part 1 
is published and Part 2 almost ready. 

(b) Handbook of Languages: Part 1 now in press, Part 2 
in preparation. As several hundred languages are to be con- 
sidered, a number of years will be required to complete the 

(c) Handbook of Race History : Physical and mental char- 
acters, phj'siology, pathology, medicine, etc. Researches in 
hand, but requiring extensive additional investigation. 


((/) Handbook of Social Systems: Organization and cus- 
toms of society, the family, clan, tribe, confederacy, govern- 
ment, etc. A large body of material is already in hand, but 
much additional research is necessary. 

(e) Handbook of Religions: Religious customs, rites and 
ceremonies, folklore, etc. The large body of data in hand 
requires much elaboration, with additional research. 

(/) Handbook of Technology: Arts, industries, imple- 
ments, utensils, manufactures, building, hunting, fishing, etc. 

(g) Handbook of the Esthetic Arts: Painting, sculpture, 
ornaments, music, drama, etc. 

(h) Handbook of Sign Language. 

(i) Handbook of Pictograph}'. 

{]) Handbook of Treaties and Land Cessions. 

(k) Handbook of Games and Amusements. 

(/) Handbook of Burial Customs. 

(m) Handbook of Economics: Food resources, culinary 
arts, medicinal resources, etc. 

(n) Handbook of Archeology. The extensive researches 
of past years need to be supplemented by much additional 

(o) Handbook of Geographical Names. 

(p) Handbook of Hawaii. Researches initiated by the 
preparation of a bibliography of 6,200 titles now nearly 
ready, and a work on mythology now in press. 

(q) Bibliographies. 

(r) Dictionaries. 

(s) Grammars. 

{t) Portfolios of portraits, etc. 

The body of data in hand relating to the Indians probably 
surpasses that heretofore obtained relating to any primitive 
people, but still falls short of the rounding out that should 
characterize the work of the American nation, dealing as it 
does with a race and a cultvu'e which are rapidly disappearing. 

During the year researches were carried on in Arizona, 
New Mexico, Coloi-ado, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, South 
Carolina, Indiana, and Oregon, and were incidentally 
extended to the Argentine Republic, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, 
California, Washington, and British Columbia. 


The chief devoted his time while in the office to the 
administrative work of the Bureau, giving the necessary 
attention to his duties as curator of the Section of Pre- 
historic Archeology and to the National Gallery of Ai*t in 
the National Museum. Dm'ing the year considerable prog- 
ress was made in the preparation of a work, already well 
advanced, on the stone implements of North America. 

Having been designated by the Department of State to 
represent the Smithsonian Institution at the First Pan- 
American Scientific Congress, held at Santiago, Chile (at 
which he represented also the George Washington Uni- 
versity), on October 29 the chief took passage on the 
Hamburg-American steamer Amerika for England, sailing 
thence by way of Vigo, Spain, and Lisbon, Portugal, to 
Buenos Aires. After spending ten days in the Argentine 
capital with members of the delegation, making official 
visits and pursuing studies ia various public institutions, 
he traversed the pampean country by rail to Mendoza, and 
thence up the Mendoza River to Las Cuevas at the base of 
the cumbre or crest of the Andes. Taking coach at this 
point he crossed to the Chilean side and soon reached San- 
tiago. The three weeks spent in Santiago were taken up 
largely with the affairs of the delegation, including official 
duties and attendance on meetings of the congress. The 
section of the natural sciences, including anthropology, met 
dail}", and on December 28 the chief acted as chairman of 
the section. His contribution to the program of the 
congress was a paper on "The peopling of America," an 
abstract of which follows : 

Discussion of the problem of the origin of the American aborigines 
involves consideration of several important questions, as follows: 

(1) Evolution of the human species from lower forms. 

(2) Geographical location of the origuial home of the race. 

(3) Dispersal to the various land areas of the globe. 

(4) Differentiation of the subraces physically and culturally. 

(5) Chronology of the racial history. 

In the present state of our knowledge we can not assume to dispose 
finally of these several questions. It is most important, however, 
that the whole subject should be passed under review at frequent 
intervals, and the data assembled, classified, and critically examined. 


The writer's views, formulated after careful consideration of the 
various phases of the subject presented, considering more especially the 
North American evidence, are expressed in the foUowmg summary 
of probabilities: 

(1) That the human family is monogenetic; that is to say, the 
present subraces have been derived by differentiation from a common 

(2) That the precursor — that is to say, man before he reached the 
human status — occupied a limited area. 

(3) That this area was tropical or subtropical and was situated in 
the Old World rather than in the New. 

(4) That multiplication of numbers led to wide distribution, and 
that isolation on distinct land areas finally led to the differentiation 
of the subraces. 

(5) That the separation into distinct groups began at an early 
period, but not until after the typical human characters had been 

(6) That the human characters were acquu'ed in Tertiary time, 
and that dissemination extended to distant continents, mainly in 
Quaternary time. 

(7) That the pioneers of the present American race belonged to 
the well-differentiated Asiatic subrace and that they reached America 
by way of Bermg Strait. 

(8) That the early migrations included few individuals and occurred 
at widely separated periods; that the movements were slow and by 
means of the ice bridge in whiter or by skin boats in summer. 

(9) That the culture of the immigrants in all cases was very primi- 
tive, not rising above the hunter-fisher stage. 

(10) Tliat successive migrations involved numerous distinct 
groups or tribes, so that the American race is a composite of diversified 
Asiatic elements more or less completely amalgamated. 

(1 1 ) That the result was a new people and a new culture, essentially 

(12) Tliat the Eskimo — forming a widely distributed ethnic group 
occupying the northern shores of both continents — acquired tlieh- 
physical characteristics and peculiar cultiu'e under the influence of 
Arctic conditions, and that they are the descendants of marginal 
tribes early forced to the northward from southern Eurasian sources 
of population. 

(13) That occasional accessions of population may have resulted 
from the accidental arrival of voyagers from other lands, though not 
in numbers large enough to affect the race perceptibly. 

(14) That in the present period prior to the Columbian discovery 
occasional voyagers from southern Asiatic culture centers or from 
Japan or China may have reached American shores and left an 
impress on the culture of middle America. 


(15) That the peopling of America with the present race was 
accomplished in late Glacial or post-Glacial time rather than in early 
Glacial or Tertiary time. 

(16) That much of the recorded geological evidence of great human 
antiquity in America is unreliable and rerjuires critical revision. 

(17) That the aboriginal peoples will soon disappear as the result 
of intermhiglings with other races and failure to accommodate them- 
selves to new conditions; that America will be fully occupied by a 
cosmopolitan people embodying the best elements of every civiliza- 
tion — a race of superior capacity and force, destined in its full fruition 
to surpass all others in the grandeur of its achievements; and that 
the activities of the present and of future Pan-American scientific 
congresses will contribute a worthy share in the accomplishment of 
this great result. 

At the closing session of the congress the chief was made 
a member of a committee of five to arrange for the next 
meeting of the congress, to be held in Washington, District 
of Columbia, in October, 1912. 

^Vhile in Santiago much attention was given to the 
National Museum, which contains a great deal of material 
illustrating the ethnology and archeology of Chile, and a 
number of private collections, rich chiefly in Peruvian 
antiquities, were visited. 

The homeward trip from Santiago included excursions to 
Bolivia, where the small National Museum was visited and 
where studies were made of the ruined city of Tiahuanaco; 
to Peru, where a brief period was devoted to a study of the 
rich collections of the National Museum; and to Panama for 
a short stay. Washington was reached on February 11, 
and reports were then prepared for the institutions which 
the chief represented as delegate and for publication in 
scientific journals. 

The services of the chief were enlisted during the early 
months of' the year in the preparation of the Institution's 
exhibit to illustrate the history of the Pacific Coast states 
and the Pacific islands at the Alaska- Yukon-Pacific Exposi- 
tion at Seattle. Before leaving for South America in October 
he designed a number of lay-figure family groups, which 
were elaborated by the sculptor during the winter months; 
and on his return from the South he attended to the com- 


pletion of these groups and to the construction of a model 
of the Santa Barbara mission establishment, California, for 
the exposition. On May 4 he proceeded to Seattle to assist 
in setting up the exhiljits, stopping en route to select a site 
on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado 
suitable for the erection of the monument to the late Maj. 
J. W. Powell recently provided for by the Congress; at Los 
Angeles, to ejJamine the collections in the Southwestern 
Museum ; at Santa Barbara, to study the plan of the mission ; 
and at San Francisco, to visit the museum of the University 
of California. While in Seattle visits were made to Tacoma, 
Washington, and to Victoria, British Columbia, for the pur- 
pose of examining collections of ethnological and archeological 
material preserved in these places. The chief returned to 
Washington on June 1 1 . 

Dm'ing the year the chief made studies of a more or less 
elaborate nature in the following museums : 

Blackmore Museum, Salisbury, England. 

University of La Plata Museum, Ai'gentine Republic. 

Faculty of Philosophy and Letters Museum, Buenos 
Aires, v^rgentine Republic. 

National Museum, Buenos Aires. 

National Museum, Santiago, Chile. 

National ]\Iuseum, La Paz, Bolivia. 

National Museum, Lima, Peru. 

California University Museum, San Francisco. 

Southwestern Museum, Los Angeles. 

Ferry Museum (Tozier collection), Tacoma, Wash- 

University of Washington Museum, Seattle, Wash- 

Provincial Museum, Victoria, British Columbia. 

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. 

Academy of Sciences Museum, Philadelphia. 
Early in the year the Bureau was urged by the officers of 
the Mississippi Valley Historical Association to contribute 
data relating to the history of the Indian tribes of the region 
for the meeting of the association convened in St. Louis 
June 15, 1909. The chief contributed a paper entitled 


"Remarks on the aboriginal history of the Mississippi 
Valley " ; and Mr. James Mooney and Dr. John R. Swanton 
were designated to attend the meeting and present papers 
dealing with kindred subjects. 

Mrs. M. C. Stevenson, ethnologist, remained in the field, 
in New Mexico, during the entire year. Having established 
headquarters at Espanola, she devoted her time largely to 
investigations among the local Pueblo tribes, interrupting 
the work for short periods to record valuable data commu- 
nicated by visiting members of the Zuili tribe. Her 
researches included detailed studies of the history, social 
organization and customs, rehgion and religious practices, 
and arts and industries of the Santa Clara and San Ildefonso 
tribes; and progress was made in the comparative study of 
these varied subjects among the numerous Pueblos. 

Aside from the more systematic ethnological work, Mi's. 
Stevenson gave much attention to her unfinished papers on 
"The preparation of cotton, yncca, and wool for the loom 
by the New Mexican tribes" and on the "Medicinal and food 
plants used by the Zuni Indians." 

Mr. F. W. Hodge, ethnologist, was engaged chiefly in 
continuing the editorial work on Part 2 of the Handbook of 
American Indians, canying along the proof-reading toward 
the close of the alphabet and writing and inserting many 
articles on lesser subjects that it had been found essential 
to include. In this work he had the assistance especially 
of Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt, who prepared articles pertaining 
chiefly to the Iroquois tribes; of Mr. William R. Gerard, of 
New York, who revised and rewrote numerous articles 
involving the etymology of Indian terms; and of Dr. Her- 
bert E. Bolton, of the University of Texas, who continued to 
supplj^, to the end of the alphabet, articles relating to the 
tribes of Texas. The work of completing the second part of 
the Handbook of American Indians did not proceed as rap- 
idly as was hoped at the beginning of the year, owing to the 
fact that the burden of the administrative work of the 
Bureau devolved upon Mr. Hodge when the chief was called 
to South America and later to the Seattle Exposition, as 


previously mentioned. In the Handbook work Mr. Hodge 
had the clerical assistance of Mrs. Frances S. Nichols. It is 
now expected that Part 2 will be ready for distribution in 
the near future. Mr. Hodge represented the Bureau on the 
Smitjisonian advisory committee on printing and publica- 
tion, and served also as a meml^er of the subcommittee on 
bibliographical citations. In addition he prepared answers 
to many inquiries from correspondents, oftentimes requiring 
considerable research. 

Dr. Cyrus Thomas, ethnologist, devoted his time during 
the year to work on the catalogue of books and papers 
relating to the Hawaiian Islands. This catalogue, in the 
preparation of which Prof. H. M. Ballou, of Boston, Massa- 
chusetts, is joint author, has grown to an extent not antici- 
pated at the outset. During the last and next preceding 
fiscal years Professor Ballou examined, for this puipose, the 
libraries of Boston and other cities of New England, and 
also of New York. He also visited Hawaii, where he made 
a careful examination of the public and private libraries of 
Honolulu, obtaining thereby considerable early mission and 
official material of a bibliographical nature not found else- 
where. During the same period Doctor Thomas visited 
Boston and Worcester twice, searching the libraries chiefly 
along special lines to which Professor Ballou had not given 
exhaustive attention ; he also devoted considerable time to an 
examination of the libraries of Washington. In addition to 
these researches considerable bibliographical material has 
been obtained by correspondence. As a result of this work 
the number of titles in the catalogue reaches some 6,200 — 
more than eight times the number in the largest catalogue 
in the same field hitherto published. Hon. George R. Carter, 
former governor of the Territory of Hawaii, has given much 
encouragement to this work; in fact, with Professor Ballou, 
he formed the leading spirit in its inception, though the be- 
ginning of the work for the Bureau was undertaken quite inde- 
pendently. Doctor Thomas has appended a subject or cross- 
reference catalogue of about 3,200 titles. In addition to this 
work Doctor Thomas assisted to some extent in the preparation 

15961°— 30 ETH— 15 2 


of Part 2 of the Handbook of American Indians, and attended 
to such official correspondence as was referred to him. 

Ml'. James IMooney, ethnologist, during the entire year 
was occupied chiefly in an iuA-estigation of the subject of 
the Indian population north of Mexico at the period of first 
disturbance and occupancy of the country by the whites. 
A preliminary study was condensed for introduction into 
Part 2 of the Handbook of the Indians. The final work is 
expected to appear as a bulletin of the Bm-eau. The inves- 
tigation is being carried out in detail for each well-defined 
geographic section, and for each tribe or tribal group sepa- 
rately, from the earliest period to the present, with careful 
sifting of authorities and consideration of Indian habits of 
living. No such detailed and extended study of the subject 
has ever before been attempted, and the result must prove 
of interest and importance. The usual share of attention 
was given also throughout the year to the preparation and 
proof-reading of various articles for the Handbook of the 
Indians and to routine correspondence. On request of the 
Mississippi Valley Historical Association, Mr. Mooney, 
together with Doctor Swanton, attended the meeting of 
that body at St. Louis, June 17-19, as representatives of 
the Bm-eau, and presented papers on the ethnology of the 
central region. 

During the year Dr. John R. Swanton, ethnologist, was 
engaged as follows : The months of October, November, and 
December, 1908, were spent in Oklahoma, Texas, and 
Louisiana. In Oklahoma the Natchez linguistic material 
collected by Gallatin, Pike, Brinton, and Gatschet was gone 
over with one of the four surviving speakers of the Natchez 
language, and about fifty pages of text were recorded. In 
Texas the Alibamu Indians were visited in an endeavor, 
partially successful, to determine the relationship of the 
Pascagoula tribe, formerly resident near them. In Louisiana 
the linguistic material collected by Gatschet and Duralde 
was gone over with some of the surviving Attacapa, Chiti- 
macha, and Tunica. On the way to Washington Doctor 
Swanton visited Columbia, South Carolina, to examine the 
earlv archives of that State. The most important result of 


the expedition, however, was the discovery at JMarksville, 
Louisiana, of a woman who remembers a large amount of 
the Ofo language formerly spoken on Yazoo River. As 
large a vocabulary of this language as possible was recorded. 

In the office Doctor Swanton completed the proof-reading 
of his work "Tlingit myths and texts," which was ready for 
the press at the close of the year. He completed also a 
bulletin dealing with " Indian tribes of the lower Mississippi 
Valley and adjacent coast of the Gulf of Mexico," and read 
proofs of the same. Additional work was accomplished as 
follows: The editing of the late J. O. Dorsey's material on 
the Biloxi language (in press), and the proof-reading of the 
same; the copying of texts collected during the field expedi- 
tion above referred to, and incorporating the linguistic 
material then obtained with the material previously col- 
lected in the Natchez, Attacapa, Chitimacha, and Tunica 
languages, and the copying on cards of the Ofo vocabulary; 
the reading of galley proofs of sketches of the grammar of 
the Haida and the Tlingit for the Handbook of Indian 
Languages; assistance rendered Doctor Thomas in pre- 
paring for publication a bulletin on the languages of 
Mexico and Central America, and work incidental to the 
preparation for publication of Byington's Choctaw Dic- 

Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt, ethnologist, was occupied in the office 
dm'ing the entire year. For a large portion of the time he 
was engaged in amending and transcribing the Onondaga 
text which, with a long supplement, is to form Part II of his 
Iroquoian Cosmology, and in supplying an interlinear ren- 
dering and a free translation of. the text. From his researches 
in connection with the preparation of articles for the Hand- 
book of American Indians he arrived at facts which 
greatly modify hitherto accepted views regarding the location 
and interrelations of the tribes around Lakes Huron and 
Michigan. In this connection he pursued extended studies 
of the early history of the Potawatomi, Mascoutens, Kick- 
apoo, Sauk, Foxes, Miami, and the "Nation de la Fourche," 
or "Tribe of the Fork," in an effort to identify these tribes 
with those known to the early Hurons by names which occur 


in the writings of Champlain, Sagard, and the Jesuit Fathers. 
The expulsion of the Potawatomi, Sauk, Foxes, and the Tribe 
of the Fork from their earhest known habitat in Michigan by 
the Neutrals and their Ottawa allies — not by the Iroquois, as 
commonly asserted — was determined, and the most probable 
course of their retreat fixed. Similar research was conducted 
among early records to determine as far as possible the iden- 
tity of the tribes whose names are recorded on the Dutch 
"Carte Figm'ative" of 1614, which represents them as living 
along the middle and upper Susquehanna River and its 
western affluents. As these names were erroneously identi- 
fied as Spanish in origin, and as such adopted without ques- 
tion, much confusion and many inaccuracies have arisen in 
recent historical works. 

Ml'. Hewitt continued the collection and elaboration of 
linguistic data for the sketch of Iroquois grammar as exem- 
plified in the Onondaga and the Mohawk, with parallel illus- 
trative examples fi'om the Seneca, Cayuga, and Tuscarora. 
He also partially rewi'ote the articles "Seneca" and "Sauk" 
for the Handbook of American Indians, and endeavored, so 
far as was feasible, to incorporate in the remaining galley 
proofs of this work the results of his later researches. Mr. 
Hewitt was also called on to prepare data of an ethnologic 
natiire for official correspondence. 

At the beginning of the year Dr. J. Walter Fewkes, ethnolo- 
gist, was in the field, having just completed the excavation 
and repair of the cliff -ruin known as the " Spruce-tree House," 
in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. Before the close of 
July he returned to Washington and commenced the prepara- 
tion of a report on this work, and undertook to complete the 
reports of imfinished researches of previous years. Dming 
his stay in Washington his services were enlisted in the build- 
ing of a large number of models of the ruins for the Alaska- 
Yukon-Pacific Exposition at Seattle and in supervising the 
painting of panoramic views of the Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde 
National Park for the same purpose. 

In June Doctor Fewkes again took up his work among the 
Mesa Verde ruins, and by the close of the year had made 
excellent progress in uncovering and reenforcing the crum- 


bling walls of Cliff Palace, the greatest of the ancient ruins 
of its kind in the arid country. 

The funds for the actual work of excava,tion and repair of 
these ruins were furnished by the Department of the Interior, 
which has control of the park. Being the essential feature 
of the park, it is most fortunate that these important and 
interesting ruins are now receiving adequate care and 
protection, since in recent years the progress of destructive 
agencies, especially the activities of relic hunters, has been 
very rapid. 

Special Researches 

As in former years, a number of collaborators were engaged 
in conducting researches of a special nature in various fields. 
Dr. Franz Boas, honorary philologist of the Bureau, continued 
his labors on the Handl^ook of Languages, assisted by a 
number of students. Prominent among these is Dr. Leo J. 
Frachtenberg, who at the close of the year was engaged in 
studying the language of the Siletz tribe on its reservation 
in Oregon. Part 1 of the Handbook of Languages is' 
now in press, and the work of Doctor Boas for the year 
included the proof-reading of this volume as well as the prep- 
aration of a portion of the text of Part 2. 

Miss Frances Densmore continued her researches relating 
to the music of the Chippewa, and a paper dealing with this 
subject was submitted for publication as Bulletin 45. A 
number of valuable phonographic records were obtained. 

Mr. J. P. Dunn, who was assigned the linguistic work 
among the western Algonquian tribes, left unfinished by the 
late Doctor Gatschet, continued the study of the Miami 
language among tribal remnants in Indiana and Oklahoma, 
and submitted a number of preliminary papers. 


The collections acquired by the Bvu-eau and transferred 
to the National Museum during the year comprise fifteen 
accessions, the more important being as follows : 

Collection of West Indian antiquities, purchased from 
C. W. Branch, St. Vincent, British West Indies. 


Indian relics from Moosehead Lake, Maine, presented bv 
Mr. J. D. McGuire. 

Cache of flaked stone objects from Moosehead Lake, 
Maine, pmxhased from T. Wilson. 

Collection of bones, potteiy fragments, etc., obtained by 
Mr. J. D. McGuire and Dr. Ales HrdliCka at Piscataway, 

Archeological objects collected by Dr. J. W. Fewkes, 
ethnologist, during the excavation and repair of Spruce-tree 
House in the Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. 

Pottery fragments from Coden, Alabama. 

Stone implements from Tiahuanaco, Bolivia, and an earth- 
enware vessel from Nazco, Peru, collected b}^ Mr. W. H. 

Fragments of earthenware of the variety known as "salt 
vessels," from the vicinity of Shawneetown, Illinois, pre- 
sented by Mr. R. Moore, of Equality, Illinois. 

Ethnologica of the Chitimacha Indians, collected by Dr. 
John R. Swanton. 


The editorial work remained in charge of Mr. J. G. Gurley, 
editor, who for a short period had the assistance of Mr. 
Stanley Searles. 

Work on the publications of the Bureau during the fiscal 
year may be briefly summarized as follows : The proof-reading 
of the Twenty-sixth Annual Report and of Bulletin 34 was 
completed, and these publications were issued. The Twenty- 
seventh Annual Report and Bulletins 39, 41, 42, 43, 46, and 
47 were prepared for and submitted to the Government 
Printing Office. Of these at the close of the year Bulletin 
42 was issued, while Bulletins 39 and 41, also Bulletin 38 
(the proof-reading of which occupied much time during the 
year) , were substantially ready for the bindery . The Twenty- 
seventh Annual and Bulletin 43 were in galley form, and 
considerable progress had been made in the composition of 
Bulletins 46 and 47. The preparation of nearly all the man- 
uscript of Bulletin 40, Part 1, was finished, and most of the 
volume was in type. 


At the close of the year manuscripts duly approved for 
publication as Bureau bulletins were on hand, as follows : 

Bulletin 37 (partially edited). Antiquities of central and 
southeastern Missouri, by Gerard Fowke. 

Bulletin 44 (partially edited). Linguistic families of 
Mexico and Central America, l^y Cyrus Thomas, assisted by 
John R. S wanton. 

Bulletin 45. Chippewa music, l^y Frances Densmore. 

The distribution of pul)lications continued as in former 
years. The Twenty-sixth Annual Report was issued in 
July, and Bulletin 34 in December. During the year 1,676 
copies each of the Twenty-sixth Anniial Report and Bulletin 
34 were sent to regular recipients, and 3,000 volumes and 
pamphlets were transmitted in response to special requests, 
presented largely by Members of Congress. The number of 
requests for the Bureau's publications greatly exceeded those 
received during any previous year. 


The preparation of illustrations continued in charge of 
Mr. De Lancey Gill, with Mr. Henry AValther as assistant. 
Illustrative material for six bulletins and one annual report 
was completed during the year; of this material 498 illus- 
trations were photographic prints and 77 were drawings. 
Proofs of the illustrations of three bulletins were examined 
and approved. Portrait negatives of 22 visiting Indian dele- 
gations to the number of 196 were made. The total output 
of the photographic laboratory was as follows: New nega- 
tives, 473; films exposed in the field and developed in the 
office, 454; photographic prints, 3,498. 


The library continued in charge of Miss Ella Leary, 
librarian. During the year 1,459 volumes and about 700 
pamphlets were received and catalogued, and about 2,000 
serials, chiefly the publications of learned societies, were 
received and recorded. As the law now permits the binding 
of miscellaneous publications belonging to the library at the 


expense of the allotment for general printing and binding, 
it was found possible to bind a much larger number of vol- 
umes than in previous years, and thus to save many valuable 
works that were thi-eatened with destruction. Dm-ing the 
year 2,194 volumes were sent to the bindery, and of these 
all but about 500 had been received before the close of the 
fiscal year. In addition to the use of its own library, which 
is becoming more and more valuable through exchange and 
by limited purchase, it was found necessary to draw on the 
Library of Congress for the loan of 513 volumes. The 
library of the Bm^eau now contains 15,511 volimies, about 
11,000 pamphlets, and several thousand unbound periodicals. 


Mr. J. B. Clayton served as custodian of manuscripts. 
The Bxu-eau now possesses 1,678 manuscripts, mostly 
linguistic, 19 having been added dmnng the year, mainly by 
purchase. All of these are of great value, and the number 
includes four by Miss Frances Densmore on Chippewa music, 
four by Mi'. J. P. Dunn on Miami and Peoria linguistics, one 
each by Miss Alice C. Fletcher on the Omaha Indians, Mr. 
D. I. Bushnell on the Choctaw Indians of Louisiana, and 
Mr. Paul Radin on the Winnebago Indians. The card cata- 
logue of manuscripts is complete to date. 

W. H. Holmes, Chief. 


The present annual report is accompanied with two memoirs, 
namely, Ethnohotany of the Zuni Indians, bj' Matilda Coxe Stevenson, 
and An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-lore of the Guiana Indians, 
by Walter E. Roth. 

The contribution first mentioned may be regarded as supplementary 
to Mrs. Stevenson's memoir on The Zuni Indians, pubhshed as the 
accompanying paper of the Twenty-third Annual Report of the 
Bureau. In recent years much attention has been devoted to study 
of the various uses to which plants have been put by the Indians. 
This is the second paper devoted exclusively to the subject which 
the Bureau of American Ethnology has taken in hand for pubhcation. 

That plants play an important part in the daUy life of the Zuni, as 
indeed of all Indian tribes, is shown by Mrs. Stevenson, who finds 
that in Zuni behef plants are verily a part of themselves. Plants, 
mdeed, are regarded as sentient beings, for the initiated of the Zuni 
can talk with them, and the plants can talk wath the initiated. 
Plants also are sacred, for some of them were dropped to earth by 
the Star People; some originally were human beings, others are the 
property of the gods, and all are the offspring of the Earth Mother. 
Therefore so interwoven with plant fife, in both a rehgious and an 
economic way, are the customs and beliefs of the Zuni people, and 
so dependent are they on the products of the soil, that their cidture 
may be said to have had its origin in concepts pertaining to the 
Vegetal kingdom. 

Mrs. Stevenson, like Dr. Washington Matthews before her, finds 
that plants used by the Indians m medicine are not employed entirely 
in a shamanistic way, experience having shown that many medicines 
derived from plants have medicinal value, and are properly and 
effectually prescribed by the native doctors, although we may not 
presume that the medical practices of tlie Zuiii, notwithstanding the 
relatively high degree of culture of that tribe, have passed beyond 
the empirical stage. 

Mrs. Stevensoji describes the various uses to which plants and 
their parts are put by the Zuni, in medicine, food, weaving, dyeing, 
and basketry, in the decoration of pottery, in the toilet, m folk-lore 
and ceremony, and in names pertaining to the clans. It is trusted 
that these results of Mrs. Stevenson's studies will suggest to others 
the need of giving special attention to this interestmg and important 

phase of the ethnologv of our Indian tribes. 

' , 25 


The second memoir, by Walter E. Roth, who has long been a resi- 
dent of British Guiana and a student of its aborigines, treats of the 
religious and mythological beliefs of those people. Like Indians 
generally, the natives of Guiana had no idea of a supreme being in 
the modern conception of the term. For example, the terms em- 
ployed by the Arawak for the Christian deity — and the same may be 
said of the other tribes — "show signs that they have been adapted to 
express a conception to which they could have been introduced only 
within modern times . . . because in none of the Arawak mytlis 
and legends relative to the creation, even in those pubhshed by 
clerics, is there a single reference to the All-Maker." According to 
one writer, some of the Orinoco tribes considered the Sun as the 
supreme being and first cause; it was to him the}' attributed all tem- 
poral blessings. Others, on the contrary, believed that everything 
depended on the influence of the moon, while some of the tribes wor- 
shipped both the sun and the moon. Various writers, evidently 
misled by certain conceptions derived by the Indians from missiona- 
ries, have attributed deific powers to Alubiri and Kororomanna, who 
were in fact tribal heroes of the Arawak and Warrau, respectively; 
and similar powers have been ascribed to other beings to whom the 
Indians did not, originally at least, attribute supernatural force. 
Doctor Roth devotes a chapter to the discussion of the beliefs, tales, 
and traditions associated with these tribal heroes, one of whom, 
Amalivaca, is known throughout a region of more than 5,000 square 

Evidences of a spirit, idol, and fetish cult are very scarce, but they 
are recognizable in familiar spirits and in the kickshaws of the 
medicine-man. Certain ceremonial performances, in which dancing 
"to the sound of very noisy instriunents " (which Doctor Roth iden- 
tifies as trumpets) is the chief outward feature, were held in front of 
idols. The same instrument was sounded under palm trees that they 
might bear abundant fruit. Toads were regarded as gacred and were 
kept under pots in order to obtain rain and fine weather. By some 
of the tribes frogs were regarded as the gods of the waters, and, like 
the toads, were beaten when rain did not fall. Beyond mention of 
certain snake dances, there seems to be nothing akin to actual worship 
and similar ceremonies in connection with these animals. Figurines 
representing human personages and various animals, including birds, 
reptiles, and fishes, the author does not regard as examples of a fetish 
cult, although their real significance so far has not been satisfac- 
torily explained. 

In the beUef of the Guiana natives man was either brought to the 
earth from cloud-land or was created here — in the latter case from 
animals, snakes, plants, or rocks. On the other hand, certain plants 
were derived from human beings or from bush spirits, or grew upon 


a wonJerfiil tree, while some animals arose from the spirits of men. 
The body of man was originally considered immortal; it was reno- 
vated by a change of skin or by a fountain of youth, and the immortal 
character of the body was assured by its transformation into stone. 

The body is the abode of several spirits — the shadow, head, heart, 
pulse-beat, blood, spittle, footprint, and bone spirits possessed by 
both men and the lower animals. Stages in the conception of spirit 
immortahty are shown in the mortuary customs: the attitude in 
which the corpse is buried; flattery and adulation; festivals and 
feasts; furnishing the dead with tlie means of capturing the assailant; 
supplying the dead with dogs, M'omen, weapons, ornaments, and food; 
eating; his flesh and bones; exhuming his remains for witchcraft and 
prophecy; abandonment of place of sepulture, etc. Spirits which 
have assumed anthropomorphic forms may reach their final destina- 
tion direct, or only after passing through trials and ordeals. The 
conception of a futui'e existence conditioned on conduct m this life is 
probably a borrowed one. Spirits ai-e gooil or bad according as they 
help or harm the Indians, antl not according to the bodies whence 
they have been derived, as has been generally supposed. Individuals 
can be reheved of the presence of undesirable spirits b^'' the use of 
rattles and by blowing. Dreams are caused by spii'its which reside 
in the head. Imbeciles are in intimacy with good spirits, hence their 
words and actions are regarded as signs of divinity and then- doings 
and sayings are oracular. The cult of f amihar spuits reached a high 
development among the Island Carib. Though presented with offer- 
ings, these spirits could be invoked only by the medicine-man, and 
bemg more or less intimately associated with human bones, were 
often caUed into requisition for purposes of witchcraft and prophecy. 
Doctor Roth assembles the available information regarding the vari- 
ous spiiits, and mcorporates in his memou" the myths and tales 
respecting them. Of prime importance among these are the bush 
spirits; there are also spirits of the mountain, spirits of the water, 
and spirits of the skv', all of which are treated and the related myths 

Omens, charms, and tahsmans, with the behefs respectmg them 
and the strange uses to which they are put, are described by the 
author, who presents also a chapter on restrictions as to game and 
food, visions, arts and crafts, and nomenclature. Sexual life (puberty 
ordeals, courtship and marriage, and chiklbirtli ordeals); the medi- 
cine man, his practices, insignia, and supposed power; the terrible 
spirit known as Kanaima and its influence over human beings, are 
adequately treated. The closing chaptei-s of the memoir on those 
hitherto little-known tribes of Guiana are devoted to miscellaneous 
beliefs concerning men and animals ; animism of recent mtroduction, 
and miscellaneous folk-lore independent of animism. 


So successfully has Doctor Roth gathered from the available 
sources his information regarding these aborigines of northern South 
America and the adjacent isles that students of the American Indians 
will await vnth great interest his proposed work on the general 
ethnology of the tribes of that region. 

F. W. Hodge, 
November, 1.914- 







Introduction 35 

Medical practices and medicinal plant's 39 

Edilile plants 65 

Use of plants in weaving 77 

Use of plants in dyeing 80 

Use of plants in basketry 81 

Use of plants in pottery decoration 82 

Use of plants for the toilet 83 

Use of plants in folk-lore 84 

Clan names and other names derived from plants 86 

Ceremonial uses of plants 87 

List of plants 101 


Plate 1. Zuni Pueblo, from the south, Zuiii River in the foreground 35 

2. Dance of the Uwannami (Rain makers) 39 

3. To'wa yallanne (Com Mountain), Zuni Pueblo in the foreground.. 43 

15961°— 30 ETH — 15 3 ■ 33 

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■■■: 'i^^ t. X' 

Hi-" ^- 
















By Matilda Coxe Stevenson 


THERE is perhaps no tril^o of North American Indians which 
has interested the intelligent world more than the Zuni, who 
live in an arid country in the extreme western part of New 
Mexico. Then- great community pueblo (pis. 1, 3) occupies the site 
of one of the seven villages inhabited by the tribe at the time of the 
invasion of the Spanish conquerors, before the middle of the sixteenth 

Although the Zuni form a distinct linguistic stock, according to 
Powell's classification, it is known from a study of their prayers and 
rituals that they are a composite people, some havmg come from 
the north, while othere came from the south. According to their 
traditions they journeyed from the far northwest in quest of the 
' ' middle place of the world, " and on reaching theu- goal were contented 
to remain. The migration legend of the Zuni relates that they were 
driven from their homes at this "middle place" by a great flood 
that covered the earth, to To'wa yal'lanne ('corn mountain'), a beau- 
tiful mesa of red and white sandstone, about three and a half mUes 
to the eastward. The pueblo ruins on the summit of this mesa 
would seem to indicate that the height was occupied for a considerable 
time. There are also on the mesa many interesting shrines to the 
Sun Father, Moon Mother, and Gods of War. 

The Zuni again took refuge on To'wa yal'lanne when the Spaniards 
fu'st invaded their country, and again at the time of the Pueblo 
revolt against Spanish authority in 1680. These sojourns on the 
mesa, however, were mere episodes in the life of the Zuni people, 
for they returned each time to their vaUey homes where they con- 
tinued to elaborate their philosophy and system of rituals. They 
held so tenaciously to their autochthonous mstitutions, resisting 
all external interference, that they lived, as it were, a life unto them- 

Such was the condition of the Zuni in 1879, when the late Mr. 
James Stevenson, of the Bureau of Ethnology, accompanied by the 
writer and others, made his first visit among these people, who at 
once took the visitors into theh confidence, inviting them to be present 
at all social and ceremonial functions. 



The long winter nights wore devoted by the Zuni to the ceremonies 
of their secret fraternities, exhorting their most benevolent gods; 
rain priests m retreat invoked their anthropic deities for rain to 
fructify the earth, and elders taught the youths, sitting attentively 
at their knees by the flickering firelight, the mysteries" of their life and 
religion. Of all the secrets of their lives none is more strictly guarded 
or more carefully transmitted than the knowledge of healmg. The 
"doctor" instructs in the lore of plants, and the relation of plants 
to man and beast. 

Many changes have taken place at Zuni since the year above noted. 
Houses then lighted by day with tiny windows formed of a mosaic 
of translucent selenite, and at night by the light from the family fire, 
now have modern triple windows, factory doors with transoms, 
and hanging lamps. There has been a gradual decrease in the atten- 
tion given by the youths to instruction in the tribal religion, and 
with few excej:)tions the men of today perform the elaborate rituals 
with only a superficial knowledge of the esoteric meaning of all they 
do and say. The days of the Zuni seers are numbered, and with 
the passing of the few that remam the curtain will fall forever on 
the underlying principles and teachings of then rituals, although 
their outward form may survive, in one form or another, as long as 
the Zuiii remain a communal people, for their religious beliefs, 
though fraught with fear of their gods, are the pivot upon which they 
turn with all their hopes and joys. To the present time the Zuni 
have persistently refused to accept the religion of the white man, 
except when compelled to do so outwardly under the early Spanish 
regime, always declaring that they would never renounce then- own 
beliefs, and that "one could not have two religions and be a man." 

The Zuni live with theu- plants — the latter are a part of themselves. 
The initiated can talk with theu- plants, and the plants can talk with 
them. Plants are sacred to the Zuni, for some of them were dropped 
to the earth by the Star People; some were human beings before 
they became plants; others are the property of the gods, and all, 
even those fronr the heavens, are the offspring of the Earth Mother, 
for it was she who gave the plants to the Star People before they left 
this world and became celestial bemgs. The Zuiii love their plants. 
The breath prayers to their rain-makers carried by the spiritual 
essence of the plumes planted in the earth are invocations to these 
gods to send the rains to fructify the Earth Mother that she may give 
of the fullness of her beuig, and make the world beautiful by her gifts. 
(See pi. 2.) Vegetation is symbolized by blue-gi-een on the sacred 
dance-kilts worn by the personators of the rain-makers, and there 
are many other designs on fabrics, ceramics, and ceremonial objects, 
symbolizing the fullness of the earth. 


In all the poetic conceptions of the Zuui one gi-eat object is para- 
mount — food to suppoj-t the physical man. 

Thus — Ma>- the rain-makere water the Earth Mother that she may be made beautiful 
to look upon. May the rain-makers water the Earth Mother that she may become 
fruitful and give to her children and to all the world the fruits of her being, that we 
may have food in abundance. May the Sun Father embrace our Earth Mother that 
she may becimie fruitful, that food may be bountiful, and that our children may live 
the span of life, not die, but sleep to awake with their gods. 

While it was generally observed by earh' travelers among the 
Indians that they employed plants for medicinal pin-poses, it was 
long believed, even b}^ scientific students, that the practices of 
Indian doctors were purely shamanistic. The late Dr. Washington 
Matthews, however, declared from the beginnmg of his ethnological 
investigations that the Indians employed many plants of real value 
in medicine. Sir. Stevenson made the same assertion, and the 
writer discovered in the beginning of her researches among the Zuni 
Indians in 1879 that they had many legitimate plant medicines, 
among which was a narcotic, of which more will be said later. 
In addition to their use in medicine and for food, plants are em- 
ployed by the Zuiii in weaving and dyemg, in making basketry, mats, 
brushes, rope and cords of various kinds, and also in pottery decora- 
tion, in the toilet, and in ceremonies. Clans, individuals, and locali- 
ties are named for plants. 

In this memou- medicinal plants will be first considered. Where a 
common name is known, it is given; where the native name or its 
derivation is onoitted, it is because the writer did not succeed in 
recording the data. 

The specimens of plants dealt with in the following pages were 
collected largely by the writer and Me'she, the late younger-brother 
Bow-Priest of Zuni, who gave his heart not only to the collecting of 
the plants, but to their classification according to the Zuni system and 
to their use by his people. After careful study of the plants with 
Me'she, the writer at various times verified the information through 
others, both men and women, especially versed in plant lore. 

Usually the Zuni have a name for each species of a genus of plants, 
but in some cases they employ the same name for different genera. 
This is not due to theh- lack of appreciation of the botanical difference, 
but to the fact that two or more plants may serve the same purpose 
or have sunilar characteristics. Some plants are curiously associated 
in name with animals, others are named from the medicinal quaUties 
attributed to them, while others receive theu- names from those of 
animals to which they are believed to belong. Of the last-mentioned 
class there are, for example, the cougar, the bear, the badger, the 
wolf, the eagle, and the shrew medicine, these animals behig assigned 


to the six cosmic regions — north, west, south, east, zenith, and nadir. 
There are also medicines belonging to the hummingbird and others 
of the feathered kmgdom.^ 

The j^lants herein noted are probably only a portion of those 
employed by the Zuni, and it is probable also that the medicinal 
plants may be used m the treatment of a greater number of diseases 
than it has been possible to determine even after a long period of 
close study. This memou' is presented as preliminary therefore to 
more extended comparative efthnobotanical researches among the 
Pueblo tribes of the Southwest. 

The wTiter is pleased to make acknowledgment to the following 
gentlemen for courtesies extended durmg the preparation of this 
paper: Mr. F. W. Hodge, ethnologist-m-charge of the Bureau of 
American Ethnology; Mr. W. H. Holmes, head curator of anthro- 
pology. United States National Museum; Dr. Walter Hough, curator 
of ethnology. United States National Museum; Dr. Frederick V. 
Coville, ciu-ator. United States National Herbarium; Dr. J. N. Rose, 
associate cm'ator, division of plants, United States National Museum; 
Mr. Paul C. Standley, assistant curator, division of plants, United 
States National Museum (who kindly furnished a complete classifica- 
tion of the platits mentioned in the paper) ; Mr. E. S. Steele, editorial 
assistant, division of plants. United States National Museum; Dr. 
Rodney H. True, in charge of drug-plant investigation. Department 
of Agiiculture; Miss Alice Henkel, assistant in drug-plant investiga- 
tion, Department of Agriculture; Dr. George TuUy Vaughan and 
Dr. Henr}' Krogstad, of Washington; and Mr. John P. Harrington, 
of the School of American Ai'chiEology, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 
The writer desires to express her indebtedness also to her Zuiii 
friends, especially the late Nai'uchi, elder-brother Bow-Priest, and 
the most renowned medicine-man of his time, if not of any period, 
among his people; his son, Halian, an associate rain priest; the high 
priest, also a pronunent medicine-man, and his son Hun'ki, the two 
bemg members of the medicine order of the Galaxy fraternity, one 
of the origmal organizations of the Zuni; Cantina, a member of the 
Eagle-down fraternity; Zuni Nick, a member of the Great Fire 
fraternity; Tsi'nahc, a member of the Sword Swallowers fraternity, 
and his wife, a member of the Shu'maakwe, and others — to all these 
she owes a debt of gratitude for their friendly interest and for their 
earnest, conscientious, and voluntary aid. 

1 The association of plant medicines with animals has caused some students erroneously to believe that 
these medicines are part of, or are prepared from, the animals or birds which bear their respective names. 


Medical treatment is older than intelligence in man. The dog 
himts the fields for his special grass medicine; the bear dresses the 
wound of her cub or feUow-bear with perhaps as much inteUigence 
as primitiv-e man observes in his emphical practice. Primitive man 
does not know why his medicine cures ; he simply knows that it does 
cure. He believes disease to be the result of malign influence, 
includuig that of liis fellow man, to whom he attributes the power of 
sorcery which he himself is unable to overcome; hence he must 
sununon the aid of the beast gods, who alone possess the power of 
combating the malevolent practices of the sorcerer,^ while he admin- 
isters their medicine. The plants of the gods could not effect a cure, 
however, by the mere use of the medicines concocted from them; 
dm-ing the treatment of the patient prayers and supplications must 
be offered to the gods to whom the medicine belongs. 

Although the therapeutics of the Indians is largely associated with 
occultism, these people have discovered thi'ough the ages and brought 
into practical use numerous valuable plant medicines ; but in the first 
stages in the use of plants it was not miderstood that they wore 
endowed with healing properties, except as they were associated 
with the gods, and the old conception is still adhered to. The plants 
regarded as the sole property of man no doubt were discovered at a 
later period. 

The Gods of War and other anthropic deities have their particular 
medicines, which are employed by those privileged to administer 
them. The rain priests possess medicines of celestial bodies, and of 
sacred birds, and they also make use of Datura meteloides (see pp. 
89, 90). This precious plant, which is believed to have been once a 
boy and a girl, may be used only by the rain priests and by the 
directors of the Little Fire and Cimex fraternities. 

There are other plant medicines belonging to medicine orders of the 
secret fraternities that are not the property of the gods. While all 
legitimate medicmes have come mto use by accident or through 
experiment, there is a great difference m the Zuni mind between the 
medicines of the gods and those that have become known to the fra- 
ternities through members who have given the secrets of their 
immediate ancestors one to another or to the fraternity at large. A 
high ethical standard is recognized by the members of the fraternities. 

• The beast gods were originally human beings who preceded the Zuni to this world. They brought with 
them the knowledge of mystery medicine (healing of ills produced by witchcraft) from the imdermost 
world. See 'iSd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn., p. 49. 



If, for example, a member of a fraternity gives his medicine to a 
fellow member, it is customary for the recipient to return the favor 
in kind. These medicines are usually presented with the under- 
standing that they may be introduced into the medicine order of the 
fraternity to which the recipient belongs. Again, a man may present 
his medicine to an individual to be held m inviolate secrecy by him; 
or a man may forever hold secret the medichial properties of plants 
the Icnowledge of which has come to him through inheritance for 
generations. Many medicines of this last-named class are adminis- 
tered in the most practical mannei-. 

Mention has already been made of plant medicines associated in 
the Zuni mind with animals. 

The Zuni assert that the reason of the late Nai'uchi's great success 
as a doctor was his exclusive knowledge of certain medicinal plants. 
Only those in affluent circumstances could afford to command Nai'- 
uchi's services, because of his exorbitant charges. The secrets per- 
taining to plants often sell at a considerable price. 

There are also among the Zuni medicmes free to the people at 
large, which may be administered by laymen, one member of a family 
prescribing them for another or for a neighbor, without the ad^ace of 
a "doctor." 

In some cases the theurgist makes no use of medicine, but, acting 
under the influence of the animal gods, with the mmd's eye he pene- 
trates the flesh, locates the cause of the disease which has been "shot" 
into the body by means of sorcery, and extracts it by sucking; or 
he may merely manipulate the spot with his hand and draw the 
malevolent substance from the body. This is so dextrously done 
that, although the writer has been seated beside the nude theurgist 
innumerable times, she was never able to observe that he had secreted 
any object m his mouth or hand until Nai'uchi, in an almost dying 
condition, treated a patient who imagined a sorcerer had injured his 
eyesight. It was then evident to the wi'iter, who sat by the side of 
the old man, that the pebbles he was supposed to press from the 
patient's eyes were held in the most remarkable manner in the palm 
of his right hand, which apparently was held in a natural position. 
Such treatment is usually practiced on one who miagines that he has 
been face to face with a wizard or a witch and so subjected to mahgn 

It is when a theurgist realizes that a person is genuinely ill that he 
brings his plant medicine into use. It is usual for the doctor to treat 
the patient with his personal or fraternity medicuie for ordinary 
ailments; if the disease does not yield, he knows that his patient is 
not suffermg from some minor enemy, such as ants,^ but has been 

1 Ants cause many cutaneous troubles because of their anger over the disregard shown for their houses. 
"Ants shoot tiny pebbles into the flesh," the Zuni say. 


bewitched by man. Then he acts in the capacity of thexii'gist, 
employmg the medicines of the gods, whom he invokes for their spir- 
itual presence and bestowal on liim of power to heal the disease. 

Medicines supposed to belong to the gods are administered with 
much ceremony, for the medicines themselves are of virtue because 
they are the property of certain gods who must be present in sphit 
and give power to the theurgist to act for them, otherwise the reme- 
dies would not be efficacious. 

The use of Datura by the Indians has long been known. In the 
dark age of medical science "the Royal Society of London gravely 
inquired of Sir Philberto Vernatti, 'Whether the Indians can so pre- 
pare the stupefjnng herb Datura, that they make it lie several days, 
months, or years, according as they will have it, m a man's body, 
and at the end kill him without missing half an hour's time?'"' 

There can be no question as to the earl}' use of antiseptics and 
narcotics by the Zuni, as well as by other prunitive peoples,^ but 
with civiHzed man it remained for Lister to revolutionize surgery by 
the introduction of scientific antiseptic treatment. Datura stra^ 
monium was introduced to the medical profession m 1762 by Baron 
Stoerck, of Vienna, and it was given, a place in the homeopatfiic 
pharmacopoea about a centiu-y ago when Hahnemann established its 
action and therapeutic uses. It is claimed that the European gypsies 
in the middle ages employed the smoke of Datura stramonium to 
delude their dupes. The Zuni rain priests administer Datura 
meteloides that one may become a seer, and the Zuni " doctor " gives 
the root of the plant to render his patient unconscious while he 
performs simple operations — setting fractm-ed Hmbs, treathig dis- 
locations, makuig mcisions for removing pus, eradicating diseases 
of the uterus, and the like. The narcotic is seldom employed by 
the Zuni for the extraction of bullets, as men, they say, are not like 
women, and they must be Tnen. In such cases the Zuni "doctor" 
makes an hicision with his fhnt knife m the form of a cross, after 

1 Bigelow, X mf r. Medical Botany, 1817, vol. i, pp. 21-22. 

- The Pueblos of New Mexico and .\rizona generally, the California Indians, the Mohave, the Pima, 
and perhaps many others, make use of Datura meteloides and 2). stramonium. See Dodge in Report of 
the Commissioner of Agriculture for 1870, p. 423, Wasliington, 1871; Palmer in Amer. Jour. Pharmacy, 1th 
ser., vol. 8, p. 589, Phila., 1878. In 1879 the present wTiter obtained a specimen of Datura meteloides in 
powdered form and submitted it to Prof. F. W. Clarke, chief chemist of the United Static Geological Sur- 
vey, but the quantity was not sufBcient for analysis, and it was not until 1902 that she learned the identity 
of the drug. 

In 1891 Mr. James Mooney. of the Bureau of .American Ethnology, found the peyote (Anhalonium lewinii, 
" mescal button " ) extensively employed in ceremony by the Eiowa and other tribes of the southern plains 
for the purpose of brmgmg about an ecstatic state. In 1,S94 Mr. Mooney brought to Washington a quantity 
of peyote, which was subjected to analysis by Dr. E. E. Ewell, of the Department of Agricultiu-e, and 
subsequent investigation showed that the peyote possesses properties unlike those of any other known 
drug. "The study o! Anhalonium leuinii," say Doctors Prentiss and Morgan (Mescal Buttons, Medical 
Record, Washington, -\ug. 22. 1896), "is of comparatively recent date, the subject having been brought 
to the attention of the medical world in 1888 by Doctor Lewin, of Berlm, who published at that time the 
results of his observations upon the drug. In 1894 Doctors Lewin and Heffter, of Germany, reported the 
results of further study of the subject." 


which the four sections are laid back, the fiaps '■■) be restore;! to place 
after the missile is extracted. 

"\Miile powdered piiion gam iPinus edulis Engehii.) is ■ ■ general 
use as an antiseptic, the Zuni employ other plants also foi .liis pur- 
pose. As these could be procured only in the form of po\. tier and 
in very small quantities, analysis was not possible. Doctor Matthews 
observed a Zuni Indian cleanse a wound with a decoction of red 
willow: the wound healed in a .short time. 

Achillea lanulosa Nutt. Yarrow. Carduace^. Thistle family. 
Ha'tsenawe, 'cold leaf (ha <ha'li, leaf; tse'nawe, cold). 

The leaves of this plant are said to produce a cooler sensation, 
when appUed to the skin, than those of any other plant. 

Such fraternity men as manipulate with fire chew the blossoms 
and root of tliis plant and rub the mixture on their liml>s and chests 
previous to passing Hve coals over tlieir bodies. The same mixture, 
in liquid form, is employed for bathing the bodies of those who dance 
in fire, and is placed in the mouth before taking live coals into it.' 
Wlien employed for the above pur]>ose the plant is the exclusive 
property of the secret fraternities wliich perform with fire. 

^he entire plant ground and mixed with cold water is applied to 
bums. Wlien thus used the medicine is common property. 

Achillm'vr&s known to the ancients. Pliny states that the generic term. Achillea, 
was named for Achilles, a physician who was one of the first to use a species of this 
plant ae a \ulnerar)'. Yarrow is sold by the native herbalists of India, like rosemary, 
where it is used as a liitter and in medicated vapor liaths for fevers (Dymock). The 
Italians employed it in intermittent fever.s, and in the Scottish highlands it is made 
into an ointment for wounds. According to Linnceus the Dalecarlians used it as a sub- 
stitute for hops in the making of ale, believing it to impart to it intoxicating qualities. 
Both Stahl and Haller used this plant extensively.^ 

Artemisia frigida WiUd. Wormwood. CARDUACEiE. Tlustle 

To' shoelia' chilcla, 'seeds leaf sweet' {to' shoe, seeds; ha <ha'li, 
leaf; chi'Tcia, sweet). 
This plant, wliich belongs to the people in general, is made into a 
tea and drunk warm as a remedy for colds. 

Artemisia wrightii A. Gray. Wormwood. 
Hd'lo Ma'we, 'ant seeds' (ha'lo, ant; Ma'we, seeds). 
The plant is held downward over a bowl of live coals wliile the 
maker of medicine-water of the Ant fraternity (the only person 
privileged to administer this mecUcine) rubs off the seeds upon the 
coals. Durmg the process the patient stands nude, astride the bowl, 
with head bent and the entire body covered with blankets. Tlus 
sweat-bath is administered to relieve pains tlu'ough the body caused 

' See SSd Ann. Rep. But. A mer. Ethn., p. 407. When present at fire ceremonies the writer noted that 
live coals were held in the mouth thirty to sixty seconds, 
• King, A mer. Disp., 1898, vol. I, p. 19. 



by a seveie cold. Wlien thus employed the plant belongs only 
to the Ant f^f^i'iiity. 

Aster hesperius A. Gray. Aster. Carduace^. Tliistle family. 
Kuri'ir.mne lo'TclaTM. 'gray root' (Jcwi'minne, root; lo'lckina, 
gray) . 

This name is applied when the entire plant is used. The term 
ha'mopiwe, 'leaf balls', referring to the inflorescence and the rays of 
the aster {ha<Tia'K, leaf; mo' jnawe , balls), is applied to the plant 
when the blossoms oiily are used. 

The entire plant is ground between stones in the fraternity chamber 
of the Shu'maakwe,' at noon during the elaborate ceremony of the 
preparation of the fi-aternity medicine in August, by the A'wautsi'ta 
('great mother' of the fraternity), to the accompaniment of the 
potter}' drum, rattle, and song. This medicine is in the exclusive 
possession of the a'lcwamosi (dii"ector of medicine), and is used only 
on the faces of the personators of the Shu'maikoli, patron gods of tliis 

The diy powdered medicine is applied to such parts of the face as 
have been chafed by the mask, and soon brings relief. Wlien the 
plant is employed for this purpose it belongs only to the Shu'maakwe. 

Tliis plant is used also by the Priestliood of the Bow for the treat- 
ment of buUet or arrow wounds. A tea is made by boiling the entire 
plant. If practicable, the missile Ls removed by squeezing. The 
wound is washed out with a bit of twisted cloth dipped into the 
warm tea. When possible the cloth is passed through the cavity 
of the wound; a slender twig wTapped with raw cotton is then dipped 
into the tea and the wound Ls again washed until thoroughly cleansed. 
Pinon gum, softened by chewing, is made into a pencil, rolled in the 
powdered root, and inserted into the wound. After withdrawing 
the gum pencil a quantity of the root jiowder is sprinkled into the 
wound; then a pinch of finely ground pinon moistened with spittle 
is put on the wound, and bandaged in place. Tliis treatment is 
repeated in the morning and at sunset. Previous to the dressing of 
the wound each time, if the missile has not been removed the medicine- 
man endeavors to extract it by pressure. The yoimger-brother Bow 
Priest informed the -wo-iter that usually not more than two days were 
required for the extraction of the bullet or arrow by means of this 
process ; but should it not be removed in tliis way, resort was had to 
the knife. 

For bleeding at the nose the blossoms of this plant are crushed and 
sprinkled on live coals, and the smoke is inhaled. The remedy is 
said to be a specific for this ailment. When used for tliis purpose it 
belongs to all the people. 

' See gSi Ann. Rep. But. A mar. Elhn., p. 543. 



te , -> ^ 

Atriplex canescens (Pursh) James. Salt-bush. CHE^^poIJIACE5;. 

Goosefoot family. * , 

Ke'mawe, 'salt weed' (ke, weed; ma'we, salt). "' V*»* 
The dried root and blossoms are ground separately and the two 
powders combined. Moistened with saliva, this mi^i^rc is employfid— 
externally to cure ant bites. When the powderis not at hand the 
fresh blossoms, bruised, are applied. 

Baliia ivoodJiousei Gray. Carduaceje. Thistle family. 
Ha'pali. 'bitmg leaf Qia<ha'li, leaf; pa'li, bitmg, Uke pepper). 
The enthe plant is steeped in water and the tea diaink while hot 
for sick stomach; copious vomiting ensues. 

This medicine belonged only to the Shu'maakwe fraternity until 
given by the Shu'maakwe' to the Great Fhe fraternity. 

Berula ereda (Huds.) CoviUe. Water Parsnip. Apiace.*:. 

Carrot family. 
Pi'tklaia, 'spring plant'. This plant is found around the springs. 
The leaves and blossoms of the plant constitute an ingredient of the 
medicinal pats of the Shu'maakwe fraternity.^ 

Campanula parryi A. Gray. Bluebell. CAMPANtnLACEiE. BeU- 

flower family. 
V'teali'anna, 'blue flower' (u'fea, flower; H'anna, blue). 
The blossoms are chewed and the saliva is applied to the skin to 
render it depilous. According to the statements of the Zuni tliis 
medicine removes only young hau*. It belongs to the people in 
common. For reducing bruises the chewed root is applied wath 
bandages. Wlien employed for this purpose the remedy belongs 
only to the fraternities. 

Carduus ockrocentms (A. Gray) Greene. Thistle. Cabduace^. 

Thistle famUy. 

Ko'tcakdtsi, a name supposed to have been given this plant by 

Ko'mokatsi, mother of the anthropic gods, after her own 

name, which signifies 'old dance woman.' ^ 

The entire plant is placed over night in a vessel of cold water. 

The water is drunk morning, noon, and at sunset as a cure for 

syphilis (su'towe).* Immediately after taking each dose the patient, 

if a man, runs rapidly to promote perspkation and to accelerate action 

J Since her work on the Ziiiii Indians was published (S3d Ann. Rep. But. Amer. Ettin.) the writer has 
learned the full meiininji of Shu'maakwe (shu'ma'Cshu'minne, spiral shell; kwe, people of a fraternity). 
This fraternity was named by the Shu'maikoli, certain anthropic gods: 1)ut the gods had no shells to give 
to the fraternity. When the Great Fire fraternity learned that the Shu'maakwe did not possess the spiral 
shells for which the latter were named, the directors of the Fire fraternity shared with them the shells which 
they had brought from the undermost world. 

3See2Sd Arm. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethv.,p. 545. 

3 Ibid., p. 33. 

* Syphilis is quite common among the Zuni, having increased greatly since these people came intocloser 
contact with the white race. When the wTiter first visited Zuni, in 1S79, it was rare to find a girl who was 
not virttious, and the finger of scorn was always pointed at one who had departed from the path of rex-titude; 
but at the present time immorality is common and sj-philis is spreading in the tribe. 

* ■it 


of the kidneys. On returning to the house he is wrapped in blankets. 
• If the patient be a woman she does not i"un, but sits bundled in heavy 
blankets. The medicine often mduces vomiting. It belongs to all 
the people. 

Chenopodium comutum Benth. & Hook. Chenopodiace^. 

Goosefoot family. 
Ha'techi, 'strong odor leaf (ha<7ia'li, leaf; te'clii, strong odor). 
The plant is steeped in water and the vapor is inhaled to relieve 
headache. This remedy belongs to all the fraternities. 

Orassina grandijlora (Nutt.) Kuntze. Zinnia. Carduace^. 

Thistle family. 
Tu'na iTcwpokm, 'put into eyes' {tu'na, eyes; i'Tda-pokvi, to put 
into) . 
The entire plant is reduced to powder between stones; tliis is 
sprinkled over hot stones, beside which sits a fever patient, who 
inliales the fumes. Tliis treatment is accompanied with a sweat- 
bath, both the patient and the stones with the medicine being cov- 
ered with heavy blankets. The powder is also ejected from the mouth 
upon a bruise, which is then bound with a cloth. The blossoms are 
crushed in cold water to make an eye-wash. 
The plant belongs to all the fraternities. 

Crotontexensis (Klotzsch) Muell. Arg. Croton. Euphorbiace^e. 

Spurge family. 
Ha'suski, 'coyote leaf Qia <'ha'li, leaf; su'shi, coyote). So 
named from the odor of the plant. 
A tea made by boihng the entire plant is drunk as a remedy for sick 
stomach. Tliis tea is used also as a purgative, and to stimulate 
action of the Iddneys. 

The plant belongs to all the fraternities. 

CryptantJie crassisepala (Torr. & Gray) Greene. Bokagina- 

CEJE. Borage family. 
Ha'uheya'we, 'leaf-down come out' (ha<ha'li, leaf; ii'he, down 
[reference to coma]; ya'we, come out). 
The entire plant is ground and a handful of the powder is well 
stirred in a small bowl of hot water. To relieve extreme fatigue, 
the infusion is apphed ^v•^th raw cotton, or with the hand, to the feet 
and legs. An ajjphcation at night is said to insure relief. Tliis plant 
belongs to all the fraternities. 

Cucurbita pepo L. Squash. Cucitebitace^. Gourd family. 
Mo'teyala, 'egg-shaped inside seeds sit down' (mo <mo'Ii, round 
or egg-shaped; te'yd, inside; la, sit down). Tlie word 
for seed is not expressed, but it is fuUy understood. The 
name has reference to squash and melons always resting on 
the ground in the field and on the floor in the house, never 


Squash blossoms form one of the ingredients of the pats or cakes 
made by the Shu'maakwe.' 

Squash seeds and blossoms are used externally by the Cactus fra- 
ternity to bring relief from the cactus needles after whipping with the 
plant. ^ 

Datura meteloides DC. Jamestown Weed; called also Thorn- 
apple. SoLANACE.^;. Nightshade family. 

A'neglal-ya, name of a mythic boy; see legend below. The sister 
of the boy was named A'neglahyatsi'tsa {A'neglalcya, per- 
sonal name; tsi'tsa, postfix denoting feminine gender). 
The following legend is related of this plant: 

In tte olden time a boy and a girl , brother and sister (the boy's nameivaa A'neglakya 
and the girl's name A'neglakyatsi'tsaV lived in the interior of the earth, but they 
often came to the outer world and walked about a great deal, observing closely every- 
thing they saw and heard, and repeating all to their mother. Tliis constant talking 
did not please the Divine Ones (twin sons of the Sun Father). On meeting the hoy 
and the girl the Divine Ones asked, "How are you?" and the brother and sister 
answered, "We are happy." (Sometimes A'neglakya and A'neglakyatsi'tsa appeared 
on the earth as old people.) They told the Divine Ones how they could make one 
sleep and see ghosts, and how they could make one walk about a little and see 
one who had committed theft. After this meeting the Divine Ones concluded that 
A'neglakya and A'neglakyatsi'tsa knew too much and that they should be banished 
for all time from this world; so the Divine Ones caused the brother and the sister 
to disappear into the earth forever. Flowers sprang up at the spot where the two 
descended — flowers exactly like those wliich they wore on each side of their heads 
when visiting the earth.^ The Divine Ones called the plant a'neglakya, after the 
boy's name. The original plant has many children scattered over the earth; some 
of the blossoms are tinged with yellow, some with blue, some with red, some are 
all white — the colors belonging to the four cardinal points. (The medicine of the 
Datura is sometimes called u'teau'e Ico'hamia, 'flowers wliite.') 

The medicine is the property of the raru priests and the directors 
of the Little Fire and Cimex fraternities. It is administered with 
great care and is given medicmally only by the directors of these 
fraternities. Each director must collect the medicine which he 
uses, and must prepare and deposit prayer-plumes to the sacred 
plant in order that his treatment may be successful. The powdered 
root is given as a narcotic* 

1 Consult «5(2 .4 nn. Rtp. Bur.Amer. Elhn.yP. 543. See also p. 50 of the present memoir. 

' See 23d Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn.. p.~5i;9. 

' This flower is represented in Zuiii and in ot her pueblos by interlacing colored yams around the desiccated 
fruit of Martynia Inuisiana Mill, which is attached to a leather hand passing around the head. On the 
forehead the band is covered by the It.ings of the maiden wearing the flower. This headdress is worn by 
women in the dance. Students have described it as symbolizing the squash blossom, an error only too 
pleasing to the Zuni, as the J)Iossom of the Datura is most sacred to them. 

* The writer observed the late Nai'uchi, the most renowned medicme-man of his time among the Zufii, 
give this medicine before operating on a woman's breast. As soon as the patient became unconscious 
he cut deep into the breast with an agate lance, and, inserting his finger, removed all the pus; an anti- 
septic was then sprinkled over the wound, which was bandaged with a soiled cloth. (The writer obtamed 
samples of the antiseptic, but each time the quantity proved too small for chemical analysis.) When the 
woman regained consciousness she declared that she had had a peaceful sleep and beautiful dreams. There 
was no evidence of any ill effect from the use of the drug. 


The root and flowers of Datura meteloides, ground together into 
meal, are appUed to wounds of every description by the directors of 
the fraternities above mentioned. Wounds are said to lieal rapidly 
under this treatment. 

Datura stramonium acts very powerfully upon the cerebro-spinal system, causing 
a line of symptoms showing it to be a narcotic-irritant of high degree. The symptoms 
collated from many cases of poisoning by this drug are: Vertigo, with staggering gait, 
and finally unconsciousness; stupor and deep sleep, with stertorous breathing; mania, 
with loquaciousness or melancholia; hallucinations of tenifjang aspect, the patient 
bites, strikes and screams, and throws the arms about, or picks and grasps at unattain- 
able objects; congestive headaches, with dull beating and throbbing in the vertex. 
The pupils are dilated, and the patient suffers from photophobia, diplopia, and 
hemeralopia; the eyes are vnde open, staring, and set, or are contorted, rolling, and 
squinting. The face becomes red, bloated, and hot, the mouth spasmodically closed, 
and the tongue dry and swollen; the patient suffers greatly from thirst, but the sight 
of water throws him into a spasm and causes great constriction of the throat, foaming 
at the mouth, and other symptoms similar to those of hydrophobia. There is often 
nausea, but seldom vomiting. The sexual functions are often excited, more especially 
in women, in whom it causes nymphomania. Spasms of the muscles of the chest are 
of frequent occurrence; inspiration is slow and expiration quick. Paralysis of the 
lower limbs and loss of speech, with twitchings and jerkings of the muscles often 
mark a case. Its action will be seen to be similar to that of Belladonna, yet differing 
in many respects. 

A few of the many eases of poisoning by this plant will serve to show its mode of 

Beverley states ' that some of the soldiers sent to Jamestown to quell the rebellion 
of Bacon gathered the young sprouts of Stramonium and ate them as a pottage, "the 
Effect of which was a very pleasant Comedy; for they turn'd natural Fools upon it 
for several Days: One would blow up a Feather in the Air; another wou'd dart Straws 
at it with much Fury; another, stark naked, was sitting up in a Corner, like a Monkey, 
grinning and making Mows at them; a Fourth would fondly kiss and paw his Com- 
panions, and snear in their Faces with a Countenance more antick than any in a Dutch 
Droll ... A thousand such simple Tricks they play'd, and after Eleven Days, 
return'd to themselves again, not remembering anything that had pass'd." 

J. R. Dodge states^ that "Datura meteloides grows abundantly on the Colorado 
River, in Arizona, and that the Mohave Indians gather the leaves and roots, bruise 
and mix them with water, and after being allowed to stand .several hoirrs, the liquid 
is drawn off. It is a highly narcotic drink, producing a stupefying effect, which is 
not very easy to remove." . . . The California Indians nse a decoction of this species 
to stimulate young females in dancing. The Pah-Utes call the plant Main-oph-weep; 
they ferment in the sun a watery infusion of the bruised seeds and drink the liquor 
for the purpose of intoxication.^ 

Dr. Schlesier met a case ■• in which the subject, a boy, set. 4, mistook the fruit 
of stramonium for poppy heads, and ate a quantity of them. "Soon afterward his 
face was flu.shed, his eyes were glistening and in constant motion, the pupils much 
dilated, and the countenance was that of an intoxicated person. He sat up in bed 
quite unconscious, but continually babbling and occasionally starting up suddenly, 
his hands apparently directed at imaginary objects in the air. His was very 

1 History of Virginia, Book n, p. 24, London, 1705. 
! U. S. Agric. Rep. 1870, p. 423, Washington, 1871. 
' Dr. Ed. Palmer in Amer. Nat., 187S, p. 650. 
< Canstatt, Jahrbuch, 1S44, p. 297. 


slow; there was no fever, but intense thirst and violent perspiration from incessant 
motion." Dr. Turner * describes the. effects upon two children who had eaten the 
seeds: "In an hour and a half they were fully under the influence of the poison. 
They were lying on their backs, eyes bright, pupils widely dilated and insensible 
to light, conjunctiva injected, faces deeply suffused, and of a dark-crimson color; 
difficulty of breathing, inability to articulate, and in a state of complete insensi- 
bility, broken occasionally by a paroxysm, during which they would utter som6 
indistinct sounds and throw their hands about, as if trying to ward off some threatening 
evil. They then fell into a comatose state, but were easily roused into a state of 
violent excitement; they grasped at imaginary objects; there was picking of the 
bedclothes, with paroxysms of excessivejaughter." 

The Thugs, a society of stealthy fanatic murderers of India, often employ D.fastuosa 
and alba to render their intended victims tinconscious . . . 

From the symptoms caused by this drug, its homoeopathic adaptability to hydro- 
phobia will be at once evident. There is no drug so far proven that deserves as 
thorough and careful a trial in this dread disease as stramonium. The following, 
from a letter written by the Catholic Bishop of Singapore to the Straits Times, has 
just come to my notice. This Bishop says he thinks it is his duty to publish the 
remedies used in the missions in Tonquin for the cure of hydrophobia. These, he 
says, consist, first, in giving as much star-aniseed as may be contained on a cent 
piece; and, secondly, in making the patient take some water in which a handful 
of the leaves of stramony, or thorn-apple, or ])ear-apple, is infused. These will cause 
an access of the convulsions or delirium, during which the patient must be tied; 
but on its abatement he will be cured. If the remedy act too violently, either by 
too much being administered, or on account of there being no virus of real hydro- 
phobia, the consequences may be ameliorated by making the patient drink an 
infusion of licorice root, a most precious antidote against poisoning by stramony. 
In 1869, the Bishop relates, a very honorable member of the clergy of Paris was bitten 
by a pet dog, which died thirty hours afterwards with the most characterized con- 
vulsions of rabies. The following day he felt the first symptoms of the dreadful 
disease, and these augmented in intensity every day. The priest, however, applied 
at once all sorts of known remedies, ancient and modern, and even employed a very 
small dose of stramony. Each time he used the latter the progress of the disease 
ceased for some hours, even days, and then continued its ravages with greater intensity 
than before. When the fatal issue was at hand, just at the crisis of the disease, when 
the paroxysms had attained the greatest violence, the patient, with almost super- 
human energy, began chewing a pinch of dried stramony leaves, swallowing the 
juice. The effect was not long in making itself felt. In half an hour the disease 
had attained its height, the patient being delirious during the convulsions; but on 
the following day he was perfectly cured. "The same remedy, " concludes the 
Bishop, "is used in India, and is always successful." — Millspaugh, Medicinal Plants, 
vol u., 1887, pp. 127-4 to 127-6. 

Dithyrsea vnslizeni Engelm. Spectacle-pod. Brassicace^. 
Mustard family. 

Ha'Tco'lokta, 'Sand-hill crane'; so named because the plant is a 
favorite of this bird. 
The entire plant is boiled by the officiating theurgist, wlio adminis- 
ters the tea for deUrium.^ This medicine originally belonged to the 

1 Amer. Jour. Med. Set, 1864, p. 552. 

2 It has been observed (p. 89) that D. wislizeni Engelm., made into a tea, is taken ceremonially by the 
Gala.xy fraternity "to loosen their tongues and make them talk like fools." From this it would appear 
that sometimes, at least, they practice the homeopathic principle in doctoring. 


Galaxy fraternity, but in recent years the Galaxy has given it to 
other fraternities. As an external remedy, however, the plant still 
belongs exclusively to the Galaxy fraternity. When employed for 
external use tliis plant bears another name, u'sha a'wa a'kwawa, 
'snake all mediciae' {u'sha, a species of snake; a'wa, all; a'Tcwawa, 

The entire plant, gi-ound, is mixed with a small quantity of warm 
(not hot) water, and the infusion is apphed externally for reducing 
swelling of any part of the body, especially the throat. 

Ephedra nevadensis S. Wats. Commonly known as Teamster's 

tea. Gnetace^. Joint-fir family. 
Tsi'posho, 'stiff-jointed.' 
The plant, minus the root, is made into a tea and drunk during the 
first stage of syijhihs. It belongs to aU the people.^ 

Eriogonum alatum, Torr. Poltgonace^. Buckwheat family. 

Shi' pa, 'shghtly bad smclhng.' 
The root is ground by women on the gi-indlng-slabs in the cere- 
monial chambers of all the fraternities and gathered into bowls by the 
officers of tlic fraternity. It is afterward distributed by the maker 
of mecUciue-water to each adult member of his fraternity. The 
powdered root is received in the palm of the hand and deposited in a 
piece of deerskin, which is tied securely. A pinch of the powder in 
a cup of warm water is taken morning, noon, and sunset to relieve 
"general miserable feehng" or after a fall. 

Eriogonum. fasciculatum Benth. Polygon ace^e. Buckwheat 

Sus'M, 'coyote,' also a'Tcwa a'Tcohanna, 'white medicine' (a'lcwa, 

medicine; a'Jcohanna, white), because of the whiteness of 

the root after the removal of the bark.' 
The root is boded and the tea dr\ink hot after confinement, to heal 
laceration. The theurgist, man or woman (usually the latter), who 
is summoned, carries the root to the house of the patient, where a 
woman of the family makes the tea, which is administered by the 
attending theurgist. The hot tea is drunk also for hoarseness and 
for a cold when the throat is affected. The powdered root is ground 
with ceremony, including dancing, in the ceremonial chamber of the 
Little Fire fraternity.- It is apphed to cuts of any kind, and to arrow 
or bullet wounds. The wound is bathed each day, fresh powdered 
root is apphed, and the wound bandaged. When applied to wounds 
the root is the property of the Priesthood of the Bow. 

1 The plant is used for the same purpose by Indians and Mexicans generally. See Palmer in ^ ?nfr. J'our. 
Pharm., vol. 50, p. 591. 
• See 2Sd Ann. Rep. But. Amer. Ethn., p. 553. 

15961°— 30 ETH— 14 4 


Eriogonum jamesii Benth. Polygonace^. Buckwheat family. 

Ta'loo', 'wood strong or hard to break,' in reference to the root 

of the plant. 

This is administered for sore tongue. The theurgist places a bit 

of the root in the patient's mouth, where it remains a day and a 

night, except when removed so the patient may eat. The mouth is 

washed with water after eating and the piece of root returned to 

the mouth. When the theurgist removes the root he places with it 

a piece of tm-quoise and white shell beads, and deposits all in an 

excavation in the river bottom in order that it may go to Ko'iuwala'wa, 

Abiding Place of the Council of the Gods.^ 

Erysimum sp. Beassicace^. Mustard family. 

The entire plant is ground and mixed with a small quantity of 
water, and the infusion is appUed to the forehead and temples to 
relieve headache caused by exposure to heat. Tliis medicine is also 
rubbed over the exposed parts of the body to prevent sunbrnn, and 
the top of the head is often bathed with it before one goes into the 

Eupatorium. occidentale arizonicum A. Gray. Carduace^. 
Thistle family. 

Ha'Tcochi, 'rat leaf Qia>Tm'li, leaf; Ico'cM, a species of rat). 
The blossoms are combined u-ith those of other plants, including 
the blossoms of the native squash, in the preparation of pats, or 
cakes, by the Shu'maakwe,^ who make them annually with great 
ceremony in the fraternity chamber. This plant belongs solely to 
the Shu'maakwe, when combined in the pats, which are regarded as a 
specific for rheumatism and swelhngs. It is in gi-eat demand by the 
people generally, and there is seldom a time when male or female 
theurgists are not treating patients with it in their homes. A portion 
of a cake is broken into a small quantity of water and the mfusion 
applied externally, the theurgist prajong in a low tone wliile he rubs 
gently with the medicine.* 

^SeeSSd Ann. Rep. But. Amer. Elhn.,-p. 20. 

2 For ceremonial use of Erysimum, see p. 92. "WTien this plant is employed ceremonially it bears the 
name ha'lini tsan'na ' leaf long small ' (ha<iha'U, leaf; li'ni, long; tsan'na, small). 

8 ^eeBSd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Etkn., p. 543. 

* A guest of the writer, while at Zufli, was troubled with a swelling the size of a hen's egg, on her cheek. 
It was thought she would be obliged to make a journey to a phj'sician, but it was decided to try first the 
Shu'maakwe medicine. A female theiu'gist was summoned, and after three treatments, one each day, the 
swelling had disappeared entirely. There was no recurrence of the trouble. 

Later the \vriter sufTered from rheumatism in the right shoulder, and consulted a physician. After many 
days of treatment without relief, she called in a Shu'maakwe doctor, and six applications of the medicine 
above described resulted in her complete recovery. 

Regarding E. perfoliatum L., Raflnesque ( Med. Bot., vol. i, p. 177) says: "A valuable sudorific, tonic, 
alterative, antiseptic, cathartic, emetic, febrifuge, corroborant, diiu*etic, astringent, deobstruent and 
stimulant. It was one of the most powerful remedies of the native tribes for fevers, etc. " 


Euphorhia polycarpa Benth. Spurge. Euphoebiace^. Spurge 

I'TcwiklakKa tsan'na, 'make little milk' {i'Tcvnklakla, make milk; 
tsan'na, small, little). 
Four pinches of the ground plant are put with the several fingers 
into a cup of warm gruel made of white cormneal, which is drunk 
for retarded flow of milk after childbh-th. Its action is said to be 
rapid. There is a belief that only white corn must be used for the 
gruel, otherwise the milk would not be white. When the plant is 
used for this purpose it belongs exclusively to the women. 

Euphorbia serpyllifolia, Pers. Spurge. Euphoebiace^. Spurge 

I'hunMaMa, 'make mUk.' 
This plant also is used to increase the flow of milk. It is admin- 
istered too as an emetic and a cathartic by the them-gists of the secret 

Eurotia lanata (Pursh) Moq. Winter Sage. Chenopodiace^. 

Goosefoot family. 
Tan'asi, 'winter sage.' 
Remedy for burns. The fresh root is chewed, and the dry root 
is ground between stones. In both cases the theurgist takes a quan- 
tity of the root into his mouth and ejects it into his hand. Placing 
both hands together, he blows four times into them, that the ' ' good 
of his heart" may enter into the medicine; he then expectorates 
on the palms of his hands, and, rubbing them together, applies the 
root to a burn, which he binds with a cotton cloth. This medicine 
belongs to all the fraternities. 

Gaerfneria acanthicarjia (Hook.) . Britton. Ragweed. Ambeo- 

siACE^. Ragweed family. 
Mo'watapa, 'hail prickly' {mo <mo' piawe , hail (pi.); wa'tapa, 
prickly) . 
So named because the seed-pods are prickly. 

They fall to the ground, are covered with soil, and germinate just as do the seeds 
that are left on the ground by hail-stones which bring the seeds from the undermost 

1 " The scientific name Euphorbia is said to have been given to this genus of plants by a celebrated African 
monarch, King Juba of Mauritania. This king was son of the partisan Juba, of the wars of Pompey and 
Caesar. It is claimed that he was exceptionally learned and had some knowledge of botany and medicine. 
Having found purging properties in a plant gro\vingin his dominion, he called the attention of his renowned 
court physician, Euphorbus, toit and named it in his honor— Eupliorbia. The trivial name, spurge, seems 
to have arisen from the reputed property given by King Juba, as it is but a contraction of 'espurge,' a 
French term meaning to purge. "—King, A mer. Dispetuatory, vol. i, 1898, p. 745. 

" Euphorbia polycarpa, called by Me.xicans Goleudrina.— .\ strong decoction made from this plant and 
applied to snake bites soon produces reaction. Many cures effected in tliis way are reported. In fact, the 
Indians of Arizona and Southern California rely entirely upon it in such cases. Some years since, being 
in San Diego, and wading in the salt water, a fish (Sting-Ray) plunged the bony projection at the base of 
its tail into my left foot, and soon the swelling and pain became excessive. A Mexican woman made several 
gallons of a very strong decoction from this plant, and plunged my leg up to the knee into it while hot, and 
in a few hours relief came. " — Palmer in Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1S7S, vol. 50, p. 590. 


world so as to replenish those which the Zufii brought with tlieni from this inner 
world. These seeds were brought by the rain priests in their precious et'towe.^ 

\^^len the Kia'kwemosi, Kain Priest of the North, sent his son and daughter ahead 
to look for a place for 'their others',^ he placed mo'ivatapa seeds in the l^elt of each 
with instructions to plant them. The youth and maiden afterward became the first 
ancestral god and goddess, respectively, and the plant is frequently refen-ed to as the 
medicine of the Ko'mokatsi, the first goddess and the mother of all the ancestral gods, 
she having named the plant and first planted the seeds in the outer world. 

The entire plant is made into tea, which is drunk warm for 
obstructed menstruation. The tea is also rubbed over the abdomen 
while it is massaged. The Zufii claim that the tea taken sufficiently 
strong will produce abortion. While this vice exists m Zufii, cases 
are very rare. The ground root is placed in a hollow tooth to 
relieve toothache. 

The plant belongs to all the people. 

Gil'M multijiora Nutt. Gilia. Polemoniace^. Phlox family. 
Ha' sUiliwe Wanna, 'blue leaves in delicate motion' (ha<Jia'we, 
leaves; sililiwe, in delicate motion; Wanna, blue), in refer- 
ence to the leaves of the flower. 

The entire plant is ground in the chamber of the Shu'maakwe and 
Cactus ' fraternities. The Shu'maakwe gave this medicine to the 
Cactus fraternity many years ago. 

The face is bathed in warm water and the powdered plant applied 
to relieve headache. In addition to its use by both fraternities for 
this purpose, it is emploj^ed by the Cactus fraternity in dressing 
wounds, the doctors of this organization being called on m the 
absence of members of the Priesthood of the Bow. When the remedy 
is thus used the wound is first cleansed, then the powder is applied, 
and the wound bandaged. The treatment is given in the home of 
the patient or wherever he may be, and he is expected to join the 
Cactus fraternity after liis recovery. 

The blossoms are called pok.'lina u'teawe, 'smolcing flowers' (poJc'- 
lina, to smoke ; u'teawe, flowers) . Wlien employed to relieve strangu- 
lation the flowers are crushed in the hand and made into cigarettes 
with corn-husks and smoked. WTien used for this purpose the medi- 
cine belongs only to the Galaxy fraternity. 

Gilia sp. P0LEMONIACE.E. Phlox famUy. 

Ila'wimo, 'leaf seeds make' Qia<Tia'li, leaf; ivi'rno, seeds make), 

in allusion to the seeds on the leaf. 

The leaves are chewed slighth', or the entire fresh jjlant, bruised 

between the hands, is put into a small quantity of cold water and 

the infusion is drunk. The dried plant is ground between stones and 

mixed with water. This medicine is admmistered for headache, 

1 See 3Sd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn., p. 163. 

2 Ibid., p. 32. 


swelling of the throat, fevers, to produce mild vomiting, and to act 
on the bowels and kidneys. For headache and for swelling of the 
thi'oat the medicine is applied externally on the head and throat; for 
fevers it is rubbed over the whole body. A tea made of the entu-e 
plant is drunk warm to produce vomiting or to act on the bowels or 
kidneys. WTien the patient is relieved his head is washed by a female 
member of the family of the officiatmg theurgist. 
The medicine belongs to all the fraternities. 

Outierrezia jilifolia Greene. Snakeweed. Cardi^ace^. Thistle 

KWhapoko, 'waters gathered together' {l-la<Ma'we, water; 
ha'poJio, to gather together). 
This plant is supposed to have received its name from the Gods of 
War "because they observed that it was very fond of drmking water, 
and drew about it waters from all du-ections just as the people of 
fratei'nities meet together under one roof." 

A small quantity of the blossoms of this plant is steeped for a short 
time in boiling water and the tea given to relieve retention of urine; 
it is claimed to cure the most obstmate cases. After drmking the 
tea the patient runs rapidly for some distance, and, returning, wraps 
in heavy blankets to induce perspiration. The medicine is also given 
to make one strong in the limbs and muscles. 
This remedy belongs to aU the fraternities. 

Ilelianthus annuusJj. Sunflower. CARDUACEiE. Thistle family. 
O'matsapa, 'on tip of stem.' 

This plant is employed in conjunction with others to cure rattle- 
snake bite. Its root is combined with the roots of Tia'tsoliko, 'leaf 
mouse,' Psilostrophe tagetina (Nutt.) Greene; a'mitolan, 'rainbow' 
(so named from its banded roots), Ainsonia b7'einfolia Gray, and 
Tm'techi 'mephitic odor,' Ximinesia exauriculata (Rob. & Greenm.) 

This medicine belongs to all the fraternities, and a person contem- 
plating absence from his village may obtain it from the director of 
his fraternity. 

As soon as a theurgist reaches a patient who has been bitten by a 
rattlesnake, he takes a quantity of the ground plant of u'tea li'alcwa, 
'turquoise flower' {u'tea, flower; li'alcwa, turquoise), into his mouth 
and proceeds to suck the wound. When he is satisfied that he has 
extracted as much of the poison as possible, he chews bits of the roots 
of the three plants mentioned above (each piece about as thick as the 
little finger and the length of the index and middle fingers mesisured 
across), and applies the mass to the wound with a bandage. Should 
the patient be troubled with throbbing in the part affected, the 


theurgist unbinds the wounds and puffs smoke from a corn-husk 
cigarette filled with native tobacco, a'na (Nicotiarm attenuataT orr.), 
well over the body. 

During the period of ti'eatment of a male patient he must not look 
on the face of a woman who is nourishing an infant, otherwise "his 
poisoned hmb would swell and he would surely die within four days." 
He is isolated during his illness, seeing only his doctor and such mem- 
bers of his family as do not have infants. The treatment is repeated 
every day until all danger is past. Usually by the fifth day the 
patient has recovered, m which event, on the morning of the fifth 
day his head is washed with yucca suds by a woman of the fraternity 
to which the officiating theurgist belongs. The theurgist prays for 
the patient: "May your heart be good, that you may follow the 
straight road of the Sun Father. May your road of life be long, 
that you may not die, but sleep to awake in Ko'luwala'wa" (Abidmg 
Place of the Council of the Gods).' Placing his mi'li- to the lips 
of the patient, the theurgist continues, "Inhale the sacred breath 
of life." 

A man was once bitten ui the foot by a rattlesnake early in the 
morning at Ojo Caliente, one of the farmmg districts, fifteen miles 
southwest of Zuui Pueblo. Having no medicine at hand, he was 
compelled to walk to Zuni before receiving treatment. On reachmg 
the village, at noon, his leg was swollen to the thigh. A theurgist 
attended him at once, but he died in great agony before night. This 
is the only death from rattlesnake bite known to the Zuni for more 
than fifty years. 

Hoffmanseggia jamesii Torr. Cassiace^. Senna family. 

Called by Mexicans camote de raton. 

The entii-e plant is soaked m a large bowl of cold water over night 
and the infusion given to sheep to di-ink that they may be prolific. 
The Zuni have unplicit confidence in this use of the plant. 

Eymenopappus JilifoUus Nutt. Carduace^. Thistle family. 
Ha'uheyawe, 'leaf cotton-wool' Qia <]ia'li, leaf; u'heyawe [pi.], 
cotton-wool, in allusion to cotton on many stems. Cotton 
from a single stem would be u'heyane. 
This plant is efficacious in the treatment of swellings, especially 
swelling of the glands. The affected part is rubbed with mutton 
grease or lard and the chewed root of the plant is ejected from the 
mouth over the swelling, after which the woolly-like fiber from the 
pod is bound on. 

The plant is gathered in summer by fraternity men, but only the 
directors remove the coma from the pods; this is done during a cere- 

1 See ISd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn.. p. 20. 

2 Ibid., pp. 24, 416. 


mony in the fraternity cliamber. Men and women dance to the 
accompaniment of rattle, drum, and song. The coma is deposited 
in hirge bowls, which are placed by the altar, and is afterward gath- 
ered by du-ectors into deerskin sacks. At the time the coma is pre- 
pared, pieces of the root of the plant are given by the director of the 
fraternity to each adult member, and it may be obtained from a 
director at the request of a theurgist of the fraternity. 

The root is boiled and the tea drunk warm as an emetic. 

The medicine belongs to all the fraternities. 

Juniperus monosperma (Engelm.) Sargent. Cedar. Juniper- 

ACE^. Juniper family. 
Ho'mane, 'cedar.' The plural form, ho'mmve, is more commonly 
used when referring to the tree medicinally, because a num- 
ber of twigs are employed in preparing the medicine. 
DeUcate twigs are roasted in a fii-eplace and then steeped in hot 
water, and the tea is drunk by women pre^^lous to childbu-th, to pro- 
mote muscular relaxation. The tea must not be taken long before par- 
turition, othei-wise the child would be dark m color. When possible, 
twigs heaxmg o'lipoli, mistletoe {PhoradendronjunipermujnUngelm..), 
are collected, as they are supposed to be more efficacious. The tea is 
taken also after childbirth to hasten the cessation of catamenia. 

Lavauxia triloba (Nutt.) Spach. Evening Primrose. Ona- 

GRACE^. Evening Primrose family. 
Kwi'minne shi'lowa, 'red root' Qcwi'minne, root; shi'lawa, red). 
The entire plant, ground, forms one of the constituents of the cakes 
or pats made by the Shu'maakwe fraternity.' 

Leptilon canadense (L.) Britton. Horseweed. Carduace^, 

Thistle family. 
Ha'mo u'teawe, 'leaf ball flowers' (]ia<ha'li, leaf; 7no<mo'li, 
ball-shaped; u'teawe, flowers). So named from the appear- 
ance of the inflorescence when the rays have been removed. 
The rays of the blossoms, crushed between the fingers, are inserted 
into the nostrils to cure rhinitis. Sneezing residts, and reUef is soon 
found. This medicine belongs to all the people. 

Leucelene ericoides (Torr.) Greene. Carduace^. Thistle family. 
U'moTcianalcia, 'suds making' {u'mokla, suds; na'Tcia, making). 
The entire plant is ground and mixed with a small quantity of cold 
water, and the infusion rubbed over the whole body to reduce swell- 
ing, and to overcome pain from cold or rheumatism. For such use 
the plant belongs to all the fraternities. 

It is also made into a tea which is drunk warm to hasten parturi- 
tion. When used for this piu-pose the plant is the property of 
obstetrical doctors, who are women. 

1 Consult 23d Ann. Rep. Bur. A mer. Ethn., p. 543. See also p. 50 of the present memoir. 


Linum puberulum (Engelm.) Heller. YeUow Flax. Linace.s;. 

Flax family. 
Tu'nawena a'wa a'Tcwawa, 'eye-sick aU medicine' {tu'na, eye; 
wena, sick; a'wa, all; a'Tcwawa, medicine). 
The berry of this plant is tied in a bit of cloth and the juice squeezed 
into the eye to reheve inflammation. The plant belongs to all the 

Lithospermum linearifolium Goldie. Piiccoon. Boraginace.*;. 

Borage family. 
Kwi'minne Jcwin'nu, 'black root' {Jcwi'minne, root; Jcwin'na, 
The medicine is administered by Kwe'lele, one of the tkree patron 
gods of the Great Fire fraternity,^ to reheve sore throat and swelling 
of any part of the body. 

The root is ground to a powder in the morning, on a ceremonial 
grinding-stone, in the room of the patient, and gathered into a deer- 
skin sack. The remainder of the plant is made into a tea by boiUng 
in water, which is given warm to the patient as soon as made. After 
the tea has been drumk the stone upon which the root was ground is 
heated, a small quantity of water is poured on the stone, and when 
the water is boihng Kwe'lele loosens the medicine which adheres to 
the stone, and, lifting the latter with both hands, rubs it over the 
affected part of the body of the patient. The tea is again given at 
noon, and Kwe'lele returns at simset with his two godly impersona^ 
tors and with much ceremony applies the powdered root medicine to 
the parts affected.^ 

Lobelia splendens WiUd. Cardinal Flower. Lobeliace^. Lo- 
belia family. 
Wa'yasiwulu, 'fog or mist ascending hke clouds from the earth.' 
(A satisfactory explanation of this name could not be 
This plant is one of a number employed by the Shu'maakwe fra- 
ternity in the preparation of their pat medicine.^ 

Machseranthera glabeUa (Nutt.) Greene. Carduace^. Thistle 

na'mopiawe, 'hail leaf (ha<Jia'li, leaf; mo'piawe [pi.], hail). 
The plant is ground and mixed with warm (not hot) water, and the 
tea is drunk as an emetic for sick stomach. This medicine is also 
rubbed over the abdomen. It belongs to all the fraternities. 

1 See 2Sd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amcr. Ethn., p. 485. 

2 n)id., p. 487. 

3 Ibid., p. 543. See also p. 50 of the present memoir. 


Mentzelia pumila ToiT. &GT&y. Stick-leaf. Loasace^. Loasa 

Mi'hana i'pacJiil'ia, 'sacred embroidered cotton blanket hold- 
fast' (mi'/ta, sacred embroidered cotton blanket; i'pacMMa, 
hold-fast), meaning that when the plant touches the blanket 
it adheres to it. The plant is supposed to have received its 
name from having touched a mi'ha and held fast to it when 
worn by a personator of an anthropic god. 
The powdered root is employed to relieve constipation, the medicine 
being inserted into the rectum with the finger. The remedy belongs 
to aU the people. 

Pectis papposa Harv. & Gray. Carduace^. Thistle family. 
A good pinch of the blossoms is tied tight m a small piece of 
cloth, wliich is well moistened with water. This small sack is 
squeezed, allowing the medicine to drop into the eyes to reheve 
suffermg from the effect of their exposure to snow. The medicine 
belongs to all the people.' 

Pinus edulis Engehn. Pinon. Pinace^. Pine family. 

He'sJio tsi'tonne, 'gum branch' {he'sho, gum; tsi'tonne, branch). 

The tree takes its name from the quantity of gum which 

exudes from it. 

The needles of the tree are given for syphihs. The patient chews 

the needles, and after swallowing them drinks a quantity of cold 

water and then runs for about a mile, or until he perspires profusely, 

when he returns home and wraps in a heavy blanket. The kidneys 

are so acted on that frequent micturation is the result. Women 

afHicted with the same disease wrap in blankets after takuig the 

medicine, but do not run. Frequently a tea is made of the twigs 

and drunk warm in conjunction wdth the needles. The ulcers are 

scraped with the finger-nail until they bleed, when the powdered 

> Dr. Washington Matthews (Navajo Names for Plants. Amcr. Naturalist , ISSG, vol. xx, p. 769) records 
the following interesting observation on the belief of the Navaho respecting Pectis: 

" I met the same Indian carrying, in the fold of his blanket, some specimens of Pectis angustifolia, a plant 
which on the dry mesas of New Mexico does not attain a height of more than two or three inches, but it has 
a delightful odor, like that of lemon verbena, and its infusion is used by the Navajos as a carminative. 
Their attention has therefore been dranm to it. The name given for the plant was so peculiar, signifying 
'a breeze blowing through a rock,' tseganilchee. that I made no delay in getting an explanation from him. 
He led me to the top of a desert mesa where the plant grew fresh. Here he picked up a piece of sandstone 
about a foot square and three inches thick, and held it up to my nose saying, ' Do you smell anything on 
that stone 7 ' The dry hard stone was of course inodorous. He then rubbed a little of the fragment Pectis 
on one of the broad surfaces of the stone and immediately applied the opposite surface to my nostrils. The 
agreeable odor was at once distinctly perceptible through the rock. Some minutes later it could be detected 
in all parts of the fragment; but at first it was perceived at a point directly opposite to the point of applica- 
tion. Later he performed the experiment on a large stone nearly two feet thick; the results were the same 
as with the smaller stone, but more time was required for the odor to penetrate the sandstone. The odor 
he said, went through the rock as if it were blown by a breeze, hence the name." 


pinon gum is sprinkled over them. If there is swelling at the grom 
it is lanced by the attendant theurgist and the powdered gum 
sprinkled into the incision as an antiseptic. 
This medicine belongs to all the fraternities. 

Polygomim lapatJiifolium L. Smartweed. PoLTGONACEiE. 

Buckwheat family. 
Ha'tashawe, 'long leaf (ha <ha'li, leaf; ta'sha, long; we, plural 
The root of the plant is boiled and the tea administered as an 
emetic and purgative. It belongs to all the fraternities. 

Psoralea tenuiflora Pursh. Fabace^. Pea family. 
Ha'tsanna, 'small leaf iha<ha'Ii, leaf; tsan'na, small). 
The leaves, moistened with water, are apphed to the axilla, feet, 
or any other part of the body, for purification. 
The plant is the common property of the tribe. 

Ptiloria tenuifolia (Torr.) Raf. Cichoriace^. Chicory family. 

Cure for rattlesnake bite. The entire plant, which is not broken 
until required for use, is ground between stones, a small quantity of 
water being added from time to time during the grinding. The 
wound is sucked as quickly as possible, after which the powder is 
apphed to it. The apphcation is repeated four mornings. The 
patient eats only he' we (wafer bread made of corn meal), and drinks 
sparingly of water into which a small quantity of the powdered 
medicine has been sprinkled. 

The plant belongs to all the fraternities. 

Quamoclidion multiflorum Torr. Wild Four-o'clock. Allion- 
lACE^. Four-o'clock family. 

STii'Tcwamu, 'swelhng reduced' {sJii'Tcwa, sweUing; mu, reduced). 
Men gather the root of this plant and give it to the women of the 
family. A small quantity of the powdered root, in cold or warm 
water, is given to adults and children to afford relief from the effects 
of overeating. Children especially suffer from the affection named. 
The woman who administers the medicine takes some into her mouth, 
and, ejecting it into her hands, rubs them over the abdomen of the 
patient. The medicine belongs to all the women. Women frequently 
sUp a pinch of the powdered root into water to be drunk at meal 
time by the young men of the family, to prevent them overindulging 
their appetites. The powder is also put into lie' we that is to be car- 
ried by men on long journeys, that they may not become too hungry 
to be satisfied with what they have. 

This plant also bears the name a'wansa'pipi a'wai'toiiaHa,' great 
yoimg fowls all eating food ' {a' wan, great ; sa'pipi, young fowls ; a'wa, 


all; i'tonakia, eating food). The blossoms of the plant are fed to 
newly hatched turkeys.' 

Radicula sinuata. (Nutt.) Greene. Brassicace^. Mustard 

Tu'ruiwena a'lva a'hwawa, 'eye sick all medicine' (tu'na, eye; 
we'na, sick; a'wa, all; a'kwawa, medicine). 
The entire plant is crushed in the hands and put into cold water; 
the infusion is used as an eye-wash. The blossoms are powdered and 
sprinkled over live coals in a bowl; the patient holds his face over the 
bowl to induce a copious flow of tears, wliich is said to give speedy 
relief from any ordinary eye trouble caused by inflammation. 
The medicine belongs to all the fraternities. 

Ratibida columnaris (Sims) D. Don. Cone Flower. Cardua- 

CE^. Thistle family. 
Ya'Tconakla, 'bile vomit' (ya'lco, bile, or any nauseous substance 
in the stomach; na'lcia, to vomit). 
The entire plant is soaked or steeped in water and the infusion is 
drunk as an emetic. 

This medicine belongs to aU the fraternities. 

Rumex mexicanus Weinm. Dock. Polygon ace^. Buck- 
wheat family. 
Kwi'mi i'topona, 'painted root' (kv)i'mi<Tcim'm%nne, root; 
i'toporm, painted). 
A tea made by boilhig the root in water is drunk by members of 
the Sword SwaUowers fraternity and of the Sword order of the Great 
Fire fraternity, after swallowing the sword,^ to soothe the throat. 
The root, gi-ound to powder, is given by theurgists to their patients 
for sore throat. 

This remedy belongs to all the fraternities, including the Le'wekwe, 
Sword SwaUowers. 

Senecio multicapitatus Greemn. Senecio. Caedxtace^. Thistle 

Pi'naku, 'grind leaf (pi [archaic], leaf; na'lcu, to grind). So 
named from noise made by animals in eating this plant. 
The blossoms are moistened with cold water and tied in a cloth 
through which the medicine is dropped into the eyes to reheve inflam- 
mation. Used in this way it belongs to all the people. 

The root, ground to powder in the fraternity chamber, is mixed 
with cold water and the infusion rubbed over the limbs for "aching 
bones." This medicine is apphed morning, noon, and night by the 
chosen theurgist, who must invoke the cougar of the north and the 

1 Turkeys are raised for their feathers, which rank with eagle plumes in ceremonial importance. 
» See SSd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn., p. 482. 


bear of the west during the apphcation, as tliis medicine is the special 
property of these zooic gods. It is thus used by all the fraternities. 

Solanum elseagnifoUum Cav. Bull Nettle. Solanace^. 

Nightshade family. 
Ha'watapa, 'prickly leaf {ha <ha'li, leaf; wa'fapa, prickly). 

The chewed root is placed in the cavity of an aching tooth. 

This remedy belongs to all the people. 

Solanum rostratum. Dunal. Buffalo Bur. 

Mo'MacMpa, 'prickly pod' {mo<mo'li, round or roundish, nw 

denoting the pod; l-ia'cJiipa, prickly). As will be seen 

above, wa'tapa also means 'prickly'. There are cases in 

which two words have the same meaning and a single word 

m^y embody two meanings. 

A pinch of the powdered root is put into a small quantity of water 

and the infusion is drunk to reheve sick stomach. It does not act 

as an emetic. 

This medicine belongs to aU the fraternities. 

Solidago canadensis Gray. Goldenrod. Caeduace^. Thistle 

Hd'cJiiltowe, 'inside flower seeds' QiaKTia'li, leaf, referring to 
petals of blossoms; cJiiltowe, inside seeds, in allusion to the 
seeds in the blossom). 
The crushed blossoms are put into water and the infusion is drunk 
to relieve pains through the body; they are also chewed for sore 
throat, and are considered excellent for both troubles. The medicine 
belongs to all the people. 

Stanleya pinnata (Pm-sh) Britton. BRASSiCACEiE. Mustard 

Kwi'minne lupsine, 'yellow root' (kwi'minne, root; lupsinM, 
yellow) . 
This plant is regarded by the Zuni as a specific for syphilis in the 
primary stage. The entire plant is ground to a powder. The ulcers 
are scraped with the finger-nail until blood appears, when the parts 
are bathed with cold water and the powder is apph^d by the attend- 
ing theurgist either by sprinkhng with the fingers or by taking the 
medicine into his mouth and ejecting it on the ulcers. The remedy 
belongs to all the fraternities. 

TV^ronewmscaposa (DC.) Greene. Carduace^. Thistle family. 

Hd'lo a'Jcwawa, 'ant medicme' Qid'lo, ant; a'^imwa, medicine). 

The entire plant is soaked in cold water for several hours, when it 

is ready for use. The infusion is employed externally for sore eyes 

and for cutaneous affections, and it is claimed that this treatment 

always brings relief unless the patient has a "bad heart." This 


medicine belongs to the Ant, Eagle-down, and Rattlesnake frater- 

Thalesia fascicnlafa (Nutt.) Britton. Cancer Root. Oroban- 

CHACE^E. Broom-rape family. 
We'lcitnnnS, 'foot.' So named because this plant is supposed 
to have grown in great almndance in the undermost world, 
and when the people trod upon it it was refreshing to their 
bare feet. 
The whole plant is ground to powder between stones; this powder 
is considered a specific for hemorrhoids. A small roU of rabbit-skin, 
or a rabbit's tail dipped into warm water is inserted as far as possible 
into the rectum five or six times. The index finger is then moistened 
\vith water, dipped in the powdered plant, and applied to the anus; 
then the finger is inserted into the rectum, carrying the powdered 
root with it. As a medicine for this purpose the plant belongs to all 
the fraternities. 

Tripterocalyx wootonii Standley. Allioniace^. Four-o'clock 


TJ'shaa'wa, 'painted in all colors.' U'shaa'wa is the name of a 

snake having a skin spotted in various colors. This snake 

is said to eject a fluid not from the head, but through the 

skin of the body, which causes much suflering to one 

touched thereby. The plant is said to be efficacious in the 

treatment of a person so afflicted. 

A pinch of the ground root is put into a vessel of warm (not hot) 

water, and the infusion is drunk morning, noon, and night,' to relieve 

the ill effect of the poisonous fluid from the snake. The attending 

theurgist also chews a quantity of the root, and, ejecting it into his 

hands, rubs the afflicted portion of the body. Crushed leaves of the 

plant are put into a bowl contammg live coals, and the patient stands 

nude over the bowl, both patient and vessel beuig wcU covered with 

blankets. Three doses of the medicine and the heated crushed 

leaves are supposed to produce the desired sweat-bath. 

A quantity of the powdered root in a cup of warm (not hot) water 
is di'imk morning, noon, and night, for swollen glands, especially 
those of the throat. 

This medicine belongs to all the fraternities. 
Ustilago zese. Corn Smut. 

He'Jcunfola, 'black bread, ' referring to a particular kind of bread. 
(he<he'we, wafer-like bread made of corn meal; hwi'tola 
[archaic], black). The name was given to the fungus on 
account of its similarity in texture and color to he'we. 

1 The Rattlesnake fraternity plays no part with the live rattlesnake, this body being a division of the 
Eagle-dOH-n fraternity. The members of the Eagle-down fraternity differed in opinion, with the result 
that many left the parent fraternity and organized one of their own. It is said that they quarreled with 
the main body " like angry snakes, " hence the name. 


This medicine is given to women during parturition to hasten 
childbirth by increasing the severity of labor. It is given also to 
stop hemorrhage after childbirth, and for abnormal lochial discharge. 
The treatment is the same for the three ailments — a pinch of the 
Ustilago is put into a small quantity of warm or cold water and the 
infusion is taken at intervals. 

This remedy belongs to all the female theurgists.' 

Villanova dissecta (A. Gray) Rydb. Carduace^. Thistle 

Hd'lo Tcla'we, 'ant seeds' (hd'lo, ant; Ma'we, seeds). 
The entire plant is ground to powder, which the theurgists, to 
whom the medicine belongs, keep in deerskin sacks. It is considered 
a specific foi' rheumatism and for pains in the head. The theurgist 
takes the powder into his mouth, then ejects it into his hands, which 
he places on the parts of the body of the patient that are affected. 
This treatment is sure to bring rehef unless the patient has an " evU 
heart," say the Zuni. It belongs to all fraternities. 

Wedeliella glabra (Choisy) CockereU. AllioniacejE. Four- 
o'clock family. 
Ea'pewilciapa, 'leaves flat in all directions' (ha <ha'li, leaf; 
pe'wihiapa, flat in all directions), so called in allusion to the 
spreading habit of the plant in disk form upon the ground. 
This plant is inimical to heahng and is consequently the enemy of 
all healing plants. " If separated with the hands it will cause the skin 
to break." 

Xanthium commune Britton. Cocklebur. AMBROSiACE.ffi. Rag- 
weed family. 
Mo'MacMpa, 'prickly pod' {mo<mo'U, round or roundish; 
Icia'cJiipa, prickly). Wa'tapa is another term for prickly. 
Seeds of the bur are groimd with native squash seeds and with 
grains of corn that have been buried by crows and found by members 
of the Cactus fraternity. The grinding is done on stone slabs in the 
fraternity chamber. This mixture is appUed externally to extract 
cactus needles or sphnters, to heal wounds from nails, and for similar 
purposes. The theurgist expectorates on the wound, then on the 
medicine, which he apphes to the wound, pattmg it until it adheres 
firmly to the flesh. He then binds on a cloth when this can be done; 

1 " Dr. W. A.N. Borland has found that, in doses of one or two drachms of the fluid extract [of Ustilago 
zex] it markedly increases the uterine pains during labor. He claims for it that it will not produce a pro- 
longed tonic contraction, as does ergot. This is, however, doubtful."— The Dispensatory of the United States 
of America, by Dr. Geo. B. Wood and Dr. Franklin Bache, 17th edition, p. 1766, Phila., 1894. 

" Ustilago was introduced into practice chiefly through the efiorts of the Uoraceopaths. Inasmuch as it 
acts promptly upon the gravid uterus, e.xciting contraction, it may be employed in labor, under the same 
circumstances, and observing the same precautions as named under ergot. ... It also arrests prolonged 
lochial discharge, and gives a healthy tone to the uterine walls." — King, American Dispensatory, ISth 
edition, vol. II, 1900, pp. 203.5, 20:!6. 


but in instances when the medicine is appUed after a ceremony, in 
the performance of which the entire body has been exposed to the 
cactus, and no bandaging can be done, the medicine is used more 
freely. The officiating theurgist expectorates on the body wherever 
the pain indicates the presence of cactus needles, and apphes the 
paste. The Zimi claim that this medicine usually causes the spines 
or splinters to come to the surface in a day, and that never more 
than two days are required for their extraction by this treatment. 
The medicine is apphed morning and evening until rehef is afforded. 
To protect the flesh from the spines the seeds are chewed by mem- 
bers of the Cactus fraternity, who eject the mass into the hands and 
rub it over the entire body prior to the ceremony with the cactus. 

Ximenesia exauriculaki (Rob. & Greenm.) Rydb. Crownbeard. 

Carduace^. Thistle family. 
Hti'te'cTii, 'mephitic odor.' 
A specific for cramps in the stomach. The blossoms are chewed 
and swallowed, after which water is drunk. Copious vomiting is the 
result. Wlien employed for the above purpose the plant belongs to 
all the people. The root of this plant is employed with other roots in 
treating the bite of a rattlesnake.' 

From the foregoing pages it is evident that for a long period the 
Zufii Indians have extensively employed legitimate medicines for 
heahng the sick. Remedies were discovered by chance and then 
came the period of experimentation. They learned the value of 
Datura meteloides as a narcotic perhaps centuries before the birth of 
Baron Stoerck, of Vienna, who first brought it to the attention of tlie 
medical profession, and the use of antiseptics while Lister was still 
unkno\\Ti. How long ergot has been employed by the Zuni for the 
cliief purpose to which it is devoted by ci%nhzed man, no one can say. 

The Zuiii do not understand how the old medicines came into use. 
They believe that the anthropic and zooic gods possess these reme- 
dies, allowing the Zuni to act as their agents in administering them. 
They must not be employed, however, prior to the offering of proper 
suppfications and prayers to the gods wliose medicines are to be admin- 
istered; therefore there is much ceremony connected with heahng the 
sick. In fact, the life of the Zuni is a prolonged ceremony from 
birth to death, of which plant life forms a conspicuous feature; but 
plants are revered apart from their association with ceremony and 
the curing of the sick. The Zuiii have a passion for the beautiful in 
nature; they love flowers because they are beautiful to the eye, 
and their fragrance, too, is pleasing. The youth loves to pluck the 

I In the knowledge of plant medicines the Zuni are no exception to the other Pueblos. A preliminary 
study by the writer of the medicines of the Taos, Tewa, and Sia Indians discloses a close relationship among 


blossoms and wear them in his headkerchicf when he seeks the 
maiden of his choice at their trysting place. Flowers are associated 
with butterflies and music. The god of music created the tenatsdli, 
a mythical plant bearing blossoms of the colors of the six cardinal 
points — yellow blossoms for the north, blue for the west, red for the 
south, white for the east, all colors for the zenith, and black for the 
nadir. He can with his flute draw to him the flowers and butterflies 
of the world. 


Amaranthus hlitoides S. Wats. Tumbleweed. Amaranthace^. 

Amaranth family. 
Ku'shutsi, 'many seeds.' 
The seeds of the plant are supposed to have been brought from the 
undermost world in the precious el'leteliwe ' of the rain priests and 
scattered by them over the earth. Originally the seeds were eaten 
raw, but the Zuni say that after they became possessed of corn, these 
seeds were ground with black corn meal, mixed with water, and the 
mixture was made into balls, or pats, and steamed, as are those eaten 
at the present time. A network of slender sticks or slats is fitted 
snugly inside the pot in the center, and the meal cakes or balls are 
placed thereon. The pot contains sufficient water to steam them. 

Artemisia wrightii A. Gray. Wormwood. Cakduace.e. Thistle 

Kia'tsanna, 'small seeds' (kki <Tcki'we, seeds; tsan'na, small). ^ 
The seeds ground and mixed with water are made mto balls or 
pats, and steamed. This dish is now rarely prepared, but the Zuni 
declare that I'la'tsanna was among their most ancient foods, and that 
they depended much on it when they first emerged into the outer 
world. ^ 

Asclejnas galioides H.B.K. Milkweed. Asclepiad.a.ce^. Milk- 
weed family. 

Ha'watseki, ' leaf boy ' {ha < Jia'li, leaf ; wats'eki, boy ) . The young 
boys search for the plant in order to secure the first buds 
to eat, hence the name. 

Asclepias involucrata Engelm. Milkweed. Asclepiadace.*;. 

Milkweed family. 
Po'Tcia a'wa tsi' sinaMa , 'all jackrabbit sucking-food' {po'Tcia, 

jackrabbit; a'tva, all; tsi'siiuiJcia, sucking-food); so named 

because the milk of the weed is a favorite food of this 


Astragalus dipTiysus Gray. Milk Vetch. Fabace^. Pea family. 
Ha'onawe, 'leaf teeth' (ha <ha'li, leaf; o'nawe, teeth) ; so named 
because of the serrated leaf. 

1 See 2Sd Ann. Rep. Bur. A mer.. Ethn., p. 10:1. The words el'leteliwe and et'towe are synonymous. 

2 It will be observed that this plant when used for food bears an Indian name ditlerent from the one em- 
ployed when it is used medicinally. See p. 42. 

3 See S3d Ann. Rep. Bur. Amcr. Elhn., p. 24. 

15961°— 30 ETH— 15 5 65 


The pods are gathered in the autumn and eaten fresh, and they 
are also dried for winter use. Boiled and salted, they are regarded 
as a delicacy. 

Atriplex poweUii S. Wats. Orache. Chenopodiace^. Goose- 
foot family. 
Sul'toMa, ' minute seeds.' 
The Zuni say that before the people had corn the seeds of this plant, 
like those of others, were eaten raw. After corn came the seeds were 
ground with corn meal and made into mush. " "Wlien we depended 
entirely on the small seeds of plants for our fooil, our flesh was not 
firm and good as it is now." 

Chenopodium leptophyUum (Moq.) Nutt. Narrow-leaved Lambs- 
quarter. Chenopodiace^e. Goosefoot family. 
'^Kta'tsanna, 'small seeds' {'Ma<'Ha'we, seeds; tsan'im, small). 
The Zuni declai-e that the seeds of this plant, with those of another 
plant {Artemisia wrightii Gray), called also ^Tcla'tsanna, were among 
their principal foods when they first reached this world. The seeds 
are ground, mixed with corn meal seasoned with salt, and made into 
a stiff batter, which is formed into balls or pats and steamed. "Upon 
first reaching this world the seeds were prepared without the meal, 
as the Zuni had no com at that time." ^ Now the young plants are 
boiled either with or without meat, and are greatly relisheil. 

■Coreopsis cardaminefolia Torr. & Gray. Coreopsis. Carduace.e. 

Thistle family. 
Kla'naitu, 'water seeds' (kla<'k%a''we, water; nai'tu seeds, 
reference being to these particular seeds). 
This plant was mtroduced among the Zuiii many years ago by the 
Navaho for making into a beverage, which continued in favor as a 
hot drink until the introduction of coffee by traders, after which no 
one drank Ma'naitu who could find the means for purchasing the 
commercial berry. The plant was folded while fresh, a number of 
folds being attached one below the other, and hung on the wall to 
dry; a fold was detached when required for use. 

Coriandrum sativum L. Coriander. Apiace.e. Carrot family. 
Ku'lantu. Corruption of the Spanish name culantro. 
This plant was introduced long ago among the Zuni by the Mexi- 
cans. It is grown along the water courses in the farming districts, 
and in the gardens, which are cultivated exclusively by women. 
The leaves are relished as a salad, and the seeds are powdered and 
mixed with ground chile for use as a condiment with meat. 

Cucurhita pepo L. Squash. Cucurbitace.e. Gourd family. 

' See ISd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Eihn., p. 24. 


Me'teydla, 'round, inside seeds sit down' {mo<mo'li, round egg- 
shaped; te'ydla, inside sit down). The word for seeds is 
not expressed, but it is fully understood in reference to 
squash or melons. "Melons never stand but sit upon the 
ground or floor." The tendrils of the squash vine are called 
by the Zuiii to'nilcdnne (to <to'nini, native cotton i"ope; 
Icdnne, coiled). 
Fresh squash is either cut in pieces and boUed or is roasted whole 
in the ashes; it is cut in spiral strips, folded into hanks, and hung up 
to dry for winter use. Squash blossoms are cooked m grease, and 
are also used as a delicacy in combination with other foods, as 
Tie' palokla, with which they are especially relished.' Gourds are 
fashioned into cups, ladles, dippers, and are put to various other uses. 

Cycloloma atriflicifolium (Spreng.) Coulter. Winged Pigweed. 

CiiENOPODiACE^. Goosefoot family. 

The blossoms are wimiowed in a basket, the tiny seeds are collected 

and ground, and a small quantity is mixed with corn meal, which is 

then made into balls or cakes and steamed. "Before the Zuni had 

corn, flour made only from other seeds was used." 

Ephedra nevadensis S. Wats. Teamster's Tea. Gnetace.^;. 

Joint-fir family. 
Tsi'posho, 'stiff -jointed' {'si, stiff; posho, jomted). 
The plant, minus the root, is occasionally steeped in hot water and 
the decoction drunk as a beverage. 

Eriocoma cuspidata Nutt. Poace.e. Grass family. 

The Zuiii declare that the seeds of this grass formed one of their 
food staples before they had corn. Since the introduction of corn 
(it is certain that these people had corn centuries ago), it has been 
the custom to combine the gi-omid Eriocoma seeds with meal and 
water, then to form the mixture into balls, or pats, which are steamed. 

Eriocoma cuspidata. This is a singular species of grass which is found growing wild 
in moist sandy spots in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, and produces a small, 
black, nutritious seed, which is ground into flour and made into bread. It is held in 
high estimation by the Zuiii Indians of New Mexico, who, when their farm crops 
fail, become wandering hunters after the seeds of this grass, which is abundant in 
their country. Parties are sometimes seen ten miles from their villages, on foot, 
carrying enormous loads for winter provision.^ 

Enphorhia serpylUfolia Pers. Spurge. Elt>horbiace.e. Spurge 

Pa'ndshtu, 'mouth sweetened' (pa<pash'teye, in the mouth; 
nash'tu, sweetened). 

' See BSd Anv. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn.. p. 3R5, and p. 46 of the present memoir. 
■ Palmer in jlnn. Rep. Dept. Agriculture, 1S70, p. 419, Washington, 1S71. 


The root, which is generally gathered by the men and carried to 
the female members of the family, to whom it properly belongs, is 
broken into bits and preserved in sacks. After the mouth has been 
thoroughly cleansed, a small piece of the root is placed therein bj' 
each of the women who are to make the sweetenmg for corn-meal 
he'falokia} The root remams in the mouth two days, except when 
removed to enable the woman to take refreshment and to sleep. 
Each tune the mouth is cleansed with cold water before the root is 
returned thereto. The root is finally removed when the process of 
sweetening the corn meal is begun. Either j-ellow or black corn is 
used, according to taste. The corn is freshly and finely ground. 
With her fiiigers the woman puts as much meal mto her mouth as it 
will hold. The meal is not chewed, but held in the mouth until the 
accumulation of saliva forces her to eject the mass, which is deposited 
in a small bowl. This process is continued until the desired quantity 
oi chi'lcwawe (pi.), 'sweetening,' has been prepared for the he' palohia. 

To a great extent sprouted wheat has taken the place of corn meal 
for sweetening he'paloJcia, but for this purpose the wheat is never 
taken into the mouth. 

The Euphorbia leaves are chewed also on account of their pleasant 

Hymenopappus filifolius Nutt. C'arduace^. Thistle famih'. 
The root is used as chewing-gum. 

Lactuca pulchella DC. Wild Lettuce. C'ichoriace^. Chicory 

La'posho, 'gray ear' Qa <la' shoktone, ear; po'sho [archaic], gray 
or ash color) .^ The full but unexpressed meaning is ' rabbit- 
ear leaf,' the gray of the leaf resembling the gray of a 
rabbit's ear. 
The gummy substance from the root is prepared and used as 
chewing-gum. The young plants are uprooted when several inches 
high and hung to dry. The roots may be used at any time. A few 
cuts allow the gum to exude; it is then carefully dried before chewing. 

Lycium pallidum Miers. Tomatillo. Solanace^. Nightshade 

Kia'puli, 'water fall down' {hia<Ha'we, water; pu'li, fall 
down). So named because the rains cause many berries of 
the plant to fall. 
The berries are boiled, and, if not entirely ripe, they are sometimes 
sweetened. This dish, which is regarded as a great delicacy, is called 
Tcla'puli mo'li, 'water-fall-down berry' (mo'H, round or egg-shaped). 
The berries are also eaten raw when perfectly ripe. 

1 See 23d Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn., p. 365. 

2 The modern name for gray or ash color is lo'kmna. 


Lycoperdonsp. Puffball. Lycoperdonace^. Puffball family. 
Mushrooms of the puffball variety are gathered in large quantities 
in the fresh state for food, and are also dried for consumption in 

Opuntia whipplei Engelm. & Bigel. Cane Cactus. Cactace^. 

Cactus family. 
^Ko'sM, 'cactus.' 
The fruit, me'awe, is removed with wooden tongs and the spines are 
carefully rubbed off. It is eaten raw or stewed and is also dried for 
winter use. The dried fruit is ground to a flour, which is mixed with 
parched corn meal and made into a mush. 

Parosela lasianthera (Gray) Heller. Fabace^. Pea family. 
Kwi'mi chulol'ia, 'root chew' {lcwi'm.i<lcwi'minne, root; 
chu'lokia, to chew). 
The root is chewed and greatly^enjoyed, especially by children. 

Pedis papposa Harv. & Gray. Cakduace^. Thistle family. 

The plant is gathered for winter use and hung in the house to dry. 
The flowers are crushed in the hand and sprinkled into meat stew as 
a flavoring, after it is cooked. The Zuiii declare that when the 
product of the hunt was their only meat, and they had only stone 
vessels in wliich to cook, Itam'pasa was much esteemed as a seasoning 
for their game. 

Peritoma serrulatum (Pursh) DC. Kocky Mountain Bee Plant. 

CAPPARIDACE.E. Caper family. 
A'pilalu, 'hand many seeds' {a<a'si, hand; pi'lalu, many 
seeds). The leaf of the plant is referred to as a "hand." 
This plant bears the same name as Polanisia traeliysperma, not 
because the Zuni do not recognize the difference between the species, 
but because the two plants are similar in appearance. 

The tender leaves are cooked, usually boiled with corn on or off 
the cob, and highly seasoned with chUe. Large quantities of the 
leaves are gathered and hung indoors to dry for ^\•inter uec. 

PTiaseolus vulgafis L. Bean. Fabace.e. Pea family. 
No'we, 'beans.' 

Next to corn, beans are the most important article of food cultivated 
by the Zuni. These are grown from the native species. As much 
care is observed in securing beans of different colors as in the case of 
corn. The beans are yellow, blue, red, white, all colors, and black, 
symboUzing the six cardinal jjoints^ — north, west, south, east, zenith, 
and nadir, respectively. 

Beans are served in a variety of ways. They are boiled and fried 
in a considerable quantity of grease. Another style of preparation 


consists in crushing boiled beans and mixing them wath musli, baking 
them wTajiped in corn liusks. Still another favorite dish is meat 
stew well fiUed with beans. 

Physalis fendleri A. Gray. Ground Cherry. Solanacre. 

Nightshade family. 
Ke'tsitokla. Named for an insect that feeds upon the plant. 
The fruit is boUed in a small quantity of water and then crushed 
and used as a condiment. 

P. longifolia Nutt. tears the same Indian name as P. fendleri. 
This plant grows wild on the lowlands, and is also cultivated in the 
small gardens worked by the women. When ripe the fruit is red 
and its flavor is much hke that of the tomato. 

The berry is boiled, then ground in a mortar wath raw onions, 
cliile, and coriander seeds. This higlily prized dish is cateiT with a 
ladle or a spoon. 

Pinus edulis Engehn. Pinon of the Southwest. PiNACua;. 

Pine family. 
He'shotsi'tonm, 'gum branch' Qie'sho,g\\va; tsi'fonne, liranch), in 
allusion to the quantity of gum that exudes from it. 
The' nuts from the cones are gathered in great quantities and stored 
for winter use. They are toasted, not only because the flavor is 
improved by this process, but because they are better preserved in 
this condition. Wliat the Zuni do not gather themselves they secure 
fi-om the Navaho Indians. These nuts afford one of the choicest of 
their food supphes. 

Rihes inehrians Lindl. Wild Currant. Grossxtlariace^. 

Gooseberry family. 
Ke'lashiwu'nana, 'weed first come out' Qce, weed; lashiwu'nana, 
first come out). 
Tins plant is the first to show young leaves in the spring. The 
fresh leaves are eaten with uncooked mutton fat, or with deer fat 
when it can be obtained. The berries are highly rehshed. 

Salix irrorata Anders. Willow. Salicace.e. Willow family. 

Eight or a dozen willows trimmed at the ends anil tied together 
are used for stirring corn, jjopcorn, and other food toasting over the 

Cottonwood is employed for a variety of purposes in the household. 

Solanum dxagnifolium Cav. Bull Nettle. Solanace^. Night- 
shade family. 
fla'ivatapa, 'prickly leaf (ha<ha'H, leaf; wa'tapa, prickly). 
Goat's milk curdled with the berries is regarded by the Zuni as a 
delicious beverage. 


Solanum fendleri A. Gray. Native Potato. Solanace^. 

Nightshade family. 
Kia'pimo, 'round, uncooked, watery' (kw'pi, uncooked or 
watery; mo Kmo'li, ball-or egg-shaped). 
The potato is eaten raw, and after every moutliful a bite of white 
clay is taken to counteract the unpleasant astringent effect of the 
potato in the mouth. 

Solanum, trifiornm Nutt. Nightshade. Solanace^. Night- 
shade family. 
Ho'liawe, 'blue leaf (ha <ha'U, leaf; li'awe, blue). 
The ripe fruit is boiled, ground in a mortar, mixed with ground 
chile and salt, and eaten as a condiment ■w'ith mush or bread. 

Triticum vuJgare L. Wlieat. Poaceje. Grass family. 
'Kla'we, 'wheat.' 

Wlieat has a been a staple article of food among the Zuni since its 
introduction by the Spaniards. A light bread (mv'looirs) raised ^^'ith 
sour dough is made mto turnovers and fanciful designs and baked La 
ovens outdoors.' 

Ih' pacJiiwe, tortillas, thick cakes, are baked on polished stone 
slabs supported over stones in the fu-eplace.^ 

Sprouted wheat is used for making he'palolcia wliich consists of a 
small quantity of the wheat ground and mixed with a batter made of 
wheat flour. ^ 

Fragments of dried he' palol'ia, ground as fuie as possible in a mill 
and mixed 'w-ith water, constitute a beverage which is enjoyed by 
the Zuni. 

Mu'tsikowe, doughnuts, were adopted from the Mexicans many 
years since. A soft dough is made of flour and cold water, and salt 
is added. A bit of the dough brokeji from the mass is shaped mto a 
cake about 4 by 4 indies. The cakes are cooked in boiling beef fat 
or mutton grease, or in lard if it can be secured. Each doughnut 
is punched with a slender stick wliich is emijloyed to tm-n it over 
in the grease and to remove it from the pot. The doughnut is held 
over the pot for a moment or two to allow the grease to drip from it 
and then is deposited in an eatmg bowl. 

Xanthium communeBrition. Cocklebur. Ambrosiace^. Kag- 

weed family. 
Mo'l-lacMpa, 'prickly pod' (mo<mo'Ji, round or egg-shaped; 

I'la'ddpa, prickly). 

• See ISd Ann. Rep. But. Amer. Ethn., p. 364. 
-Ibid., p. 363. 
3 Ibid., p. 365. 


The seeds are ground, mixed with corn meal, made into cakes or 
balls, and steamed. This was a common dish among the poorer class 
of the Zuni in 1879. 

Yucca haccata Torr. Datil. I^iliace.e. Lily family. 
Ho'l'iapa, 'long leaf wide.' 

The fruit of this plant is regarded by the Zuni as a great luxury. 
Before they obtained wagons it was gathered and carried in blankets 
on the backs, and later on the backs of burros. 

The fruit, wliich is called tsu'piyane {p\. tsu' piy awe, 'long oval'), 
after being pared is eaten raw, and is also boiled. When the boiled 
fruit becomes cold, the skm is loosened with a knife and pulled off. 
The friut is greatly relished when prepared in tliis way, but is still 
more higldy esteemed as a conserve, which is prepared in the follow- 
ing manner: After being pared the fruit is heaped in large bowls; 
this part of the work is done by the women of the household assisted 
by then- female friends. They labor industriously throughout the 
day, and at night the party is joined by male friends and relations, 
as many as possible sitting around the filled and emptj^ receptacles, 
while the others sit near by. The fruit is bitten off close to the core 
containing the seeds, winch is cast aside. Then, after being chewed, 
the fruit is ejected from the mouth into a bowl by those immediately 
around the receptacle, while tlie others discharge the fruit into then- 
hands, and, reachmg over, place it in the vessel. The chewing con- 
tinues until late in the night, and when the work is fmished a supper 
is served by the hostess assisted by her women friends. The l)owl 
of chewed fruit, covered with a stone slab, is deposited on the roof 
for the remainder of the night. In the mornuig it is emptied into 
a large cooking vessel balanced over hot embers in the fireplace; no 
water is used, and the fruit is constantly stirred with a slender rod. 
When it is sufRciently cooked it is transferred to large bowls; on 
becoming cold, the mass is made into thick pats about three mches 
in diameter. These are placed on polished stone slabs and dried in 
the sun on the roof. About three daj's are requu-ed for the drj-ing 
process. Those sleepmg on the roof keep an eye on the pats, that 
no harm may come to them. Wlien sufRciently dried several pats 
at a time are taken into the hand and squeezed together; then the 
mass is worked on polished stone slabs into rolls about 12 inches long 
and 3i mches in diameter. The rolls, wliich are perfectly smooth, 
are deposited on polished boards or stone slabs and again carried to 
the roof, where they remain five or ten days, or until perfectly fu-m. 
Many of these fruit rolls, covered with stone slabs, are Mdden in the 
walls of dwellings, wliile others are deposited in large pottery vases, 
covered with stone slabs, and sealed. Wlien needed, usually a piece 
the width of four fingers is cut crosswise from the roll, broken into 
a bowi half filled with water, and then manipulated with the fuigers 


until thoroughly dissolved. This liquid, or syrup, is regarded as 
delicious, and the dry fruit is eaten as a conserve. 

Before the introduction of coffee and sugar, the dissolved conserve 
was used to sweeten the native beverages and also boiled green peaches. 

Yucca glauca Nutt. Soapweed. Liliace^. Lily family. 
Ho'tsanna, 'long leaf small' {ho Kho'k'iajja, long leaf wide; 
tsan'na, small), resembling the leaf of ho'kiapa {Yucca 
baccata), but more slender and not so long. 
The seed pods, which are slightly sweet, are boiled. The young 
pods are considered far superior as food to the older ones. While the 
seeds of the former are eaten with the pods, those of the latter are not 
regarded as edible. These pods are not combined with other foods, 
and they are never eaten warm or with meals. "They would not 
agree with the stomach if taken with other food." 

Zea mays L. Corn. Poace.<e. Grass family. 
Chu'we, 'corn.' 

Though not indigenous to the United States, com was the staple 
food of the mhabitants of the Southwest long before the coming of 
the Spaniards in the middle of the sixteenth century, having been 
brought to this section either Ijy peoples migratiiig from the south or 
by aboriginal traders. It is found, charred, in almost every cliff- 
house of the Southwest. Corn is made into a great variety of dishes, 
and is also employed in liquid form. See p. 76. 

He'we, a paper-like bread, is made of corn crushed on the coarsest 
millmg stones and then toasted m a bowl supported on stones in the 
right-angle fu-cplace. The corn is stii-red continually with a bunch of 
osiers. The toasted meal is passed thi-ough in a mill of the next 
degree of fineness and afterward thi'ough a third mill, the final product 
being a very fine flour. A quantity of this meal mixed with cold 
water is stirred into a pot of boiling water, and the mixture is stirred 
constantly during the cooking. After the pot has been removed 
from the fire and the mush has cooled sufficiently it is placed on the 
floor by the side of the bread maker. A bowl of thin batter made of 
imcooked meal and cold water is put by the side of a large bowl. If 
the Jie'we is to be of a bluish-green color, the water from slaked lime 
is poured into the batter. The woman at the baking stone deposits 
in the empty bowl a double handful of the mush, addmg a handful 
of batter. When the two are thoroughly mixed she dips a quantity 
with her hand and passes it rapidly over the heated slab,' which is 
supported on stones at one end of a long fireplace provided with a 
Chmeselike awning hood. The hand is passed from right to left, 
begimimg at the far side of the slab, and by the time the slab is cov- 
ered the gauzy sheet is baked; the bread is lifted from the slab and 

I See ISd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn., p. 381. 


laid on a straw mat, and it soon becomes cool and crisp. After a 
number of sheets are baked they are laid together on the bakmg slab 
and heated sufficiently to allow the bread to be folded. This bread 
is usually served in basket trays. 

He'iDe is the staple article of food carried on long journeys, especially 
when one travels on foot. It is very light in weight and a sufficient 
quantity can be carried m a cloth tied around the waLst to nourish a 
man for days. Occasionally the Zuiii color he'we red with Amaran- 
thus, which they raise ha their gardens around the village. 

A variety of this bread is sometunes made with cold boiled native 
beans; these are pounded mto a paste with the addition of cold 
water, which is mixed with the batter instead of mush. Salt is added 
to the mixture. 

Occasionally Tie'xve is made of untoasled meal, and in this case also 
salt is added. Fragments of Tie' we which necessarily accumulate are 
laid away until a sufficient quantity is gathered, when they are toasted 
in a bowl over the fire and sthrcd with a bunch of osiers during the 
toastmg; when done the he'we is crushed with the hand and deposited 
in a basket tray. This toasted bread is wanned m grease or moistened 
with water before it is eaten. 

He'yahoniwe is made of corn-meal mush; after bemg gi-ound twice 
the corn is mixed with cold water and salt and boiled; water frcim 
slaked lime is added to produce a bluish-green color. A handful of 
the mush is added to a quantity of batter sufficient for a sheet of 
Tie'we, and this mixture is made into cakes about 10 by 12 inches and 
many tunes thicker than the Tie'we sheets; these are baked two on a 
slab similar to that used for baking he'we. This bread is in common 
use at Zuni. 

Mu'tkia'pawe is another favorite dish of the Zuni. To meal twice 
<^round a sufficient quantity of boilmg water k added to make a 
stiff dough, and water from slaked lime to give the desired color; 
enough cold water is then added to give the mush the proper con- 
sistency to enable it to be shaped mto large oval balls, which are 
cooked in a pot of boiling water. Mu'iklapawe is eaten cold. 

Mu'tklaliwe, another variety of mush. Is prepared in the same 
manner as he'yahoniwe, except that the mush is rolled into rope-like 
strips from which fragments are broken and made mto baUs an inch 
or more in diameter; these are dropped mto a pot containmg just 
enough boilmg water to cook them. The mush thickens in the 
water and the mixture is eaten with a ladle or spoon. 

He'pachiive is made by pourmg diluted lye over corn, which is left 
until the hulls are shed, after which the corn is thoroughly washed 
and dried and then ground. The meal, niLxed with water (no salt 
is used), is made into cakes 6 or 8 inches m diameter and about two- 
thii-ds of an mch thick; these are baked on he'pachiwe slabs. 


He'paloHa is usually matle of yellow or black corn when wheat is 
not used for the purpose. The corn is ground twice and the meal is 
sifted through a very fine sieve. A quantity of meal is placed m a 
large bowl, boilmg water is added, and the mixture is weU stirred; 
then about a cupful of meal which has been held m the mouth of 
several young giiis to sweeten it, is also put into the vessel. As each 
girl finds it necessary she ejects the meal into a small bowl. Nme 
or ten slabs, each about 10 by 10 inches, are stood on end m a cavity 
m the same fii'eplace in which the he'ioe is cooked, and cedar wood is 
placed around each slab and kindled. When the wood is reduced to 
embers and the cavity and surfaces of the slabs are adequately heated, 
the slabs are laid to one side while the embei-s are removed and the 
fire bed is thoroughly swept. Dried com husks are dampened and 
laid flat and the batter is spread over them. Husks are then placed 
along the edges of the stiff batter to a depth sufficient to prevent the 
overlymg slab touchmg it. The arrangmg in layers of the sheets of 
batter and the slabs contmues imtil aU but one of the slabs are m 
use. Then the remammg slab is laid over the whole and a fii-o is 
kmdled upon it. The heat from the slabs below and the fire above 
is sufficient to cook the Tie''palok%a, which remains overnight m the 
improvised oven. 

Another waj of cooking lie'palol-ia is as follows: A largo pot filled 
with the batter is set on a deep bed of hot embers m a permanent pit 
outside the house made specially for the purpose. A small ffi-e is 
built around the pot, the batter is stured until it begins to boil, and a 
stone slab is laid over the mouth of the pit on which a fu-e is kindled. 
This process, which also includes baking overnight, has never been 
in so great favor as baking indoors because "witches have greater 
opportunity to affect food outside the house, by which those who 
partake of the food are made ill." 

Corn he'falokla is dear to the Zuni palate, though that made of 
wheat is also regarded as a gi-eat delicacy. 

A more modern way of making he'paloHa is to cook the mixture 
in an hon pot placed in the outdoor oven used for baking light bread. 
The oven having been properly heated, the pot is allowed to remam 
in it overnight. 

He'pdlokia is also made into pats, \vTapped in corn husks, and 
baked in the outdoor oven, which is heated as for light bread. This 
process is regarded, however, as a mere makeshift. 

Portions of he'paloMa spread on cloths are dried m the sun when 
the weather is clear, otherwise the cloths are spread by the ffi-e in the 
house. When thoroughly dried they are ground in the finest mill. 
The meal is eaten mixed with cold water; it is also eaten dry, as one 
eats bonbons. In the past it was common to see an old man with a 


quautity of this meal m a bowl beside huu, taking a pmcli every 
little whUe as he worked on his beads or moccasins. 

Mush made in a variety of ways is often mixed with meat wrapped 
in corn husks, and boiled or baked. The boiled preparation is a 
favorite dish of the Mexicans, which they call tamales. 

CTiu'tsikwanawe ('corn without skin'), 'hominy,' is one of the 
staple articles of food of the Zuni. Corn removed from the cob is 
put into a large pot of cold water containing wood ashes previously 
dampened. After the corn has boiled a short time it is stirred with 
a slender stick. After boilmg three hours, during which time it is con- 
stantly stuTcd, the corn is removed from the pot to a basket, tray, or 
bowl and carried to the river, where it is thoroughly washed. Then 
the hominy, which does not requii'e soaking previous to cooking, is 
ready to prepare for the meal. Hominy prepared by the Zuni 
housewife can not be surpassed. 

Mi'lowe (roasted sweet corn) is regarded as a great delicacy. An 
excavation 10 or 12 feet deep and 3 or 4 feet in diameter is made in 
the cornfield. Cedar branches are thrown mto this pit and on them 
are heaped hot embers; then more cedar wood is added until the 
pit is filled to a quarter of its depth. As soon as a mass of live 
embers has accumulated the corn ui the husks is deposited in the 
oven and covered thick with stones, upon which are heaped hot 
embers. The corn remauis m the oven from late in the afternoon 
uhtil after sunrise the following morning, when the owners of the 
field, with then- families and friends, enjoy the feast. What is not 
consumed in the field is hung up m the storage room to dry, each 
ear having the husk pulled back, exposing the corn. Corn preserved 
in this way remahas good for months. When it is to be eaten the 
husks are removed and the corn is boiled. 

Ta'Tcuna ('bead bread'), popped corn. The corn is toasted in 
bowls balanced on stones in the fu-eplace, the grams being stu-red 
constantly with a bunch of slender cottonwood sticks until they pop 
and become as white as snowflakes. The corn is sprinkled with salt 
while hot. 

Gruel made of white or blue meal is constantly whipped during 
the boiling, so that it is light and frothy when ready to eat. 

Ta'huna Ha' we ('bead water') is made of popped corn gi-ound as 
fine as possible. The powder is put into a bowl and cold water is 
poured over it. The mixture is strained before it is di'unk. While 
this beverage may be drunk at any time, it is used especially by the 
rain priests and personators of antlu'opic gods during ceremonials. 

A native drink which the Zuni claim is not intoxicating is made 
from sprouted corn. The moistened grain is exposed to the sun 
until it sprouts; water is then poured over it and it is allowed to 
stand for some days. 


Asdepiasgalioides'H.'B.'K. Milkweed. Asclepiadace^. Milk- 
weed family. 
Ha'watselci, 'leaf boy' Qia<Tia'li, leaf; umt'se'ki, boy). The 
plant is so named because the young boys search for the 
first buds to eat. 

The pods are gathered for spinning when about two-thirds ripe; 
the Zuui say that the fully ripe coma can not be used for this purpose. 
The coma, or "cotton" as the Zuhi call it, is placed on a piece of 
cotton cloth laid on the floor. "Wlien tlie plant is gathered at the 
proper time, " they say, " and is perfectly fresh, the coma is sufficiently 
pHable to work; but after the second day following the gathering of 
the cotton it must be Ughtly sprinkled with water. The cotton may 
be kept for montlis, but it is necessary to dampen it before spinning. " 

The aged Zuni declared at the time of the writer's fu'st visit to the 
pueblo, in 1879, and they continue to assert, that beautiful white 
dance-kilts, women's belts, and other articles were woven from the 
fiber of Asclepias galioides. 

The spindle employed in the spinning of this "cotton" as well as of 
the true cotton, was a slender stick, heavier than a lead pencil and 
the length of four fingers crosswase, plus the distance fi"om the tip of 
the thumb to the tip of the middle finger, the fingers extended. 'This 
spindle had no whorl, nor were any of the more ancient spindles 
furnished with whorls. The primitive spindle is stUl in use by the 
rain priests for spinning native cotton and Asclepias for ceremomal 

Gossypium. Mrsutum L. Cotton. Malvaceae. Mallow family. 

U'lve, 'down.' All down is referred to as u'we; thus Md'kmli 

u'we, eagle down. 

The Zuni declare that they brought the cotton and the milkweed 

from tlie innermost world and that they began cultivating both when 

at Han'hplnkia ('Place of sacred stealing).' ' 

There is no question that the Pueblos of the Rio Grande Valley, as 
well as the Hopi of Arizona, and others, cultivated cotton long before 
the advent of the Spaniards. CUff-dweUings and cavate dwellings 
of the Southwest have yielded to explorers beautiful specimens of 
cotton cloth. Ceremonial garments were woven of native cotton 
as late as 1879. Cotton is not indigenous, however, to New Mexico 

1 See 2Sd Ann. Rep. Bvr. A mer. Ellin., p. 40. 



and Arizona, and must have been bronp:ht from Mexico either by- 
Indians moving fi-om the south northward, or through trade. 

Mr. G. N. Collins, assistant botanist of the United States Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, states that "neither corn nor cotton are known 
to be indigenous in the United States. In fact, neither of these 
plants has been found anywhere where they could be considered 
indigenous. Cotton is supposed to have originated in Mexico, 
though it was extensively cultivated in the Orient before the discovery 
of America." 

The only Pueblo Indians cultivating cotton to any considerable 
extent at the present time are the Hopi of Arizona. These j^eople, 
however, no longer depend entirely on the native cotton for weaving 
ceremonial garments, but purchase the cotton twine of commerce. 
For certain ceremonial purposes, however, they must have native 

Yucca haccata Torr. Datil. Liliace.e. LUy family. 
Ho'lcmpa 'long leaf wide.' This term is applied to yucca and 
similar leaves. The name for other leaves is ha'li (pi. 

Fiber from the leaves of this plant was used largely in weaving 
fabrics before the introduction of sheep by the Spaniards. Many 
beautiful specimens of cloth woven of yucca fiber have been found 
in prehistoric rums in the Southwest. 

Wl\en the central or new leaves are gathered, each leaf is folded 
about four inches m length and tied with a fragment of the leaf. 
These folds are placed in a pot of boiling water, and when boiling 
hard a small quantity of cedar ashes is added. Wlien sufficiently 
cooked the folds are removed from the pot and placed in a basket 
or bowl. When the leaves are cold, youths and maidens peel off the 
epidermis; an end of the leaf is taken between the teeth and is 
chewed and gradually drawn into the mouth. The other end of the 
leaf is then taken into the mouth and chewed, until the entire leaf 
has been sufficiently treated. After the chewing is completed all 
the fibers are separated, each one being straightened and laid on the 
floor. They are then gathered into bunches and tied with fiber 
strmgs and hung in an inner room to dry. When required for the 
loom, the bunches of fibers are soaked in cold water to soften them. 
They are then worked into thread-like cords, spun, and woven into 
a variety of garments. At least, such was the procedure in the past. 
No such weavmg is done at the present time. The yucca leaves are 
still boiled and chewed, however, and from their fibei-s a cord is 
made by twisting two strands by rolling on the right knee with the 
right hand, and then doubling and twistmg them. After the cord 
is finished it is chewed to bleach it, and it is also rubbed in white 
corn meal to intensify the color. 


These cords are used prmcipally to tie prater-plume offerings 
together and for other ceremonial purposes. 

The split leaves are plaited into mats for coveruig hatchways, 
grain vases, and other vessels. They are employed also to make 
cincture pads for supporting water vases upon the head, wiimowing 
baskets, baskets for serving food, baskets for transporting every 
variety of material that can be readily carried on the human back or 
at the side of a burro, and baskets for collect mg grasshoppers, which 
the Zuni roast and enjoy as a delicate tidbit. Split yucca leaves 
take the place of cords or rope for many purposes. 

Yucca glauca Nutt. Soapweed. Liliace^. Lily family. 
Ho'tsanna, 'long leaf small' (ho<ho'Mapa, long loaf large; 
tsan'na, small). It resembles the leaf of ho'kmpa {Yucca 
haccata Torr.), but is more slender and not so long. 
After the leaves have been soaked in water to soften them, they 
are made into rope by knotting them together. The fibers of the 
leaves are separated and lengthened for making a coarse cord. Like 
those of the larger yucca, the leaves are employed for makmg mats, 
cmcture pads, and other articles. 


Dj^euig may be classed among the lost arts of the Zuni, so com- 
pleteh' have aniline dyes of commence superseded theu' beautiful 
native vegetal colors. 

Alnus tenuifolia Nutt. Alder. Betulace^. Birch famil}'. 
I'sMnakmfsi'hwane, 'grease gaming-stick' {i'shinakia, grease; 
tsi'Tcwane, gaming stick). The stick referred to is used in 
foot races and is never touched by the hand after it is once 
tossed with the foot. Some of these racing-sticks are made 
of this wood; hence the name. 
The bark is employed for dyeing deerskin reddish-brown. 

Castilleja Integra A. Gra^'. Indian Paint Brush. Scrophula- 

RiACE^. Figwort family. 
Tsu'yaa'wa tsi'sinakm, 'hummingbird all suckmg-food' {tsu'ya, 
' hummingbird; a'wa, all; tsV sinakla, sucking-food). So 
named because the blossoms of this plant are a favorite food 
of the hummingbird. 
The bark of the root is used in conjunction with minerals for coloring 
deerskin Ijlack. 

Chrysothamnus bigelovii (A. Gray) Greene. Eabbit Brush. 

CarduacejE. Thistle family. 
Ha'l'oha Iwp'tsina, 'white leaf yt'How' (ha <ha'li,\eaf; lco'ha< 
Ico'lianna, white; lup'tsina,yf)\o\\). Named for the yellow 
blossom and silvery leaf. 
The blossoms are used for dyemg j^ellow. 

Coreopsis cardaminefolia Torr. & Gra}'. Coreopsis. Cardua- 

CE^. Thistle family. 
Kia'naitu, 'water seeds' (kiaKMa'we, water; nai'tu, seeds). 
The blossoms are employed in conjunction with other flowers for 
dyeing yarn mahogany red. 

Psilostrophe tagetina (Nutt.) Greene. CARDUACEiE. Thistle 

Ha'tsoliJco, ' leaf mouse ' (ha < ha'li, leaf; tsoli'lco, mouse) . Named 
for a species of mouse that feeds on the leaves of the plant. 
A yellow dye is produced from the blossoms. 


Chrysothamnus higeloini (A. Gray) Greene. Rabbit Brush. 
Carduace^. Tliistle famih'. 
. Ha'l-oha lup'tsine, 'wliite leaf yellow' (ha <ha'Ii,\ea,{: lo'hanna, 
wMte: lup'tsine, yellow). Named for the silvery leaf and 
yellow blossom. 
The stems of tliis plant are worked into baskets. The outer bark 
is removed and the stems are covered with damp sand to render 
them more pUable. • The stems are often dj'ed and some of the 
completed baskets are decorated in color. 

ParryeUa filifolia Torr. & Gray. Fabace^. Pea family. 
This plant is in common use for weaving into baskets. Its fra- 
grance is especially pleasing to the Zuni. 

Rhus trilobata Nutt. Sumac. Anacardiace^. Sumac family. 

Ko'se o'tsi, 'biting man' (ko'tsi, biting; o'tsi, man; referring to 

the male plant). So named because the stems are pungent 

or "biting to the tongue." 

The stems with the bark removed are used in making the fine 

"Apache" and other baskets. The bark-covered stems are employed 

to form the patterns in the weave. 

Salix irrorata Anders. Willow. Salicace^. Willow family. 
Baskets are made from the more slender switches. Willows were 
in general use for fUUng in between the house-rafters until witliin 
more recent years. 

Sporoholus strictus (Scnhn.)M.erTi\[. Drop Seed Grass. Poace.e. 

Grass family. 
The grass is divided into bunches, wliich are fastened together and 
made into mats for covering hatchways and other openings in houses. 
Arranged in the manner described, this material is used to construct 
shelters in or near the distant fields. 

Yucca baccata Torr. Datil. Liliacbm. Lily family. 
Bo'Mapa, 'long leaf wide.' 
Winnowing baskets are made by interlacing ribboned leaves. 
Tliese baskets or trays are used for a variety of other purposes. 
15961°— 30 ETH— 15 6 81 


Pei'itoina serrulatum (Pursh) DC. Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. 

Capparidace^. Caper family. 
A'pilalu, 'hand many seeds' (a<a'si, hand; pi'lalu, many 
seeds). The leaf of the plant is referred to as "hand." 
The entire plant, minus the root, is boiled for a considerable time, 
and the water in which it is cooked is allowed to evaporate. The 
firm paste secured from precipitation is used in conjunction with a 
black mineral paint for decorating pottery. 

Yucca glauca Nutt. Soapweed. Liliace^. Lilj- family 
Ho'tsanna, 'long leaf small' (ho <7)o'Tcuipa, long leaf large; 
tsan'na, small). 
This plant takes its name from the similarity of its leaf to that of 
Yucca haccata Torr. It is much more slender and not nearly so long. 
The brushes employed for decorating pottery are made from the 
leaves of this plant, which, for this purpose, are cut the proper lengths 
and fringed at one end. Yucca brushes are also used for decorating 
a variety of other objects, including ceremonial masks, and altars. 


Amaranihus hyhridus paniculatus (L.) Uline & Bray. Purple 

Amaranth. AsiARANTnACE^. Amaranth family. 
I'sMlowa ydl'toTcia, 'red face paint' (i'shilowa, red; yaVtokla, 
face paint). 
The leaves and blossoms, crushed and moistened with spittle or a 
small quantity of water, are rubbed on the cheeks with a cloth, as a 

Bouteloua gracilis (H. B. K.) Lag. Blue Grama. Poace.^. 
Grass family. 
Bunches of this grass securely WTapped serve more than one pur- 
pose: The severed end is used as a hair Inrush, while the other end is 
employed as a broom, sometimes as a strainer for goiits' milk. 

Pedis papposa Harv. & Gray. Carduace^. Thistle family. 

The blossoms are chewed by both sexes, especiaUj'' the women, 
ejected into the hands, and rubbed over the neck, Umbs, and clotliing 
as a perfume, before taking part in a dance in ceremonies of the secret 
fraternities. On detecting the fragrance, the men have many words 
of comphment for the women, declaring them to be very sweet. 

Yucca glauca Nutt. Soapweed. Liliace^. Lily family. 

Ho'tsanna, 'long leaf small' Qio <lio'kiapa, long leaf wide; 

tsan'na, small). The leaf resembles the leaf of ho'Jciapa 

{Yucca haccata Torr.), but is more slender and not so long. 

The root is freed of the bark, pounded, and made into suds by the 

use of cold water. These suds are used by all the Indians of the 

Southwest for washing the head and for cleansing woolen garments 

and blankets. 



Aster incanopilosus (Lindl.) Sheldon. Aster. Carduace^. 

Thistle family. 
Ha'mojnawe, 'leaf ball' (ha<lia'H, leaf; mo'piawe [pi.], round 
or egg-shaped). 
The blossoms, ground to a fine meal, are sprinkled into a bowl of 
yucca suds used for batliing a new-born infant. This medicine is 
said to make the hair grow on the head and to give strength to the 
body. The remedy belongs to all women. 

Coreopsis cardaminefolia Torr. & Gray. Coreopsis. Carduace^. 

Thistle famil}". 
Kia'naitu, 'water seeds' {lc'ia<]cia'we, water; nai'tu, seeds'). 
The plant, minus the root, is made into a tea, which is drunk by 
women desiring girl babies. 

This medicine belongs to all women. 

Cyclolomd atriplici folium. (Spreng.) Coulter. Winged Pigweed. 

Chenopodiace-e. Goosefoot family. 
A'lcwa lup'tsine, 'yellow medicine' {a'Tcwa, medicine; lup'tsine, 
yellow) . 
This medicine belongs to the grandmother of the Gods of War. 
She gave it to them with mstructions that when near the enemy 
they should bite off some of the blossoms of the plant and chew them, 
ejectmg the mass into their hands and rubbing the hands well together. 
As soon as the Gods of War had done this a peculiar yeUow Ught 
spread over the world, preventing the enemy from seeing how to aim 
their arrows truly. 

This medicine was exclusively in the keeping of the late Nai'uchi 
and his ceremonial brother, Me'she, who were the earthly representa- 
tives of the Gods of War. The secret of its use passed away with 
their death, as they did not see fit to confide it to others of the Bow 

MentzeliapumilaHovv.&Qx&j. Stick-leaf. Loasace^. Loasa 

Mi'hana i'pacMMa, 'white embroidered sacred blanket catch 
hold tight' {mi <mi']ia, white embroidered sacred blanket; 
na, to catch; i'pachilcia, hold tight). 
The name signifies that when the plant touches the blanket it 
adheres to it. "Once when a personator of an antlu-opic god was 
wearing a sacred blanket," say the Zuiii, " in passing one of the plants 
referred to, the plant attached itself to the blanket and the wearer 
could not shake it off; and ever since that time the plant has borne 
the name mi'liana i'pacJiikia." 


Children of both sexes, especially boys, are whipped with the fresh 
plant that they may be strong to hold on to a horse or other object 
and not release their hold and fall. 

The plant belongs to all the people. 

Phaseolus angustissimus A. Gray. Wild Bean. Fabace^. 

Pea family. 
Ha'tsumewe, 'strong leaf (ha<lia'H, leaf; tsu'meioe, strong). 
Tsu'mewe has reference to the strength of the people who 
have been treated with the plant. 
This medicine belongs to the Gods of War and is named A'hayuta, 
which name is borne by the Gods of War m time of peace, both gods 
bearing the one name when peaceful and on good terms with all the 
world. The medicine is referred to as A'hayuta an Icwi'minne 
(A'hayuta's root). 

When an infant boy evinces timidity his father carries a small 
quantity of corn meal wTapped m a bit of corn husk to the warrior of 
his choice, and, presentmg it, requests that the warrior apply the 
A'hayuta medicine to his cliild, that he may have a brave heart and 
never be afraid of the enemy. Crushed leaves and blossoms with 
the powdered root of this plant are chewed by the ofFiciating warrior 
and ejected into his hands, which he rubs over the nude body of the 
child; he also gives the child a small cjuantity of the crushed blossoms 
to eat. "This, of course, is sure to give the boy a brave heart, and 
he manifests a desire to fight on the shghtest provocation." 

Rumex mexicanus Weimn. Dock. Polygonace^. Buck- 
wheat family. 
Kwi'mi i'topona, 'painted root' (kwi'miKJcwi'minne, root; 
i'topona, painted). 
A very strong tea is made of the root by a husband who has no 
offspring, and he gives it to his wife, morning, noon, simset, and at 
bed-time, for a month or one moon. "This treatment is sure to 
place the woman in condition for becoming pregnant. If the medi- 
cine fails it is because the wife's heart is not good." 

When used for this purpose the remedy belongs to all men. 

Thelypodium wrightii A. Gray. Beassicacejs. Mustard 

Ha'Tco'lokta no'we a'wa a'lcumv^e, ' sandhiU-crane beans aU medi- 
cine' Qia'ko'lolcta, sandhdl-crane; no'we, beans; a'wa, aU; 
a'lcwawe, medicine). 
The seeds are removed from the pods and crushed by women of 
the Sandhill Crane clan, and mixed with beans that are to be planted. 
This procedure is said to cause the bean crop to be as abundant as the 
seeds from the pods. This medicine belongs to the SandhiU Crane 



Berieris fremontii Torr. Barbeny. Berberidace^e. Barberry 

Ta'luptsine, 'yellow wood' (fa <ia'we, wood; lup'tsine, yellow). 
Yellow Wood Clan, Taluptsikwe. 

Nicotiaha attenuata Torr. Wild Tobacco. Solanace^e. Night- 
shade family. 
A'na, 'tobacco.' 
Tobacco Clan, A'nakwe. 

Sophia Jialictorum CockereU. Brassicace^. Mustard family. 

Ai'yahokwe Clan. 

Svida stolonifera riparia Rydb. Dogwood. C'ornace^. Dog- 
wood family. 
Dogwood Clan, Pi'cliikwe. The Pi'chikwe is regarded with special 
significance, not only because the Sun Priest must be chosen from 
this clan, but also for the reason that it is associated with a number 
of the sacred myths of the Zuiii. 

Zea mays. Indian Corn. Poace.s;. Grass family. 
To'wa (archaic), 'corn.' 
Corn Clan, To'wakwe. 

Ktuin'ilcwa, 'black corn.' 
Black Corn Clan, Kwln'ikwakwe. 
Many children, especially gu-ls, are named for plants. 
Mountains, springs, lakes, and towns are also named for plants. 
The most beautiful mesa in the Southwest is To'wa yal'lanne, Corn 
Mountain — so named, the Zuiii say, because they carried their corn 
on their backs to the summit of this mountain when they fled from 
the great flood which destroyed most of the world. 

Of the many stopping-places mentioned in the recital of the migra- 
tion legends of the Zuni in quest of the middle place of the world, 
several have plant names: 

Pi'kiaia, 'spring plant' {Berula erecla (Huds.) Coville). Water 

To'seluna, ' high grass, ' referring to a special variety. 
U'hana hwi, 'moss place.' 
Pi'shu Maia Jcivi, 'poison oak spring place.' 
To'lolcndna Jcwi, 'rushes place.' 


Amaranthus hybridus ixiniculatus (L.) Uline & Bray. Pigweinl. 

Amaranthace^. Amaranth familj-. 
I'sMloiDa ydl't&kui., 'red face-paint' (i'sJiilova, red: yaJ'folcfa. 
The feathery part of this plant, which is cultivated in the little 
gardens worked by the Zufii women, ground to a fine meal, is used in 
coloring he'tve ' (wafer bread made of corn meal; see p. 73) red. 
The Tie'we is carried by personators of anthropic gods and throwTi by 
them to the populace between the dances. 

Anogra albicaulis (Pursh) Britton. Evening Primrose. Ona- 

GRACE.E. Evening Primrose family. 
U'tea Ko'hakwa, 'flower of the White Shell Bead Mother' (u'iea, 
flower; Ko'Tiakwa, White Shell Bead Mother). 

The Zuili believe that the mother of the sun was originally a 
woman, but that she became a white shell from which the sacred 
beads were made. "The White Shell Bead Mother lives in the west, 
and it is to her home the Sun Father goes before descendmg into the 
lower world for the night. The Sun Father always was, and always 
will be. No one knows anything about his creation, for he always 
was." The Zufii do not believe that the sun was born of the White 
Shell Bead Woman, but that she was and is one of the greatest of 
bemgs, and is respected and beloved as a mother b}^ the Sun Father. 

The blossoms are given by the High Priest and the Sun Priest of 
Zufii to the maidens who dance in the drama of "The Coming of the 
Corn Maidens."^ The girls take the blossoms into their rnouths, and, 
after chewing them, eject them into their hands and rub the neck, 
breast, arms, and hands, that they may dance well, so that the Wliite 
Shell Bead Mother, "mother of the Sun Father," may be pleased and 
the rains will come to fructify the earth that the corn maj' grow. 

Artemisia frigida WUld. Sagebrush. Carduace.^. Thistle 

To'sJiodia'chil'la, 'wild sage.' "Medicine of the Corn Maidens." 
Sprigs of the plant, together with ears of corn, are attached to 
decorated tablets carried in tlie hands of certain female dancers in 
the drama of "The Coming of the Corn Maidens. "- 

> The Hopi employ daily the same kind of coloring for he' we (called by them pi'ti), but the Zufli use the 
coloring for their hc'we only when it is to serve the purpose here described . 
- See S3d Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn., p. ISO. 



At planting time the corn is sprinkled with twigs of artemisia 
dipped in water, "that it may grow in abundance and be well 

Asclepias galioides H. B. K. Milkweed. Asclepiadace^. Milk- 
weed family. 
Ha'watselci, 'leaf boy' Qia<ha'li, leaf; wat'seki, boy). The 
plant receives its name from the fondness the boys have 
for the first buds, which they consider a great treat. 
At the present time the ram priests make cords of the coma, using 
only their fingers in this work. The cords are employed for fastening 
plumes to the prayer sticks that are offered to the et'tone} These 
offerings are planted in the fields and in sacred springs. An excava- 
tion is made in the bed of the spring, in which the offerings are depos- 
ited, with a stone attached, and covered with soU from the bottom. 

Atriplex canescens (Pursh) James. Salt-bush. Chenopodia- 

CE^. Goosefoot family. 
Ke'mawe, 'salt weed' (ke, weed; ma'we, salt). 
Prayer plumes are attached to twigs of this plant and sacrificed to 
the cottontail rabbit at the winter solstice, with prayers that the 
rabbits may appear in large numbers when sought by the hunter. 

Berberis fremontii Torr. Barberry. BERBERiDACEiE. Barberry 

Ta'lup'tsine, 'yellow wood' (ta, wood; lup'tsine, yellow). 
The crushed berries are used for coloring purple the skin as well 
as objects employed in ceremonies. These berries are thus used 
only by the people of the Tci'imtsiwej^ and for this purpose the tree 
belongs solely to them. 

Cucurbita pepo L. Squash. Cucuebitace^. Gourd family. 

Mo'teydla, 'round, inside seeds sit down' (mo <mo'li, round or 

egg-shaped; te'ydla, inside sit down). The word for seeds 

is not expressed but fully understood in reference to squash 

or melons. "Melons never stand but sit upon the ground or 


Gourds of the long variety are worn in phallic dances, symbolizing 

fructification. They are employed also as receptacles for storing 

precious articles. Gourds of both the round and the oval variety are 

made into rattles which are used in ceremonies in both anthropic 

and zooic worship. The former are also employed by theurgists in 


Datura meteloides DC. Jamestown Weed, Thorn-apple. Sol- 
anace^. Nightshade family. 

1 See ISd A nn. Rep. Bur. A met. Ethn., p. 163. 
'Ibid., p. 62. 


A'neglakya, name of a mythic bo}^; see legend, page 46. The 

sister of the boy A'neglakya was named A'neglakyatsi'tsa. 

This plant is sometimes called u'teawe Tco'hanna, 'white 

flowers' (u'teawe, flowers; Tco'Tianna, white). 

A minute quantity of the powdered root is put into the eyes, ears, 

and mouth of each of the A'shiwanni (rain priests) when they go at 

night to ask the birds to smg for rain. "The birds are never afraid 

to tell the A'shiwanni that they will sing when they have the powder in 

then- ears, eyes, and mouths." 

Wlien a rain priest is to gather the phmt for the purpose men- 
tioned, he prepares four te'likyina'we (plume oft'erings),' one to 
A'neglakya, one to A'neglakyatsi'tsa, and two to his deceased pred- 
ecessors. Each plume oft'ering has an. underwmg j)lume of the 
to'na (turkey); one white fluffy plume of the TcldMd (eagle) from 
the top of the tail; one tail plume from the e'ya (teal duck) ; one 
tail or wing feather from the o'nelikla, long-tail chat {Icteria- 
longicaxida) , bird of the north; one tail or wing feather from the 
mai'ya, long-crested jay {Cyanocitta macroJopha) , bird of the west; 
one tail or wing feather from the mu'la, macaw (bird of the south); 
one tail or wing feather from the Icd'tetasha, spurred towhee (Pipilo- 
megalonyx), bu'd of the east; one tail or wmg feather of the Ma'wulokia, 
purple marten (Prognesuhis) , bird of the zenith; and one taUor wmg 
feather of the Tie'alonsetto, pamted buntmg (Passerina cir-is), bird of 
the nadir. The rain priest deposits each offermg separately m an 
excavation which he makes with an ancient bean-planter, and, 
addressing A'neglakya, A'neglakyatsi'tsa, and his ancestors, says: 
"I place my te'likyina,'we (prayer plumes), and I take your medicine 
that I may talk to the birds of the six regions, that the rains may 
come and fructify Earth Mother and make her beautiful. " 

A small quantity of the powdered root of Datura meteloides is 
administered by a rain priest to put one in condition to sleep and see 
ghosts. This procedure is for ram, and "rams wUl surely come the 
day following the taking of the medicine, unless the man to whom it 
is given has a bad heart." 

Frequently when a man has been robbed and wishes to discover the 
thief, he summons to his aid a ram priest, who prepares plume offer- 
ings, similar to those described, and plants them at sunrise of the 
day he is to treat the man who has lost his property, with the foUowuig 
prayer to A'neglakya, A'neglakyatsi'tsa, and his ancestors: "I give 
you te'liJcyina'we [plume offerings] and collect your medicine which 
I will give to my child at night that he may see the one who has 
robbed him." 

' See iSd Ann. Sep. Bur. Amer. Ethn., p. 171. 


Wlien the rain priest amves at the htune of the man whom he is 
to treat, he finds liini seated m darkness in an uiner room. He wears 
a white cotton shirt and trousers. His hair is dressed in tlie usual 
style. He has new blue woolen leggings, but he wears no shoes, nor 
does he have the usual headkerchief. There must be no fire in the 
room at this time. The rahi priest sits by the man's side, and, 
takmg a bit of the root of T). meteloides from the palm of his left 
hand, places it m the man's mouth, telling him to chew the medicine 
that he may be possessed of the power to sleep soundly and to see the 
one who has robbed him. Then the man lies upon a pallet without 
speaking a word, and the ram priest retires to an adjoming room and 
sits by the communicatiiig door, which he closes. He listens atten- 
tively. He must not smoke. "Should the rain priest smoke, the 
man could not see the robber, as A'neglakya does not like smoking 
at this time." 

After a time the man leaves his bed and walks about the room. 
Wlien he speaks, the rain priest is eager to catch eveiy worth The 
man walks and lies down alternately durmg the night. At daybreak 
the raui j^riest goes into the man's room and takes his arm; he may 
be either lying down or walking at this time. He is led into the 
adjommg room, and the two take seats side by side, facing eastward. 
The ram priest repeats to him what he has heard him say during the 
night, and gives him the name of the person he mentioned. The 
man declares that he has no recollection of what passed. After, 
du-ectmg him to go to the house of the one whose name he called 
during the night, the rani priest makes a fire, heats water, and gives 
the man about a quart to drmk, which mduces vomiting. The 
drmking of the water is repeated four times, each time resulting in 
copious vomiting, and after the last draft the root of the Datura is 
supposed to be entirely ejected. (Should the warm water not be 
drunk and the medicme thereby thoroughly ejected, the flowers of 
Datura would appear over the body.) ' The man remains in his 
room while the ram priest goes to his own home and notifies his wife 
and other women of his family that a bowl containing yucca root 
must be carried to the house of the person whom he has treated, 
where yucca suds must be made and the man's head washed. During 
the hair washing he kneels on a blanket, and the rain priest sits back 
of him ^vith a hand on each shoulder. His family may be present at 
this time, but they take no part in this performance. The raui 
priest presents four ears of corn tied together, to be planted apart 
from the other com during the coming year, and the man gives a 
few yards of calico, or sometimes a shirt and trousers, to the rain 

1 The Zuiii say : " When one touches a Datura blossom with moist hands, the impression will be imprinted 
on the hand and wherever the hand touches the liody. The blossoms will appear on the hair if the hand 
is placed on the head." 


priest, whose family briiig food from his home where it has l)een 
cooking during the night, and prepare a meal. After the repast the 
man visits the person whom he had seen while under the influence 
of the Datura and tells him that he saw him ui his dreams and knows 
tliat he stole his property. It is said that "the accused alway returns 
the property, for he is ashamed of having been discovered.'' 

Dithjrsea mislizeni Engelm. Brassicace^. Mustard family. 

Ila'lo'lolcta, 'sandhill crane.' So named because the plant is a 

favorite food of this bird. 

A tea made by boilmg the entire plant is tlrunk by members of the 

Galaxy fraternity in their ceremonial chamber, as they say, "to 

loosen their tongues that they may talk like fools and drunken men." ^ 

The female members of this organisation never take this medicuie, 

as "women should not be made to talk too much." 

Epicampes rigens Benth. Poace^. Grass family. 
Pi'shu Waive, 'come uj) quick taU' (pi'sJiu, come up cpiick; 
Waive, tall, long). 
This grass is used only by the Galaxy and Shu'maakwe fraternities 
to attach to the sticks of plume offermgs to then- anthropic gods. 
A single spear of grass is measured from the top with the four fingei-s 
crosswise, and then the length from the tij) of the thumb to the tip 
of the middle finger, the fingers extended. At this point the spear 
of grass is attacheil midway of the plume-stick, the length of which 
is measured from the. metacarpus to the tip of the middle finger. 
The sticks designate the god to whom the ofl'erings are made, and 
the plumes of the eagle and of other birds convey the breath prayers 
to the gods.-- 

Enoejonum jamesii Benth. Polygonace^e. Buckwheat family. 
C'hi'hwa hlaiiaMa, 'make sweet' (chi'hwa, sweet; hianakta, to 
make). This name is given because the plant sweetens the 
saliva when it is chewed. 
The dance dhector of a hi'witsine (chamber dedicated to anthropic 
worship)^ administers the blossoms of this plant, which have been 
ground between stones to a powder, to the dancers who are to per- 
sonate anthropic gods, after they are di-essed for the ceremony. The 
du-ector roUs in the meal a pencil-shaped stone, about 2 J inches long, 
which is kejjt m a deerskm sack with the flower meal, and j^laces it in 
the mouth of each dancer, the meal being collected on the stone for 
each person, that the dance ma.y bring ram. Each dancer ejects the 
medicine from his mouth over his bod}^ and apparel. 

1 The members of tlie Galaxy fraternity are tlie clowns and "delight makers." See 5Jd Ami. Rep. Bur. 
Amer. Ethn., p. 420. 
'See2.3d Ann. Rtp. Bur. Amu. E!hn., p. 171. 
'Ibid.,p. 6J. 


Erysimum sp. Brassicace^. Mustard family. 
Ha'lini tsan'na, 'long small leaf (^a<Aa7i, leaf; li'ni, long; 
tsan'na, small) , in allusion to the long slender leaf of the plant. 

The plant is cut close to the root and deposited in the large serrated 
bowl of the flutists of Pa'yatamu (god of music, butterflies, and flow- 
ers) at the drama of '' The Coming of the Corn Maidens."' A crystal, 
supposed to have been brought from the undermost world, is laid in 
the center of the plant. Water is then put into the bowl and s])rinkled 
with corn pollen. The flutes of Pa'yatamu are laid across the bowl 
and the whole is covered with an embroidered white cotton kilt. A 
shell to be used for administering the water is placed on the kilt. 
Wlien the water is given to the flutists by the du-ector of the order 
of Pa'yatamu, they eject it into their hands and rub it over their 
boches, "that their hearts may be as beautiful as the flowers and 
butterflies of Pa'j-atamu; that the rains may come to make the corn 
and all vegetation grow."^ 

When used ceremonially, this plant belongs only to the order of 

Qossypium, hirsutum L. Cotton. Malvace^. Mallow family. 
U'we, 'down.' 

Cotton plays an important part in Zuni ceremonies, symbolizing 
white clouds. Cords made of native cotton are tied loosely around 
the wrists and ankles of the newborn chUd, while supplications are 
oft'ered that the rain makers will water the earth and make her 
beautiful to look upon, that she may be auspicious and yield her 
fruits, providing for the child full nourishment to the end of its span 
of life in this world. 

After death the heads of rain priests ^ are covered with cotton 
down, symbolizing their duties in this world and also their obligations 
in the undermost world whence they came and whither they return. 

The crowns of certaia masks also are covered with raw cotton, 
indicating that the gods represented are rain makers or are specially 
associated with the ram makei-s. 

Gutierrezia Jilifolia Greene. Snakeweed. Carduace^. Thistle 


Kiaha'poko, 'water gathered together' Qcla <l-m'we, water; 

ha'poko, or ha' pone, gathered together), in allusion to the 

fact that the plant grows m abundance m wet places. 

Sprigs of the plant are attached to the base of the grass wands 

carried by the pa'mosona (male scalp custodian) and his deputy, 

' See SSd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn., p. 180. 

2 The Little Fire and Cimex are the only fraternities having an order of Pa'yatamu; the Cimex is entitled 
to this order because originally the two fraternities were one, imder the name of Little Fire fraternity. 
See SSd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn., p 568. 

a See SSd Ann. Rep. But. Amer. Ethn., p. 163. 


and by the pa'moso'noMa (female scalp custodian) and her deputy, 
in the scalp ceremony. These wands denote oflEicership.^ 

Helianthus annuuslj. Sunflower. Cuiduace^. Thistle family. 

O'matsajM, 'on tip of stem.' This is the name for sunflower, 

which is syniboUzed by a cluster of yellow feathers supposed 

to be from the parrot, but more frequently from other bu-ds 

and dyed m imitation of parrot feathers. Each personator 

of the Uwannami (rain makers) wears the symbol of the 

sunflower attached to the forelock. A mask coyers the 


The blossoms are gathered by men selected by the director of a 

chamber for anthropic worship. They remoye the flowers from the 

stems, with fingers spread, du-ectly mto sacks, which thej^ caiTy at 

sunset to women chosen to grind them. The women loosen the rays 

from the flower-head and, combining them with blossoms of ha'fsoUl-o, 

'leaf mouse' (Psihsfrophe tagitina), })ulyerize them in the family miUs 

without ceremony. 

"The Council of the Gods = desire that these flowers shall be 
ground after the Sun Father has gone to his house and the winds 
haye ceased to move." 

Juniperus monosperma (Engelni.) Sargent. Cedar. Juni- 

PERACE^. Juniper famOy. 
Ho' mane. 
Cedar is a favorite firewood with the Zuni, but its most important 
place is in the ceremonies. The fibrous bark, shredded, is used as 
tinder to ignite the sparks from the fire sticks employed for making 
the New Year fire, and at other times firebrands are made of the bark 
and carried by personatoi-s of certain gods, the most conspicuous 
being Shu'laawitsi, depiity to the Sun Father. 

Leucelene ericoides (Torr.) Greene. Carduace^. Thistle family. 
U'molcia'nal-ia, 'suds making' {u'mokia, suds; nal'ia, making). 
The plant is employed ceremonialh' to symbolize clouds. The 
powdered root is deposited in a ceremonial vessel with water, and 
the mixture is whipped with a slender reed untU suds rise high above 
the rim of the bowl. These "cloud-suds" are pi-epared by the rain 
priests during their summer retreat.^ 

Lithospermum lineanfolium Goldio. Puccoon. Boraginace.e. 
Borage family. 

1 See S3d Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn., p. 57S. 

2 Ibid., p. 33. 

3 Ibid., p. 175. 


Kwi'minne l-mln'na, 'black root' (kwi'minne, root; Icvnn'na, 
black). The leaves of this plant are called Tm'un poll, 
'kregular leaf (ha<?i<i'li, leaf; ivi'poli, hregular), m ref- 
erence to the iiTegular distribution of the leaves on the stem. 
In time of war several leaves, with then- tips pointing downward, 
were often bound on the arrow-shaft, close to the point, and enthely 
obscured by the sinew wrappmg. The Zuni claim that this leaf is so 
deadly poisonous that an arrow thus prepared will cause the unme- 
diate death of one piei'ced by it. Used for this purpose, the plant 
belongs solely to the Priesthood of the Bow. 

Lycium pallidum. Miers. Tomatilla. Solanace^. Nightshade 


Kla'puli, 'water fall down' QcuKlcWwe, water; pu'li, fall 

dowai). So named because the rains cause many of the 

berries to fall from the plant. 

This plant is sacred to the Bow Priesthood. The elder and younger 

Bow Priests watch the jilant, constantly sprmkling meal at its base 

until the berries appear, and then the entire plant is sprinkled with 

meal with the following prayer: 

My father you I give prayer-meal I want many peaches. 

In other words, "May the peaches the commg season be as abundant 
as the berries of the Icla'puli." ' 

MacJiseranthera glabella (Nutt.) Greene. Cakduace^e. Thistle 

U'tea o'Tcia, ' flower woman ' (u'tea, flower; o'lcia, woman). 
The following legend explains the naming of the plant: 

Once when the Zuni were on the warpath, several of their number, leaving the 
camp and cautiously approaching the Navaho, their hated enemy, found many of 
the warriors sleeping in a hogan [a Navaho house]. One of the Zuiii threw over the 
.'sleeping. Navaho a quantity of the blossoms and delicate twigs of tliis plant, groimd 
together, while others made a circle of the medicine around the hogan; then all 
hastened back to their camp. They called their fellow warriors to arms and made 
an attack on the enemy. When the Zufii gave the war-whoop on approaching the 
enemy's camp, the Navalio awoke and endeavored to use their arrows, but they 
were so weak from the effect of the medicine that they could not hold them firmly — 
"they were as weak and helpless as women." 

AH the Navaho were killed, and smce that time the plant has 
borne the name u'tea o'lcia.. 

The delicate twigs, leaves, and blossoms are ground together 
between stones by the elder and younger Bow Priests and placed m 
deerskui sacks. 

When the Zuni went on the warpath, as soon as they discovered 
the enemy the elder-brother and younger-brother Bow Priests gave 

I Berries of the kWpuli are not expressed in the prayer, but the full meaning is understood by the Zuni 


a pinch of the powder to each warrior, who j)lacc(l it in his month, 
and, ejecting it mto his hands, rubbed them over his face, arms, and 
body, so that if the enemy's arrows should fly thick about him they 
could not roach him. Since mtertribal wars have ceased, a drama 
known as the Scalp Ceremony has been performed quadrenially — at 
least, such was the case until withm ten years ago — and on each 
occasion the elder-brother Bow Priest gave a pinch of the medicine 
to each personator of a victor. 

Nicotiana attenuata Torr. Wild Tobacco. Solanace^. Night- 
shade family. 
A'na, native tobacco. 

WliUe the leaves of this jilant are smoked ceremonially by the 
Zuni, commercial tobacco is always preferred for general smoking, 
even in the fraternity chamber and in the chambers dedicated to 
anthroi>ic worship. 

While the Zuiii, like other Indians, smoke a large number of 
cigarettes during a day, they do not use nearly as much tobacco as 
the average white smoker, since each roll of paper or corn-husk con- 
tains only a very small quantity of tobacco. Smoking by the 
Indians was origmally ceremonial, and it is still one of the most 
important features of theii- ritualistic jn-actices. Pipes are in general 
use among most tribes, including the Pueblos, but the Zuni have not 
smoked pipes for a very long period. The pipes found in the ruins 
around Zuiii would indicate that at some remote time pipe smoking 
was a feature of Zuni ceremony. 

Opuntia arborescens Engehu. Cane Cactus. Cactace^. Cac- 
tus family. 
'■Ko'slii, 'cactus.' 
This variety of cactus is claimed as the special property of the 
'Ko'shi fraternity. They maintain a bed of the plant about three 
miles from Zuiii, on wliich no one dares to trespass. Part of the 
ceremony of this fraternity consists in decorating the cactus with 
fluffy white eagle plumes and in sprinkling meal on the part bearing 
the plumes. The plants employed for whipping the bodies of members 
of the fraternity durmg their ceremonies are gathered from this bed. 
Very long switches of willow made into bunches are also cai-ried 
by members of the Cactus fraternity, and are used unmercifully on 
one another when the cactus is not brought into play. 

Pentsteirvon torreyi Benth. Beard-tongue. Scrophulariace^. 

Figwort family. 
Po'hia a'v:a hivi'minne, 'jacki-abbit all root' {po'lcia, jackrabbit; 

a'lva, all: Jcwi'minne, root). 


The root is chewed and rubbed over the rabbit-stick to insure 
success in the hunt. "A rabbit-stick thus treated is sure to kill every 
rabbit at whicli it is aimed, provided the thrower has a good heart." 

Peritoma semilatum (Pursh) DC. Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. 

Capparidace^. Caper family. 
A'pilalu, 'hand many seeds' {a<a'si, hand; pi'lalu, many 
seeds). Named from the handlike appearance of the leaf 
and the quantity of seeds. 
After boiling the entire j^lant in water for a long time, it is removed 
and the tea allowed to «vaporate. The paste precipitated is used in 
conjunction with a black mineral paint to color sticks of plume offer- 
ings to the anthropic gods. The mineral is supposed to have been 
brought from tlie underworld when the Zuni ascended to tliis world. 

Pinus edulis Engehn. Pinon. Pinace^. Pine family. 
He'sho tsi'tonne, 'gum branch' (he'sho, gum; tsi'tonne, branch). 
This tree takes its name from the quantity of ginn that 
exudes from it. 
The young buds or shoots are eaten by members of the Sword 
Swallowers order of the Great Fire fraternity, at the close of a cere- 
mony, if they desh-e female children.' 

Pinus hracJiyptera Engelni. Yellow Pine. Pinace^. Pine 

A'shekia, 'long-needle pine.' 
The young buds or shoots are eaten by members of the order of 
Sword Swallowers of the Great Fire fraternity, at the close of their 
ceremony, if they desire male children.' 

Polanisia trachysperma Torr. & Gray. Clammy Weed. Cap- 

PARiDACE^. Caper family. 
A'pilalu, ' hand many seeds ' {a<a'si, hand; pi 'M«, many seeds). 
On the return of the Cactus fraternity from the last dance at sunset, 
in the plaza, to their fraternity chamber, they are whipped with 
switches of 'Ico'shi {Opuntia wliipplei Engehn.) and pi'Ja, willows 
(Salix irrorata Anders.), after which Polanisia root and blossoms are 
chewed and ejected over the bodies of those subjected to the whipping. 

Populus angustifolia James. ^ Narrow-leaf Cottonwood. Sali- 

CACE^. Willow family. 
Pi'la o'tsi, ' Cottonwood man' (pi'la, cottonwood; o'tsi, man, 

referring to tlie male tree). 

1 See 23d Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn., p. 517. 

2 Populus u'islizeni (S. Wats.) Sargent is designated by the Zuni as pi'la o'kia, "cottonwood woman," 
meaning the female tree. 


The slender twigs are employed by all members of the Ko'tikiU 
(mythologic fraternity) ' m preparing offerings to the Sun Father, the 
Moon Mother, and the ancestral gods. 

Pseudotsuga mucronata (Raf.) Sudw. Douglas Spruce. Pina- 
CE^. Pine family. 

Kia'ldtsilo, 'water comes out arms' (kla<Tcla'we, water; 
Idtsilo, 'come out arms' — extend arms). In the special rain 
ceremonies, the rain priests and the dancers who personate 
the ram-makers, addressing the Tcialdtsilo, invoke them to 
extend theh arms (referring to the branches) and water the 
earth. The breath from the gods of the undermost world 
is supposed to ascend through the trunks of these trees and 
form clouds behind which the rain-makers work.^ 

Psilostrojihe tagetina (Nutt.) Greene. Carduace^. Thistle 

Ea'tsolilco, 'leaf mouse' (lui, leaf; tsolilco, a species of mouse). 
So named because this particular species of mouse feeds on 
the leaves of the plant. 
The blossoms are used by personators of anthropic gods for pamting 
masks and for coloring then- limbs and bodies yellow. They are 
gathered by men who arc sent by the dhectors of the M'toitsiwe ^ 
(chambers dedicated to anthropic worship). The flowers are ground 
by the wives or daughters of the officers of the Tci'witsiwe, and the 
director combmes the flower meal with j'ellow ocher and urine, in 
the Ici'vntsine that is to furnish the personators of the anthropic 
gods. This paint is used also by the Sword SwaUowers fraternity and 
by the Sword SwaUowers order of the Great Fire fraternity for deco- 
rating then- persons for certain dances. 

When ceremonially employed the plant belongs to the people of 
the Tci'witsiwe, the Sword SwaUowers fraternity, and the Sword Swal- 
lowers order of the Great Fire fraternity. 

Rhus trilobata Nutt. Sumac. Anacakdiace^e. Sumac family. 
Ko'tse otsi, 'biting man' (ko'tse, biting; o'tsi, man, referring to 
the male plant). So named because the juice from the 
stem of the plant is pungent or "biting" to the tongue. 
The twigs are employed by members of the Sword SwaUowers fra- 
ternity to attach to plume ofFermgs to their et'towe, (smg. et'toneY 
the most sacred fetish of the fraternity. 

' See ISd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Mhn., p. o2. 
2 Ibid., p. 20. 
« n>id,, p. 163. 

15961°— 30 ETH— 1.5 7 


Rumex mexicanus Weiiim. Dock. Polygonace^. Buck- 
wheat family. 
Kwi'mi i'topona, 'painted root' {hwi'miKlcmi'minne, root; 
i'topona, painted). 
The powdered root is sprinkled mto a ceremonial bowl of water in 
the fraternity chamber, and the water is consecrated with elaborate 
ceremony. Six stone animal fetishes, each representing one of the 
six regions, are deposited separately, and m order, in the bowl, while 
mcantations are sung to the zooic gods.' 

The a'Tcwamosi (maker of medicine) administers the consecrated 
water to members of the fraternity and to the invited guests, for 
physical purification. 

Sphieralcea lohata Wooton. Nigger Weed. Malvace^. 

Mallow family. 
Ko'wa, 'red pepper pod' Qco<Tco'li, red-pepper pod; wa, mean- 
ino- unknown). Named from the red color of the blossoms 
of the plant. 
The root, which is the only part of the plant used, is boiled and the 
tea drunk hot each evening during the ceremony of the Sword Swal- 
lowcrs fraternity. This root is also pulverized between stones, then 
taken into the mouth, ejected into the hands, and rubbed over the 
body, especially on the thi'oat and chest, by the members of the fra- 
ternity of the Sword Swallowers and the order of the Sword Swal- 
lowers of the Great Fire fraternity, previous to swallowing the sword, 
to prevent injury from the weapon.^ 

Svida stolonifera riparia Rydb. Dogwood. Cornace^. Dog- 
wood family. 
The delicate stems are employed by the rain priests to make plume 
offerings. The Zuni believe that the Divine Ones ^ were so pleased 
with the beauty of the young shoots of the pi'cTiiko that they named 
it la'pichiko (ia<la'we, sacred stick offerings), and requested the 
rain priests to use the twigs for this purpose.^ 

Tlialesia fasiculata (Nutt.) Britton. Cancer Root. Oroban- 

CHACE^. Broom family. 
We'Tcwinne, 'foot'; so named because this plant is supposed to 
have grown in great abundance in the undermost world,' 
and as the people trod upon it, it felt pleasant to the feet. 

I See 3Sd Ann. Rep. Bur. A mcr. Elhn., p. 552. 

! Ibid., p. 452. 

'Ibid., p. 24. 

* The stick indicates to -whom the prayers are offered; the attached plumes carry to the gods suppli- 
cated the prayers breathed into them; the spiritual essence of the plume conveys the breath prayer. The 
material part of the plume and stick remains where the prayer offering is planted. 


The entire plant is boiled and the tea drunk hot on the first four 
mornings during the eight days' ceremony of the Sword Swallowers 
fraternity, to enlarge the throat and prepare the stomach for the 
swallowing of the sword.' 

Yucca haccata Torr. Datil. Liliace.e. Lily family. 
Ho'hmpa, 'long leaf wide.' 

The central stalk of a yucca plant is carried in the hand of each of a 
number of personators of anthropic gods, who use it for whipping 
people for various reasons. Some ask to be whipped to be relieved of 
bad dreams; others are flogged for being derelict m performing theh 
religious duties; children are whipped with the yucca at mvohintary 
and voluntary initiation into the Ko'tikUi.^ 

The fibers of the leaf after being prepared in a certain waj' (see ]>. 78) 
and then after soaking are employed by the Priesthood of the Bow to 
arrange at the base of the idols of the Gods of War on the occasion 
of the winter and summer solstice ceremonies, and also at the time of 
the scalp ceremony.^ As previously mentioned, cords made of this 
fiber are used to tie prayer-plume offerings together before planting 
them to the gods, and for other ceremonial purposes. 

A narrow band of the yucca leaf is worn aromid the head almost 
iiniversally by personators of anthropic gods in the dances, though 
it cannot be seen on account of the mask when the dance occurs 
outdoors, and it is also worn hy members of fraternities in their cere- 
monies. Personators of certain anthropic gods adorn their wrists and 
ankles mth jnicca ribbons, and the novitiate into the medicine order 
of a secret fraternity has his or her wrists adorned with yucca ribbons. 

Yucca is used ceremonially for a great variety of purposes. 

Zea mays L. Corn. Peaces. Grass family. 
Chu'we, 'corn'. 
Great care is observed by the Zuni to secure corn in a variety of 
colors for ceremonial purposes. They must have the coloi-s for the 
cardinal pomts: yellow corn for the north, blue for the west, red for 
the south, white for the east, all colors for the zenith, and black for 
the nadh. The red varies from palest pink to deep maroon. There 
are several shades also of blue, 3-oIlow, and purple. The white is 
true to color and the black is intense. There is a great variety of 
shades in each color. This corn is a conspicuous feature m many 
ceremonies; it is brought every fom* years by the great plmned 
serpent as a gift from the gods of the imdermost world for j^lantmg 
in the Zuni fields. Ears of the several colors are placed around the 

1 See SSd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn., p. 444. The uninitiated are so afraid of even the fumes from this 
medicine that the family occupying the house in which the ceremonies are held seal the interior doors 
leading into the ceremonial chamber until after it is used. 

= SeeSSd Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Elhn.,p. 103. 

»Ibid., pp. 113,597. 


medicine-bowl before the altar, the bowl symbolizing the center and 
the corn the fom- world quarters, and the above and the below. 

Ears of corn are carried in the dance by many personators of 
anthropic gods and, attached to tablets, by maidens. The perfect ear 
of corn is worn secreted in the belt by certain dancers. Ribboned 
corn-husks decorate the hair and skull caps of the Ne'wekwe Galaxj', 
one of the oldest fraternities, in their ceremonies. 

Corn meal wrapped in bits of husk is presented to the them-gist 
who is asked to visit the sick. Similar presents are made to men 
and women invited to take part in ceremonies and are used also to 
notify members of organizations of meetings, etc. The packages are 
always presented with a prayer and the recipient prays. 

A delicate mush of white meal made by a male member of the 
family is forced down the throat of a dying ram priest that he may 
not fail to have sufficient nourishment dm-mg his four days' journey 
to Ko'tuwala'wa, through which he passes to reach the undermost 
world whence he came. Ko'luwala'wa is supposed to be in the 
dejjths of a lake.' 

Balls of corn-husks covered with woven cotton are used with the 
long fringes on the white cotton ceremonial sashes, symbolizing corn 
and a desu-e for bountiful crops. 

When sweet corn is ceremonially distributed (thrown by the dancers 
to the populace), it is boiled without removing the husks; these are 
tm-ned back and serve for holdmg the corn when throwai out. Other 
corn is given uncooked and the happy recipients plant it the coming 

Ribboned husks are fashioned iiito small square pads to which 
small plumes are attached upright, in the center, forming the shuttle- 
cocks for use in the game of battledore and shuttlecock, enjoyed prin- 
cipally by the j^oungcr Zuni. 

' See SSd Ann. Rep. Bur. A mer. Ethn. p. 20. 


Achillea lanulosa Niitt 42 

Alnus tenuipolia Nutt 80 

Amaranthus blitoides S. Wats. 65 
Amaranthus hybridus panicu- 

LATUs (L.) Uline & Bray 83, 87 

Amsonla brevifolia Gray 53 

Anhalonium LEWiNii Hennings. . 41 
Anogra albicaulis (Pursli) Brit- 
ton 87 

Artemisia frigida Willd 42,87 

Artemisia wrightii A. Gray . 42, 65 

Asclepias galioides H. B. K. 65,77,88 

Aster hesperius A. Gray 43 

Aster incanopilosus (Lindl.) 

Sheldon 84 

Astragalus dlphysus Gray 65 

Atriplex canescens (Pursh) 

James 44, 88 

Atriplex powbllu S.Wats 66 

Bahia woodhousei Gray 44 

Berberis fremontii Torr 86,88 

Berula erecta (Huds.) Co\dlle. 44 


Lag 83 

Campanula parryi A. Gray 44 

Carduus ochrocentrus (A. Gray) 

Greene. 44 

Ca.stilleja INTEGRA A. Gray 80 

Chenopodium cornutum Benth. 

& Hook 45 

Chenopodium leptophtllum 

(Moq.) Nutt 63 

Chrysothamnus bigelovii (A. 

Gray) Greene 80,81 

Coreopsis cardaminepolia Torr. 

& Gray 66, 80, 84 

Coriandrum sativum L 66 

Crassina grandiflora (Nutt.) 

Kuntze 45 

Croton texensis (Klotzsch) 

JIuell. Arg 45 

Cryptanthe crassisepala (Torr. 

& Gray) Greene 45 

CucuRBiTA PEPO L 45, 66, 88 

Cycloloma atrlplicifolium 

(Spreng.) Coulter 67,84 


Datura alba Nees 48 

d.\tura l 4s 

Datura meteloide.s 39, 

41, 46, 47, 6.3, 88, 91 

Datura stramonium L 41, 47 

Dithyraea wislizeni Engelm.. 48,91 
Ephedr.4. nevadensis S. Wats. . 49, 67 
Epicampes rigens Benth 91 


Eriogonum alatum Torr 49 

Eriogonum fasciculatum Benth . 49 

Eriogonum jamesh Benth 50. 91 

Erysimum sp 50, 91 


zoNicUM A. Gray 50 

EUPATORIUM perfoliatum L 50 

EUPHORBLA POLYCARP.4. Benth. ... 51 

Euphorbia serpyllifolia Pers. . . 51 
Eurotia lanata (Pursh) Moq. .. 51 


Britton 51 

GiLiA sp 52 

Gilia multiflora Nutt 52 


GuTiERREZiA FiLiroLiA Greene 53, 92 

Hellanthus annuus L 53, 93 


Hymenopappus filfolius Nutt 54, 68 

Juniperus monosperma (En- 
gelm.) Sargent 55, 93 

Lavauxia triloba (Nutt.) Spach. 55 
Leptilon canadense (L.) Brit- 
ten 55 

Leucelene ericoides (Torr.) 

Greene 55, 93 

LiNUM puberulum (Engelm.) 

Heller 56 

LIthospermum linearipolium 

Goldie 56,93 

Lobelia splendens Willd 56 

Lycium pallidum Miers 68, 94 

LycoPERDON sp 69 

Machaeranthera glabella 

(Nutt.) Greene 56,94 


Mentzelia pumila Torr. & Gray. . 57, 84 
NicoTiAN.4. attenuata Torr 54, 86, 95 




[ETH. ANN. 30 

Opuntia akborescens Eugelm. . . 95 
Opuntia whipplei Engelm. & 

Bigel 69,96 

Parosela lasianthera (Gray) 

Heller 69 

Parryella pilifolia Torr. & 

Gray 81 

Pectis angustipolia Torr 57 

Pbctis papposa Harv. & Gray. 57, 69, 83 

Pentstemon torreyi Ben til 95 

Peritoma serrulatum (Pursh) 

DC 69,82,96 

Phaseolu.s angustissimus a. 

Gray 85 

Phaseolu-s vulgaris L 69 

Phoradendron JUNIPERINUM En- 
gelm 55 

Physalis fendleri A.Gray 70 

Physaus lonoifolia Nutt 70 

PiNus brachyptbra Engelm 96 

PiNUS edulis Engelm 42,57,70,96 


Gray 69,96 

Polygonum lapathipolium L 58 

PopuLUS angustipolia James 96 


Sudw 97 

Psilostrophe tagetina (Nutt.), 

Greene 53, 93,97 

Psoralea tenuiflora Pursh 58 

Ptiloria tenuifolia (Torr.) Raf, 58 

Quamoclidion multiflorum Torr. 58 

Radicula sinuata (Nutt.) Greene 59 
R.\TiniDA columnaris (Sims) D. 

Don 59 


Rhus trilobata Nutt 81,97 


Rumex mexicanus Weinm... 59,85,98 

Salix irrorata Anders 70,81,96 

Senecio multicapitatus Greenm. 59 
SOLANUM elaeagnifolium Cav. . . 60, 70 

SoLANUM fendleri A. Gray • 71 


Solanum triflorum Nutt 71 


Sophia halictorum Cockerell 86 

Sph^ralcea lobata Wooton 98 

SporoboLus strictus (Scribn.) 

Merrill 81 

Stanleya pinnata( Pursh) Britton 60 
SviDA stolonipera RIP ARIA Rydb. 86, 98 
Tetraneuris .scaposa (DC.) 

Greene 60 

Thalesia fasciculata (Nutt.) 

Britton 61, 98 

Thely'podium wrightii a. Gray.. 85 
Tripterocalyx wootonii Stand- 
ley 61 

Triticum vulgare L 71 


Villanova dissecta (A. Gray) 
Rydb 62 

Wedeliella glabra (Choisy) 
Cockerell 62 

Xanthium commune Britton 62,71 


& Greenm.) Rydb 53,63 

Yucca baccata Torr. 72, 78. 81,82,83, 99 

Yucca gl.\uca Nutt 73,79,82,83 

Zea mays L 73,86,99 





Commissioner of the Pomeroon District, British Guiana; late Chief Protector of 

Aboriginals. Queensland; late Royal Commissioner appointed to inquire 

into the condition of the natives of Western Australia; 

Corresponding Member of the Anthropological Societies of Berlin and Florence; 

Author of "North Queensland Ethnography," etc. 



two of my oldest friends 


Curator of the Australian Museum, Sydney 



Italian Ambassador at Paris 


dedicate this Memoir 



When, some seven years ago, I took up the duties of stipendiary 
magistrate, medical ofRcer, and protectoi* of Indians in this mosquito- 
cursed district of the Pomeroon, I determined upon devoting all my 
spare time — and there has been plenty of it — to an ethnographical 
survey of the native tribes of British Guiana, somewhat on the lines 
I had already followed in the case of North Queensland. As the 
work progressed, I recognized that, for the proper comprehension of 
my subject, it was necessary to make incjuiry concerning the Indians 
of Venezuela, Surinam, and Cayenne, with the result that the area 
to be reviewed comprised practically that portion of the South 
American continent bounded, roughly sjieaking, bj- the Atlantic 
seaboard, the Orinoco, and the northern limits of the watershed of 
the Rio Negro, and the lower Amazon; and it was not long before I 
realized that for the proper study of the Arawaks and the ( "aribs I had 
to include that of the now almost extinct Antilleans. 

In the course of my ethnographical work, I collected sufficient 
material in the way of myth, legend, and fable to warrant the publi- 
cation of a separate volume on Animism and Folk-lore, and so the 
following pages have come to be written. The legends collected have 
been drawn mainly from Arawak, Carib, and Warrau sources, and 
are initialed (A), (C), and (W), respectively. 

Walter E. Roth. 

Pomeroon River, British Guiana, June, 1913. 




Chapter I. No evidence of belief in a Supreme Being 117 

II. Tribal heroes 120 

III. Traces of spirit, idol, and fetish cult 137 

IV. Creation of man, plants, and animals 141 

V. The body and its associated spirits 149 

VI. Dreams; idiocy 165 

VII. Familiar spiiits 167 

VIII. The spirits of the bush: Natural history 170 

IX. The spirits of the bush: Animals as sentient human beings 199 

X. The spirits of the bush: Associated vrith particular plants 228 

XI. The spirits of the mountain 235 

XII. The spirits of the water 241 

XIII. The spirits of the sky 254 

XIV. Omens, charms, talismans 271 

XV. Restrictions on game and food, vision, arts and crafts, nomenclature 292 

XVI. Sexual life 308 

XVII. The medicine-man 327 

XVIII. Kanaima; the invisible or broken arrow 354 

XIX. Miscellaneous Indian beliefs concerning men and animals 363 

XX. Animism and folk-tales of recent introduction; mixed foreign and 

indigenous beliefs 372 

XXI. Miscellaneous folk-lore, independent of animism 380 

Glossary 385 



Hariwali and the wonderful tree 120 

The story of Haburi 122 

The adventures of Kororomanna 126 

The sun, the frog, and the firesticks (Warrau) 130 

The sun, the frog, and the firesticks (Carib) 133 

The sun, the frog, and the firesticks (Makusi) .' 135 

The origin of the Caribs (Warrau) 143 

The origin of the Caribs (Carib) 144 

The first fruit trees (Arawak) 146 

The first fruit trees (Carib) 147 

The man with a bad temper 150 

The sorcerer's daughter 1.51 

The idiot who wanted to flj- 166 

The Maihisikiri changes the woman into a bush spirit 172 

The man who always hunted scrub-turkey 173 

The shrewd little boy and the hebu 174 

The spirit's brain and the goat-sucker 17,5 



The mutilated husband is made whole '. 177 

How pain, misery, and death came into the world 179 

Why the drink turned sour 180 

Why children become sick and cry 181 

The woman killed by her husband's spirit 182 

The result of stealing other people's property 183 

The man changed into a beast 184 

The man who dined after dark 184 

How the haimara came to have such fine big eyes 185 

The -HTong rattle, the bush-hog, and the baby 186 

The killing of the bush spirit and his wife 188 

The woman kills the hebu 189 

The bush spirit and the pregnant woman lS9 

The contented and happy son-in-law 190 

The bush spirit tricked wldle hunting frogs 191 

MawAri and tobacco smoke 192 

The bush spirit with big ideas 193 

The woman who mimicked the bush spirit 194 

The danger of associating with spirits 195 

The rain-frog wife 198 

The honey-bee son-in-law 199 

The man who was changed into a powis 201 

The stolen child 202 

The tiger changed into a woman 203 

The woman in love with a sloth 204 

Why honey is so scarce now 204 

The man who claimed the tiger's meal 205 

The woman who battled with two tigers 205 

The man with a vulture wife 206 

The man with a baboon wife 209 

The disobedient son killed by a tiger 210 

Don't count your chickens before they are hatched 211 

The biter bit 211 

How alligator came to have his present shape 212 

How the birds obtained their distinctive markings 212 

The deer and the turtle 212 

Black tiger, wau-uta, and the broken arrow 213 

The story of Adaba 215 

Why the Indians killed Black Tiger 215 

Bravery rewarded with a wife 216 

Why Black Tiger killed the hidians 217 

Bd-mu [Bahmoo] and the frog 218 

How the man fooled the tiger ' 218 

The search for the stone ax 220 

The Huri Fish Nation 220 

How the ant-eater fooled the man 220 

How the Indians learned to paddle 221 

The big bats 221 

The magic boat 222 

The Amazons 222 

The country of the stone adzes 223 

How turtle fooled the Yawarri -' 223 

How the turtle tricked the tiger 223 

Tiger and ant-eater 225 



How bii-ds got their present plumage 225 

Hunting is no part of woman's work 226 

How the tapir punished the Indian 226 

The turtle and the aruresso bird 226 

Sisters bush-cow (tapir) and water-cow (manati) 227 

The first "makuari " whips 228 

The spirit of the rot saves the young woman 231 

The ite palm and the mora tree 232 

The piai in the water spirit "s, belly 244 

Sisters poii^oise and sea-cow 245 

The fisherman's water-jug and potato 245 

How the water spirit got the man's wife from him 247 

How the water woman secured a landsman for husband 248 

The moon-sick gii'l and the water spirit (Carib) 248 

The moon-sick girl and the water spirit ( Warrau) 249 

How sickness and death came into the world 250 

Amanna and her talkative husband 251 

The story of Oko6-hi 255 

How the moon got liis dirty face 256 

The legend of Bat Mountain 259 

The babracote and camudi 261 

The legend of the Seven Stars 262 

The story of Nolii-abassi 263 

The legend of Serikoai 265 

The Woman of the Dawn 266 

The obstinate girl who refused the old man 272 

How the little boy escaped from the Caribs 273 

The night-owl and his bat brothers-in-law 276 

The candle-fly saved the lost hunter 277 

The wife teaches her husband to hunt 279 

The bina, the resurrected father, and the bad girl 286 

The baboon cough 292 

' ' Shut your eyes and wish " 301 

The lucky pot 302 

Honey-bee and the sweet drinks 305 

A warning to wives. 316 

The broken egg 323 

The little bush child 326 

The hummingbird with tobacco for the first piai 334 

Komatari, the first medicine-man 336 

Saved by a dream 342 

The medicine-man and the carrion crows 343 

The story of Koueso (Brer Rabbit) 372 

The woman and the serpent Oroli 378 

The piai and the Earthquake People 378 

How the lazy man was cm'ed 380 

Always be content 380 

The old woman who died of shame 381 

The man who interfered with his brother's wife 381 

The old blind man who wanted a woman 382 

How we beat the Caribs 383 



Plate 4. The Kaieteur Fall 237 

5. Ai-a\vak doctors' benches 330 

6. A Carib piai's "consulting room, " Moruca River 334 

7. A touvinga, or two-fingered negro 364 

Figure 1 . Carib string puzzle, designed to deceive the Bush Spirits 180 

2. Carib drinking-cup, Pomeroon River 283 

3. Carib goblet, Pomeroon River 289 

4. Arawak piai's rattle, Pomeroon River 330 

5. Doll, or manikin, of Arawak piai, Moruca River 332 

6. Chest-ornament of Arawak piai, Moruca River 333 



(Note. — The following list of imblications is not presented as a complete bibliog- 
raphy, but as indicating those authors to whom, directly or indirectly, I find myself 
indebted. The titles of works from which excerpts have been taken are initialed. 
As most of these publications are in foreign languages, the excerpts, here given in 
English, are necessarily translations, many of them being paraphrased to some extent 
in order that they may be best adjusted with the context. 

Throughout the memoir authorities are cited by the initials used below, respectively; 
in connection with these, roman numerals indicate the volume numbers and arable 
figures the page numbers. — ^W. E. R.) 

Ac AcuNA, Christopher. Relation of the great River of Amazons in South 

America. London, 1698. 
A Alexander, J. E. Transatlantic sketches. 2 vols. . London, 1833. 

Appun, C. F. Unter den Tropen. Jena, 1871. 
Ba Bancroft, Edward. Anessay on the natural historj' of Guiana. London, 

PBa Barrere, Pierre. Nouvelle relation de la France equiuoxiale. Paris, 

HWB Bates, Henry Walter. The naturalist on the Amazon. London, 1892. 

Bechamel. See Grulet. 
Bellin [Jacqtjes Nicolas]. Description geographique de la Guyane. 

Paris, 1763. 
Benoit, p. J. Voyage a Surinam. Bruxelles, 1839. 
Be Bernau, J. H. Missionarj- labom's in British Guiana. London, 1847. 

Biet, a. Voyage de la France Equiuoxiale en I'lsle de Cayenne, en 
I'annee 1652. Paris, 1664. 
BW Boddam-Whetham, J. W. Roraima and British Guiana. London, 1879. 

Bol BoLiNGBROKE, Henrt. A voyago to the Demeraiy. Norwich, 1807. 

BBR Borde, Fr. de LA. History of the origin, customs, religion, wars, and 

travels of the Caribs. Timehri, v, pt. 2, Demerara, 1886. Translated 
from the French, and condensed, by G. J. A. Bosch-Reitz. 
Bosch-Reitz. See Bokdb. 
Br Brett, W. H. The Indian tribes of Guiana. London, 1868. 

BrA Mission work among the Indian tribes, etc. London (n. d.'). 

BrB Legends and myths. London (n. d.). 

Bri Brinton, Daniel G. The American race. New York, 1891. 

Bro Brown, C. B. Canoe and camp life in British Guiana. 2d ed.. London, 


and LiDSTONE, W. Fifteen thousand miles on the Amazon, etc. 

London, 1878. 
LaC Casas, Bartoloiie de las. An account of the first voyages and dis- 

coveries made by the Spaniards in America. London, 1699. 
Gastelnau, Francis de. Expedition dans les parties centrales de 
I'Amerique du Sud. 4 vols. Paris, 1850-57. 
CC Catalogue of contributions transmitted from British Guiana to the 

London International Exhibition, 1862. Georgetown, 1862. 
GC Catlin, George. Life among the Indians. London (n. d.). 

15961° — 30ETH — 15 S 113 

114 WORKS OF REFERENCE [eth. ann. 30 

DAC Chanca, Diego Alvarez: The letter of, dated 1494, relating to the second 

voyage of Columbus to America, by A. M. Fernandez de Ybarra. 

Smithsonuin Misc. Coll., No. 1698, pp. 428-457, 1907. 
Cou CouDEEAU, H. A. La France equinoxiale. 2 vols. Paris, 1887. 

Cr Crevaux, J. Voyages dans I'Amerique du Sud. Paris, 1883. 

D.\LTON, Henry G. The history of British Guiana. 2 vols. London, 

Da Dance, Chas. D.\niel. Chapters from a Guianese log-book. Demeraja, 

[Davies]. The History of the Caribby Islands . . . 1666. [For the 

original work see Rochefort.] 
FD Dbpons, F. Travels in parts of South America, during the years 1801, 

1802, 1803, 1804. London, 1806. (In Phillips, Coll. of Modem 

Voyages, vol. iv, London, 1806.) 
Dixon, Geo. G. Four months of travel in British Guiana. Geographical 

Journal, April, 1895. 
Drake. Sir Francis Drake Revised: etc. 1626. 
Df Duff, Robt. British Guiana. Glasgow, 1866. 

PE Ehrenreich, Paul. Die Mythen und Legenden der slldamerikanischen 

Urvolker. Berlin. 1905. 
Fe Fermin, Philippe. Description g^nerale, historique, geographique et 

j^hysique de la Colonic de Surinam. 2 vols. Amsterdam, 1769. 
WF Fewkes, .7. Walter. An Antillean statuette, with notes on West Indian 

religious beliefs. Amer. Anthr., n. s., xi, pp. 348-3.58, 1909. 
GF Friederici, Georg. Scalping in America. Smithsonian Rep. for 1906 

pp. 423-138, 1907. 
Galard-Terraube. Neue Reise nach Cayenne. Leipzig, 1799. 
GiLi, F. S. Saggio di storia Americana. 
Go DE GoEJE, C. H. Beitrage zur Volkerkunde von Surinam. Int. Archiv 

fiir Ethnographie, Bd. xix. Heft i-ii, pp. 1-34, Leiden, 1908. 
GB Griilet, John, and Bechamel, Francis. A journal of the travels of 

into Guiana. London, 1698. 

G Gumilla, Joseph. Historia natural .... del Rio Orinoco. 2 vols. 

Barcelona, 1791. 
Harcourt, Robert. A relation of a voyage to Guiana. London, 1613. 
HA Hartsinck, J. J. Beschryving van Guiana of de wilde Kust in Zuid- 

America Amsterdam, 1770. 

Herrera, Antonio de. Historia general de los Hechos de los Castellanos 

en las islas, etc. Second edition. Madrid, 1730. 
HiA Hilhouse, William. Journal of a voyage up the Massaroony in 1831. 

Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc, iv, pp. 25-40, 1834. 

HiB The Warow land of British Guiana. Ibid., pp. 321-333. 

HiC Notices of the Indians settled in the interior of British Guiana. 

Ibid., II, pp. 227-249, 1832. 
AVH Humboldt, Ale.xander von. Personal narrative of travels to the equi- 

noctial regions of America. 3 vols. London, 1852-53. 
IT IM Thurn, Everard F. Among the Indians of Guiana. London, 1883. 

WI Irving, Washington. Companions of Columbus. London, 1884. 

Je Jenman, G. S. To Kaieteur [in 1881]. Georgetown, 1907. 

WJ JoEST, W. Ethnographisches und Verwandtes aus Guayana. Leiden, 

Juan y Santacilia, Jorge, and Ulloa, Antonio de. A voyage to South 

America. 2 vols. London, 1760. 


AK Kappler, a. Sechs Jahre in Surinam. Stuttgart, 1854. 

Keyb, O. Kurtzer Entwur von Neu-Niederland und Guajana. Leipzig, 
Ki KiRKE, Henry. Twenty-five years in British Guiana. London, 1898. 

KG Koch-Grunberg, Theodor. Zwei Jahre unter den Indianern. Reisen 

in Nordwest Brasihen, 1903-.5. 2 vols. Berlin, 1910. 
Kunike,Hugo. Das Sogenannte"Miinnerkindbett." ZeitschriftfUr Eth- 

noloylt', Heftlli-iv, pp. .546-563, 1911. 
.Labat, J. B. Nouveau voyage aux isles de I'Amerique. 6 vols. Paris, 

Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais en Guinee, Isles Voisines, et a 

Cayenne, en 1725-27. Amsterdam, 1731. 
La Condamine, Charles Marie de. Relation abreg^e d'un voyage fait 

dans I'interieur de I'Amerique meridionale. Maestricht, 1778. 
Lafitau. Moeurs des sauvages ameriquains. 2 vols. Paris, 1724. 
Las Casas. See Casas. 
LiDSTONE. See Brown. 
Martius. Sec Spix. 
Nor NoRDENSKioLD, Erland. Indian erleben. El Gran Chaco (Sudamerika). 

Leipzig, 1912. 
Paterson, J. D. British Guiana local guide 1843 [from notes of]. 
Penard, F. p. and a. P. De Menschetende Aanbidders der Zonneslang, 

Paramaribo, 1907. 
NiBUHOFp, J. Voyages and travels into Bra.sil. 1707. 
Pnk PiNCKARD, George. Notes on the West Indians. 2 vols. London, 1816. 

LAP PiTou, L. A. Voyage a Cayenne. 2 vols. Paris, 1807. 

Preuss, K. Th. Die Opferblutschalo der alten Mexikaner erliiutert nach 

den Angaben der Cora-Indianer. Zeitschrifl fiir Ethnologie,xi,ui, pp. 

293-306, 1911. 

QuANDT, C. Nachricht von Suriname und seinen Einwohuem, etc. 


RoP Rochefort, C. de, and Poincy, L. de. Histoire natirrelle et morale des 

iles Antilles de I'Amerique. Rotterdam, 1665. 
AR RojAs, Aristides. Obras escogidas. Paris, 1907. 

StC St. Clair, T. Staunton. A residence in the West Indies and America. 

2 vols. London, 1834. 
ScO ScHOMBDRGK, O. A. Reiseu in Ciuiana und am Orinoko. Leipzig, 1841. 

ScR ScHOMBURGK, RiCHARD. Reiseu in Britisch Guiana. 2 vols. Leipzig, 

ScA ScHOMBURGK, RoBERT HERMANN. Diary of an ascent of the river Ber- 

bice. Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc, vii, pp. 302-350, 1837. 

ScB Expedition to the lower parts of the Barima and Guiania rivers. 

Ibid., XII, pp. 169-178, 1842. 

ScBc E.xcursion up the Barima and Cuyuni rivers. Ibid., pp. 178-196. 

ScC Diary of an ascent of the River Corentyn. Ibid., vii, pp. 285- 

301, 1837. 

ScD A description of British Guiana. London, 1840. 

ScE Journey to the sources of the Essequibo, etc. Jour. Roy. Geog. 

Soc, X, pp. 159-190, 1841. 

ScF Journey from Fort San Joaquim to Roraima. Ibid., pp. 191-247. 

ScG Report of an expedition into the interior of British Guayana. 

Ibid., VI, pp. 224-284, 1836. 

ScH Journey from Esmeralda to San Carlos. Ibid., x, pp. 248-267,. 


116 WORKS OF EEFEEENCE [eth. ann. 30 

SCT ScHOMBURGK, RoBERT HERMANN. Visit to the sources of the Takutu. 

Ibid., xni, pp. 18-75. London, 1843. 

On the religious traditions of the Macusi Indians who inhabit the 

upper Mahu and a portion of the Mocaraima Mountains. Read before 
the Society of Antiquaries Nov. 17th, 183G. [Thus far I have been 
unable to trace the publication of this address. — W. E. R.] 

AS SiMSON, Alfred. Travels in the wilds of Ecuador. London, 1886. 

SM Spix a?irf Martius. Reise in BrasiUen. 3 vols. Munich, 1823-31. 

St Stedman, J. G. Narrative of a five years' expedition against the revolted 

negroes of Surinam. 2 vols. London, 1806. 
VDS Von den Steinen. Durch Zentralbrasilien. Leipzig, 1886. 

Unter dem naturvolkern Zentralbrasiliens. Berlin, 1893. 

Du Tertre, Jean Baptiste. Histoire generate des Antilles habitees par 
les Franfais. 4 vols. Paris, 1667-71. 
Ti Timehri. Journal of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of 

British Guiana. See various volumes cited. 
ITlloa. &e Juan y Santacilia. 
ARW Wallace, A. R. A narrative of travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro. 

London, New York, and Melbom'ne, 1889. 
VV Waterton, Chas. Wanderings in South America. London, 1891. 

Wickham, H. a. Rough note of a journey from Trinidad to Para via the 

Orinoco and Rio Negro. London, 1S72. 
Ybarra, Fernandez de. -See Chanca. 


By Walter E. Eoth 

Chapter I 

Originally, Indians had no terms expressive of tlie conception of a Supreme Being; 
such terms as they now possess have been framed to suit civUized, especially mis- 
sionary, requii'ements (i).' On the other hand, traditions of certain Tribal Heroes 
have been unconsciously assumed as indicative of the existence among the natives of 
the knowledge of a God (2) . 

1. Careful investigation forces one to the conclusion that, on the 
evidence, the native tribes of Guiana had no idea of a Supreme Being 
in the modern conception of the term. This contention is confirmed 
in a way by Gumilla (ii, 7),^ one of the early missionary fathers on 
the Orinoco, who ^vrites as follows: 

In three nations which will be mentioned directly they have a word indicative, 
after their fasMon, of God : we trust that time and labor will also reveal, in other tribes, 
a name wliich until now they have furnished no sign of recognizing either by word or 
expression. Even in the said nations no outward ceremony of divine worship or 
adoration has been observed. Nor are the terms which express God in the different 
languages so particularized and indubitable as to convince us of their sure and certain 
signification. The Caribs call God Quiyumocon, i. e., Our Big Father, but it is not 
sufficiently clear whether they mean by this expression tlie Cause or the most 
ancient of their ancestors. The Salivas say that Pui'u made all that is good ; that he 
lives in the expanse of the sky . . . The Betoyes, before their conversion, used to 
say that the Sun was God, and in their language, they speak of both God and Sun 
as Theos. 

The nations of the upper Orinoco, the Atabapo, and the Inirida, as 
Humboldt records, have no worsliip other than that of the powers 
of Nature: they call the good principle Cachimana; it is the Manito, 
the Great Spirit, that regulates the seasons and favors the harvests 
(AVH, II, 362). In Cayenne there is the similar evidence of the 
Jesuits Grillet and Bechamel (25) : "The Nouragues and the Acoquas, 
in Matters of Religion, are the same with the Galibis. They acknowl- 
edge there is a God, but do not worship him. They say he dwells 
in Heaven, without knowing whether he is a Spirit or no, but rather 
seem to believe he has a body . . . The Nouragues and the Acocjuas 
call him Maire, and never talk of him but in fabulous stories." They 

1 This and similar reference numbers correspond to section numbers, wliich appear in bold-lace type. 

2 See Note under Works of Reference Cp. 113) as to the system employed in this memoir in the 
citation of authorities. 



have not even in their hinguage any suitable term to express the 
Divinity, still less the homage and respect due to liim (PBa, 218). 
The present-day British Guiana Carib name for God is identical with 
that just given, Taniosi-Kabutana, Old Man-Sky [Kabu = the Sun], 
figuratively The Ancient of Heaven, or simply Tamosi, without par- 
ticularizing. But tliis word is undoubtedly the same as tamuchi, the 
Cayenne Carib term for the head-man or chief of a tribe; it serves 
also to designate a gi-andfather (PBa, 2 IS). The same remark 
perhaps may be applicable to theos, the word given by Gumilla as 
the Betoya word for the Divine Person, recognizable in the terms 
tudiao (Cr, 372) and tushaua (HWB, 241, 244), the name given to the 
chief, head-man, of the tribe or nation, in the upper and lower 
Amazons, respectively. Koch-Griinberg (ii, 82) talks of Tuschaua 
as being Lingoa Geral. Wallace (348), too, says that the IncUans of 
the Amazon appear to have no definite idea of a God. The Arawak 
terms for the Clu^istian deity also show signs that they have been 
adapted to express a conception to which ihex could have been intro- 
duced only witliin modern times, a statement which is made advisedly, 
because m none of the Ai'awak myths and legends relative to the Crea- 
tion, even in those published by clerics, is there a single reference to 
the All-Maker (Br, 58) under the term of Wa'chinachi, Our Father, 
Wa'murretakuon(na)chi, Our Maker, or even Aiomun Kondi, Dweller 
on High. It is verj^ noteworthy that the same discrepancy as to the 
alleged word for God is at once apparent in almost all the Creation 
mytlis of the other tribes that so far I have managed to unearth: for 
example, the Warrau word (ScR, ii, .51.5) livmrlsaharote , really intended 
for Icwaresa ba-arautu, meaning literally 'on-top belonging-to.' The 
only exception perhaps would seem to be the Warrau Kanonatu, Our 
Maker (IT, 366), referred to by Brett in his Warrau story of the origin 
of the Caribs (BrB, 62), where its introduction is certainly suspicious. 
"Some [of the Orinoco] tribes. Father Caulin tells us, considered the 
Sun as the Supreme Being and First Cause; it was to him that they 
attributed the productions of the earth, scanty or copious rams, and 
all other temporal blessings; others, on the contrary, believed that 
everything depended on the influence of the moon, and conceived, 
when she suffered an ecUpse, that she was angry with them.' ' (FD, .51 .) 
It is known that the Chaimas, Cumanagotos, Tamanacs, and other 
original tribes of the Carib people, worsliipped {adorahan) the Sun 
and Moon (AR, 185). For perhaps the most extraordinary con- 
ception met with, however, concerning ideas of a Supreme Being, I 
would quote the reply given to Acuna (97) by a cacique of one of the 
Amazon tribes: "He told me Mmself was God, and begotten by the 
Sun, affirming that his Soul went every night into Heaven to give 
orders for the succeecUng Day, and to regulate the Government of the 
Universe!" The Tupi language, at least, as taught by the old 
Jesuits, has a word, tupdna, signifying God (HWB, 259). And so 


it happeiied that the httle cMna dolls wliich Koch-Gi'unberg (i, 184) 
presented to the women and cliildren on the Aiary River (Rio Negro) 
were generally called tupdna: the people took them for figures of saints 
from missionary times. 

2. Conversely, it is interesting to note how both travelers and 
missionaries have assumed almost unconsciously the Indian tradi- 
tions of certain mytliic Heroes to be more or less indicative of the 
view no doubt a priori conscientiously held by the former that the 
native was not without the knowledge of a God. Thus, Hilhouse 
(HiC, 244) wilting in 1832, makes the statement, blindly followed, 
strangely enough, by Schomburgk (ScR, ii, 319) in 1848, that "The 
Indians acknowledge the existence of a superior divinity, the universal 
creator; and most tribes, also, believe in a subservient power, whose 
particular province is the protection of their nation. Amongst the 
Arawaaks, Aluberi is the supreme being, and Km'urimiaimy the god or 
patron {Schutz gott) of the Arawaak nation, " etc. With regard to the 
former there is a very probable reference to him under the name of 
Hubuiri, some three centuries previously, in the Archivos de Indias: 
Patronato (ciuoted by Rodway in Tirnehri for 1895, p. 9), where, in an 
account of the Provinces and Nations of the Aruacas [Arawaks] by 
Rodrigo de Navarrete, the latter says : ' ' From those whom I have fre- 
quently kept in my house, I have understood that their behef and object 
of adoration is the firmament or heavens, because they say that in the 
gi'eater heaven tl'iere is a powerful lord and a great lady . . . when 
they die, their souls will go with Hubuiri, as they call the gi'eat and 
powerful lord in heaven. " This same Alubiri, or Hubuiri, is still rec- 
ognizable as Haburi (Sect. 9) in the stories related by me, and as 
Abore, the Warrau "Father of Inventions" in the legend told by 
Brett (BrB,76 ) . In his Arawak vocabulary the name for God is given 
bySchombm-gk (ScR,ii,515) as Kiuurumanni : Brett (Br, .58), however, 
is more correct in saying that it is the Warraus who "sometimes 
use the word 'Korroromana' when speaking of God; but it is doubtful 
what ideas some of them attach to that name. " As a matter of fact, 
both of these would-be deities, Alubiri (Sect. S) and Kororomanna 
(Sect. 19), were Arawak and Warrau Tribal Heroes, respectively. 
Similar remarks may be made of Makunaima and Pia (Sects. 29~4i), 
and of Amalivaca (Sect. 4^). The name Amalivcica is spread over 
a region of more than five thousand square leagues. 

He is found designated as ' ' the father of mankind, ' ' or " our great grandfather, ' ' as far 
as to the Carribbee nations. . . . Amalivaca is not originally the Great Spirit, the 
Aged of Heaven, the invisible being, whose worship springs from that of the powers of 
nature, when nations rise insensibly to the consciousness of the unity of these powers; 
he is rather a personage of the heroic times, a man, who, coming from afar, lived in the 
land of the Tamanacs and the Caribs, sculptured symbolic figures upon the rocks, 
and disappeared by going back to the country he had previously inhabited beyond the 
ocean. [AVH, ii, 474.] 


Alubiri or Hubuiri; Hariwali and the Wonderful Tree (3-S); The Story of Ilaburi 
(9-18). Kororomanna: his Adventures (79-i'S). Makunaimaand Pia; or, the Sun, the 
Frog, and the Firesticks — Warrau version {29-34), Carib version (35-38), Makusi 
version (39-41). Amalivaca (43). 

3. Some of the mythic Heroes have a history pecuUarly their 
own, of which it is now proposed to give a few particulars. 

I will begin with Alubii'i, or Hubuu-i, for whom Hilhouse, as 
aheady stated (Sect. 2), found a place in the Ai-awak cosmogony, 
a view which Schomburgk indorsed, with a reference to him, however, 
as one "who does not trouble hunself about men." In Brett's time, 
however, and at the present day, throughout the Pomeroon district, 
the Hero seemingly appears only under the name Haburi. The 
Pomeroon Warrau now claim Haburi as theh particular Hero, in just 
the same way as Brett (BrB,76) did for them under the name Abore. 
For my own part I suspect that the term Alubiri is but another 
form of the name Oruperi, the mythical Carib snake (Sect. 235), 
which gave rise to all the hunting hinas, and that Haburi has some 
philological connection with Yaperi-Kuli, the Hero (Sect. ^5) of 
the Siusi branch of the Ai'awak stock. It is only for the reason 
that an old Arawak friend identified Hariwali (cf. Arawanili, Sect. 
185) with Haburi — an identity which I admittedly can neither 
confii-m nor challenge — that I propose begimiing with these mythic 
Heroes by introducmg the story of — 

Hariwali and the Wonderful Tree (A) 

Hariwali was a clever, painstaking piai, who spent most of his time in clearing the 
field for his two wives. These two women, their children, and his brother lived 
with him at his house. While felling the timber, the wives undertook, turn andtum 
about, to bring their husband some cassiri daily. It happened now that while 
carrying the usual refreshment one of the wives was met by the brother-in-law, who 
was bringing in some itiriti strands to weave baskets with. "Hullo!" he said, "where 
are you going?" to which he received reply, "I am taking cassiri to my husband in 
the field. — But I like you. Do you like me?" "No, I don't," he answered, "and 
even it I did, my brother, being a medicine-man, would find it out very soon." 
She tried him again, and tempted him sorely, and then she threw her arms roimd him. 
He was but mortal. . , . She assured him that her husband would never find out 
what had happened, and both went their respective ways. Before she reached the 
field, however, she broke the calabash; then with a pointed stick she cut her knee, 
causing it to bleed. When Hariwali saw her coming slowly along with a limp 
carrying the broken calabash, he asked her what had happened. All she could do 
was to point to the scratch and blood on her lame knee, and tell him that she had 


had an accident, having fallen on a stump. He was a shrewd piai, however, and 
knew exactly what had happened, and though he said nothing then, he determined 
not only upon getting rid of her, but of his other wife also; he just then, however, 
directed her to return home. 

4. Next moming he bade both the women accompany him, as he intended fishing 
in the pond, and he merely wanted them to do the cooking and make the fire. When 
fire had been made, he brought them a turtle, which they put on the hot ashes with- 
out kiUing it, so it promptly crawled out; they pushed it on again, but with the 
same result. It was the omen betokening their death. The semi-chichi [medicine- 
man] had bewitched them and they thought they had already killed the turtle. 
What they imagined was that the fire was not hot enough, and so the faithless 
spouse went to look for more dry wood. Now, as she was breaking up the timber 
she found it very hard work, and exclaimed Tata — Ketaiaba [lit. hard — to break), 
but no sooner were the words out of her mouth, than she flew away as a hawk, the 
"hul-tata," which can often be heard crying hul-tata-tata-tata. ... Of course it 
was her husband who had done this. The other wife said she felt hot and would 
bathe her skin: no sooner had she ducked into the pond, than her husband turned 
her into a porpoise — she was the very first porpoise that ever swam in these waters. 

5. Hariwali thus punished his wives, and now pondered over what he should do 
with his brother. While returning home, he met the verj' man with bow and arrows 
starting out to himt, but neither spoke. That same afternoon the brother; who had 
never missed a bird before, made a bad shot every time now, the arrow invariably 
flying absurdly wide of its mark. This was really all Hariwali's doing. At last the 
brother did manage to hit a bird, but only just hard enough to knock a few feathers 
off, nothing more, "Don't do that again," said the bird, "and now look beliind 
you," And when he did so, there was a large sheet of water, and he realized that he 
was upon an island. But how to escape? Round and round he wandered, until he 
finally found a path; no ordinary path, but a Yawahu's path leading to the Spirit's 
house. Arrived at the house, the Yawahu caught him, and took all his bones out 
except those of his fingers; this was done only out of kindness, so that he could not 
escape, the Yawahu putting him into a hammock and paying him every care and 
attention.' The bones themselves were tied up in a bundle under the roof (as 
bundles are kept by many other Indian tribes). The Yawahu was quite a family 
man, with plenty of youngsters who were always practising with their bows and arrows; 
when their arrows got blunted they had only to go up to the captive's hammock and 
sharpen them on his bony finger tips. All this time, Hariwali's mother would cry 
regularly everj' night over her absent son, whose whereabouts and condition she 
was absolutely ignorant of. So at last the piai's heart became softened, and he 
determined on going to fetch his brother home again. It was all due to his 
"medicine" that his brother fell into the clutches of the Spirits. He told the old 
woman to pack up everj'thing, Ijecause when he returned with his brother they and 
all their family would have to leave the place forever. 

6. The night pre\'ious to their departure, he "played the shak-shak" (i. e., called 
up his Spirit friends with the rattle), and next moming hosts of parrots were passing 
overhead. His children called his attention to them; so he went out and asked the 
birds to tiu'ow down a seed of a certain tree the bark of which he used medicinally. 
This they did , and though the youngsters saw the seed falling , directly it touched ground 
the father put his foot on it, and look as much as they could, the children could not find 
it. As he did not want them to know what he was doing, he told them that nothing 
had fallen, that they must be mistaken, and that they must run away now. Young 
folk are not allowed to see what the old medicine-men practise. When left alone, 
Hariwali planted the identical seed just where it had fallen, and that same evening 

1 Compare Kon, the boneless Tribal Hero of the Yunka Indians of Peru (PE, 29, 41).— W, E. R. 


repeated the performance with the rattle; by next morning a stately tree had grown 
from that one seed. He told his mother to tie all the things which she had packed 
up, on the branches of this tree (Sect. 2S6), and to await his and his brother's retiirn. 

7. It was not long before he reached the Yawahu's place, where, the family lieing 
away, he had no difficulty in releasing the captive, untying the bones from the roof, 
and maldng good his escape. Unfortunately the Spirit returned earlier than was 
expected, and seeing the empty hammock and no parcel of bones, was not long in 
concluding what had happened. He recognized, the fresh tracks, and put his 
dogs on the scent. Poor Hariwali and his "brother! They heard the barking of the 
dogs and the whistling of the Spirit, and barely had time to crawl into an armadillo 
hole. They just managed to get out of sight when Yawahu came up, threaten- 
ing that if they did not come out, he would drive a stick into them; the fugitives 
laid low, and said nothing. Yawahu then shoved a stick in, but Hariwali touched 
it with his hand, and changed it into a bush-master snake. (This is why. even 
to the piesent day, a bush-master snake is always found in an armadillo hole.) At 
any rate, Yawahu on seeing the serpent thought he must have been mistaken in fol- 
lowing the tracks and retraced his steps. Having put the bones back into his 
lirothet's skin, and waiting till the coast was clear, Hariwali led the way home. 

8. And how glad their mother was to see them! She had everything packed away 
in and among the branches of the big tree, and she herself, her daughter, and the 
grandchildren were all prepared for a long journey. As night fell, they all, big 
and little, climbed up into the lower branches, finding shelter among the leaves, 
while Hariwali made his way up to the verj- summit and began again the shak-shak 
performance. This continued till quite into the middle of the night, when all 
of a sudden, the family below felt the tree shaking, and heard rum1)ling noises, followed 
by a quivering, and experienced a sensation of the trunk being rooted out of tlie 
sand, and starting to fly up into the air. Now, it was just about the moment when 
they were off on their proposed journey that the old woman's daughter, the piai's 
sister, felt a bit chilly, and casting her eyes downward, remembered that she had 
left her apron behind in the house. All she could do was to shout out to her 
brother above. Dekeweyo-daiba (lit. "my apron back"), " I have forgotten my apron," 
and he told her to slip down quickly and fetch it. But by the time she had reached 
the old home, she was changed into a wicissi-duck {Anag autumnalis), which even 
yet can always be heard saying dekeweyo-daiba. but as it only whistles these two 
words, they do not sound so distinctly as if they were spoken slowly. As to the 
rest of the family — well, we know that the wonderful tree flew away somewhere, 
but we have never heard anything more about the people who were on it. 

The Story of Haburi (W) 

9. Long ago, there were two sisters minding themselves; they had no man to look after 
them. One day they cut down an ite tree (Mauritia), from which they commenced 
to manufacture flour. It was now late, so they left their work and went home. Next 
morning when they went back, the starch was lying there all ready prepared, and 
they were much puzzled to know how this came to be so. Next day, the same thing 
happened — all the ite starch was found ready; and this happened again, and often. 
So one night they watched, and about the middle of the night they saw one of the 
leaves of the neighboring manicole tree {Euterpe sp.) bend gradually over and over 
until it touched the cut which they had made in the tnmk of the ite palm lying beneath. 
As soon as the leaf actually touched, botli sLsters rushed up and caught hold of it, 
begging it earnestly to turn into a man. It refused at first, but as they begged so 
earnestly it did so. His name was Mayara-koto. The big Celder) sister was now 
happy and by-and-bye she had a beautiful baby boy, called Haburi. 

both] heroes 123 

10. The two women had their hunting ground near two ponds; one of these ponds 
belonged to Tiger, but the other one was their own, in which they therefore used 
to fish. And they told Mayara-kuto not to go to Tiger's pond. Tlie man, however, 
said, "Our pond has very few fish in it, but Tiger's has plenty. I am going to fish in 
his. " He did so, but Tiger came along and caught and killed him for stealing liw 
fish. Tiger then took Mayara-koto's shape and form, and returned to the spot where 
the two women were camped. It was very late when he came and quite dark. With 
him he brought not only Mayara-koto's waiyarri (a temporary openwork basket made 
of palm-leaf) but in it the fish the latter had stolen before being killed. Tiger put 
down the waiyarri, as is customary, before coming into the house, and after telling 
them good-night (lit. "I am come"), said he had brought some fish. Both women 
were astonished at the coarse, rough voice. He then said he was much tired, and 
would lie down in liis hammock, telling them that he would nurse Haburi, who was 
accordingly brought to him. He told them also that he was going to sleep, and that 
they must bring up the fish and cook it, but not to mind him. The women cooked the 
fish. When cooked, and while the women were eating it, the man fell asleep and 
began to snore very curiously and loudly — indeed, so loud that you could ha^•e heard 
him on the other side of the river. And while snoring, he called the father's name — 
Mayara-koto. The two women looked at each other, and they listened. They said 
"Our husband never snored like that; he never called his own name before. " They 
therefore stopped eating at once, and told each other that this man could not possibly 
be their husband. And they pondered as to how they were going to get Haburi out 
of the man's arms where he was resting. Makinga bundle of a particular kind of bark, 
they slipped it under the child and so got him away; then they quickly made off with 
him while the man was still snoring. With them they also took a wax light and a 
biindle of firewood. 

11. Wliile going along, the_v heard Wau-uta singing. Wau-uta was a woman in those 
days, indeed she was a piai woman, and she was just then singing with her shak- 
shak (rattle). The two women went on and on, quickly too, for they knew that once 
they arrived at Wau-uta's place they would be safe. In the meantime, the Tiger-man 
woke up and found the bark bundle in his arms instead of little Haburi, and both the 
sisters gone. So he got angry; he changed back into his animal shape, and hurried 
after them. The women heard him coming and hurried still more. They called out 
"Wau-uta! open the door. " "Who is there?" said Wau-uta, to which she received 
reply "It is we; the two sisters." But Wau-uta would not open the door. So the 
mother pinched little Haburi's ears and made him cry. Directly Wau-uta heard it she 
shouted out, "T\'hat child is that? Is it a girl or a boy? " "It is my Haburi, a boy,'' 
was the mother's reply, upon which Wau-uta opened the door immediately and said, 
"Come in! Come in!'' after they had all got in. Tiger arrived and, calling out 
to Wau-uta, asked her where the two women and the baby had gone. But Wau-uta 
lied, telling that she had not seen them, that she had seen no one. Tiger, how- 
ever, could tell by the scent that they were there, so he waited outside, and refused 
to go away. This vexed Wau-uta, who became very angry, and told him that he might 
just put Ms head in, and have a look round, and if he saw them, he could eat them if 
he liked. But the door was covered with pimplers (tliorns) and as soon as silly Tiger 
put his head in, the old woman closed it, and so killed him. The two sisters remained 
there, and cried much; they grieved for their husljand. They cried so much indeed 
that Wau-uta told them to go into the field, gather some cassava, and make a big drink. 
They accordingly got ready to go, and were about to take Haburi with them, but 
Wau-uta said, "No. I am quite able to look after the child in your absence." So 
they did as they were told and went away to the field. 

13. In the meantime Wau-uta made the child grow all at once into a youth, and 
gave him the harri-harri to blow and the arrows to shoot. As the mother and aunt 


were returning with the cassava, they lieard the music playing and said to themselves, 
"There was no man or boy there when we left the house; who can it be? It must 
be a man plaj-ing." And though ashamed they went in and saw the youth blowing 
the harri-hani. As soon as they had taken the quakes (baskets) from off their backs 
and placed them on the ground , they asked after Ilaburi, but Wau-iita said tliat as soon 
as tliey had left for the field , tlie child had run after them , and she had thought it was 
still with them. Of course all this was a lie. Old Wau-uta was desirous of making 
Haburi grow quickly, with the intention of making him ultimately her lover. She still 
furtlier deceived the two sisters by pretending to as.sist in the search which was then 
undertaken in the surrounding bush, but she took good care to get back to her house 
first, and told Ilaburi to say she, Wau-uta, was his mother, and gave him full direc- 
tions as to how he must treat her. 

13. Haburi was a splendid shot — no bird could escape his arrow — and Wau-uta. 
directed him to give to her all the big birds that he kUled, and to his mother and 
aunt all the little ones, which he had to pollute first by fouling them. The object 
of this was to make the two sisters so vexed and angry that they would leave the place : 
but this they would not do; they continued searching the neighborhood for their 
little child. This sort of thing went on for many days, big birds and dirtied little 
birds being presented by Haburi to Wau-uta and the two women, respectively. 
Haburi, however, did one day miss a bird for the first time, his arrow sticking into a 
branch overhanging a creek where his uncles, the water-dogs, used to come and feed. 
It was a nice cleared space, and here Haburi eased himself, covering the dung with 
leaves. He next climbed the tree to dislodge the arrow, but just then the water-dogs 
arrived, and, scenting the air, exclaimed, "What smell is this? That worthless 
nephew oi ours, Habxui, must be somewhere about." So they looked around, and 
down, and up, and finally discovering him on the tree branch, ordered him to come 
down. They then sat him on a bench, and told him he was leading a bad life, that 
the old woman was not his mother, but that the two younger ones were his mother and 
aunt, respectively; they furthermore impressed upon him that it was very wicked of 
him to divide the birds so unfairly, and that in future he must do exactly the opposite, 
giving his real mother, the bigger of the two sisters, the larger birds. They told 
him also to let his real mother know that the way he had hitherto treated her was 
due entirely to ignorance on his part, and that he was sorry. 

14. So when Haburi got home that day, he carried out the instructions given him 
by the water-dogs, handing the dirtied little birds to Wau-uta, and making a clean 
breast of it to his mother. She, poor thing, felt very strange that day, and could not 
bring herself to speak to him as " my son " all at once, but when he explained that it was 
only Wau-uta who had made him a man quite suddenly, she believed him, and became 
quite comforted . Old Wau-uta, on hearing all this, worked herself into a great passion, 
and, seizing Haburi by the neck, blew into his face (Sect. S5), and told him he must 
be mad; so angered and upset was she that she could eat nothing at all. She spent 
all that day and night in nagging him, and telling him he had left his senses. Haburi 
went away next morning as usual, returning late in the afternoon, when he again gave 
the big birds which he had shot to his real mother and the dh'tied little ones to Wau-uta. 
The latter, as might have been expected, gave him no peace. 

15. Haburi, therefore, made up his mind to get out. So telling his mother that 
they must all three arrange to get away, together, he made a little corial (a dug- 
out canoe) of bees'-wax, and when completed, he left it at the water-side; but, by 
next morning a black duck had taken it away. He therefore made another little clay 
corial, but this was stolen by another kind of duck. In the meantime he cut a large 
field, and cleared it so quickly that the women A\ith their planting could never keep 
up with him. They required plenty of cassava for their proposed journey. At any 
rate, while the women planted, Haburi would often slip away and make a boat, always 
of a different kind of wood and of varying shape, and just as regularly would a dif- 


ferent species of duck come and steal it. At last he happened to make one out of the 
silk-cotton tree and this particular one was not stolen. It was thus Haburi who first 
made a boat and taught the ducks to float on the surface of the water because it was 
with his boats that they managed to do it; indeed, we Warraus say that each duck has 
its own particular kind of boat. 

16. But what was more curious, the last boat to be manufactured was found next morn- 
ing to be very much bigger than it was the night before. Haburi told his mother and 
her sister to collect all the pro\'isions and put them aboard in anticipation of their 
long journey. He himself returned to the field, bringing the cassava cuttings for 
old Wau-uta to plant in their respective holes, and so they both continued working 
hard. By and bye, he slipped away, went back to the house, took his arrows and ax, 
and proceeded down to the water-side. But before he left the house, he told the 
posts not to talk, for in those days the posts of a house could speak (Sect. 169), and 
if the owner were absent a visitor could thus find out his whereabouts. There was 
a parrot, however, in the house, and Haburi quite forgot to warn him to keep silent. 
So when the old woman after a time found herself alone, she went back to the house, 
and seeing no Haburi, asked the posts whither he had gone; they remained silent. 
The parrot, however, could not help talking, and told her. 

17. Wau-uta thereupon rushed down to the landing, arri^ing there just in time 
to see Haburi stepping into the boat to join his mother and aunt. She seized hold 
of the craft, screaming "My son! Myson! you must not leave me so. lam your mother," 
and though they all repeatedly struck her fingers with their paddles, and almost 
smashed them to pieces on the gunwale, she would not let go her hold. So poor 
Haburi had perforce to land again and ■svith old Wau-uta proceeded to a large hollow 
tree wherein the bees had built their nest. Cutting down the tree, Haburi made a 
small hole in the trunk, and told the old lady to get in and suck the honey. She was 
very fond of honey, and though crying very hard all the time at the thought of losing 
Haburi, crawled through the little opening which he immediately closed in upon her. 
And there she is to be found to the present day, the Wau-uta frog which is heard only 
in hollow trees. And if you look carefully, you will see how swollen her fingers are 
from the way in which they were bashed by the paddles when she tried to hold on 
to the gunwale. If you listen, j'ou can also hear her lamenting for her lost lover; 
she still cries Wang! Wang! Wang! 

18. The tree-frog above referred to is probably the 1corw(bo)-am, or 
rain-frog, the name-given to the old woman in the Carib version of the 
story (Sect. 35) . The croaking of tliis creature (Hyla venulosa Daud.) 
is an absolutely sure sign of rain. This frog Hves only in the trunk of 
the Bodelschurlngia macrofhylla Klotzsch, a tree found on the Pome- 
roon and Barama (Sc R, ii, 419). Though the Warraus are beHeved 
to have been the first of the Guiana Indians to use boats, the invention 
of the sail has been credited to the Caribs. A modern addition to the 
above version of the story is that Haburi sailed away, found new 
lands, and taught the white people all their arts and manufactures, 
all about guns and ships, and for many years used to send his old 
Warrau friends certain presents annually, but they never come now — 
an unscrupulous Government detains them in Georgetown! 

19. With regard to Koroiomanna, or Kururumanni, the same 
remarks concerning his tribal origin apply as in the case of Haburi. 
Hilhouse and Schomburgk (Sc R, ii, 319) seemingly would have him an 
Arawak, but Brett undoubtedly makes him a Warrau, the view which 


is held by the present-day Warraus and Arawaks on the Pomeroon. 
He is said to be the creator of the male portion of manldnd, another 
Spii'it, Kulimina/ being responsible for the female. Uri-Kaddo and 
Emeshi are liis two mves, one name signifying 'darkness-people,' 
' a worker in darlmess,' and the other a large red ant that burrows in 
the earth; "together, they are typical of the creation of all things 
out of the earth in the dark" (HiC, 244). Kororomanna would seem 
to have experienced a remarkable number and variety of adventures, 
some of which are given here. 

The Adventures of Kororomanna (W) 

Kororomanna went out hunting and shot a "baboon" (i/i/ceies), but as it was already- 
late in tlie afternoon, in trj'ing to make his way home he lost his way in the darkness. 
And there he had to 'make his banab, a.nd to lie down, with the baboon beside him. 
But where he lay was a Hebu road; you can always distinguish a Spirit road from 
any other pathway in the forest because the Hebus occupying the trees that lie 
alongside it are always, especially at night, striking the branches and trunks, and so 
producing short sharp crackling noises [Sect. 104]- It was not pleasant for poor 
Kororomanna, esi^ecially as the baboon's body was now beginning to swell with all 
the noxious humors inside; lest the Hebus should steal it from him, he was obliged 
to keep the carcass alongside and watch over it with a stick. At last he fell asleep, 
but in the middle of the night the Hebus, what with the knocking on the trees, 
aroused him from his slumbers. Now that he was awake, he mimicked the Spirits, 
blow for blow, and as they struck the limb of a tree, Kororomanna would strike the 
belly of the baboon. But what with the air inside, each time he struck the animal, 
there came a resonant Boom! Boom! just like the beating of a drum.^ The Hebu 
leader heard the curious sound, and became a bit frightened: "What can it be? 
When before I knocked a tree, it never made a noise like that." To make sure, 
however, he struck the tree hard again, and Boom! came once more from the 
carcass. Hebu was really frightened now, and began to search all around to findout 
where the extraordinary noise could possibly come from; at last he recognized the 
little manicole banab, and saw Kororomanna laughing. Indeed, the latter could 
not help laughing, considering that it was the first time he had heard such a funny 
sound come out of any animal. 

20. Hebu then said to him, "Who are you? Show me your hand," to which 
Kororomanna replied, "I am Warrau, and hereismyhand, " butinsteadof putting out 
his own, he shoved forward one of the baboon's, and then held forward the animal's 
other hand, and finally both feet. Hebu was much puzzled and said he had never 
seen before a Warrau with so black a hand, and would not be satisfied until he saw the 
face. Kororomanna accordingly deceived him again and held out the monkey's, which 
caused Hebu to make the same remark about his face as he had done about his hands 
and feet. 

31. The Spirit became more frightened than ever, but his curiosity exceeded his 
fear, because he next wanted to know where all that Boom! Boom! sound had come 
from. And when he learnt its source of origin (breaking wind), he regretted that he 
had not been made like ordinary mortals, he and all his family having no proper 
posteriors, but just a red spot (Sect. 99). He thereupon begged Kororomanna to make 
for him a posterior which would allow of his producing a similar sound. So with 
his bow Kororomanna split the Spirit's hind quarters, and completed the task 

1 A name I have been unable to trace. — W. E. R. 

* One end of tbe drum is commonly closed with baboon hide. 


b}' impalina: him, but so rougb was he in his methods, that the weapon transfixed 
the whole body even piercing the unfortunate Hebu's head. The Hebu cursed Koro- 
romanna for having killed him, and threatened that the other Spirits would avenge 
his death: he then disappeared. 

23. Our hero, becoming a bit anxious on his own account, and, recognizing by the 
gradually increasing hullaballoo in the trees that swarms of Hebus were approaching 
the scene of the outrage, now climbed the manicole tree sheltering hisbanab, leaving 
the baboon's corpse inside. The Spirits then entered the banab, and belie\-ing the 
dead animal to be Kororomanna, began hitting it with their sticks, and with each blow, 
there came Boom! Our friend up the tree, whence he could watch their every move- 
ment, and their surprise at the acoustic results of the flogging, could not refrain from 
cracking a smile, which soon gave way to a hearty laugh. The Spirits, unfortunately 
for him, heard it, and looking at the dead baboon, said, "This can not be the person 
who is laughing at us. " They looked all around, but could see nothing, until one of 
them stood on his head, and peeped up into the tree.' And there, sure enough, he 
saw Kororomanna laughing at them. All the others then put themselves in the same 
posture around the tree, and had a good look at him. The question they next had to 
decide was how to catch him. This they concluded could most easily be managed 
by hewing down the tree. They accordingly started with their axes on the trunk, but 
since the implements were but water-turtle shells, it was not long before they broke. - 
They then sent for their knives, but as these were merely the seed-pods of the buari 
tree, they also soon broke. ^ The Hebus then sent for a rope, but what they called a 
ropp was really a snake. At any rate, as the serpent made its way farther and farther 
up the tree, and finally came within reach, Kororomanna cut its head off; the animal 
fell to the ground again, and the Hebus cried ''Our rope has burst. " Another con- 
sultation was held, and it was decided that one of their number should climb the tree, 
seize the man, and throw him down, and that those below might be ready to receive 
him when dislodged, the Hebu was to shout out, when throwing him down, the follow- 
ing signal: Tura-buna-se mahara-lo na-kai.* The biggest of the Spirits being chosen to 
carry the project into execution, he started on his climb, but head do-« nward of course, 
so as to be able to see where he was going. Kororomanna, however, was on the alert, 
and, waiting for him, killed him in the same peculiar manner as that in which he had 
despatched the other Spirit just a little while before; more than this, having heard 
them fix upon the preconcerted signal, he hurled the dead Spirit's body down with the 
cry of Tura-buna-se mahara-ko na-kai! The Hebus below were quite prepared, and as 
soon as the body fell to the ground, clubbed it to pieces. Kororomanna then slipped 
down and helped in the dissolution. "Wait a bit," he said to the Spirits; "I am 
just going in the bush, but \vill soon return. " It was not very long, however, before 
the Spirits saw that they had been tricked, and yelled with rage on finding that they 
had really destroyed one of themselves; they hunted high and low for their man, but 
with approaching daylight were reluctantly compelled to give up the chase. 

23. In the meantime, Kororomanna had no sooner got out of their sight than he 
started running at topmost speed, and finally found shelter in a hollow tree. Here 
he discovered a woman (,she was not old either), so he told her that he would remain 
with her till "the day cleaned " {i. e., till dawn broke). But she said, "No! No! my 

1 The Hebus of the Warraus are believed to possess eye-brows so prominent tliat it is possible for them 
to look directly upward only when in this upside-down position. [Sect. 99.] 

'' On the Amazons, before the advent of Emopeans, we have Acufia's authority for stating that all the 
tools which the Indians employed for making their canoes, huts, etc., were axes and hatchets made of 
tortoise-shell (Ac, 90). 

3 The seed-pod in question is about 10 in. long, much flattened, hard-shelled, with a curved surface, so 
that when the halves are split asunder, each bears a somewhat fanciful resemblance to a cutlass. 

< The first word is in Spirit language, i. e., not understood by the Warraus, who tell me that it is nothing 
more than a watch-word; the second means "to kill with the arm;" the third indicates "to fall down."— 


man is Snake and he will be back before the dawn. If he were to find you here, he 
would certainly kill you." But her visitor was not to be frightened, and he stayed 
where he was. True enough, before dawn. Snake came wending his way home, and 
as he crawled into the tree, he was heard to exclaim, "Hallo! I can smell some one." 
Kororomanna was indeed frightened now, and was at his wits' end to know what to 
do. Just then dawn broke, and they heard a hummingbird. "That is my uncle," 
said our hero. They then heard the doroquarra: "That also is an uncle of mine, " he 
added.' He purposely told Snake all this to make him believe that, if he killed and 
swallowed his visitor, all the other hummingbirds and doroquaiTas would come and 
avenge his death. But Snake said, "I am not afraid of either of your uncles, but 
will gobble them up." Just then, a chicken-hawk (Urubitinga) flew along, which 
made Snake ask whether that also was an uncle of his. " To be sure " was the reply, 
"and when I am dead, he also will come and search for me." It was now Snake's 
turn to be frightened, because Chicken-hawk used always to get the better of him; 
so he let Kororomanna go in peace, who ran out of that hollow tree pretty quick. 

34. It was full daylight now, but this made little odds, because he had still lost 
his way, and knew not how to find the road home. After wandering on and on, 
he at last came across a track, recognizable by the footprints in it: following this up, 
he came upon a hollow tree that had fallen across the path, and inside the trunk he 
saw a baby. This being a Hebu's child, he slaughtered it, but he had no sooner 
done so than he heard approaching footsteps, which caused him promptly to climb a 
neighboring tree and await developments. These were not long in coming, for the 
mother soon put in her appearance; as soon as she recognized her dead infant, she 
was much angered, and, looking around, carefully examined the fresh tracks, and 
said, "This is the man who has killed my child." Her next move was to dig up a 
bit of the soil marked by one of the fresh footprints, wrap it up in a leaf tied with 
bush-rope, and hang it on a branch while she went for firewood. Directly her back 
was turned, Kororomanna slid down from his hiding place, undid the bundle, and 
threw away the contents, substituting a footprint of the Spirit woman. Then, tying . 
up the parcel as before, he hung it where it had been left, and hid himself once more. 
A\Tien the woman returned with the firewood, she made a big fire, and threw the 
bundle into the flames, saying as she did so: "Curse the person whose footprint I 
now burn. May the owner fall into this fire also!" She thought that if she burnt 
the "foot-mark" so would the person's shadow be drawn to the fire. But no one 
came, and she felt that her own shadow was being impelled. "Oh! It seems that I 
am hurting myself; the fire is drawing me near, " she exclaimed. Twice was she thus 
dragged toward it against her will, and yet she succeeded in resisting. But on the 
third occasion she could not draw back; she fell in, and was burnt to ashes; she 
"roasted herself dead."^ 

25. Kororomanna was again free to travel, but which direction to follow was the 
puzzle; he had still lost his way home. All he could do was to walk more or less 
aimlessly on, passing creek after creek and back into the bush again, until he emerged 
on a beautiful, clean roadway. But no sooner had he put his foot on it, than it 
stuck there, just like a fish caught in a spring-trap. And this is exactly what the 
trap really was, save that it had been set by the Hebus. He pulled and he tugged 
and he twisted, but try as he might, he could not get away. He fouled himself over 
completely, and then lay quite still, pretending to be dead. The flies gathered on 
him and these were followed by the worms, but he continued to lie quite still. By 
and by two of the Spirits came along, and one of them said, "Hallo! I have luck today. 
My spring-trap has caught a fish at last," but when he got closer, he added, "Oh! I 

1 This bird is tlie Oiontophorus Oumwnsis. "The notes of this bird, from which it takes its name, are 
usually the fiist heard in the morning, and frequently before dawTi" (BW, 183). 

a PresentKlay cursing, the M-a of the Warraus and Arawaks, is done on somewhat diflcrent lines, 
usually by medicine-men or by very old people only. 


have left it too long. It stinks.'' However, they let loose their fish, as they thought 
it was, and carried it down to the riverside to wash and clean it. After they had 
washed it, one of the Hebussaid, "Let us slit its belly now, and remove the entrails,"- 
but the other one remarked, "No, let us make a umifiani (basket) first, to put the fiesh 
in." This was very fortunate for Kororomanna, who, seizing the opportunity while 
they went collecting strands to plait with, rolled down the river bank into the water 
and so made good his escape. But when he succeeded in landing on the other side, 
he was, in a sense, just as badly off as before, not knowing how to get home. 

26. Kororomanna next came across a man's skull lying on the ground, and what 
must he do but go and jerk Ms arrow into its eye-ball'? Now this skull. Kwa-muhu. 
was a Hebu, who thereupon called out: "You must not do that. But now that you 
have injured me, you will have to carry me." So Kororomanna had to get a strip of 
bark, the same kind which our women employ for fastening on their field qxiakes, 
and carry the skull wherever he went, and feed it too. If he shot bird or beast, he 
always had to give a bit to Kwa-muhu, with the result that the latter soon became 
gradually and inconveniently heavier, until one day he became so great a dead weight 
as to break the bark-strip support. The accident occurred not verj' far from a creek, 
and Koioromanna told Kwa-miihti to stay still while he went to look for a stronger 
strip of bark. Of course this was only an excuse, because directly he had put the 
skull on the ground, he ran as fast as he could toward the creek, overtaking on the 
way a deer that was running in exactly the same direction, swam across, and rested 
himself on the opposite side. In the meantime Kwa-muhu. suspecting that he was 
about to be forsaken, ran after Kororomanna, and seeing but the deer in front of him, 
mistook it for liis man and killed it just as it reached the water. On examining the 
carcass, the Hebu exclaimed, when he got to its toes (Sect. 126): "Well, that is indeed 
very strange. You have only two fingers;" and though he reckoned again and 
agaui, he could make no more — "but the man I am after had five fingers, and a long 
nose. You must be somebody else." ' Now Kororomanna, who was squatting just 
over on the opposite bank, heard all this, and biu'st out laugMng. This enraged 
Kwa-muhu, who left the deer, and made a move as if to leap across the creek, but, 
having no legs, he could not jump properly, and hence fell into the water and was 
drowned. All the ants then came out of Ms skull. ^ 

27. Poor Kororomanna was still as badly off as before; he was unable to find his 
way home. But he bravely kept on Ms way and at last came upon an old man bailing 
water out of a pond. The latter was really a Hebu, whose name was Huta-Kura- 
kura, 'Red-back' (Sect. 99). Huta-Kurakura, being anxious to get the fish, was bailing 
away at the water side as liard as he could go, Vmt having no calabash had to make use 
of his purse [scrotum], which was verj- large. And while thus bending down, he was 
so preoccupied that he did not hear the footfall of Kororomanna coming up beMnd. 
The latter, not knowing what sort of a creature it was, stuck him twice in the back 
with an arrow, but Huta-Kurakura. thinking it to be a cow-fly ( Tabaniis), just slapped 
the spot where he felt it. When, however, he found himself stuck a third time, he 
turned round and, seeing who it was, became so em'aged that he seized the wan- 
derer and hurled him into a piece of wood with such force that only hia eye 
projected from out the timber. Anxious to be freed from his unenx-iable position 
Kororomanna offered everytliing he could think of — crj-stals, rattles, paiwarri, women, 
etc., but the Spirit wanted none of them. As a last chance, he offered tobacco, and 
this the Hebu eagerly accepted, the result being that they fast became good friends. 
They then both emptied the pond and collected a heap of fish, much too large for 

1 The account given of Kororomanna 's doings in this paragraph forms the complete story of an unnamed 
Indian, as related by the Caribs, who give the name Pupombo to the Skull Spirit. 

2 Fhrenreich refers to the many examples of such individual giant heads or skulls in the North -\merican 
legends (PE, 71). 

15961° — 30 ETH— 15 9 


Koroiomanna to carry home. So the Spirit in some peculiar way bound them all 
up into quite a small bimdle, small enough for Kororomanna to carrj^ in his hand. 

28. Kororomanna now soon managed to find the right path home, because each 
and everj' animal that he met gave him news of liis mother. One after the other, he 
met a rat with a potato, an acouri with cassava root, a labba with a yam, a deer with a 
cassava leaf, a kushi-ant with a similar leaf on its head, and a bush-cow (tapir) eating a 
pineapple. And as he asked each in tuni whence it had come, the animal said, ''I 
have been to your mother, and have begged potato, cassava, yam, and other things 
from her." When at length he reached home, and his wife and mother asked what 
he had brought, he told them a lot of fish, and they laughed light heartily at what 
they thought was his little joke. So he bade them open the parcel, and as they 
opened it, sure enough out came fish after fish, small and large, fish of all kinds, so 
many in fact that the house speedily became filled, and the occupants had to shift 
outside. [Cf. Sect. SOS.] 

28A. [Note. — In a Carib version of the story the hero's name is given as Kere-Kere'- 
mijoi-au, and he finds his way back home to his mother's place through the help 
of a butterfly. \\Tien I happened to mention to the narrator that this was the first 
time I had ever heard a "Nancy" story about this insect, he told me that the butterfly 
was always a good friend of the Caribs. " Does it not," he added, "come and drink 
of the washings from the cassiri jar. and remain stuck in the mess?" {i. «., "Does it 
not come and join in our feasts, and get so dnink that it can not fly away? "). — W. E. R.] 

29. Makunaima, or Makonaima, the alleged God (ScR, ii, 225, 515) 
or Supreme Being (IT, 365) of the Akawais, the Maker of Heaven 
and Earth (ScR, ii, 319) of the Makusis, was one of the twin children 
of the Sun^ — in tliis particular all the traditions concerning him are 
in agreement. He and liis brother Pia may be regarded as both 
Akawai and Makusi heroes. The name itself, Makunaima, signifies 
"one that works in the dark" (HiC, 244); the Being working in 
opposition to him, according to Makusi behefs, is Epel (ScR, loc. cit.). 
I am fortunately able to give three versions of the tradition of these 
Heroes — from Warrau, Carib, and Makusi sources, respectively. 

The Sun, the Frog, and the Firesticks (W) 

Nahakoboni (lit., the one who eats plenty) was an old man who, never ha^dng had 
a daughter, was beginning to feel anxious about his declining years, for, unlike the 
other old people around, he of course had no son-in-law to care for him. He therefore 
car\ed a daughter for him.self out of a plum tree, and being a medicine-man, so skil- 
fully did he cut and carve the timber that by the time the task was completed there 
was indeed a woman lovely to gaze upon. Her i)ame was Usi-diu (lit., seed-tree) and 
her physical charms were almost, but, as we shall presently see, not quite, perfect. 
So attractive was she that all the animals, bird and beast, came from far to cowl 
her, but the old man liked none of them, and when they asked him for her as 
wife he gave them a curt refusal. The old man had a very poor opinion of the abilities 
of these prospective sons-in-law. But when Yar, the Sun himself, stopped on his 
journey, and paid the old man a visit, it was quite clear what his purpose was, and 
proof was not long in coming that his advances would meet with encouragement. 

30. Nahakoboni thought he would try Yar's mettle, and see what stuff he was made 
of. He told Yar to feed him, and made him fetch along all the barbecued meat 
that he had brought with him on his journey, and had left at the edge of the bush. 
He ate very heartily, as might have been expected from the name given him, leav- 
ing only a quarter of the meat for his visitor. He next told Yar to give him drink; 
the latter emptied a big jugful down his throat. His next order to Yar was to bring 

noTH] HEROES 131 

him water to bathe ^vith, and for this purpose gave hira a quake.' But when the 
poor fellow put the quake into the water-hole, and pulled it out again, the water of 
course all escaped; he tried many times, but it continued to escape. Just then he 
heard a rushing sound proceeding from the bush, and there appeared a Hebu: when 
the latter learned what he was trying to do. he offered his assistance, and made the 
water remain in the quake. The would-be bridegroom carried it to his prospective 
father-in-law. and bathed him. The old man then told Yar to shoot some fish for 
him: that he would find the corial at the waterside, a bench for it under the roots 
of a particulai' tree, and an arrow lying in the shade of another. It is true the corial 
was at the waterside; it was really Ijang under water, and was a very heavy one — 
but the young man managed to haul it up at last., and then bail it out. Proceeding 
to the particular tree indicated, and looking in and among the roots he was surprised 
and frightened at seeing an alligator there; he held on to its neck, and it changed 
into a bench which fitted the boat.- In the shade of the other tree he was similarly 
taken aback when a big snake came into ^^ew; he seized its neck, however, and it 
changed into a The old man now joined him; they got into the corial 
and paddled down the .stream. "I want some kwabaihi' fish," said the old man, 
"but you must not look into the water. Shoot up into the air." His companion 
did as he was told, and so skilful was he with the bow that the arrow pierced the fish 
and killed it. So big was the fish that when hauled in it almost sunk the corial; 
they managed to get it home, however. 

31. The old man was now thoroughly satisfied with Yar's worth, and gave him his 
plum-tree daughter, Ueidiu. Next morning the young couple went out hunting in 
the bush.^ \\'hen they returned late in the afternoon, father and daughter had a 
long and earnest conversation of a private and somewhat delicate nature, the outcome 
of wliich was that the old man learnt for the first time that the masterpiece upon 
wliich he had expended so much time, skill, and cunning, was not quite perfect. 
Her husband had found fault ^vitli her. Hunting was resumed the following day; 
a private conversation was again held in the late afternoon, the result of which showed 
clearly that the fault complained of still remained. The distracted father could 
only assure her that he could do nothing further to render her acceptable to his son- 
in-law. '^Tien the latter heard this, he consulted a bii-nia bird (Opistho comus), 
whom he brought back with him next day. While being nursed and fed in the girl's 
lap, the wretched bird forcibly took a very mean advantage of her innocence, and 
then flew away. This outrage ha\-ing been brought to the knowledge of the father, 
he determined upon giving liis daughter one more trial, with the result that he suc- 
ceeded in remo^'ing a snake ex parte questa personse eius. The difficulty was now 
remedied and the young woman went once more to join her husband. The following 
afternoon, on theii- return from the usual hunt, father and daughter met again in 
private conversation. Happy girl! — her husband was quite satisfied with her, having 
no complaint whatever to make. 

32. Now although the old man purpose!}^ evinced no signs of ill-will, he was greatly 
displeased with his son-in-law, not only for expressing discontent with the piece 
of sculpture when it fir.'rt came into his possession, but also for ha\'ing allowed the bunia 
bird to tinker with it. He bided his time, waiting for his revenge to come when the 
young man should complete the customary man-iage tasks — the cutting of a field, 
and the building of a house for him. It was not long before Yar commenced cutting 
the field: he worked at it early, he worked at it late, and at last told his wife to let 
her father know that it was ready for his inspection. The old man went to have a 

■ It would seem to be an invariable practice with the Indians to bathe after a meal, 
a A very common form of is one in the shape of this reptile. 
3 The name of a big species of lukunanni ( Cichla ocellarix) . 

* Previous to the advent of civilizing influences among the Indians, the jm cmnuhii was usually 
exercised during the waking hours. 


look and on his return home told his daughter that he found fault with it. The young 
couple then went off to inspect the field on their own account; they were much sur- 
prised to see all the trees and bushes standing there, just as luxuriant as before, 
little dreaming that Nahakoboni by means of his '■medicine" had caused this rapid 
growth to take place only the night before. Yar had therefore to cut another and a 
bigger field, and just the same thing happened as before, the old father again expressing 
himself in terms of strong disapproval. "How is this?" said Yar to his wife. "Ihave 
cut a field twice, and yet the old man is not satisfied with it. ' ' She thereupon advased 
him to cut a third field, but on this occasion suggested, in addition, his pulling out 
all the stumps by their roots. Having cut the third field, he started pulling up the 
stumps; it is true that he started on many, but he did not succeed in jwlling out one! 
He fell down exhausted. By and by, his old friend the Hebu put in an appearance, 
and seeing his distress, offered to do the job for him, advising him to return home 
at once and to tell his wife that the field was now thoroughly cleared. Nahakoboni 
went next morning to inspect, and planted the field with cassava, plantains, and all 
other useful plants; he returned in the evening, but spake never a word. This made 
Yar suspicious, so getting up early the following day, he was much surprised to find in 
place of an empty field, a beautiful crop of ripe cassava, plantains, and all the other 
good things that his belly might yearn for. But anger still rankled in the old man's 
breast, so that when his son-in-law started on and completed his other marriage 
task, the building of a house, the old man again found fault, pulled it down, and said 
he wanted it built stronger. Yar accordingly rebuilt it with purple-heart— the hard- 
est timber he could find. Nahakoboni, pleased at last, took charge of the house, 
and lived there. 

33. Yar, the Sun, was now free to look after his own domestic affairs, and being 
well satisfied with his wife, they lived very, very happily together. One day he told 
her he proposed taking a journey to the westward, but that as she was now pregnant, 
she had better travel at her leisure; she would not be able to keep pace with him. 
He would start first, and she must follow his tracks; she must always take the right- 
hand track; he would scatter feathers on the left so that she could make no mistake. 
Accordingly, next morning when she commenced her journey, there was no difficulty 
in finding her way, by avoiding the feathers, but by and by she arrived at a spot 
where the wind had blown them away, and then the trouble began.' \\Tiat was the 
poor woman to do now that she had lost her way? Her very motherhood proved her 
salvation, because her unborn babe began talking, and told her which path to follow. 
And as she wandered on and ever on, her child told her to pluck the pretty flowers 
whose little heads bobbed here and there over the roadway.- She had picked 
some of the red and yellow ones, when a marabunta (wasp) happened to sting her 
below the waist; in trying to kill it she missed the insect and struck herself. The 
unborn baby, however, misinterpreted her action, and thinking that it was being 
smacked, became vexed and refused any longer to show its mother which direction to 
pursue. The result was that the poor woman got hopelessly astray, and at last more 
dead than alive found herself in front of a very large house whose only occupant was 
Nanyobo {lit. a big kind of frog), a very old and very big woman. Saying "how day " 
to each other, the \dsitor was asked her business. She was trying to find her husband, 
the Sun, but she had lost the road, and she was so very weary. Nanyobo, the Frog, 
therefore bade the woman welcome, and giving her to eat and drink and telling her 
to be seated, squatted on the ground close, and asked her to clean her host's head. 
"But mind," continued the old woman, "don't put the insects into your mouth, 
because they will poison you." Our wanderer, however, overcome with fatigue 

1 In Sect. f« there is mentioned a connection between certain featliers and loss of memory. 

2 Dance (p. 340) in connection with the Maltusi, says, "she plucked pretty leaver and flowers and placed 
them in her girdle ... the same as we do now when our pregnant wives travel with us." 

noTH] HEROES 133 

and anxiety, forgot all about the injunction, and pit-king out a louse, placed it, as is 
customary with the Indians, between her teeth. But no sooner had she done so, 
than she fell dead.' 

34. Old Nanyobo thereupon slashed open the mother, and extra<>ted not one child, 
but two; a pair of beautiful boys, Makunaima and Pia. Nanyobo proved a dear, kind 
foster-mother and minded them well. As the babies grew larger, they commenced 
shooting birds: when still bigger they went to the waterside and shot fish and 
game. On each occasion when they shot fish, the old woman would say, "You must 
dry your fish in the sun, and never over a fire;" but what was curious was that she 
would invariably send them to fetch firewood, and by the time that they had returned 
■with it, there woidd be the all nicely cooked and ready for them. As a matter 
of fact, she would vomit fire out of her mouth, do her cooking, and lick the fire tip 
again before the lads' return; she apparently never had a fire burning for them to see.-' 
The repetition of this sort of thing day after day made the boys suspicious; they could 
not understand how the old lady made her fire, and accordingly determined to find 
out. On the next occasion that they were despatched to bring firewood, one of 
them, when at a safe distance from the house, changed himself into a lizard, and 
turning back, ran up into the roof whence he could get a good \'iew of everything 
that was going on. WTiat did he see? He not only saw the old woman vomit out fire, 
use it, and lick it up again, but he watched her scratch her neck, whence flowed 
something like balata (Mimiisops balata) milk, out of which she prepared starch. 
Sufiiciently satisfied with what he had witnessed, he came down, and ran after his 
brother. They discussed the matter carefully, the result of their deliberations being 
summarized in the somewhat terse expression, "\\'hat old woman do, no good. Kill 
old woman." This sentiment was carried into execution. Clearing a large field, 
they left in its very center a fine tree, to which they tied her; then, surrounding her 
on all sides with stacks of timber, the boys set them on fire. As the old woman 
gradually became consumed, the fire which used to be within her passed into the sur- 
rounding fagots. These fagots happened to be hima-heru wood, and whene\er we 
rub together two sti<'ks of this same timber we can get fire. 

35. The Carib version of the tradition is noteworthy mainly in 
that the Hero ultimately finds a place among the stars. 

The Sun, the Frog, anb the Firesticks (C) 

A long time ago, there was a woman who had become pregnant by the Sun, ■with 
twin children, Pia and Makunaima. One day the as-yet-unbom Pia said to his 
mother: " Let us go and see our father. We will show you the way, and as you travel 
along pick for us any pretty flowers that you may come across." She accordingly 
went westward to meet her husband, and plucking flowers here and there on the 
pathway, accidentally stumbled, fell down, and hurt herself; she blamed her two 
unborn children as the cause. ^ They became vexed at this, and when she next 
asked them which road she was to follow, they refused to tell her, and thus it was 
that she took the wrong direction, and finally arrived, foot-sore and weary, at a curious 
house. This belonged to Tiger's mother, Kono(bo)-aru, the Rain-frog, and when 
the exhausted traveler discovered where she was, she told the old woman she was 
very sorry she had come, because she had often heard how cruel her son was. But 

1 For further reference to head-lice in legendary lore, see PE, 78, 82. 

2 1 find it to be well known among the Indians that certain kinds of frogs, after dark, can be made to 
swallow glowing embers, which are then probably mistaken for various luminous insects.— W. E. R. 

3 When I suggested to the narrator that the woman went eastward to meet the sun, he emphatically 
contradicted me, explaining that she went to meet him where he would falJ to the earth again, at the 
distant horizon. — W. E. R. 


tlie houae-mistress took pity on her, and telling her not to be afraid, hid her in the big 
cassiri jar. and popped on the cover. \Mieu Tiger got home that night, he sniffed 
up and down, and said, "Mother, I can smell somebodj-' Whom have you here?" 
And though she denied ha\-ing anybody on the premise.", Tiger was not satisfied, but 
had a good look round on his own account, and peeping into the cassiri jar, discovered 
the frightened creature. 

36. On killing the poor woman, Tiger found the two as-yet-unborn children, and 
showed them to his mother, who said that he must now mind and cherish them. So 
he put them in a bundle of cotton to keep them warm, and noticed next morning that 
they had already begun to creep. The next day, they had grown much bigger, and 
with tliis daily increase in about a month's time they had reached man's size. Tiger's 
mother told them that they were now fit to use tlie bow and arrow, with which they 
must go and shoot the Powis {C'rnx) because it was this bird wliich had killed their 
own mother. Pia and Makunaima therefore went next day and shot Powis, and these 
birds they continued shooting day after day. WTien they were about to let fly the 
arrow at the last bird, the Powis told them that it was none of liis tribe who had killed 
their mother, but Tiger himself, giving them both full particulars as to how he had 
encompassed her death. The two boys were very angry on hearing this, sjiared the 
bird, and coming home empty-handed, informed the old woman that the Powis had 
taken their arrows away from them. Of course this was not true, but only an excuse; 
the)' had themselves hidden their arrows in the bush, and wanted the chance of mak- 
ing new and stronger weapons. These completed, they built a staging up against a 
tree, and when Tiger passed below, they shot and killed him. And when they reached 
home, they slaughtered his mother also. > 

37. The two lads now proceeded on their way and arrived at last at a clump of 
cotton-trees in the center of wliich was a house occupied by a very old woman, really 
a frog, and with her they took up their quarters. They went out hunting each day, and 
on their return invariably found some cassa\'a that their hostess had baked. " That's 
very strange," remarked Pia to his brother, "there is no field anyw-here about, and 
yet look at the quantity of cassava which the old woman gives us. We must watch 
her." So next moning, instead of going into the forest to hunt, they went only a little 
distance away, and hid themselves behind a tree whence they could .see everything 
that took place at the house. They noticed that the old frog had a white spot on her 
shoulders: they saw her bend down and pick at this spot, and observed the cassava- 
starch fall. On their return home they refused to eat the usual cake, having now 
discovered its source. Next morning they picked a quantity of cotton from the 
neighboring trees, and teased it out on the floor. WTien the old woman asked what 
they were doing, they told her that they were making something nice and soft for her 
to lie upon. Much pleased at this, she promptly sat upon it, but no .sooner had she 
done so than the two lads set fire to it; thereupon her skin was scrjrched so dreadfully 
as to give it the wrinkled and rough appearance which it now bears. 

38. Pia and Makunaima next continued their travels to meet their father, and 
soon arrived at the house of a Maipuri (tapir), where they spent three days. On 
the third evening Maipuri returned, looking very sleek and fat. W^inting to know 
what she had been feeding on, the boys followed her tracks, which they traced to 
a plum-tree; this they shook and shook so violently as to make all the fruit, buth 
ripe and unripe, fall to the ground, where it remained scattered. When Maipuri 
next morning went to feed, she was disgusted to see all her food thus wasted, and 
in a very angry mood quickly returned home, beat both boys, and cleared out into 
the bush. The boys started in pursuit, tracked her for many a long day, and at 
last caught up with her. Pia now told Makunaima to wheel round in front and 
drive the creature back to him, and as she passed, let fly a harpoon-arrow into her; 
the rope, however, got in the way of Makunaima as he was passing in front, and 

noTH] HEROES 135 

cut his leg off. On a clear night you can still see them up among the clouds: there 
is Maipuri (Hyades), there Makunaima (Pleiades), and below is his severed leg (Orion's 
Belt). [Cf. Sect. 211.] 

39. In the story as told by a Makusi (Da, 339), there are but a 
few main variations from the particulars given by the Warraus 
(Sect. 29). These variations are as follows: 

The Sun, finding his fish-ponds too frequently robbed, set Yamuru, the water- 
lizard, to watch them. Yamuru, not being sufficiently vigilant and depiivatious 
continuing. Alligator was appointed watcliman. Alligator, the depredator, con- 
tinued his old trade while employed as a watchman, and at last was detected by 
the Sun, who slashed him with a cutlass within an inch of his life, every cut form- 
ing a scale (Sect. 141)- Alligator begged piteously for his life, and to propitiate the 
Sun offered him his beautiful daughter in marriage. But he had no daughter. He 
therefore sculptured the form of a woman from a wild plum tree. He then exposed 
her to the Sun's influence, and fearing ultimate detection of the fraud, hid himself 
in the water, peering at the Sun; and this habit Alligator has continued to the 
present time. The woman was imperfectly formed, but a woodpecker, in quest 
of food, pecked at her body atque genitalia preparavit. The Sun left her and she, 
grieving for his desertion, said that she would seek him. [Then follows the incident 
of her advent at old Mother Toad's house, the sickness caused by eating the poi- 
sonous head-Uce, the death of the woman, as in the Carib version, caused by Tiger, 
and the discovery of the two unborn children, who suljsequently became the two 

40. Pia's first work was to slay Tiger and take out of his carcass the parts of the 
body of his mother, who became whole and alive. [Next comes a repetition 
of the Warrau legend concerning the old toad guarding her fire-making secret.] 
But Makunaima had an appetite for fire-eating, and invariably devoured the live 
coals. The toad remonstrated, and Makunaima in anger prepared to leave and 
to travel tlu'oughout the land. To attain his purpose he dug a large canal, into 
which flowed water; and having made a corial, the first of its kind, he persuaded his 
mother and Pia to go with him. It was from Crane that the Ijrothers learned the 
art of fire-making when he struck his bill against a flint and the friction produced 
fire. The brothers placed huge rocks in all the rivers to detain the fishes: the rocks 
thus placed caused the great waterfalls. Crane was at first accustomed to catch liis 
own fish, but finding Pia and Makunaima more successful fishermen after the rivers 
had been dammed, kept near to them and took away their fish. Pia consequently 
quarreled with Crane, who, becoming angry, took up Makunaima (who had taken 
part with him against his brother) and flew away with him to Spanish Guiana. ) 

41. Pia and his mother, thus deserted, continued their daily employment of travel- 
ing togetlier, fishing, and seeking fruits. But at last one day the mother complained 
of wearineas and Pia conveyed her to the heights of Roraima, these to be her 
abiding place of rest. Then came a change of occupation for Pia. He abandoned 
the hunt as the sole or principal occupation of his life, and traveled from place to 
place, teaching the Indians many useful and good things. By him and his teachings 
we have the Piai men. Thus did Pia pursue his course of benevolence until he 
disappeared finally from men and remained awhile with his mother on Roraima. 
And when his time of departure from her had arrived, he told her that whatever of 
good she desired she would obtain if she would bow her head and cover her face 
with her hands (Sect. 256) while she expressed her wish. This .she does in. her need 
to the present hour, \\lienever the mother of these two heroes of our race is sorrow- 
ful, there arises a storm on the mountain, and it is her tears that run down in streams 
from the heights of Roraima (Da, 342). 


Mount Zabang, the Olympus of the Makusis, is the dwellmg of 
their great Spirit Makunaima (ScE, ii, 188). 

43. Amalivaca (Sect. 2), venerated by the Caribs and more 
especially by the Taraanacs, is said to have amved in a bark, during 
the subsidence of the gi-eat waters, and carved the sculptures now 
seen liigh on the perpendicidar faces of the rocks wliich border the 
great rivers (Br, 387). He has a brother Voclii — together, they 
created the world. Wliile making the Orinoco they had a long con- 
sultation about causing the stream to flow up and down at one and 
the same time, so as to ease the paddlers as much as possible. Amali- 
vaca had daughters who were very fond of gadding about, so he 
broke their legs to render them sedentary, and force them to people 
the land of the Tamanacs. He also did many other tilings. He 
made the earth sufficiently level for j^eople to dwell on. He seems 
to have known music. His house, consisting of some blocks of 
stone piled one on another, forming a sort of cavern, may stiU be 
seen on the plains of Malta, and near it is a large stone which the 
Indians say "was an instrument of music, the drum of AmaUvaca" 
(AVH, II, 473). Strange to say, I can obtain no information at 
first-hand from the Pomeroon District Caribs concerning this 
Amalivaca; even the name appears to be now unknown here. 

Chapter III 


Evidence very scarce, but recognizable in Familiar Spirits, and in the kickshaws 
of the Medicine-man (4^); Dancing with noisy instruments in front of Idols (44); 
the Sacred Trumpets or Flutes (-4.5); Frogs and Toads as divinities (46); Snakes (47). 
On the Amazons; Idols (4S); Other objects, of obscure signification, recorded from 
within (49) and without (50) the Guianas, can hardly be regarded as Idols or Fetishes. 

43. It must be admitted that the positive evidence of idol or 
fetish worehip among the Guiana Indians is very scarce, even Schom- 
burgk recording (ScR, ii, 321) that lie never found the shghtest trace 
of idolatry or of supplication to a fetish. And yet, in view of the 
liistorical records that the people hving to the north, the west, and 
the south of them, did certauily have something akin to an idol or 
fetish cult leads one to the beUef that the Guiana natives, at some 
not very remote period of their history, may possibly have pursued 
similar practices. Their northern neighbors, living on the islands, 
apparently worshiped Cemi, or so-caUed familiar spirits, a cult stUl 
traceable, as I propose showing (Sect. 93), in certain kickshaws of 
the mauoland medicine-man. 

44. Among their western tribesmen a rehgious rite performed by 
some of the Ormoco tribes "was that of dancing to the sound of very 
noisy instruments, before two small idols, to which they paid rever- 
ence by chanting extemporaneous couplets" (FD, 52). 

45. Tlris reference to noisy instruments suggests the sacred trumpet, 
or botufo, which was an object of veneration on the upper reaches of 
the Orinoco, the Atabapo, and the Inirida. It was sounded under 
the pahn trees that they might bear abimdance of fruit. Humboldt 
says that, to be initiated into the mysteries of the botuto, it is requi- 
site to be of pure morals and to have Uved single. The initiated are 
subjected to flagellations, fastings, and other painful exercises. There 
is but a small number of these sacred trumpets. The most anciently 
celebrated is that upon a liill near the confluence of the Tomo and the 
Guainia. Father Cereso assured us, continues the celebrated traveler, 
that the Indians speak of the Botuto of Tomo as an object of worship 
common to many surroundmg tribes. Fruit and intoxicating Uquor 
are placed beside the sacred trumpet. Sometimes the Great Spirit 
himself makes the botuto resound; sometimes he is content to mani- 
fest his will through him to whom the keeping of the instrument is 
entrusted. "Women are not permitted to see this marvelous instru- 
ment, and are excluded from all the ceremonies of this worship" 

(AVH, II, .363), at the risk of life. 



Wallace (348) also refers to similar instruments among the Uaupes 
River Indians, upper Rio Negro, wliich are used at their festivals to 
produce the Jurupari, or Forest-Spirit, music. He says that — 

These instruments, however, are with them such a mystery that no woman must 
ever see them, on pain of death. They are always kept in some igaripe' [water-channel] 
at a distance from the malocca, whence they are brought on particular occasions: 
when the sound of them is heard approaching, every woman retires into the woods, 
or into some adjoining shed which they generally have near, and remains invisible 
till after the ceremony is over, when the instruments are taken away to their hiding- 
place, and the women come out of their concealment. Should any female be sup- 
posed to have seen them, either by accident or design, she is invariably executed, 
generally by poison, and a father will not hesitate to sacrifice his daughter, or a hus- 
band his wife, on such an occasion. 

Koch-Griinberg (i, 186-187) speaks of these "Devil" flutes on the 
Aiary River (Rio Negro) among the Siusi, an Ai-awak tribe. He says 
that these are sounded .in honor of Ko-ai, the son of Yaperi'kuH, then- 
tribal Hero; that the festival at which they are used is held at 
the time of ripening of the fruit of the manicole {Euterpe oleracea) 
and turu (fEnocarfus iacaia); that on the same occasion there is 
mutual flagellation with whips. The flutes have to be carefully 
guarded from the gaze of women, and when not m use are Mdden 
under water, etc. They take their name from that of the spirit in 
whose honor they are sounded. Elsewhere (KG, i, 314-.316) he 
speaks of the dance as having magic powers; it can dispel sickness 
and even heal big wounds. Granted that the whipping is part and 
parcel of the festival, and the object of the festival is to ensure 
abundance of fruit, the following extract from Gumilla is worth con- 
sideration: When the time arrives for clearing the open plains with 
a view to sowing their corn, yucca, plantains, etc., they [the Sahvas] 
place the young men, some separated from the others, in lines, and a 
certain number of old men provide themselves with whips and rough 
thongs made of twisted agave (pita). As soon as intimation is given 
that it is time to commence work, the whipping of these young men 
takes place, and notwithstanding the cuts and marks which their 
bodies receive, neither groan nor complaint escapes them (G, i, 188). 
It is true tliat the missionary was told that they received the whip- 
ping to cure them of their laziness, but I am strongly incUned to the 
view, corroborated as it is by the examples already given, that the 
flagellation is a propitiation for favors ah-eady received or expected, 
that the object of the whole festival in fact is comparable with that 
met with in connection vnth the cassava plant (Sects. 165, 166). The 
flagellations inflicted at the burial ceremonies (Sect. 75) would seem 
to have a diff'erent origin. 

46. "Some other tribes of Indians, who likewise dwelt upon the 
banks of the river Oronoka, paid to toads the honours due to the 
divinity [Sect. 34^]. Far from injuring these animals, they carefidly 


kej>t them under pots, in order to obtain rain or fine weather: and 
so fully persuaded were they of their power in tliis respect, that they 
scourged them as often as their petitions were not answered. " (FD, 
52.) It is known that for the Chaimas, Cumanagotos, Tamanacs, and 
other original tribes of the Caribs, the frog was the god of the waters 
(cf. Sect. IS): Ruiz Blanco {Conversion de Pvntu) says that the 
Cumanagotos never killed a frog, but kept one like a domestic animal, 
beating it when the rain did not fall (AR, 185). There is an intimate 
connection between frogs, toads, and certain other animals, and suc- 
cess in the chase (Sect. 349). 

47. Beyond the mention of certain snake dances, I can fuid nothing 
akin to actual worship and similar ceremonies in connection with 
these creatures, notwithstanding the very deep-rooted belief in the 
relationsliip of the serpent to sexual matters (Sect. 347). At Maroa, 
River Guainia (upper Rio Negro), Humboldt (ii, 386) talks of "that 
ancient dance of serpents, the Queti, in wliich these wily animals are 
represented as issuing from the forests, and coming to drink with the 
men in order to deceive them, and carry off the women." So also 
Wallace (204) records in connection with a snake dance among the 
Uaupes River Indians, participated in by men and boys, "two huge 
artificial snakes of twigs and bushes bound together with sipos, from 
tliirty to forty feet long, and about a foot in diameter. . . . They 
divided themselves into two parties of twelve or fifteen each, and 
lifting the snakes on their shoulders, began dancing." 

48. South of theGuianas, there is the evidence of Acuna (92) from 
the Amazons, in 1 639 : 

The Religion of these barbarous People is much alike: they all worship Idols -which 
they make with their own hands; to one of them they ascribe the authority of govern- 
ing the waters, and put a fish in his hand in token of his power; they choose others 
to preside over their seed time, and others to inspire them with courage in their Battles; 
they say these gods came down from Heaven on purpose to dwell with them and to 
show them kindness. They do not signify their Adoration of these Idols by any out- 
ward ceremonies, but on the contrary seem to have forgotten them as soon as they have 
made them, and putting them in a case let them lie, without taking any notice of 
them so long as they imagine they have no occasion for their Help; but when they 
are ready to march out to war, they set up the Idol in which they have placed the 
hopes of their Victories, at the Prow of their Canoes (Cf. Sect. 84): so, when they go a 
fishing, they take that Idol with them to which they attribute the government of the 

49. On the other liand, there are a few accounts of the existence 
of various cult objects, the actual signification of which has so far 
not been satisfactorily explained; lest these should ever be claimed 
as examples of a fetish cult, it would be well to mention them here. 
In the Catalogue of Contiibutions transmitted from British Guiana 
to the London International Exliibition of 1862 there is a record 
(p. 52) of "Figures of Clay, made by an Indian of the Caribisi tribe, 


and representing human beings and an armadillo. From Massaruni 
River. Contributed by H. C. Wliitlock and Geo. Dennis. These 
are the only specimens of Indian plastic art ever seen by the Contribu- 
tors." I myself have obtained children's whistles in the shape of 
frogs and turtles made of clay by the Moruca River Caribs. Among 
the Caribs of the Parou River, French Guiana, Crevaux (262) speaks 
of meeting with a young woman who was modeling a tapir in black 
wax. From the upper Aiary (Rio Negro) Koch-Griinberg (i, 125) 
figures several wax objects modeled by little boys, and wooden fishes 
employed in the death ceremonies (KG, ii, 154). In our own colony, 
Schomburgk states (ScR, ii, 471) that at a Maopityan settlement, 
under the cone-shaped shelter raised on top of the giant huts, 
were several flat pieces of wood, cut into all kinds of figures, 
wliich swayed to and fro with the wind. Among the Monikos and 
Sokorikos, branches of the Carib race inhabitmg the districts on both 
sides of the Cotinga, "a very marked feature in all then- houses," 
says J. J. Quelch (Ti, 1895, pp. 144-5), "are the rude imitations of 
birds, chiefly of the herons, the negrocop [Mycteria], the muscovy 
duck, and the swallow- tailed hawk, wliich are made from cotton 
thread, corn-cobs and sticks, and are suspended high up under the 
roofs of the houses, in the positions occupied during flight." These 
are probably identical with the targets met with on the Aiary River 
(Rio Negro). Targets of artificial birds, made of maize-cobs and their 
coverings, hang as decorations from the crossbeams of the houses: 
the boys blow at them with nonpoisoned arrows (KG, i, 102; ii, 244). 
50. Outside of the Guianas to the westward, among the Carijonas 
of the upper Yapura, Crevaux (361) speaks of a bench with rough 
carvings representing a bird of prey; also of the wooden figure of a 
man with legs wide apart. To the southward, Acuna (142) makes 
mention of the Capunas and Zurinas on the south side of the Ama- 
zon, near its junction with the Rio Negro: 

They will cut a raised figure so much to the life and so exactly upon any coarse 
piece of wood that many of our Carvers might take pattern by them. It is not only 
to gratify their own fancies, and for their own use that they make these pieces of work, 
but also for the Profit it brings them: for they hereby maintain a trade with their 
neighbours, and truck their work with them for any necessaries to serve their occasion. 

Chapter IV 

Man was either brought here from Cloud-land, etc. {51), or was created here (.5-?); 
in the latter case, from Animals, as Tigers {53), Snakes {54-56), from Plants (57), or 
from Rocks and Stones (58). 

Ceitaiu Plants weie derived from human beings or Bush Spirits {59), or grew upon 
a Wonderful Tree {60-61). Some animals arose from the Spirits of Mortal Men {62). 

51. Certain tribes believe that man, already made, reached this 
world from elsewhere, wliile others claim that he developed here, 
where he either merely grew into being or was indebted to some 
Master Spirit for coming into existence at all. His presence on the 
planet, however, would not seem to give rise on his part to claims 
superior to those of various animals, including bh'ds. 

In those cases where Man, already created, reached this "vale of 
tears" from elsewhere, his place of origin appears to have been Cloud- 
land, the Skies, and countries beyond them, according to views held 
by Caribs, Arawaks, and Warraus. 

The fii-st-mentioned hold that mankind descended from on high . . . 
imfortunately, the clouds wliich had brought them down receded 
and so left them behind. Being himgiy, they were forced to eat 
earth, which they baked into cakes, and followed the beasts and birds 
to see what wild fruits they were accustomed to devom', and so learned 
to help themselves (BrB, 103). According to the Island Caribs, 
"Louquo was the first man and a Carib. He was not made of any 
other body; he descended from the sky and lived a long time on 
earth;" in fact it was he who made it. "He had a large nostril 
from which, as also from an incision in his thighs, he produced the 
first men (BBR, 226-7). Bolingbroke tallts of Longwo as being the 
iu'st man, in the Indian beUef of the "central parts" of Guiana: 
"Certain vapors, or spirits, to which the savages ascribe thunders 
and fevers, are the objectsof theirfear and propitiatory worship. They 
do not ascribe a human form to these divinities, but conceive them 
to have brought hither the first man, whom they call Longwo " (Bol, 
371). The Korobohdna, one of the many group-divisions of the 
Ai'awaks . . . believe that they originally came from above the clouds. 
The weight of a heavy woman broke the rope by which they were 
descencUng: and communication was thus cut off between those who 
had reached the ground and those remaining above. The Great 
.Spirit, pitying the latter, supplied them with wings and plumage; 
and they came down to colonize the trees above the heads of their 



brethren — still privileged to live near, and to converse with them, 
though changed into kuriaka parrots (BrB, 179). 

The Warrau version of their own origin is very similar. Okonorot e 
one day went hunting for a rare bird — in those times the Warraus 
Uved up above the sky and the only creatures they knew of were 
birds — and it was many a long day before he succeeded in locating 
it, though he did so at last. Letting fly an arrow he transfixed it, 
but on rushing up to the place where it had fallen, there was nothing 
visible but a big hole in the ground through wliich he could see the 
deer, peccary, and other animals disporting themselves on the green 
plains below. With the help of a cotton rope he descended to earth, 
and saw jaguars, snakes, and wild beasts devouring their prey. He 
shot a young deer, cooked the flesh, and finding how sweet it tasted, 
took some of the flesh back with liim on his ascent up the rope, home 
again. Needless to say, all the Warraus were only too eager to 
accompany him when he repeated his descent, which they did in 
safety, one after the other until the very last — and this happened 
to be a woman who got wedged in the aperture, and could neither 
get up nor down. The hole being thus filled up, the Warraus have 
never been able to reach their old home again (BrB, 55). The name 
of this woman who thus stuck half-way is Okona-kura, the Warraus 
still recognizing her as the Morning Star. 

Certain of the vSalivas did not hesitate to proclaim themselves 
children of the Sun (G, i, 113). 

52. In those cases where man, as such, put in iiis first appearance on 
tliis world's stage (i. e., as m many other places was created on the 
earth) there is no evidence available pointing to the existence of any 
belief that his creation took place out of nothing, either spontane- 
ously or at the instance of some Master Spirit, or some person, or thing. 
Indeed, the two or three examples which might be claimed in support of 
the existence of such evidence are very dubious. Schomburgk notes an 
Arawak tradition, wliich I can not find elsewhere, that man was created 
by Kururumanni, and woman by KuHniina (Sect. 19); he mentions 
also that the former was subservient to Aluberi, the Supreme Spirit 
(ScK, II, 319). Among the Maipures of the Orinoco, however, it was 
the Supreme Being Purrunaminari who created man, but the traveler 
just cited admits that the above tradition, among others reported 
by Gili, shows a seemingly evident admixture of Christian ideas 
(ScR, II, 320). So also does the alleged Akawai legend that Maku- 
naima, admittedly the Supreme Being, put liis son, the first man, 
m charge of all the other animals that he had just made (BrB, 126). 
On the other hand, the Indian seemingly can conceive of man's origin 
only from sometliing ah-eady existing in the world of nature imme- 
diately surrounding him. And so, in considering the reputed origins 


of the various tribes, the belief becomes more and more prominent 
that Mankind — and by Mankind each Indian means the oric^nal 
ancestors of Ms own people — was originally derived, with or without 
the assistance of pre-existing agencies, from various animals and 
plants, from rocks, stones, and rivers. 

53. Among various animal forms, "tigers" (jaguars) and snakes 
constitute the commonest sources from which peoples claiming an 
animal pedigi'ee have been derived. Carib history furnishes excellent 
examples in tliis respect, because we have records not only of what they 
themselves thought about their own origin, but of what other peoples 
also believed concerning it. Thus the Achagua maintain that the Caribs 
are legitimate descendants of tigers . . . cTiain in their language sig- 
nifies a tiger, whence they deduce chamnavi, "arising from a tiger," 
which is their term for a Carib. Other branches of the Achagua 
explain the term more satisfactorily thus: chavi in their language is a 
tiger, and chavina is the spear, lance, pike, pole, and from these two 
words, "tiger" and "pike," they derive the word chamnavi, as being 
the children of tigers with pikes (G, i, 112). 

54. The SaUvas say that the son of Puru conquered and put to 
death a horrible snake that had been destroying and devouring the 
nations of the Orinoco; but that as soon as the monster began to 
putrefy, certain large worms began to develop in her entrails, and 
that from each worm there finally arose a Carib Indian and Ms 
woman; and that in the same way that the snake was so bloody an 
enemy of all those nations, so her cMldren were savage, inhuman, and 
cruef(G, i. 111). 

55. The Warrau version, like that recorded by Brett in Ms Legend 
of Korobona (BrB, 64) refers to a special water-snake, and the 
account wMch I now give is almost word for word as related to me: 

The Origin of the Caribs (W) 

A Warrau man warned his sister not to bathe in a certain neighboring pond at those 
regular periods when she happened to be unwell (Sect. 188). Foi a long time she 
obeyed his instructions, hut after a time, forgetting all about them, she went to bathe 
at the forbidden spot and time, and was caught by a large snake, the water-camudi 
Uamma. By and by she became pregnant. Now it was during the bullet-tree 
{Mimusops belata) season, when the Indians used to cut down the trees to secure the 
seed, which are excellent eating, and it was noticed that this same woman, although 
she took no ax away with her in the mcjrning, invariably returned with a large 
quantity of the delicious seed in the afternoon. The brother, thereupon becoming 
suspicious, watched her. Dnobserved himself, he followed her next day, saw 
her approach a huge bullet-tree, and saw the Uamma snake (Sect. 244) exeuntem ex 
corpore feminse, coil around the tree, and make his way up into the topmost branches. 
There the snake changed into a man, who shook the boughs for the woman, thus 
causing the seeds to fall to the ground, v.'here she gathered them. Ha\'ing done this, 
the Uamma, reverting to his origiual form, de.scended the tree, and iterum corpus 


femiiiae intravit. Thereupon the brother said, "There is something wrong here; 
this will not do. Soror mea probabiliter serpen tern in corpore suo habet." So he 
told his friends who, in company with him, watched his sister the next day, when the 
same thing took place, Uamma exeuns sub corpore feminae, climbing the tree, chang- 
ing into human form, shaking the seeds do^Yn, and then becoming a snake again. But 
just as Uamma was about to reach the ground, the watchers rushed up and cut him 
into thousands of pieces. The woman grieved sorely, but collected all the fragments 
under a heap of mold and leaves, each piece of which by and by grew into a Carib. 
Many years passed; the Caribs growing strong and numerous, became a nation. They 
lived in harmony with the Warraus, so much so that when one tribe caught some game 
or other dainty, they would send a child with a piece of it over to the Warraus. The 
latter would then return the compliment and send a child of theii's with food to the 
Caribs. This lasted a long time, imtil one day the original mother of the Caribs — a 
very old woman now — told them to kill the child which the Warraus had sent to them; 
this was in revenge for the way the Warraus had slain her snake lover years before. 
As might have been expected, the Warraus on the next occasion slaughtered the (^'arib 
child, and thus a blood feud arose between the two nations, the Caribs finally over- 
whelming the Warraus. 

56. Tho Carib version of the story was told me on the upper Pome- 
roon, bj' probably one of the oldest local survivors of the tribe, who 
spoke somewhat as follows: 

The water-camudi had an Indian woman for a sweetheart. During the day he 
took the form of a snake; at night, he was "a people" like myself. The couple used 
to meet 'at the water side, and hence the girl's parents knew nothing about their 
being so fond of each other. After she became pregnant, a baby camudi was born. 
The little one used to appear when she reached the river bank, swim about, and after 
a time return to its nesting place. Now, as she stayed so long each time at the water 
side, the old father said to his two sons, "What is the matter with your sister? Why 
does she take so long to bathe? " Accordingly, the brothers, watching her go down 
to the stream, videt serpentem parvam exire atque serpentem magnam intrare. 
They saw also the huge camudi bring his infant son something to eat and saw the baby 
take the father's place when the latter left. When they reached home, the sons com- 
plained to the old man about what they had seen: he told them to kill both the snakes. 
So on the next occasion they killed the huge camudi, and seizing the baby serpent, 
carried it far away back into the bush, where they chopped it up into many small 
pieces. Some months afterward when hunting in the neighborhood, the brothers 
heard a great noise and the sound of voices coming from the very same direction, and 
going to ascertain the cause, found four houses in the identical spot where they had 
cut up the baby camudi, all occupied by Indians who had grown out of the fragments 
of the snake. In the first hut the house-master said he was glad to welcome his two 
uncles, but in the other three the occupants wanted to kill them for having destroyed 
their sister's child from which they had all sprung. But the first house-master said: 
"No, don't do that, because these two visitors are uncles to all of you, and you must 
not have a bad mind toward them." And thus it happened that the two brothers got 
away without further molestation, and on arrival at home told their old father how the 
snake fragments had gro^vn into people. And when he expressed a wish to see his 
grandchildren, his two sons le<l the way into the bush, and he was right glad to see 
hisnumero\is progeny, with whom he made good friends, and they all drank paiwarri. 
And thus the Carib nation arose fi'om a water-camudi. 

57. The vegetable world takes a share of the responsibility for tlie 
derivation of man. There is either a story of some fabulous Tree of 
Life, or reference to certain well-known plants, as the silk-cotton tree 


(Bombax) or ite palm (Maurifia). The Akawai and Makusi idea of 
creation is that, co-eval with Makunaima, there was a large tree, 
and that, having mounted this tree, with a stone ax he cut pieces of 
wood which, having been thrown into the river, became animated 
beings (HiC, 244; ScR, ii, 319). The Arawaks hold that fi-om his 
seat on the silk-cotton tree, the Mighty One scattered twigs and 
bark in the air, on the land, and in the water, and that from these 
pieces arose the birds, beasts, reptiles, fish, and also men and women. 
The sire of the Arawaks was Wadili (BrB. 7). Some of the SaHvas 
affirmed that certain trees used to bear men and women for fruit, 
and that these people were their ancestors (G, i, 113). The Maipures 
and, according to Humboldt similarly the Tamanacs, say that in 
early days the whole earth was submerged in water, only two j^eojile, 
a man and a woman, sa\'ing themselves on the tojj of the high moun- 
tain Tamanaku;. that as they wandered around the mountain in 
deep distress over the loss of their friends, they heard a voice which 
told them to throw the fruits of the Mauritia behind them over their 
shoulders, and that as they did so, the fruit which the man threw 
became men, and that which the woman threw, women (ScR, ii, 320). 
Certain of the Achagua Indians pretend that they are the cliildren 
of tree-trunks and from this allusion call themselves Aycuba- 
verrenais (G, r, 114). Loku-daia is the mythic Indian tree, gi-owing 
out of a grave, which is said by some Indians to have been the- root 
from which they sprang. When it was cut down, it was transformed 
into a rapid, whence the name of one of the Demerara River rapids 
(Da, 19.5). 

According to the idea current among the Trios, people were 
originally like wood, stone, etc., and had no faces (Go, 12). The 
manufacture of a woman out of a plum tree (Sect. 29), and the tree 
changing into a man (Sect. 9), should a,lso be noted here. 

58. Not a few legends (Sect. 158) connected with the origin of the 
tribes contam curious examples of animism relative to earth, rocks, 
and stones (Sect. 171). The Mapoyas, the SaHvas, and the Otomacs, 
aU three of them Orinoco tribes, had behefs of this nature (G, i, 113). 
Tlie last-mentioned used to say that a stone made up of tlu-ee parts, 
arranged in the form of a p5rramid upon the simunit of a rock called 
Barraguan, was their earhest ancestress; and that another monstrous 
rock, which served as the summit of another piimacle, two leagues 
distant, was their first ancestor. Being consistent, they beheved 
that all the rocks and stones of which the said Barraguan (a high 
promontory of large rocks, bearing hardly a particle of earth) was 
formed, were each of them one of then* predecessors. Although 
these Otomacs buried their dead, they dug up the skulls at the end 
of fi year, and placed them in and among the crevices and holes be- 
tween the rocks and stones constituting the promontorv mentioned, 

l.")961°— 30 ETH — 1.1 10 


where they expected them in their turn to change into stone. The 
Mapoyas would call such a stone as that serving for the summit of 
the pinnacle just mentioned, Uruana, describing it as the source of 
their tribe, and would be dehghted at any one speaking of them as 
Uruanayes in allusion to this fact. These tombs, caverns filled with 
bones, in the strait of Barraguan, are again referred to by Hum- 
boldt (ii, 487). Some of the Sahvas would declare that they were 
children of the soU, and that in former times the earth used to breed 
men and women in the same way that it now produces thorns and 
hidden rocks (G, i, 113). According to the Makusi tradition, Maku- 
naima sent great waters: only one man escaped . . . tliis one man 
who survivetl the flood threw stones behind him, and thus peopled 
the earth anew (ScE,, ii, 320). Those of the Achaguas who beUeved 
in their origin from rivers distinguished themselves from the tree- 
trunk ones (Sect. 57) by the name Uni-verrenais (G, i, 114). 

59. The Yahima Indians of the Apappris River have a beUef in 
certain pahn trees having been derived from the ashes of a human 
being (Sect. 163 A). The Arawaks and Caribs hold similar views as 
to the origin of certam cultivated plants. In an Arawak story it is 
one of the Bush Spirits which supplies man with the first fruit 
plants, whereas the Carib version gives a wonderful tree itself 
as the source (Sect. 60). The following is the Ai-awak story: 

The First Fruit Trees (A) 

There were three sisters alone in the house, preparing drink; the men-folk were 
away at a party. Early in the afternoon a young man came along, bringing a powis 
with him. He was not what he appeared to be, a friend, but an Adda-kujiiha (Tree 
Spirit). (Sect. 96.) The girls, however, did not know this. They asked him inside 
and offered him pepper-pot and cassiri. He refused the former, saying it did not 
agree with him, and putting to his mouth the calabash which contained the latter, 
he broke the vessel. This made the girl who handed it to him laugh. (Sect. 125.) 
She was tlie youngest of the three; he told her on taking his departure that he would 
pay her another visit later in the evening. The afternoon wore on, and night fell, 
when, sure enough, the young man appeared again, as arranged. The elder sister 
took a good look at him, and recognized that, though bearing a great resemblance, he 
was not identical with the person who had visited them in the afternoon. She went 
into the adjoining room and conveyed her suspicions to the second sister. They both 
kept watch. He proceeded to get into the hammock where the youngest sister 
was lying, and began caressing her, whereupon she said she was displeased with his 
actions. But as he continued troubling her, she said, "WTiat do you want with me?" 
■With this, he slipped his arm round her neck, and broke her "neck-bone," thus 
killing her. He then began eating her body and finished all except the head, by 
early dawn. He belched and said: "Yes! I am indeed satisfied. My mother 
told me to bring her the head, so I must spare it for her." Holding up the head 
by its beautiful long hair, he carried it away. Now, the sisters who had been 
keeping their eyes on him all night, watched well where he carried it; they saw 
him bear it far away into the bush, where he disappeared with it in a hollow tree, 
of which they, following him, took note. When they got back home again, their 
men-folk liad returned from the party, and among them was a piai. They told 


these people exactly what had happened to their young sister, how she had laughed 
at the TukujTxha, and how she had been killed (Sect. 1S5) and eaten by him. The 
piai told them to collect plenty of firewood, and to bring it to the hollow tree, which 
the sisters were able to show them. This wood they piled up in plenty around the 
tree, and then started to fire it. It burned right merrily, and in amidst the din of the 
cracking timber, enveloped in smoke and flame, you could hear the whole Tukuyuha 
family screaming, and the old grandmother reviling her wicked grandson for having 
brought so much trouble on them. It did not take very long for the hollow tree 
and the whole family of spirits to be reduced to ashes. From the ashes grew the 
first fruit trees of our forefathers — the plantain, the pineapple, and the cocoanut, 
with all the others. But the piai had to taste the fruit before the others were allowed 
to touch it. 

60. The statement has been akeady made, on Carib authority 
(Sect. 51), that mankind learned from the beasts and birds what 
wild fruits to devour. But it was the Bunia bird wliich taught the 
Carib folk all about the cultivated plants, which originally gi'ew upon 
a certain wonderful tree, and it happened in this way: 

Time was when the Indians had no cassava to eat; they all starved. Animals and 
birds also had nothing to eat; they likewise starved. It was the Maipuri alone who, 
going out regularly every morning and returning home of an evening, always appeared 
sleek and fat. The others, noticing his droppings — banana-skins, cane strips, etc., 
talked to one another after this manner: "Maipuri must have fuimd a good place to 
get food. Let us watch him." So next morning they sent the bush-rat to dog his 
footsteps, and find out how he managed to keep in such good condition. The bush-rat 
did what he was told and followed Maipuri a long, long way into the bush, when he 
saw him pause under the shade of an immense tree and gather the fruit that had fallen. 
This tree was the AUepantepo, and very wonderful, in that everytliing you could wish 
for grew upon its branches — plantains, cassava, yams, plums, pines, and all the other 
fruits that Caribs love. As soon as Maipuri had had his fill the bush-rat climbed the 
tree, and picked upon the com to satisfy his hunger; when he could eat no more, he 
came down and brought with him a grain in order to show the others what he had suc- 
ceeded in finding. The Indians thereupon followed the rat who led the way back to 
the tree, and by the time they reached it, many plantains, pines, and other things had 
fallen on the groimd. After they had cleaned up everytliing, they tried to climb 
the tree to get more, but it was too big and smooth, so they all agreed to cut it down. 
They made a staging around the trmik, and began hacking with their stone axes, 
and they cut away there for ten days, but it would not fall — so big was Allepilntepo. 
They cut away for another ten days and still it would not fall. By this time their 
work had made them thirsty, so the Indians gave calabashes to all the animals except 
the Maipuri, to go fetch water; to the Maipuri they gave a sifter. \Mien they all 
reached the waterside, they of course drank out of their vessels, except Maipuri out 
of sifter the water poured as fast as it was poured in: this was part of his 
punishment for being so greedy in keeping the secret of the bountiful tree all to liimself . 
At the expiration of another ten days, cutting continuously, the tree at last fell. The 
Indians took away as their share all the cassava, cane, yams, plantains, potatoes, 
bananas, pumpkins, and watermelons, while the acouri (Dasypwata), labba {Calo- 
genys), and other creatures crept in among the branches to pick out all they wanted. 
By the time the Maipuri had got back to the tree from the waterside only the plums 
were left for him, and with these he has had to remain content even to the present 
day. \\Tiat the Indians took they brought home with them and planted in their 
pro\'ision fields. But it was the Bmiia bird who spoke to them and explained how 
each was to be propagated and cooked, and how some, like the bitter cassava juice, 
had to be boiled before drinking, while others could be eaten raw. 


61. The above is the tradition, almost word for word as it was told 
to me by an old Carib, but no explanation was forthcoming as to the 
origin of the tree itself. Brett however ascribes it to Tamosi 
(BrB, 103-114) in the same way that he gives Makiinaima credit 
(BrB, 126) for the similarly wonderful Akawai tree. In the latter 
case the immediately preceding sentence, however, shows an un- 
doubted bias due to Christian influences: "Makunaima made all the 
beasts and birds, all of one speech, bade them live in unity, and put 
his Son, the first man, in charge of them." The same author gives 
also an addition to the story as above nari'ated, by the mention of a 
fountain or swelling waters in the stump, or under the roots, of this 
wonderful tree, the overflowing of which is temporarily checked by 
means of a rugged rock (Carib) or an inverted basket (Akawai). 
Owing to the reputed wickedness of the people in the one case, and 
the mischief of a howUng monkey in the other, the waters are let loose, 
and a flood occurs, which overwhelms nearly everytliing, most of the 
people being destroyed. "Some try to escape by cUmbing a high 
kokerite palm whose top reached the heavens, but a poor woman 
not in a condition to cUmb led the way, and halfwaj' up was turned 
into stone by terror and exhaustion: none could help her and none 
could pass over her, and all who tried to do so became rocks likewise. 
A few survivors then cUnibed a koiijoo palm and so saved themselves" 
(BrB, 106). 

62. Among the maiidand Indians, I can find no explanations cur- 
rent concerning the origin of the first bhds and beasts. Brett's 
statement that Makunaima made them (BrB, 126) appears to lack 
confirmation. The Island Caribs had a tradition that Louquo, theu' 
fii-st man (Sect. 51), "made fishes out of scrapings and fragments of 
cassava, which he threw into the water" (BBR, 227). Many an 
animal has been derived from the spirit (Sects. 69, 161) of mortal 

Chapter V 

The Body: Originally considered immortal (63); renovated by change of skin (64), 
or by Fountain of Youth (65); its immortality put to the test (66), and assured by its 
transformation into stone (67). 

The Spirits; Several in each body; Shadow Spirits; Head, Heart, and Pulse-beat, 
Blood, Spittle, Footprint, and Bone Spirits, possessed by both men (68-69) and 
animals (70): become associated with Dream, Familiar, Forest, Mountain, Sky, and 
Water, Spirits (71). 

Stages in Conception of Spirit Immortality shown in disposal and treatment of corpse : 
attitude in which luiried. etc. (72') ; flatterj- and adulation, festivals and feasts (73-74) ; 
furnkhing dead with means of capturmg assailant (7-5) ; supplying dead with dogs, 
women, ornaments, hunting and fighting weapons, and food (76); eating his flesh and 
bones (77 ) ; exhuming his remains for witchcraft and prophecy (75) ; abandonment of 
place of sepulture, etc. (79); doubtful animistic indications of other burial customs 

WTiere spirits take on anthropomorpliic forms, they reach their final destination 
direct (81) or only after certain trials and ordeals (8'2), but the idea of a future existence 
dependent on present conduct is "\-erjf probably a borrowed one (83). 

Spirits are Good or Bad according as they help or harm the Indian, and not according 
to the bodies whence the}' have been derived; the latter conception is an error into 
which many missionaries and travelers have fallen — e. g., the Maboya Spirit (S4). 

Individuals can be relieved of the presence of undesirable Spirits by iise of rattle, 
by blowing [85). 

63. As with many another savage people, there are traces among 
the Guiana Indians of an idea of perpetual existence of both body 
and its contained spirits. On the upper Yary River, Cayenne, when 
a Roucouyenne piai is buried, the flesh (matiere) and spirit remam in 
the grave, to be visited by medicine-men and others, as well as by 
beasts, for the puqjose of being consulted (Cr, 298) . The followoiag 
is a curious case from Surmam reported by de Goeje (22) : "An Ojana 
woman asked me, when I came agam, to bring her a teremoptiilatop 
which literally means 'die-never hnplement-for,' so that her little son 
might be blessed with everlasting life. Wlien I told her there was 
no such thing, and that everybody had to die, I met with the same 
extraordinary unbelief that Von den Stemen records in his ' Unter den 
Naturvolkern ' (p. 348)." So also on the upper Rio Negro Koch- 
Grimberg (i, 197) was applied to for a panacea (UniversalsmitteT) 
against death. 

64. Other phases of this idea of an immortal body are met with 
in tlie myths relative to changed skins : the Indian belief is that those 
creatures which undergo ecdysis live forever. After Amalivaca had 
lived a long while with the Tamanacas, he took his corial to reach the 
other side of the salt water whence he had come. Just as he was 
takiiag his departure he sang out to them, "You will change your 



skins," (i. e., "You will always be young," like snakes, etc.), but one 
doubting old dame called out "Oh!" which annoyed Amalivaca so 
much that he now said "You shall die!" (ScR, ii, 320). When 
Kuiiirumanni [Kororomanna] came to earth to see what the Ara- 
waks were domg, he found them so bad that he wished to destroy 
them, on which account he took away their everlastuig life and 
bestowed it on those creatures who cast then' skins — snakes, lizards, 
and cockroaches (ScR, ii, 319). 

64A. There are several examples of this taldng-off and puttmg-on 
of skms and consequent continuous existence, to be met with in the 
Guiana folk-lore (c g., Sects. 6I^B, 137, 162), therefore I can only con- 
clude that all of these are stages in the conception of the same idea of 

living forever. 

The Man with a Bad Temper (W) 

A man and woman once caught a girl monkey and " minded " her: she became quite 
tame, and when the old people would have to go away for a while, they would often 
leave the monkey in charge. One day when they had thus gone away on a visit to 
some friends, the monkey took off her skin, threw it over one of the house-beams, and 
replaced it with the apron-belt and other ornaments that the household had left behind. 
She then started with the cassava, which .she cooked and ate; Anally she put on her 
skin agdin. When the house-folk returned, they looked for the cassava, but could 
find none, and though they were puzzled a good deal, they never suspected the monkey. 
On the next occasion that they had to leave the place, a young man remained behind, 
though hidden, to watch lest any one should steal the cassava a second time. After a 
while the monkey took off her skin, dressed herself as before, and commenced baking 
the cassava: the young man rushed up and seized her, and a hard struggle took place. 
"No," said the girl, "I am not fit to be your wife." "But I want you badly" was the 
rejoinder. "That's all very well, ' ' added the girl, "but you will ill-treat me and knock 
me about." And when he assured her that he would never ill-treat her, she at last 
consented, and so soon as she agreed to yield to his desires, he pulled the monkey skin 
down from the beam and threw it into the fire. They remained together a long time. 
By and by she bore him a little boy. And now her troubles indeed again com- 
menced, because, getting tired of her, he began "lashing" her and kept calling her 
"Monkey," and annoying her in every way he could. Suffering so much, at last 
she said to herself, "I can bear this treatment no longer; I will return to my people." 
Taking a calabash and some it^-starch, she told her husband that she was going to 
bathe in the pond, but instead of doing so, she really went far away into the bush. 
Her husband waited long, long, for her to return, and finally followed in .search. By 
this time she was limping along with the help of a stick: she was trying to get back 
into her original style of walking on four legs, and was just contriving to resume her 
old habit of jumping from tree to tree; her little boy also was beginning to imitate her 
movements. And when the husband reached the spot where she had been, there he saw 
her with the baby jumping from the top of one tree to the top of another. "Come 
back home!" he kept on shouting, but his wife took no heed; only his child, who 
felt sorry for his father, tlirew down the spiders and insects for Mm to eat. Now, though 
monkeys eat such things, men can not eat them, and so he had to proceed hungry. 
"Come l)ack home! " he again called out to her, as he tried to follow her through the 
bushes below, but looking down upon him, she said, "No! I have had quite enough 
punishment from you already." And thus they proceeded on and on, the father run- 
ning along on the ground below, the mother and child jumping from the topmost 
branches of tree to tree. At last they came to a wide river, and here the monkey cried 
out to her people Katanni-t6ri (i. e. "Come and fetch us!"). And they made the 


vnnd to blow so strongly that it caused the opposite 'shore to come close over to the 
tree where the monkey was, so close that the trees on both sides of the stream 
touched ; by this means the mother and her child jiimped across, and once across, the 
opposite shore with its bushes drew back to their original position. As the separation 
took place, the monkey called out to the man, "You must .swim after us if you want us! " 
and the little boy, who was really fond of his father, shouted , " Good-bye — I am going! ' ' 
But tlie mother would say nothing further. The man was thus left on the nearer 
shore, and got home again much vexed. He destroyed everything that had belonged 
to the woman: he cut up her hammock, broke her calabash, and smashed her goblets. 
What a bad temper he must have had! 

648. Another example is to l)e met in the story which I am adajjt- 
iiig here from Brett (.BrB, 177). 

The Sorcerer's Daughter 

The daughter of a piai fell in love with a brave young hunter, who did not seem- 
ingly pay her any too much attention. She begged her father to make her like one 
of the young man's dogs so that she might always be with him. He put a magic 
skin over her shoulders and she became a dog. Thus it came about that each time 
the youth went out hunting with his four dogs, one always ran back home and would 
never join in the fray; more than this, he found that whenever he got home in the 
afternoon, there was the fire burning, the cassava ready, and all neat and clean. He 
thought this was due to some of his neighbors, and went to thank them, but they 
denied all knowledge. On the next occasion, therefore, as soon as he missed one of 
his dogs, he tied the three up to a tree, and returned home without making the slightest 
sound. Taking an advantageous position, he saw a lovely maiden there making 
cassava, and doing other things, while at one side there hung the charmed skin. 
He swiftly rushed in, seized the skin, and threw it on the already lighted fire. He 
then claimed the girl from her father for his wife. 

65. It was owing to a myth relative to the fountam of perennial 
youth that Florida came to be discovered just four centuries ago. 
Some old Island Indians, presumably of the Ai'awak stock, assured 
Ponce de Leon that — 

Far to the north there existed a land abounding in gold and in all manner of delights; 
but above all, possessing a river of such wonderful virtue that whoever bathed in it 
would be restored to youth! They added, that in times past, before the arrival of 
the Spaniards, a large party of the natives of Cuba had departed northward in search 
of this happy land and this River of Life, and, having never returned, it was con- 
cluded that they were flourishing in renovated youth, detained by the pleasure of 
that enchanting country. [\VI, 788.] 

66. Another interesting example of the' existence of this idea of 
immortality is connected with the Arawak stock in Porto Rico : 

Many of the most hardy and daring (of the Indians) proposed a general insun-ec- 
tion, and a massacre of their oppressors; the gi'eat mass, however, were deterred by 
the belief that the Spaniards were Supernatural Beings and could not be killed. A 
shrewd and sceptical cacique, named Brayoan, determined to put their immortality 
to the test. Hearing that a young Spaniard named Salzedo was passing through 
his lands, he sent a party of his subjects to escort him, giving them secret instructions 
how they were to act. On coming to a river, they took Salzedo on their shoulders to 
can'y him across, but, when in the midst of the stream, they let him falL and thro'wing 
themselves upon him, pressed him under water until he was dro'wned. Then drag- 
ging his body to the shore, and still doubting his being dead, they wept and howled 


over him, making a thousand apologies for having fallen upon him, and kept him so 
long below the surface. The cacique Brayaon came to examine the body and pro- 
nounced it lifeless; but the Indians still fearing it might possess lurking immortality 
and ultimately revive, kept watch over it for three days, until it showed incon- 
testable signs of putrefaction. Being now convinced that the strangers were mortal 
men like themselves, they readily entered into a general conspiracy to destroy them. 
[WI, 779.] 

67. Certain of the Indians (e. g., Otomacs) seemingly held the 
view that, after death, the body or skeleton itself turned uito stone, 
reverted to the very material from which some of them believed 
it to have originally sprung (Sect. 58). The Atorais regard cer- 
tain enormous blocks of granite as some of their local warriors who, 
after death, have been changed into stone (Cou, ii, 346). Hence we 
must not be surprised to fuid cases where bowlders (Sect. 171 et seq.) 
and bones (Sects. 26, 91) possess a more or less mdependent anhnate 
existence of their own. The transformation of people into rocks 
and stones by way of punishment, or for other reasons, may be a 
development of the same belief. Thus, a long time ago, the Caribs 
came up to the Kirinampo Rocks, upper Rupununi, in order to 
surprise the Makusi and destroy them from off the face of the earth ; 
but the good Spirit who in those days lived among the Makusis 
took pity on them, and changed their enemies mto these stones 
(ScR, I, 375). 

68. Having reached a higher stage of belief, and realized that the 
material body does indeed undergo dissolution at death, the Indians 
are convinced of a Spirit or Something, one or more, being set free 
at the time of its occurrence. I purposely say ' ' one or more ' ' because 
it would seem that originally, not only the shadow, but also the 
heart, the head, and the more perceptible of all the parts of the body 
whei-e there is a pulsation of arteries, as well as perhaps the blood 
(Sect. 2/fOA), the spittle (Sect. 112), the footprint (Sect. 2^), and the 
bone (Sect. 69) were each regarded in the light of a Spu-it or Something 
that was part and parcel of the body, and took its departure at the 
material death. The iii-awak preseiit-day conception of this Some- 
thing is connected with the person's shadow (Sect. 253); then- terms 
for a dead person's spirit and a person's shadow are Qi)iyaloko and 
Qi)'lyd, respectively. With these same people according as this spirit 
hel]3s or harms them, they may qualify the designation by satu- 
Qi)iyaloko when domg good, or walmiatu-{h)it/aloJco when domg evU. 
The hiyaloko, strange to say, does not appear any fvtrther in the 
folk-lore collected by me, unless indeed it is identical with lya-uni and 
so with Hyorokon, Yolok, etc., the word for a bush spirit, a term 
which, as I propose showing (Sect. 94), is met with throughout the 
extent of the Guianas, from the Orinoco to the Amazon. 

69. The mainland Caribs term a person's shadow ai-akaru, and the 
spirit resident in his head, his Dream Spirit, oka or akari (Sect. 86) ; 
but after the latter leaves the body for the forest permanently, it is 


known as aka-tomla. The Warrau expression for the shadow is ctmeho- 
l-o-i, while ak-6l>i is their word for 'heart' or for the heart's Spirit 
whicli, leaving the body at death, becomes their Hehu, or Bush Spii-it 
(Sect. 99). The Island Caribs applied the word akamboue [cf. main- 
land Carib al-atomha] to the sphit of a person whatever it might be 
like, the women speaking of it as opoijem (RoP, 471); unfortunately 
no uiformation is given as to the particular part of the body (head, 
heart, pulse, etc.) whence it was supposed to have emanated. It was 
these same islanders, however, who held strong beliefs ui a connection 
between sphits and an individual's heart- and pulse-beats: "they 
talked of the latter as the Spirit of the Hand [RoP, 452]; they spoke 
of the Spirit-somethuig near the heart asGonamiior Lanichi" (BBR, 
237). This one at the heart was the principal one, which after death 
went to the sky in company with its Icheui, or Ohemin (Sect. 89), 
to live therewith other Familiar Spirits (RoP, 484), and change into 
a young and new body (BBR, 237). They do not regard the spii'it 
as being so immaterial as it is invisible. As to their other Sphits 
which have nothing to do with the heart, they believe that some go 
after death to make theu- home on the seashore, and that it is they who 
make the boats tack — these are loiown as Oumekou; they believe that 
others go and live in the woods and forests — these they term 2Iaboijas 
(RoP, 484), or they become changed into beasts. All these Sphits 
are of different sexes and multiply (BBR, 237). Koch-Griinberg (n, 
153) makes the interesting suggestion that certam procedures con- 
nected with some of the death festivals point to a belief in the bones 
constituting the real and final resting-place of the Spii'it after the dis- 
memberment (Zersetzung) of the body. 

70. The possession of a Body Spirit, or spirits, was not, however, 
the prerogative solely of man, but, as will be subsequently shown, 
there was a widespread belief in the association of sphits with animal 
life. Survivals of this cult, in part or in its entirety, are still rec- 
ognizable m the folk-stories, in certam omens and tokens, charms or 
talismans, in the observance of certain tabus with regard to food, 
in blood-atonement and the treatment of disease, and perhaps in the 
application of family group-names. So also, there are similarly 
manv traces of a correspondmg association of spirits with plant-life 
(Chap. X). 

71. The general mainland belief in a Sometliing (singular or plural) 
emanating, disintegi-atmg, separating, etc., from the dead body of an 
mdividual, or an animal, and cither remaining in the inunediatc neigh- 
borhood or pursumg various courses, hence becomes quite mtelligible. 
Thus it may associate itself with some other person, to become his 
spu'it friend and adviser as it were, or else may become mtimatcly 
comiected with the bush, forest, fields, and trees, sometimes with 
stones, rocks, momitains, underground caverns, and occasionally 
with stars, clouds, lightning, with rain, river, or sea. Thus, asso- 


ciatod with spirits already there, we can speak collectively of Dream 
(Sect. 86), FamUiar (Sect. 89), Forest (Sect. 94), Mountaiii (Sect. 171), 
Water (Sect. 178), and Sky (Sect. 195) Spirits. I have met with no 
example of a freed spirit associating itself with a person's shadow, 
and hence purposely omit the term Shadow Sphits (Sect. 68) from this 
category. The important thing to remember is that two or more differ- 
ent kmds of spu'its may have been derived from one and the same 
body. The old Spanish Fathers used the word demonio as a generic 
term for these Beings, in the same way that some of the j^resent-day 
Creoles employ the name Devil; there are, however, too many diverse 
opinions held concernmg the abstract and concrete nature of the 
latter to permit of the term being profitably employed for compara- 
tive purposes. Others of the Creoles as well as the ' ' civilized ' ' Indians 
often employ the word "Mother," or Mama (e. g., the Mother of 
Powis, the Water-Mama) . I propose using the term ' ' Sphit ' ' tlirough- 
out the following pages. Another matter to be borne in mind, how- 
ever, before proceedmg further, is that these Sphits of the Forest, 
Waters, etc., did not all have a human or an animal origm. Unfor- 
tunately the evidence at present available is insufficient to demon- 
strate with certainty how, or along what lines, many of them thus 
closely associated with the chief physical characteristics of nature, 
came to have an existence at all. Certain of them (e. g., Momitain 
Spu'its) would seem to have been derived on a prmciple somewhat 
analogous to that of choosing a picture to suit the frame; m other 
cases, they may perhaps have been due to foreign introduction, 
while I doubt not that a few, like Topsy, "gi'owed" on their own 

72. The extent or degree of the spirit's immortaUty, if such an 
expression may be used, varies from the primitive idea of its hovering 
around the place of sepulture to the advanced view of its translation, 
with or without apparent zoomorpliic or anthropomorpliic reincar- 
nation, to less defined realms of happiness and bhss. There is nothing 
to prevent the several spirits of the one body pursuing different 
courses. Indications of some of these primitive ideas are to be found 
in certain of the procedures followed with the corpse, namely, the 
position in wliich it is laid to rest, its propitiation and address, the 
objects buried with it, the eating of the flesh, the abandonment of 
the place of death, and other customs. "McChntock . . . says that 
the . . . Akawoio races like to bury their dead in a standing 
position, assigning this reason, — 'Although my brother be in appear- 
ance dead, he (('. e., his soul) is still ahve.' Therefore, to maintain by 
an outward sign this behef in immortahty, some of them bury their 
dead erect, which they say represents hfe, whereas lying down repre- 
sents death. Others bury then- dead in a sitting posture, assigning 
the same reason" (Br, 356). Certainly on the Pomeroon, -svith the 
Arawaks, if a person should step over another lying down, the latter 


woTild be mortally offended, and would say, "You can cross me only 
when I am dead. I am not dead yet." This is of interest in con- 
nection with the procedure described by Schomburgk (ScR, i, 421) at 
the burial of a Makusi woman : all the relatives next surrounded the 
grave, and each one jumped over it in the direction whence he had 
come. Even the barely twelve-week old orphan was taken in the 
arms and made to jump over it. So also at the anniversary of the 
death of a captain among the Gualiiba of the Vichada River (Orinoco) 
the pyre is jumped over by the piai, the men, and women, at the 
same time that they blow with full force (Sect. 85) in the direction 
of the country occupied by the Piaroa, their terrible neighbors who 
make them die through throwing spells over them (Cr, 548) . 

73. However beloved or despised during life, the spirit of the dead 
is always an object of dread, and is to be propitiated by land and 
flattering expressions, by festivals and feasts. At York Hill, near 
Tinadu Creek, Demerara, says Dance (256), an Indian child had 
taken to the habit of eating sand, which contributed to its early death. 
Wliile the dead body of the child lay in the open cofhn, wliich his 
father had procured from a Creole carpenter in the neighborhood, 
and just before the interment, the grandmother of the child stood 
over it and in wailing tones said : 

My child, I always told you not to eat sand. I never gave you any, for I knew it waa 
not good for you; you always sought it yourself. I told you that it was bad. No;jv, 
see, it has killed you. Don't trouble me, for it was your own doing; some evil thing 
put it into your head (mind) to eat it. Look, I put your arrow and bow by your side 
that you may amuse yourself. I was always kind to you; be good and don't trouble 

Then the mother came up crying, and said as in a chant: 

My child, I brought you into the world to see and enjoy all the good things. This 
breast [and she exposed it, or rather held it up, for it was already exposed] nourished 
you as long as you were willing to take it. I made your laps and pretty shirts. I took 
care of you and fed you, and played with you, and never beat you. You must be good 
and not bring evil upon me. 

The father of the dead child likewise approached and said: 

My boy, when I told you that the sand would kill you, you would not listen to me, 
and now see, you are dead. I went out and got a beautiful coffin for you. I shall have 
to work to pay for it. I made your grave in a pleasant spot where you loved to play. 
I shall place you comfortably, and put some sand for you to eat, for now it can not harm 
you, and I know that you like it. You must not bring bad luck to me; but look for 
him who made you eat the sand . 

This was a family of Chi-istian Arawaks, but the roots of inbred 
traditional behefs could not at once be eracUcated. 

74. At the burial of a Makusi woman at Nappi, upper Essequibo : 
Surrounding the hammock in which the corpse lay, in and between 
the wailing, the women were chanting eulogiums upon the deceased — 
one had lost her best friend; another praised the fine cotton thread 
that she had woven: another, the various objects that she had pos- 


sessed. When the last article had passed out of the door, in came 
the piai: he proceeded to the head of the corpse, bent down to the 
left ear, and shouted several words into it, when he retu-ed. The 
piai came back with a bundle of hair, and bencUng dowii, exposed 
the corpse's face from beneath the laths, spat on it; then plugged 
the hau- into the ears and mouth, while he continued spitting; 
then, addressuig it iii a harsh tone, he retired (ScR, i, 421). So 
agaua, at the death of a Makusi female from the effects of a snake 
bite, aU the women of the village gathered in the hut and shouted 
unintelhgible words into the corpse's ears (ScE, ii, 269).^ 

On the Moruca River, the Warrau women sit in a circle round the 
gi-ave, and break out ever anew with their song of mourning, which 
is approximately as follows: " Wliy have you left your wife, children, 
and friends who loved you so dearly? Wliy have you left your 
home and field, where yams and cassava were thriving so well ? . . . 
Wlio will catch agouti, monkey, fish, and turtle for us now ?" (ScR, 
II, 446.) "Wliy are you dead? Were you tired of life? Did you 
not have cassava enough?" are among the expressions addressed 
by the Island Carib women to the corpse (BBR, 252). So with their 
fellow tribeswomen in Cayenne where, on a death, the men, women, 
friends, and children assemble and weep, or rather sing; the singing 
is done mostly by the nearest female relatives who, sitting on their 
heels, slowly pass both hands over the corpse from head to foot, 
while reproaching him for having let himself die. "Is it because 
you were not happy with us?" say some. "^AHiat have we done for 
you to leave us like this?" say others. They add: "You were such 
a good hunter, too ! You caught fish and crabs so well ! You luiew 
how to make a proper provision-field," etc. (PBa, 228). On the 
Orinoco the Saliva mourners, on finally eulogizing the deceased, 
would say, "Wliat an excellent fisherman we have lost!" "Wliat a 
clever archer has died; he never missed his mark!" (G, i, 197). 
Among the special feasts and festivals in honor, or rather in pro- 
pitiation, of the dead, I would mention the Arawak Makuari (Mora- 
Ktiyuha, Sect. 75) and Hauyari dances for deceased males and 
females, respectively. In the far western Guianas, the object of 
the Mask dances is to propitiate the spu'it of the dead, so that he 
wUl not come back again to fetch one of the survivors (KG, 138). 

75. \\Tien the deatti of any member of that tribe [Akawai] is supposed to liave been 
brought about by unfair means, the knife of tlie deceased is buried with him, that 
he may have the means of avenging himseh' in the world of sphits. Tlie Warraus, in 
similar circumstances, place a bow and arrows by the side of the dead man, that he 
may by means of those weapons keep off malignant spirits in his passage to the other 
world. (Br, 356.) 

' In these last two examples there is dlffloulty in interpreting the real signiflcation of the shouting into 
the ears— whether it is the deceased or the mischievous spirit causing the death (Sect. SIO) that is being 
addressed. In North Queensland I have observed a simUar custom. There, the seat of intelligence, lite, 
etc., is located in the ear,'and at death these escape through thisexit: hence, by shoutmg into the deceased's 
ears his friends are trymg to restore these essentials to their proper place.— W. E. R. 


At the burial of a male Makusi at Pirari, not onl}- the dead man's 
knife but several thongs were buried with him. The thongs were 
put into the grave for the purpose of enabling him to tie to a tree 
the kanaima who had caused his death (ScR, r, 468). Such thongs 
are to be seen also at some of the funeral dances of other tribes. 
Thus, among the Roucouj-eime of Cayenne, at the pono, or first of 
the two festivals in honor of the dead, one man alone stands up, 
holding in his hand a whip eight meters long. With a swii-luig motion 
he cracks it with a report like that of a pistol; each oiie in turn gets 
up and cracks the whip (Cr, 258). At theu- corresponding festival 
the Arawaks use whips upon each other, often inflicting terrible 
wounds. To receive their flagellation, the performers put their legs 
forward as does the white crane or stork (Mycteria sp.), the wooden 
effigy of which the mas ters-of -ceremony carry, this particular dance 
as well as the whips being thus named, after the bird, morakimdia : 
this Arawak word, corrupted now into macquarrie, maJcuari, etc., is 
seemingly of Tupi origui, the creature being known on the lower 
Amazon as magoary (H\^Ti, 146, 316). 

IG. Future provision may be made for the deceased by burying 
with him his dog, his women, or his sla,ves, some food, his hunting 
and fighting implements, and his ornaments. Examples of these 
procedures are plentiful in the old records. 

His faithful hunting dog was killed and placed with him, and the grave closed in 
[Warraus, ScR, ii, 446]. 

His dog is also buried to guard him, and watch those that caused him to die. . . . 

If the decea-sed owned a negro, the latter is killed in order to sei-ve his master in 
the other world. [Island Caribs, BBR, 252.] 

They imagine that the Spirit lives the same life as the man lives below; and this 
is why they still kill the slaves when they can catch those who were in the service of 
the deceased, so as to serve him in the other world [Island Cai-ibs, RoP, 484]. 

There are buried . . . on one side of the deceased his bow, arrows, club, and shield; 
on the other they place one of his wives to look after and accompany him [Orinoco 
Caribs, G, i, 201]. 

On the upper Amazon, when a mother dies, her young infant may be buried alive 
with her [Sect. 2S4]. 

Little bits of bone, fruits, bread, etc., were strewn on the corpse in the grave 
[Makusi, ScR, i, 421]: fruits, bones . . . and a flask filled -yith water . . . and a 
drinking cup [Makusi, ibid., 468]: bread, fruit, and dried fish [Warraus, ibid., ii, 446]; 
aj: the side we find a vessel which . . . contained the cowna to stimulate the deceased 
on his travels in the other world . . . cassava, bananas [Piaroas, of the Orinoco, 
Cr, 544-548]. 

It is almost universal amongst these nations either to bury with decea.sed 
his arms and ornaments, or to burn them [G, I, 207]. Buried in a sitting attitude . . . 
and all his implements of war and hunting by his side [St, i, 399], They place at its 
side , , , a blow-pipe and a quiver full of arrows dipped in curare [Piaroas, Cr, 548], 

The dead are almost always buried in the houses with their bracelets, tobacco-bag, 
and other trinkets upon them [Uaupes, Rio Negro, ARW, 346], 

The deceased is clothed in his finest ornaments; a crown of bright colored feathers 
on his head: to his neck are attached liis collars, his wooden comb, and his deer-bone 
flutes; the arra.s and legs are covered with bracelets [Roucouyenne cremation, Yary 
River, Cayenne, Cr, 120], 


Many of the Indian tribes, but chiefly the Caribs, Makusi, and 
Akawai have the custom of burymg their dead either in the hut 
where they lived, or, if a case of death should happen during a journey, 
a shed covered with palm leaves is buUt over the grave to prevent 
the weather from incommoding the person who rests beneath (ScG, 
271). For the alleged reason of making doubly sure of giving the 
spirit or spirits no cause for wishing to come out of the grave, certain 
of tlie present-day Pomeroon Arawaks are said either to plant cassava, 
or to place a cassava-squeezer, upon the top of it. 

77. The eating of the corpse's flesh or the drinking of a preparation 
made therefrom, except in those cases in which cannibalism was 
indulged in rather by reason of vengeance with the object of inspiring 
terror in then- enemies (PBa, 171), was but the expression of another 
link in the cham of ideas which culminated in a belief in spirit 
immortality. There yet remained in the flesh and bones of the 
deceased certain qualities, somethings, spirits, etc., which could be 
detached, separated, and transferred to the living by means of inges- 
tion. There is abundant evidence among these Guiana Indians of a 
belief in the transference of individual (anunal or human) peculiari- 
ties through this agency (Sects. 250, 280) . Thus in order to strengthen 
their own courage and contempt for death, the Caribs of the upper 
Pomeroon would cut out the heart of the person slain, dry it over the 
fu'e, powder it, and then mix the powder in their drink (ScR, ii, 430). 

The Taridnas and Tucdnos (of the Uaupes River) and some other tribes, about a 
month after tlie funeral, disinter the corpse which is then mucli decomposed, and put 
it in a great pan, or oven, over the fire, till all the volatile parts are driven off with a 
most horrible odour, leaving only a black carbonaceous mass, which is pounded into 
a fine powder, and mixed in several large conches (vats made of hollowed trees) of 
caxiri: this is drunk by the assembled company till all is finished; they believe that 
thus the virtues of the deceased will be transmitted to the drinkers. [ARW, 346.] 

Thef Salivas on the Orinoco also pursued the practice of digging up 
the bones, burning them, and then collecting the ashes to mix with 
their drinking water (Bri, 267). 

On the other hand, in the lands back [of Cayenne] there are 
nations who disinter the bones when they consider the body is putrid 
enough, and after calcining them, drink the ashes which they mix 
with then- incou, believing that by this means they are givmg the 
defunct a more honorable burial than by leaving them a prey to 
worms and corruption (PBa, 231).' 

78. Surely it is not unreasonable to suppose, granted certain spirits 
and other agencies were believed to be contained in the corpses, that 
the bones of the deceased distributed among friends and acquaint- 
ances, or slung up in their houses, must have served a purpose other 

1 This was practically tho identical reason given me by a North Queensland aboriginal native when I 
asked her why she had eaten her little child's body instead ot burying it.— W. E. R. 


than that of an every-day gift or ordinary ornament. The Island 
Caribs certainly used the bones of their friends for purposes of witch- 
craft and prophecy (Sect. 91). The practice of exhuming the remains 
after longer or shorter intervals, although not du-ect evidence, may 
nevertheless indicate the existence in former tunes of a similar use for 
the bones among the Mainland Caribs and other tribes. Thus, at 
the expu-ation of the year, the decomposed body is dug up and the 
bones are distributed to aU the friends and acquamtances (wSt, I, 399). 
The bones, having been cleaned by the fish, are packed according to 
size in a basket already provided, worked with glass beads of various 
colors; care is taken that the skuU of the deceased forms the lid of 
the basket. The basket is then hung up to the roof of their houses 
(among the Warraus of the Orinoco) along with the many other 
baskets containing the bones of then- forefathers (G, i, 199). The 
women (among the Caribs of the upper Pomeroon) who prepare the 
bones are considered unclean for several months (ScR, ii, 431-2). 

79. With regard to the abandonment by the Indians of the locahty 
where death has taken place, nothing can conquer their fear lest the 
deceased's spirit, located somewhere in the immediate neighborhood, 
should do them harm. On the Orinoco the practice of rooting up 
the fields which deceased has planted, so soon as his widow or widows 
have buried liim, is also almost universal: They said they do it to 
destroy all memory of the deceased (G, i, 207).' With the Anabali 
and other tribes of this same river, when anyone dies they bury 
him in the place where he had his hearth and, covering the grave 
with many mats, they forsake the village and all their fields, and 
build and sow at 12 or 15 leagues' distance. They say that when 
death has once entered their village they can not live in security. 
But when these people subsequently advanced to a settled life — 
as soon as the sick person died they broke up his home and burnt 
everything which the deceased possessed (ibid., 206). One of the 
chief's wives had died; and in consequence, although the settlement 
was quite new, the houses most comfortable,, the cassava still in the 
field, every man had abandoned it, and left this poor Indian to look 
after the crops (Rupuniini River, ScG, 238). In an Ojana village 
(Tuwoli's) on the Tapanahoni (Surinam) three people died in 1907 — 
Tuwoli's adult son Paleku, and two others. One house of Tuwoli 
and one of Paleku were burned. A month later, the village was 
deserted — the survivors had established themselves in another one 
(Go, 15). Among the Roucouyennes on the upper Parou, Cayenne, 
the common laity must not make the slightest noise, or approach 
anywhere near the grave of a piai, for fear of meeting his fellow- 

1 The more probable reason, by analogy elsewhere in the Ouianas, is for the purpose of supplying the 
necessary drink at the funeral festi\ ities. 


colleague, the Tiger medicine-man who guards the corpse, but the 
spirits of the distinguished dead may be visited by "doctors," by 
the cormnon crowd, and by animals for the special purpose of con- 
sultation (Cr, 298). 

80. Of other obscure burial customs^-obscure in the sense that 
their real signification has been only approximately, if at all, deter- 
mined — may be mentioned that of the Island Caribs (BBR, 252) who 
place two weights on the eyes of the deceased, so that he may not see 
his parents and thus make them ill (Sect. 253) . Most extraordinary 
of all, however, would seem to be the procedure followed by the War- 
raus at the mouth of the Orinoco : 

On the death of a woman, the husband lies down in front of her. He remains there 
a few minutes, weeping and singing, and then makes way for each and all who have 
ever had connection with the deceased. As no Indian will willingly act contrary 
to the established usages of his tribe . . . such a custom seems calculated to prove 
a check upon persons who are not desirous of ha^dng their actions exposed to public 
notoriety. [Cr, 612.] 

81. Wliile certain of the Indians appear to hold advanced views 
respecting the immortaUty of that particular spirit which, on its 
departure from the body, takes on an anthropomorphic form, they 
are not in agreement as to the place of translation. This may be 
identical for the spirits of "good" and of "bad" people, as is the 
belief of the Warraus and the Makusi, or at all events the places 
may not be very far apart (e. g., the Caribs of the Yary River, 
Cayenne). According to the views of these people, the spirits of the 
"good" and "bad" [within certain limitations to be immediately 
discussed In this and succeeding paragraphs] rise after death toward 
the skies, which they call Capoun.' The former travel high, very 
liigli, above the clouds where they find pretty women; they dance 
every night; they drink cassiri, and do not work in the clearmgs 
(provision-fields). The wicked remain below the clouds where they 
are always roaroing without any hope of getting higher. If the body 
is burned immediately after death, tliis is done in order that the spirit 
may ascend with the smoke (Cr, 298). There are interesting records 
left to us concerning the Island Caribs: (a) Some hold that the 
most vaUant of their nation are carried after death to the Fortu- 
nate Isles, where they have everything they can wish for, and that 
the Arawaks are their slaves; that they swim without being tired, 
in the wide and large rivers; and five dehghtfully and pass the time 
happily in dances, games, and feasts, in a country which produces 
all kinds of good fruits without being cultivated. (6) On the con- 
trary those who have been cowardly and timid in going to war against 
their enemies, have, after death, to serve the Arawaks, who inliabit 
desert and sterile countries which are beyond the mountains, (c) 
But others, the most brutal, do not trouble about what takes place 

1 Kabii, Carib term for 'sun.'— W. E. R. 


after death: they neither dream not talk about it (RoP, 484-485). 
The Arawaks maintain that (lie spirits of "evil'' people wander 
continually around an urunliabited desolate, barren place, while 
those of the "good" occupy the air above their former huts and 
settlements, but the conceptions of those Indians as to "good" and 
" bad " are not identical with modern European views. For instance, 
if an Arawak by any action of his proves himseK a coward or faint- 
liearted, or succumbs too frequently to excesses in drink, he is called 
mako-iurokwa ['one who forgets'], a man Avithout sense, while one 
who shows a blameless disposition and has remained a stranger to 
contmual intoxication, is named a I'al'a-hurol'wa, or brave man 
(ScR, II, 497) : the spirits of two such people will be separated on the 
hnes just indicated. It must not be forgotten, however, that these 
Ai'awaks, of all the Guiana Indians, have been longest in contact 
with civdi^ing influences, and that this idea of a future existence 
dependent on present conduct may be but a borrowed one. Speaking 
generally, the trend of opinion among the so-called uusopliisticated 
Indians is that certain of the spirits of people departed hasten to 
a place where they will have all they M'ant, and meet their friends 
who have gone before. The prevalent neglect of the South American 
natives of the sick and the want of love in deaUng with them can 
become intelhgible, in Schomburgk's opinion (ScR, n, 318), only on 
the assumption of their belief in some such religious tradition as this. 
82. Certain "\'enezuelan Indians believed that the sjjirit retires 
to certain lakes and is swallowed by monstrous serpents, which trans- 
port it to a paradise where its tiaie is occupied in constant dancing 
and drinking (FD, 52). The Otomacs declare that peoples' souls 
all speed toward the West to a place where Avithout trouble or toil 
they live at ease, but before they reach it, they are met by a big bird 
called Tigtitig, wliich seizes upon and swallows them, unless they 
valorously fight it (ScR, ii, .318). Humboldt (ir, 249) speaks of this 
fabulous bird as Tikitiki and makes it responsible for the deform- 
ities of ncn-boin cliildron (Sect. 279). In the province of Cumana 
are several lofty mountains, the highest of which is Tumeriquiri. 

In this mountain is situated the cavern of Guacharo, which is so celebrated among 
the Indians. It is very extensive, and serves as a liabitation to an immense number of 
nocturnal birds, especially a new species of the Caprimnlgus, Linn., from the fat of 
wliich is procured the oil of Guacharo. Its situation is commanding, and ornamented 
by the most luxmiant vegetation. From this cavern issues a river of considerable 
size, and in the interior is heard the doleful cry of the birds which the Indians attribute 
to the souls of the deceased, which according to them, must of necessitj- pass through 
this place in order to enter the other world. This privilege they immediately obtain 
when their conduct has been irreproachable throughout life. In the contrary case 
they are confined for a longer or shorter time in the cavern, according to the magnitude 
of their offences. It is this dark and dreary abode that forces from them those groans 
and lamentations which are heard without. The Indians are so fully persuaded of 
the truth of this tradition, . . . that immediately on thedeathof any of their relations 
15961°— 30 ETH— 1-5 11 


or friends, they repair to the mouth of the cavern, in order to ascertain whether their 
souls have encountered any obstacles, or been allowed 1,0 pass. . . . \\Tiatever the 
fate of the defunct's soul they give themselves up to the same excesses [drink], making 
no difference but in the nature of the dance. [FD, 129-130.] 

The superstitions connected with this cavern are recorded also by 
Humboldt (i, 258). 

83. It has been mentioned (Sect. 81) that m the case of a spmt 
taking on an anthropomorphic form there were indications showing 
that its future state may sometimes depend on the character of the 
individual whence it had been derived. But mainly for the reason 
that the more complex ideas on this subject, as will have been 
recognized from even the few illustrations already given, are to be met 
with among those of the tribes which have been longest in contact 
with European influences, I am inclined to the opinion that the 
belief in a future condition dnectly dependent on present conduct is 
not only of comparativelj' late mtroduction, but is a borrowed one; 
the purgatorial nature of the ordeals to be successfully undergone 
by the spirits (Sect. 82) certainly savors strongly of Roman Catholic 
mfluences. In a sense this opinion is strengthened by a study of the 
Ormoco Indians, whose original beliefs have been preserved through 
the careful investigations of Father Gumilla, one of the very fii-st 
of the missionaries to labor among them. I have searched his 
writings in vain for any reference to the doctrine of conditional future 
reward or punishment, or to that of a pulsatory. In the same man- 
ner, on the Aiary (Rio Negi-o), the Siusi Indians, an Arawak group 
which has been but little in contact with civilizing influences, appar- 
ently make no distinction between good and bad spirits, all the 
members of the tribes after death fuiding their way to a forest upon 
high mountains on the upper I^ana (KG, i, 166). 

84. So again there does not appear to be sufficient wan ant for many 
of the old travelers and missionaries making that arbitrary dislnnction 
of "good" and "bad" spirits (according to the bodies whence they 
have been derived) which has led to so many disastrous misconceptions. 
The Indian's idea of these comparative virtues is, as might have been 
expected, simplicity itself, in that a spirit is good or bad according as 
it is for or against him, that is, inclined to help or to liarm him; it 
is only from this j)oint of xiew that lie concerns himself with the 
spirit at aU. A spirit may be good as judged by its source of origin 
(e. g., a brave man), but bad as regards the evil which it happens to 
inflict upon the person concerned. Thus it was among the Carib 
Islanders, that the good Familiar Spirits, the Chemin or Icheiri, 
(Sect. 67) were sent by their human associates as messengers to 
carry sickness and evil to their enemies (RoP, 472). As a matter 
of fact, the above-mentioned nusconception of the Indian's point 
of view affords an excellent illustration of the error into which 
certain authoi-s have fallen in faihng to recognize the very wide 


distinction existing between the Evil Spirit, or Maboya, of the 
Carib Islanders, and their Good Spirit, or Chemin, when pursuing 
evil courses. It will be convenient to rectify this error, as far as 
possible, here. Maboya, or Maboia, was undoubtedly of human 
origin. Thus, of the several spirits which the body jiossesses (Sect. 
69) some "remain on earth changed into beasts or into Maboia" 
(BBR, 237) : they go and live in the woods and forests and are called 
Maboyas (RoP, 484). That is to say, in the same way that others 
of the body's spirits attach themselves to the waters, mountains, 
skies, etc., and remain there, so the Maboya attaches itself to the 
bush and forest. Indeed, there can be no doubt that the Maboya of 
the Antilleans corresponds in every sense with the mainland Spirit 
of the Forest, that is, the Yawahu, Hebu, Yurokon, etc. (Sect. 9 J,). 
The Mainland Caribs of Cayenne actually used the identical term 
Maboya (PBa, 206). The people never invoke Maboya, as some 
imagine (RoP, 472) : notwitlistanding the extent to wliich he or it 
may be feared, and in spite of the brutality of the treatment received 
at his hands, the folk do not honor him with offerings, prayei-s, adora- 
tion, or sacrifice (ibid., 476). Wlien the proverbial "pain and anguish 
wring the brow," Indians believe that these are due to the Familiar 
Spirits of some of their enemies by whom they have been sent (ibid., 
473). Wlien a person is sick, the offerings {anacri., Sect. 89) laid on 
the httle table {matutu) are not for the Maboya, as (incorrectly) 
stated in one passage by Rochefort and Poincy (ibid., 563), but for 
that Familiar Spirit which had been instructed to convey the sickness, 
or for that Familiar Spu-it wliich had played an important jjart in 
effecting the cure, as (correctly) mentioned by the same autliors in 
another passage (ibid., 472). It is known also that tlie Island, as 
well as the Mainland, Caribs painted or carved a liideous figure of this 
spirit in front of their canoes, not only to frighten their enemies, 
but in order that the spirit's contemplation of its own Ukeness might 
divert its attention into other channels. This figure was said to be 
Maboia (e. g., BBR, 236), but as it would be ridiculous to assume the 
existence of Bush or Forest Spirits upon the bosom of the waters, I 
am forced to the conclusion that it represented a Chemin, or Familiar 
Spirit, capable of course of committing good or evil according to its 
"master's" instructions (of. Sect. 48)- 

85. Individuals can be reheved of the presence of undesirable 
spuits by means of the piai-rattle (Sect. £S9) , as well as by so-called 
"kissing" and "blowing." It is tliis latter method that I propose 
discussing here. WliUe one writer talks of kissing being "unknown 
among Indians" (IT, 193), another speaks of these people expressing 
tenderness by Idssing, not on the lips, but on aU parts of the body 
(Cr, 17.5). If osculation is to be regarded as a sign of amativeness, 
the former is an error, because certainly among Caribs, Akawai. 


Warraus, and Ai-awaks, this is expressed by man or woman, in the 
])rotrusion of the tip of the tongue between the loosely closed lips. 
Wliat can also be considered a form of kissing is the custom of one 
individual l)lo\ving upon another under particular circumstances. 
The object of this blowing is explained by Schomburgk (ScR, ii, 2.54) 
on the principle that both by the Indians "and the OrientS,ls, the 
breath is regarded as an emanation of the most inward spiritual and 
mental vigor." A far more satisfactory explanation, however, 
would seem to lie in the fact that the blowing is intended to drive 
away an attached Evil Spirit, etc., as is indeed tlie beUef among 
the GaHbi piai (Sect. 310) and elsewhere (Sects. H, 59, 72, 2Ifi, 319), 
a view wliich is only strengthened by the particular circumstances, 
above referred to, under wliich it is practised, namely, in sickness, or 
in absence of adequate protecting influences. On the way to Roraima, 
the Serekong "women brought us several of their sick children for 
us to breathe upon their faces, and so restore them to health" 
(ScR, II, 253). At Curasawaka streamlet, "a pretty-looking Makusi 
mother insisted upon my blowing in the face of her sickly infant, 
wliich she believed would act as a charm, and restore her cliild to 
health" (ScE, 177). "Before we left, she [the old Indian woman] 
made the entire party [on our way to Roraima] blow three times on 
her back for good luck, but whether the luck was for her or for us 
we never found out" (BW, 217). 

[At Taiepong Village, upper Potaro] when on the point of leaving, a woman stepped 
forward to an old Indian in one of our canoes, and held up her head. He tapped her 
forehead with his fingers, muttered a few words, and then blew on her temple. This 
was done to charm away a pain in the head, the old fellow being a peaiman, and 
capable of effecting such cures. On oiu- arrival at villages I have sometimes seen a 
woman carry her infant round to one after another of the Indians of my party, each 
man as she passed stooping down and blowing gently on the face of the child. 
[Bro, 202.] 

Among the Arawak and the Warrau, when the child cries, or when 
father or mother leave it to set out on the chase, to work in the field, 
etc., they will blow either on the child's face or hand; but they do 
notliing of the sort on theii- return. It is a Makusi custom for the 
infant to be blown upon {angeblasen) by the relatives, before its 
parents take to their hammocks (ScR, ii, 314) to keep the couvade. 
With the same tribe, the piai ^^^U blow upon the girl after themenstrua- 
tion ceremony with the object of disenchanting her (Sect. 267). 

Chapter VI 

Head Spirits are the causes of Dreams (86); the Unreality and Reality of Dream- 
life (87). Idiocy (88). 

86. From Mainland Caribs, those on tlie Pomcroon and iloruca 
Rivers, I have learned that the Aka, or Akari, Spirit (Sect. 69) resides 
in the head. Yurokon, theii- Bush Spirit (Sect. 94), comes along 
when the person is asleejj, seizes the Akari, and takes it with liim 
into the forest ; tliis causes people to dream, but sometimes Yurokon 
forgets, and does not bring it back, with the consequence that the 
individual dies. In dreamhig, the Indians say that the spirit is 
paying a visit to the world to come (KG, i, 167) or has gone for a 
walk, etc. (ibid., ii, 151). 

87. "V\T[iile Couch-eau (ii, 198) seems emphatic m his remark con- 
cerning the Uaupes River Indians, that they have the correct idea 
of a dream, and do not take for realitj- the visions of sleep, im Thurn 
would seem to have an equally jiositive opinion to tlie contrary. 
The latter (344-345) teUs us how- 
One morning when it was important for me to get away ... I found that one of 

the invalids, a young Macusi, though better in health, was so enraged against me 
that he refused to stir, for he declared thai, with great want of consideration for his 
weak health, I had taken him out during the night and had made him haul the canoe 
up a series of difficult cataracts. Nothing could persuade him that this was but a 
dream, and it was some time before he was so far pacified as to throw himself sulkily 
into the bottom of the canoe. . . . More than once, the men declared in the morning 
that some absent man, whom they named, had come during the night, and had beaten 
or otherwise maltreated them; and they insisted upon much rul)l)ing of (he bruised 
parts of their bodies, 

Laborde records similar experiences from the Island Caribs: "At 
night, I have heard tliem, sometimes two at once, complain, crj-, 
wake \vith a start, and teU me that the devil wanted to beat them. 
They went on screaming when quite awake," etc. (BBR, 236). 
Rochefort and Poincy confirm this for the same people: tlie Caribs 
are also subject to other ills which they say come from Maboya, 
and often complain that he is liitting them, especially during sleep 
(RoP, 474). The medicine-men appear generally to have enjoyed a 
great reputation as dreamers (Sects. 264-, 300) . ilore than tliis, dreams 
were sometimes interpreted as omens and augm-ies; thus, in token 
of the missionary coming to visit them, and a sign of his approach, 
a certain cacique told GumiUa that he had dreamed that his lands 
sewn with seed were very dry, and that the rain had fallen just in 
the nick of time (G, r, 311). 



88. In connection with the idea of at least one of the individual's 
Spirits being located in liis head, it is of interest to record Schom- 
burgk's observations among the Wapisiana on the Takutu River 
with regard to idiocy: Imbeciles are regarded with awe by the 
Indians, for according to their traditions, these are in close intimacy 
with good Spu-its, and hence their words and actions are regarded 
as signs of divinity (ScR, ii, 54); their doings and sayings are con- 
sidered oracular (ScT, 44) . Ti-ue it is also that imbecUes are regarded 
as "uncamiy" and that they wiU often carry out with impunity and 
success many a deed which people in their right senses would not 
even attempt. Here is a case in point, from the Warraus. 

The Idiot AVho Wanted to Fly (W) 

A man was blessed with a sister and mother, but unfortunately was without good 
sense, and for this reason he was known as Wabassi (lit., a sickly person). His sister 
had a dog called Warribisi {lit., a wasp). One day Wabassi went down to the seashore 
to catch big bunari crabs, and just as he was about to step out of the boat, an immense 
tiger approached; thinking it was his sister's dog, he exclaimed:" Warribisi! Warribisi! 
Come on! What are you doing here? " And as the creature trotted up quite close, 
he seized it round the waist, and tried to pull it into the boat. Of course the tiger 
growled, but all Wabassi said was, "Don't bite me, Warribisi," and as the anunal 
was too heavy and clumsy to be dragged in, he lost his temper and said: "Stupid 
Warribisi. Stay where you are, then, and may Tiger come and eat you!" When 
Wabassi got home, he told his sister that he had seen her dog. She said: "No, you 
did not. You can not be in your right senses. Warribisi has been here with me all 
the time." On another occasion Wabassi joined some friends and relatives on a 
huntuig expedition: they came across a herd of bush-hog, and Wabassi shot one. 
By and by, his friends collected into one big heap all the hogs that they had shot, 
and Wabassi came to have a look at their spoil, lea^^ng his own quarrj- behind. 
"Oh!" said he, "my bush-hog is different from these. Mne has a mark on his 
head, and a flat nose." So the other himters told him to go and fetch it and let them 
have a look. When they saw it, they were much surprised to recognize a tiger, and 
still more so to learn that his captor had not even met with a scratch. Next day 
after they reached home. Wabassi dressed himself like a bird, with a feather (repre- 
senting the tail) stuck into his belt behind; he climbed a high tree and jumped from 
limb to limb three times; on the fourth occasion he alighted on a dry limb, which 
broke, and he fell to earth. "How splendidly I can fly!" he remarked, when he 
picked himself up. 

88A. The picking up, or hanrlling of, certain birds' feathers con- 
duces to loss of memorj'' and to insanity (Sect. 223). 

Chapter \T^I 


The cult of Familiar Spirits reached a high development among the Island Carib 
folk (89). Though presented with offerings and other things, these Spirits could be 
invoked only by the Medicine-man (90), and, being more or less intimately asso- 
ciated with human bones, were often called into requisition for purposes of Witchcraft 
and Prophecy (91). The Island Arawak people also had similar Familiar Spirits (92), 
the belief in whose existence is even yet traceable on the Guiana m.ainland (93). 
Familiar Spirits and Couvade (9.1 A). 

89. The cult of the Familiar Spirit would appear to have reached a 
high stage of development among the island tribes; at any rate, it 
is from these people that comparatively complete records of its exist- 
ence have come down to us. Thus with the Carib Islanders: "The 
good spirits wliich are their gods are more particularly expressed as 
Icheiri (by men) and Chemin (by women): They behove that these 
good spirits, or these gods, are in great numbers, and in this plurahty 
each person beheves he has a special one for himself — liis own par- 
ticiilar spirit, his own familiar: They say that these gods reside in 
the sky, but do not know what they do there, and they themselves 
show no signs of recognizing them as the creators of the world and of 
thmgs that are" (RoP, 471). The precise soiu-ce or origin of these 
Famihar Spirits is unfortunately nowhere given, beyond the statement 
that they leave the human body at death in company vfith the par- 
ticular spirit connected with the deceased's heart (ibid., 484). Again: 
The Island Caribs dedicated no temples or altars to their divinities, 
these Icheiri or Chemin: they made them no sacrifices. The}^ simply 
made them offerings of cassava, and their first fruits. Above all, 
when they beheved that they had been cured by them of some illness, 
they had a feast in their honor and offered them cassava and oiiicou. 
All these offerings are knowTi as anacri [ahhi]: they place these at 
one end of the hut in vessels, according to the nature of the thing, on 
one or several matutus, or small tables plaited of rushes and palm 
leaves. Each one in the hut can make these offerings to liis [Familiar] 
Spirit; but such offerings are not accompanied by any adoration or 
prayer, and consist only of the actual presentation of the gifts (ibid., 

90. To invoke them, however, requires the Boye (medicine-man), 
together with incantations and tobacco smoke. This is the case 
chiefly on fom- occasions: (a) to be revenged on some one who has 
done them harm, and so draw punishment on him; (b) to get cured 
of some illness and learn the resiilts of it; (c) to consult them on the 



issues of their wars; (f7) and to hunt away the Evil Spirit, Maboya 
(loc. cit.). When the Boye has made his Famihar Spirit appear (Sect. 
314), the latter is heard to reply clearly to the questions put to him: 
he is heard to click his jaws as if eating and drinking the anacri, but 
next morning they find that he has not touched it. These temporal 
viands which have been soiled by these unfortimate spmts are deemed 
so sacred by the magician and the people whom they have abused 
that it is only the old men and the most illustrious among them 
who are free to partake of them, and even then they dare not taste 
them unless they have a certain cleanUness of person (RoP, 473). 
"They have asked me," says Father de la Borde, "sometimes to 
drink of it, and I have done so just to try and change their super- 
stitious ideas, one of which is to drink of this oiiicou before eating, 
otherwise you die, and purposely T ate first before drinking; another 
is to keep the cup straight so as not to spUl the contents, otherwise 
the eyes would run water everlastingly. I purposely spilt some, and 
held the cup crooked " (BBR, 235). 

91. These FamiUar Spirits [Icheiri or Chemin] often nestle them- 
selves inside bones taken from a gi'ave, wliich are wrapped up with 
cotton into gi-otesque figiu-es, and so give oracles: they say it is the 
Spirit of the Dead that talks (RoP, 473, 479). "They sometimes put 
the hairs, or some bones, of theii' deceased parents into a calabash. 
They keep these in their huts, and use them for some sorcery. 
They say that the spirit of the dead one speaks tlu'ough these, and 
forewarns them of the designs of their enemies " (BBR, 236). More 
than tliis, bones prepared with cotton, as above mentioned, are used 
for bewitching their enemies, and for this purpose the sorcerers wrap 
them up with something that belongs to their enemy (RoP, 473). 

These FamiUar Spirits also enter into the bodies of females and 
speak through them (loc. cit.). In order to turn aside the vials of 
their wrath and to divert the anger of these Spirits, tobacco leaves 
are smoked in their honor tlu'ough the agency of the Boyes, their 
liidcous likenesses are painted on the canoes, or the Indians carry 
slung aroimd then* necks a small embossed effigy representing one 
of these cursed spirits in the ugliest position in which it had ever put 
in an appearance (RoP, 479). 

93. The Island Arawak also had a behef in certain supernatural 
beings or spirits, and possessed effigies of them; both the spirit and 
its effigy were kno\^^l to these folk as Cemi or Zemi. Thus, in his 
account of the aborigines of Haiti (Santo Domingo) , Columbus says : 

But also in all the other islands and on the mainland [Cuba?] each has a house apart 
from the village in which there is nothing except some wooden images carved in 
relief which are called Cemis; nor is there anything done in such a house for any other 
object or service except for these Cemis, by means of a kind of ceremony and prayer 


wliich they go to make in it as we go to churches. In this house they have a finely- 
wrouglit table, round like a wooden disk, in which is some powder which is placed by 
ihem on ihe heads of these Oemis in performing a certain ceremony; then with a 
cane that has two branches which they place in their nostrils they snuff up this dust. 
The words that they say none of our people understand. [WF, 352.] 

In early writings, zemis are repeatedly called "messengers" and 
were in fact subordinates of the great gods; being possessed like 
them of magic power to make the yucca gi'ow, to facilitate cliildbirth, 
and to cure the sick (ibid., 356). 

93. These Cemi of the Island Arawaks were identical with the 
Chemin of the island Caiib-owned women who, for very inteUigible 
reasons, spoke an Arawak dialect. Still more interesting is the fact 
that, on the Gtiiana mainland, the Arawak designation both of the 
piai and of the various kickshaws and a|)paratus employed in the pur- 
suit of his craft is Semi-tchilii, or Semi-sihi. Indeed, it is in the cult 
of the piai where traces of this beUef in Familiar Spirits must be 
sought among the mainland tribes, and it is here where I have been 
fortunate enough to find some. Thus, the effigy of the Familiar 
Spirit of the islanders has its representative in the so-called doll 
(Sect. 290) and neck-ornament (Sect. 292) of the Mainland Arawak 
and Warrau medicine-man, as well as in the " devil "-figure of the 
GaUbi piai (Sect. 311) and possil)1y in the maize-straw figure described 
by Crevaux (Sect. 311). The Spirit itself is met with in the beings 
invoked by the Mainland Carib doctor when called upon to treat a 
patient (Sect. 309) : it is indeed not so very improbable that the 
actual Island Carib term Icheiri (Sect. 89) may be identical with the 
Mainland Carib word lakai-a used today on the Pomeroon. 

93A. While frankly admitting that I have no actual proof from 
the htcratm-e or from my own field-work, as to any relationship of the 
Familiar Spirit with the little Baby Spirit, on whose account the 
various forms of couvade are practised (Sects. 281-283), I am never- 
theless very much inclined to beUeve in theu' identity. I look on 
the Familiar Spirit as an early stage in the idea of the Conscious Self, 
the "Ego." 

Chapter VIII 


Natural History 

Various names applied (94); the Yawahu — Tukuyulia, Dai-dai, etc., general 
appearance (95), and special association with the silk-cotton tree {96); Ekkekuli 
and Mansinskiri (97); an unusual form of Bush Spirit (9S); the Hebu (99); the 
Immawari (100); the Yurokon, etc. (101). But Bush Spirits may be zoomorphic — 
able to change into animals, as Tigers, Goat-suckei-s (702, 103). They can be recog- 
nized by Sound (104) or by Smell (105). 

They are very shrewd; can bring the dead to life, and render themselves invisible 
(106); may occasionally do kindnesses to people (107), but generally prefer mischief, 
though this ma J' be due to the Indians' own fault (lOS); they cause all the mishaps 
and accidents of daily life (109) — damage crops, disputes, bring death and sick- 
ness, produce transformations (110-115); they are excellent hunters (116). 

They are fond of women, human flesh, and children at the breast (117-120), and 
of tobacco {l'21-l-22); are usually of almormally large size (123); shrink from exposure 
of all descriptions; as to daylight, or in cormection with name or origin (124); can not 
endure Ijeing mimicked or chaffed (125). 

It is best to leave these Bush Spirits strictly to themselves, as they biing only 
harm in the long rim (126-128); if circumstances force one into their company, 
measures can be taken to rid the house and neighborhood of them {129); also the 
road when one is traveling (130). 

94. Those Spirits which, emanating from the human corpse, ulti- 
mately find a resting place in the tree, field, forest, or bush, are known 
collectively as Forest Spirits or Bush Spirits. But let us not forget 
that certain of the Bush Spu-its may arise from the dead bodies of 
animals and birds, and may even develop spontaneously. The 
generic term applied to them varies with the tribes: thus, m Cayenne 
there is Hyorokon (Galibi) or Hyrouca (LAP, ii, 223), Amignao and 
Anaanh (Arroua), Maboya (Carib) (PBa, 206) and Yolok (Carib); 
in British Guiana, Yawahu (Arawak), Hebo or Hebu (Warrau), 
Yurokon (Carib), and Immawari (Akawai); on the upper Oruioco, 
the Atabapo, Inmda, and Guaioia {%. e., upper Rio Negro), it is 
lolok-iamo (AVH, ii, 362, 385) ; on the Aiary River, lya-imi (Siusi) 
(KG, I, 113); on the Orinoco, Tanasimi (Achagua), Memelii (Betoyes, 
Jiraras), and Duati (Guajivas) (G, ii, 24); on the Amazons, Cay- 
por (HWB, 279), Curupari (ibid., 36), and Jurupari (ibid., 381), 
but this word is said to be Liagoa Geral (KG, i, 113). It will be 
noticed how the term Yurokon, in the form of Hyorokon, Hjrouca, 
Yolok, lolok-iamo, lya-imi, is spread thi-oughout the extent of the 
Guianas, while in the form of Juluca (Sect. 216) it is met with on 
the islands, as the personification of the Rainbow. I have also 


shown the probability of its identity witli the Shadow Spirit (Sect. 
68). Equally striking is its resemblance to the word Huracan, the 
name given by the Aztecs to the autumnal equinox (Cordonazo de 
San Francisccf). Huracan means the Spuit (corazon) of the Sea, 
the Spirit of Heaven and Earth: the Nahuas were unable to con- 
ceive of the author of the universe except in a cataclysm. Cyclone, 
Hurricane, or Cordonazo de San Francisco are names of the same 
phenomenon. Hurakan of the Quiche myths is the Kukulcan of 
the Maya, the Quetzalcouatl (morning-star) of Mexican mythology. 
Yawahu, the Arawak generic term, includes the Tu-kujojha, the 
Ekkekuh or Manahau, and the Mansinskiri Spirits, the Tu-kuyuha 
being subdivided into Konoko-(Tu)kuyuha and Adda-(Tu)kuyuha, 
according as they are more specially associated with the bush and 
forest, or trees, respectively. 

95. Each tribe seems to exhibit variations in the ideas held as to 
the form, shape, and pecuHarities assumed by its respective Bush 
Spirits. Of some of these I am able to furnish the following particu- 
lars: Starting with the Arawak Yawahus, there are the Tukuyuhas, 
the Konoko variety of which are spoken of by the Akawai as Arai-dai 
or Dai-Dai, and by the Creoles of the Colony as "Bush devils." An 
Arawak woman told me that such Spirits are hairy people having so 
much hair that one can not see their faces. They hve undergi'ound 
in the forest; they may be men or women; they are mPt with sud- 
denly, but may often give a premonitory sign or token of theii" 
coming. The token varies greatly, and even when taken note of is 
usually recognized only after the event of which it has given warn- 
ing has taken place (Sect. 220 et seq.). Having no bows and arrows, 
these Spirits are accustomed to fight only with their Hmbs, so that 
when an Indian has been attacked and returns home, where he is 
sure to die shortly after, no marks will be found on his body. Some- 
times the Konoko-(Tu)kuyuha ^\^ll not even allow the victim to 
return alive, Init will eat him, causing him to disappear totally; the 
friends and relatives never see any further signs of him. The attack 
may be made at any time, day or night. Now, because these beings 
(Sect. 331) have no bows, or rather what bows they have are broken, 
the old-time Arawak people used to call them Shimarabu-akaradani 
(lit., bows-broken), and when returning home from some huntmg 
or trading expedition, would sing out that name before reaching 
their houses, with the view of preventing these undesirable Spirits 
making an entry (Sect. 1£9). 

96. The Adda variety of Tukuyulia Spuits, particularly associated 
with trees, are sometimes in the shape of birds : among such notable 
trees are the silk-cotton (Bomiax's[).) and the kofa {Clusia grandi- 
flora). In Cayenne it would seem that the H_\Touca [Yurokon] was 
specially attached to a tree known as panacoco (LAP, ii, 223), 


which thus far I have not been able to identify. The Indian guide 
breaks liis arrow and asks pardon from the Spirit for liis Eurojiean 
visitor having touched the timber witli unclean victims — a fish and 
an agouti.' 

97. Wlien perceptible to human eyes, the Ekkekuli or ^lanahau 
have the apjiearance of black ])eople (negroes); they are of a savage 
nature, killing Indians, and abducting children. If an\"\v]iere in the 
neighboring caves and gullies and their names be loudly called 
in the forest, they will materiaUze. The Mansinskiri OVi'awak), or 
Maihisildri (Warrau) is a particular Yawahu wandering about the 
bush, and in and among the trees, of wliich tlie native women, sub- 
sequent to certain regular occasions, have to be especially careful. 
Such Spirits can assume the identical material appearance of tlieir 
real husbands or lovers, but woe betide those ]ioor women vdio yield 
to their solicitations, for they will surely die in a few days. On the 
other hand, provided the woman is shrewd enough, she can invari- 
ably teU whether she is dealing with tlie real man or not — she has 
only to look at the left foot; in the case of a sjiirit wooer, this is 
always minus tlie big toe. During February, 1010, an Indian came 
and gave me ))articulars of his wife's death, with details as to name, 
place, and surrounding circumstances. Tlie wife had been out getting 
firewood in the bush, and had unexpectedly met what she had beUeved 
to be her hilsband. When she got home there was her liusband lying 
m his hammock; she expressed surprise at seeing him, still more so 
when he assured her that he had not been away from the house that 
day. Like a good wife, she told him wliat had hajiiiened to her. 
Within the week the woman died. 

97 A. The Maihisikiri ('haxges the Woman into a Bush 

Spirit (W) 

A man went out hunting, leaving his wife behind by herself. It was then that a 
Mailiisildri appeared, and believing it to be her husband, the woman allowed him 
to act like one, but he went away shortly before the time for her real husband to arrive. 
The same thing happened on a second and a third occasion , but on the last \asit, know- 
ing that her husband had gone to a distant locality, she expressed her doubts by asking 
Maihisikiri, "How can you be my husband? he is gone far away." It was only then 
that he admitted who he really was, a Bush Spirit in her husband's likeness, and he 
told her to come away with him. ^\^len the real husband returned, the house was 
empty, and no wife visible, but he could hear her laughing in the distance, and 
approaching the spot found her, prostrate, still laughing. She was laughing because 
the Maihisikiri was sporting with her; her husband of course could not see the Spirit for 
the reason that he was invisible to the male sex. Now, when he seized his wife's arm 
to drag her home, it was all soft, with no bones in it, and then feeling her all over 
realized that she had not a single bone in her body, which was all soft. Returning 
home, he waited a while, and then returned a second time to fetch her; but she was 
still all flesh and skin, and so he left her severely alone. All she could say to him was: 

' Fvirther details of this and similar association will be discussed in connection with plants (Chap. X). 


"I do not really want to leave you. husband, but the Maihisildri is too strong for me. 
I am now a Bush Spirit. And though you must not be soiTy for me, I am indeed 
sorry for you, for you will have to die before you can become one. " 

98. An unusual form of j\j-awak Bush S|iirit is that of the scrub- 
turkey (Tinainus sp.) — a woman's leg: there are several references, 
however, to a leg in the folk-lore (Sects. S8, 208, 362). The connec- 
tion between this astral limb and the bird under consideration is that 
when the "leg" is above the horizon just before daybreak, then -n-ill 
the scrub-turkej-'s "call" be heard.' 

The Man Who Always Hunted ScKUB-TuEitEY (A) 

There was a man celebrated for his skill in hunting "maam" (Tinamus sp.); he 
would regularly bring home four or five of these scrub-turkeys, and people warned him 
that if he continued in this way he would get into trouble with the maam's "mother," 
(i. e.. Spirit), for kUiing so many of her brood (Sect. 242). But he did not care, and 
went on destroying the birds in the same wasteful manner. On one occasion he 
stayed out later than usual, waiting to see on which particular trees the maams were 
going to roost. He could hear their peculiar call in all directions around; indeed, 
the birds were so plentiful about, that he was somewhat at a loss to know which par- 
ticular one to follow. However, he proceeded to track one, but the farther he went, 
the farther off sounded the note, until at last he found himself deep in the forest. 
As night was beginning to fall, he had to hurrj' home, not daring to remain out in the 
dark for fear of the Yawahu (Spirit of the Bush) catching him. The same thing 
happened next day; he heard many birds calling, and, following one, again found 
himself deep in the forest, but this time he succeeded finally in coming up with the 
quarrj'. Locating the tree, he peered in among the branches to see where the bird 
was "hollo "-ing, but could see only a woman's leg. Recognizing this to be the 
Arch Spirit of the maams (Sect. 210). he took careful aim, and shot an arrow right into 
the center of the foot. The leg fell down, and directly it touched ground, changed 
into au extraordinarily big. scrub-turkey, which he immediately killed and carried 
home. There his friends knew it at once to be the maam's "mother" (Spirit), and 
ad\'ised him to cook and eat the whole of it himself, and not give away even the 
smallest particle of it. He did what was advised, and in subsequently hunting for 
maam he was invariably even more successful than before. And now that he had 
destroyed the maam-Spirit, he was not afraid of killing as many birds as he liked. 

99. The Ilebus are more or less hairy beings, recognizable in a 
near view by the absence of buttocks, their place being taken by a 
fire-hearth, \vith glowing embers, giving rise to the name Hnta- 
ktirakura, "Red-back," which is often applied to these folk (Sects. 
21, 27). Another peculiarity they possess is the extraordinary promi- 
nence of the eye-brows (supra-orbital region), which prevents ihem 
having a look at the skies except when standing on their heads (Sect. 
22). Perhaps this conception is a survival of the custom of artificial 
head-compression which certamly used to be practised in the Guianas. 
As is the case with tlie Yurokons, Hebus may sometimes appear in the 
form of skulls or skeletons (Sect. 26). Like all other Forest Spirits 
they have strong patriarchal tendencies. They seem to be specially 
distinguished by the size of their purses [scrotums]. 

' Compare a similar connection iDetween the powis and tlie Southern Cross (Sect. SOe). 


The Shrewd Little Boy and the Hebu (W) 

A woman, having to go to make starch out of the ite [Mauritia) tree, left her little 
children, two girls, behind the house. While she was away Kau-nassa, a Bush Spirit, 
came along, disguised as their old grandmother, and said, "Come along, my little 
girls. I will take you to your mother." But instead* of doing that, the Hebu led 
them away far into the bush, till they reached a creek wliere the old womau sat down 
and made a basket. When it was completed, she told the youngsters to get inside; 
once they were in, she closed the top, and threw it into the water, where the children 
were soon drowned. Kau-nassa then went to another house, where a little boy and girl 
had been left in charge during their parents' absence and, similarly disguised as their 
grandmother, repeated her story. She led the children as before to the creek, where 
she proposed making another basket, and they started playing around her. "You 
cMldren," she said, "must not play behind my back. Play in front of me where I 
can see you." Now the very fact of being told not to go behind her made the boy 
all the more anxious to do what had been forbidden. So while playing in front with 
Kis sister, he made an excuse to slip away behind, and then he saw the lower part of 
the old woman's back, which was all aglow with the fire that she carried there. He 
now knew that she was a Ilebu, and getting back to his little sister, carried her home. 
But before going he called out, Knu-na&sa! Kau-nassa! So angered and dismayed was 
the Spirit at being discovered and hearing her name called (Sect. 124) that she burst 
into wind and flame and flew away. 

100. Of the Immawari I can not get much information, there being 
few reUable okl Akawai in my district : on the authority of Warraus, 
however, these Spirits have two immense teeth protrudmg from their 
stomachs. Had elephants roamed the country within recent geolog- 
ical periods, one could perhaps have obtained an insight into the 
origin of so extraordinary a belief: on the other hand it is possible 
that it may be an idea borrowed from the African (Sect. IIS). 

101. So also with the Yurokons. All I can glean is that, in common 
witli the other Forest Spirits, the face, botly, and limbs are covered 
with a luxuriant growth of hair. As to the Caypor, a kind of sylvan 
deity similar to the Cui-upira, the belief in this being seems to be 
common to all the tribes of the Tupi stock: according to the figure 
they dressed up at Ega (upper Amazon) he is a bulky misshapen 
monster with red skin and long shaggy red hair hanging halfway 
down his back (H\AT5, 279). The Curupari (Jurupari, or Demon) 
is a mysterious being whose attributes are uncertain, for they vary 
according to locality: sometimes he is described as a kind of orang- 
outang, coverefl with long shaggy hair and living in trees; at others 
he is said to have cloven feet and a bright-red face ... he some- 
times comes down to the rocas to steal the mandioca (HWB, 36). 
On the upper Aiary River (Rio Negro) the bad forest demon is a 
bearded dwarf: he jeers the huntei-s and drives away the quarry from 
right vmder their very noses. At times, he kills people with his poi- 
soned arrows (KG, i, 137). 

102. But the Spirits of the Forest need not necessarily be anthro- 
pomorphic. They may take the likeness of animals (e. g., "tigers," 
birds), an especially favored feathered form being the goat-sucker 


(Caprimvlgus) . These physical attributes of some partieuhir creature 
or other they may permanently retain, or on occasion discard, as 
when playing the role of a Icanaima, or blood-avenger. At the head 
of the Arapu River near Roraima "in traversing the country between 
Waetipu and Ipelemouta ... we were startled by a most singular 
prolonged cry. . . . The Indians . . . said that the sound must 
have proceeded from some Arecuna who, having killed one of liis 
own people, had been turned into a wild animal" (Bro, 123). Among 
the Trios of Surinam certain of these Spirits are Akalamano, the 
carrion-vulture (Sarcorhamphus) ; Soni, a kind of vulture or falcon, 
etc. As with animals, so in the case of birds, those of them which 
are Bush Spirits bent on inflicting punishment, in the way of blood 
revenge or otherwise, upon poor mortal man, may be killed by him 
with impunity. "One small bird which in the early morning and in 
the evening fhts, with a pecuhar and shrill whistle, over the savannahs 
and sometimes approaches the Indian settlements, is looked upon 
with especial distrust. When one of these is shot, the Indians sup- 
pose that they have one enemy less, and they burn it, taldng great 
care that not even a single feather escapes to be blown about by the 
wind; on a windy day on the savannahs I have seen upwards of a 
dozen men and women eagerly chasing single floating feathers of 
these birds" (IT, .332). On the other hand, there are certain birds — 
owls, goat-suckers, and others (undoubtedly Bush Spirits in the 
sense that they have been derived from human beings) — which must 
not be Idlled under any pretence whatever. Such birds do not wish 
to injure "we Indians," but they often come to give us a warning or 
token. "You will never persuade the negro to destroy these birds 
[goat-suckers], or get the Indian to let fly his arrow at them. . . . 
They are receptacles for departed souls, who come back again to 
earth, unable to rest for crimes done in their days of nature; or they 
are expressly sent by Jumbo, or Yabahou [Yawahu], to haunt cruel 
and hard-hearted masters, and retaliate injuries received from 
them. ... If it be heard close to the negro's or Indian's hut, from 
that night misfortune sits brooding over it ; and they await the event 
in terrible suspense" (W, 177). Reference has already been made 
to the "souls" of people departed being changed into goat-suckers 
in the cavern of Guacharo (Sect. 82). 

103. The following legend, current among both Caribs and Arawaks 
is of special interest in that the bird in question is derived from the 
head of the Spirit itself: 

The Spirit's Brain and the Goat-Sucker (A) 

A man went out hunting for land crab, and was waiting for the rain to fall, because 
it is only under this condition that the animal creeps out of its hole into the swamps. 
Now, when the rain fell, it wet his hair; to protect himself, the huntsman, using his 


calabash like a cap, pressed it firmly down upon his head, so that but a little of the 
hair projected from beneath its circumference. Just then a Konoko-kuyuha put in 
an appearance, ami seeing the man in this guise, and not knowing what it was, could 
not help exclaiming, "What a fine smooth head you have! How did you manage 
to get it?"' The man told him that he had just taken a knife and cut his head all 
the way round, and that if he wished he would gladly do the same for him. The 
Spirit was delighted, and allowed the skin all round his head to be cut, and peppers 
to be rubbed over the raw surface to make it heal the quicker; the latter process, 
however, caused him to groan in pain, but by this time the huntsman had quietly 
slipped out of sight.- A long time afterward, many years in fact, the same man, 
going out into the bush close to the neighborhood where the above event had occurred, 
met the same Konoko-kuyuha, whom he recognized by the peppers on his head, 
which had grown into big bu.shes. The recognition was mutual, and the Spii'it re- 
proached him after this manner: "You are the man who peeled off my head. I will 
kill you." But the man replied: "No. You are mistaken. The person who really 
did it has been dead a long time. Come with me and I will show you his bones." And 
he led him to a place where there was a stack of deer bones. These the Spirit took up 
and threw one by one into his waiyarri. He then .said to the man, ' ' Let us dance, and 
make his bones rattle." Whereupon they both started dancing, and while dancing 
they sang; the song of the Spirit was "Bassana! Bassana! \Ul. meaning unknown.] It 
was you that peeled my head. It was you that punished me. How do jou like to 
hear your own bones rattling for music?" After a time, the man remarked, "This is 
not a good place to dance. Come over there where I can see a fine Hat baking-stone 
that will suit better." So they shifted their quarters, and the Spirit recommenced 
dancing Qn the flat stone. "Bend your head lower," said the man, "you are 
not doing the figure properly." So the Spirit bent his head lower, but his com- 
panion told him that even this was not low enough; so he tried again, and directly he 
had bent his head quite close to the stone upon which he was dancing, the man sud- 
denly crushed it thereon. The Spirit's brains thus were scattered, and from each piece 
there 'grew' a wokorai-yu (goat-sucker). This is why we Indians always dread these 
birds, and leave them severely alone; they come from the Spirits of the Bush, and 
give us warning of evil — a token that we may expect trouble of various sorts.^ 

104. Speaking generally, the Spirits of the Forest can be recog- 
nized, even when invisible, by means of the whistling sound which 
they make. " The first night after leavmg Peaimah [Mazaruni River] 
we heard a long, loud, and most melancholy whistle, proceeding from 
the direction of the depths of the forest, at which some of the men 
exclaimed, in an awed tone of voice, 'The Didi' [Dai-dai]. Two or 
three times the whistle was repeated, sounding like that made by a 
human being, beginning in a high key, and djang slowly.and gradu- 
ally away in a low one" (Bro, 87). But instead of a whistle (Sect. 
118) they may indicate their presence by a noise somewhat like the 
neigliing of a horse, in places where horses are known not to exist. 

1 Baldness is practically unkno-mi among the Indians; thus lar I have not come across any record of its 
occurrence.— W. E. R. 

2 This is the first and only reference to scalping that has been met with in Guiana folk-lore. Scalping was 
practised both in the Guiana.s and elsewhere in South America, for example, in Ecuador (AS, 60). 

3 Brett's version (BrB, 17C) is as follows: Peaima was an Arai-daiwlio had become dissatisfied with his 
coarse and matted locks and wished them to be made like those of human beings. Pahadun, a captive, 
undertook to gratify liira: he shaved his head close, and on the raw siu"face poured pepper seeds. Thus 
crowned -A'ith pepper seeds, the monster tried to slay the man in a long series cf adventures, but the 
man with lying tongue outwitted his pursuer. 


They are then described as Kawaiho-Kuyuha, evidently so caned from 
the corrupted Spanish form c'aballo, and with antlu-opophagous tastes 
have unconquerable attraction toward infant at the breast and 
women encientes (Da, 183). The Hebus, after dark, make sudden 
sharp noises like the sounds caused by the breaking of branches: as 
stated elsewhere (Sect. 19), "You can always distinguish a Spirit's 
road from any other pathwaj- in the forest, because the Hebus occu- 
pying the trees that lie alongside it are always, especially at night, 
striking the branches and trunks, and so producing sharp crackling 
noises." Of course, in the case of Bush Spirits that are zoomorpliic 
the sounds they make depend on the nature of the particular animal 
whose form they have assumed. The Caribs in the Pomeroon plant 
a certain species of caladium in the neighborhood of their settlement, 
to give warning of the approach of a Yurokon at night: the plant 
gives a double signal, a soft yet high-pitched whistlmg sound, and at 
the same time somehow contrives to shake the hammock with force 
sufficient to wake the sleeper and warn liim of the coming danger. 
The following extract is from Bates, with reference to the lower 
Amazon: "At one time I had a Mameluco youth in my service . . . 
he always went wath me in the forest: in fact I could not get hmi to 
go alone, and whenever he heard any of the strange noises mentioned 
above [due to the Curupira] he used to tremble ^vith fear" (irWB, 36). 
Dance (262) writes on this same subject of what the duties of a trav- 
eler are, and how the influences of evil Bush Spirits may be avoided 
(Sect. 128). 

105. Bush Spirits may also be recognized tlirough the sense of 
smell. " Wlien the Island Caribs smcU sometliing offensive in a place, 
they wdU say 'The Evil Spirit (Maboya) is here: let us therefore go 
away.' . . . They also give the name of Maboya to certain plants, 
to toadstools, of a bad odor, and to everything that is capable of 
imparting dread to them" (RoP, 464). The Pomeroon Arawaks 
have the same idea. 

106. Bush Spirits are certainly very clever people; nothing comes 
amiss to them, and they can even bring the dead to life. They may 
render themselves invisible (Sect. 119). 

The Mutilated Husband is Made Whole (W) 

There being nothing to do in the field, a man told his wife one day that he was going 
to another village to do some work for the headman. She said she would accompany 
liim, but he explained that this was impossible as there were only men there. IIow- 
ever, she was so importunate, that although it was quite contrary to his own wishes, 
he yielded to her entreaties, and took her. But he insisted on her traveling in male 
attire. She therefore cut her hair short, liid her breasts by means of numerous cotton 
and hog-tooth neck-chains, and covered her with a strip of bark. Wlien 
they reached the settlement, they started work in company with all the other men, 
and as soon as the day's work was done, they all went down to the riverside to bathe. 
15061°— 30 ETH — 15 12 


The woman was at a loss to know what to do: she was alarmed at the prospect of 
exposure and yet did not want to draw too much attention to herself. All she 
could do was to wait until the others had finished and then bathe alone. Tliis went on 
for some days, until the others remarked upon it, wondering why the new-comer would 
never go into the water with them, but always waited until they had finished bathing. 
Two of them accordingly set watch, and as a result discovered that it was a woman who 
had come among them. They thereupon determined on killing the husband so 
as to secure possession of the wife. They tried twice, but on each occasion something 
went wrong witli their plans. The third time, they tied him in a corial and let it 
drift out to sea, but the sea cast it back on shore, where a tiger, scenting him, gnawed 
tlirough the ropes, and set him free. Tiger did not. however, go to all this trouble for 
the sake of kindness, but for pure selfishness, telling his captive that he now intended 
punishing him. "Don't do that," pleaded the man, "haven't I been punished 
enough in losing my wife?" This was but reasonable, and Tiger let him go. The 
man then walked along the shore a good distance, until he came to a house, which he 
was afraid to enter; but the house-master bade Mm welcome, provided him with a 
stool to sit on, and with food to eat. Having been asked what he was doing, and 
whither he was going, the wanderer related how he had been robbed of his wife, what 
he had suffered on her account, and that he intended seeking her. Now, the house- 
master was really a Spirit, and knew perfectly that what had been narrated was the 
truth. He told the man to shut his eyes, and when he opened them again, a third 
person, another Spirit, was present. "Go with this friend," said the house-master, 
"and you will find your wife. " So they went, and traveled far, and eventually came 
to a house, where they slung their hammocks and rested. In the meantime, the wife 
had been taken possession of by a " keeper, " and was living in the near neighborhood. 
The guilty couple used to pass regularly the very house where the husband was resting, 
and when the wife saw him she exclaimed, "Look! there is my husband," but the 
keeper said that it could not be, because he had been tied inside a corial and allowed 
to drift out to sea. However, to make sure, they went in, and when they recognized 
the husband, they chopped him up with an ax. But the Spirit friend restored him 
to life, and when the wicked people passed again next day, the wife exclaimed as 
before, "Look! there is my husband!" So they killed him a second time, but the 
Spirit again made him whole. And the couple passed the house a tliird time, and 
just the same thing happened, except that the keeper burned the body, and scattered 
the ashes. This, however, made no difference, because the Spirit collected the a.shes 
together in a palm leaf, and made them into a living person again. The resurrected 
husband, acting under advice, then went and destroyed his faithless wife as well as her 
paramour: their friends and relatives tried to piece the bits together, and ' ' make them 
alive," but this they could not do. It is only Spirits who can do such things. 

107. Certain of the Forest Spirits have come from the bodies of 
old-time medicine-men : the present-day celebrant invokes them with 
his rattle (Sect. 309). Such Spirits may bo considered beneficent in 
the sense of assisting the piai by giving him information concerning 
the source of the illness from which his patient is suffering, and m other 
ways. Evidently others have been kindly disposed occasionally, in 
that they have conferred blessings and other gifts upon mankind. 
Thus, Arawak legends point to the Spirits of the Forest as the intro- 
ducers among them of the flute made from the femoral bone of animals, 
and according to Akawai tales, of the seweTielcuru, or lace-work of hard 
nutshells tied on the legs to give proper time to the movements in 
dancing (Da, 184). Sometimes these Spirits do positive good, as in 


the Jurupari festival, whereby sicknesses can be dispelled, and large 
wounds healed (KG, i, 320). 

108. Sufficient has already been said to indicate that the Spirits of 
the Forest may have their good points as well as bad; they may 
indeed have in their nature more of the imp than the rogue. They 
have not always borne bad reputations, but the very large majority 
of them certainly do so now. The Caribs, however, admit that 
they themselves are responsible for tliis, and concurrently for the 
introduction of pain, misery, and death. 

How Pain, Misery, and Death Came into the World (C) ' 

In the olden times, there was no contention, all were happy, and no one became 
sick or died. It was then that the Yurokons used to come and live among us as 
our friends and associates; they were short people like ourselves. One Yurokon in 
particular used to come and drink paiicarri with my people, whom he would visit 
for the purpose regularly once a month. The time he came, he appeared a.s a 
woman with a baby at the breast. The Caribs gave her of the pepper-pot, into which 
she dipped the cassava, which she then sucked and ate. The pepper-pot was so hot, 
however, that it burned the inside of her mouth and "heart." and this made her 
ask for water, but her hostess told her that she had none. Yurokon therefore asked 
for a calabash, and leaving her baby up at the house, she went down to the waterside, 
where she quenched her thirst. On her return, she looked for her little child, 
but it was nowhere to be seen: she searched high and low, but all in vain, because 
during her absence some worthless woman among the company had thrown it into 
the boiling cassiri pot. By and by Yurokon went to stir the cas.siri with the usual 
paddle-spoon, and, while she .stirred, the body of her baby rose to the surface. She 
wept, and then, turning on the people, upbraided them: "WTiy have you punished 
me in this way? I have never had a bad mind against any of you, but now I will 
make you pay me. In future your children shall all die, and this will make you 
weep as I am weeping. And when children are born to you, you shall suffer pain 
and trouble at their birth. Furthermore, with regard to you men," continued 
Yurokon, as she addressed the male members of the company, "I will give you great 
trouble when you go out to catch fish." And so she did, because in those days we 
Caribs only had to go to the waterside, bail the water out with our calabashes, and 
picking up the fish that were left exposed at the bottom of the stream, just put the 
water back again to breed fish once more. Yurokon altered all tliis, and made us 
go to the trouble, annoyance, and inconvenience of poisoning the pools witli various 
roots. What is more, Yurokon killed the worthless Indian who had thrown her boy 
into the cassiri, and then asked her children what had become of their mother. 
"She has gone to the field," they said. "No, she has not; she is hunting after 
genitalia unius personse tribus mese," was the insulting rejoinder, a reply which she 
purposely gave in order to provoke them into a rage. She asked them the same ques- 
tion a second time, and they told her she had gone to bake cassava. ' ' No, she has not, ' ' 
replied Yurokon; "she has bored her way into my ear," an answer supposed to be 
even more offensive. And she asked them the same question a third time, but on 
this occasion they told her that she had gone to dig sweet potatoes. As soon as they 
mentioned the word "potatoes," Yurokon disappeared.^ 

109. The general tendency of these Spirits, however, is to do bad, 
the degree of wickedness of which they can be guilty varying with 

1 See Sect. 190. 

^According to Carib tradition their Spirits of the Bush have a marked aversion to sweet potatoes. 



circumstances and locality. Such a Spirit for instance may "be 
believed in simply as a mischievous imp, who is at the bottom of 
all those mishaps of their daily life, the causes of which are not 
very immediate or obvious to their dull understanduigs " (HWB, 
381). Wlien in the manufacture of their native drinks anything 
goes wrong with the fermentation, the Indians ascribe it to Spirit 
machinations. The following Warrau story is illustrative of this 

Why the Drink Turned Soitr 

A man went one day to visit some neighbors, but. when he arrived there, found 
they were all out: as it was already too late in the afternoon to allow of his getting 
home again before nightfall, he made arrangements to sleep there and return the 
following morning. He drew himself up on the manicole rafters and turned in. 
But before I go any further I must tell you that in tliis house there was a big jar, in 
which drink was being prepared in anticipation of next day's festivities when the 

house-master, his family, and relatives 
would have returned. Our friend had 
not been long on the manicole flooring 
before he saw a lot of Hebus enter the 
place, and have a look round. He heard 
them say, "Hullol here is some drink. 
Let us bathe first, and then come and 
taste it. It were a pity to let it spoil." 
So they all went and washed their skins, 
and then returned for a good carousal. 
But when they started drinking, they 
felt tlie want of some music, and so they 
arranged with a labba to play for them. 
All the tune it could play was its usual 
grunt, but they were quite satisfied with 
it, and really enjoyed their dance. Our 
friend watched them until daybreak, 
when they took tJxeir departure, the 
little labba sneaking away behind a 
plantain tree. Later on. the household 
returned, and said, just as the Spirits did: "Let us bathe first and then drink. It 
were a pity to let it spoil." But the watcher warned them not to touch the liquor 
because he had kept awake during the night, and had seen the Hebus sipping it. 
They therefore threw all the drink away. Now, among the household was a widow, 
who exclaimed: "Yes. I knew that the Hebus were going to spoil our drink." 
And when asked how she knew, she told them that she had received a sign, or 
token, because when she was weeping for her late husband, he suddenly appeared 
before her and told her to cease to cry . 

If an Indian loses his way in the forest, the Spirit is the cause. 
The Caribs, however, know how to circumvent the latter, by making 
a string puzzle, which is left on the pathway: the object of this 
puzzle consists in removing, without cutting or breaking, an endless 
string from off- two sticks upon which it has been placed (see fig. !)• 
The Spirit coming along sees the puzzle, starts examinmg it, and 
tries to get the string off: indeed, so engrossed with it does he become, 
that he forgets all about the wanderer, who is now free to find the 


>^- ^^^ 



— — C:^ 

if ir 


^ < 





Fig. 1. 

-Carib string puzzle, designed to deceive the 
Bush Spirits. 


road again. In this connection, it is interesting to note that Bates 
speaks of his Indian boy, on the lower Amazon, making a charm 
to protect them from the Curupari: "For this purpose he took a 
young palm-leaf, plaited it, and formed it into a ring which he hung 
to a branch on our track" (HWB, 35).' 

110. On the Orinoco, the Mapoyes blamed the Spirits of the Forest 
for (himagc to their fields, the Guayquiries held them responsible 
for all their strifes and disputes, the Guamos ascribed sickness to their 
occult powers, while the Betoyes regarded them as the cause of the 
deaths of all their children whose necks they broke so silently as not 
to be felt (G, ii, 23-26). This belief in their being the cause of 
sickness and death is universal throughout the Guianas. Among 
the Arawaks it is the Yawahu-shimara, or Spirit's Arrow, which has 
the properly of inflicting pains or ills, the visible causes of which are 
not discoverable. The Arawaks, however, are not alone in this con- 
ception : it is apparently shared by the Caribs, from whom I learned 
the following: 

Why Children Become Sick and Cry (C) 

An Indian went into the forest to hunt small deer, and for this purpose built a 
scaffold upon the trunk of a lorust tree [Hymenxa). Wlien completed he sat on top of 
it, how and arrow in hand, waiting for the animals to come and eat the seeds that had 
fallen around. By and by, a Yurokon woman came along with a baby slung over her 
breasts, and a quake o\-er her forehead. She also was fond of locust seed, and when 
she saw the fine fruit all scattered al)out, she put her baby down on the ground right 
below the spot -nhere the native was seated, and started going round the tree, picking 
up the seeds, and gathering them into her basket . But while thus engaged, the Indian 
shot the child, making it cry. The mother rushed tjack, to find her infant screaming 
for no apparent cause; she felt it all o\er, liut could discover no arrow . So she took it 
to the piai of her tribe who soon discoAcred what was the matter, and extracted the 
weapon, which he showed her: he sucked it out of the child. "Very well," exclaimed 
the mother; "tlust as that Indian shot my boy, so will my husband shoot his people's 
chDdren, and make them cry without any one knowing the reason." 

111. In Cayenne, it is Hyorokon, the Bush Spirit, who strangles 
some, corrupts the blood of others, covers this one with ulcers, and that 
one afflicts with jaundice. The same Indians believe also in a Spirit 
called Chinay [thus far not identified by me], who is a real cannibal and 
sucks their blood, which accoimts for their being so tliin when sick 
(PBa, 206). This belief (in the work of the Spirits) explains a 
peculiar trait of Indian character which would otherwise be inex- 
plicable. Believing that a child who has just fallen into the river 
or has gotten beyond its depth is being drowned by the will or agency 
of a Sjjirit, the Indian who passes by and sees the struggling child 
is afraid to incur the wrath of that Spirit, by any interference on his 
part to save the child. He thinks he will have done his utmost duty 
as a neighbor by informing the parents of the fate of their child 

' Compare the offerings to a medicine-man, or to his Spirit, in Sect. iSS. 


(Da, 290). So again, because sickness is regarded chiefly as due to 
Spirits, the method of cure is therefore mainly directed to driving 
them out by means of presents, thi'ough the agency of the piai, etc' 
112. Death, sickness, and otlier calamities may be inflicted by the 
Spirits upon mankind, not only out of pure malevolence, but also by 
way of punishment for transgressions committed against the recog- 
nized rules of law and order as understood in Indian society. The 
other calamities just referred to include, inter alia, transformation 
into various beasts and birds, and spontaneous disappearance. The 
following five legends from the Warraus and Arawaks illustrate these 
points pretty clearly. 

The Woman Killed by her Husband's Spirit (W) 

A party of Arawaks. all of them married men, once went to Morawinni, on the way 
to the Berbice. where they were murdered. Their wives whom thej- had left lieliind 
here [in the Pomeroon] took other men, all except one, who was verj' sorry at losing her 
husband, and would not take another one. She found consolation in her two little 
children. Later on, it happened that the whole settlement went off to a drink-party, 
but this same woman pref<^rred to remain behind alone. ^Tien night came on, she 
heard the ham-hani (iiute) pla>-ing in the river, and the sound gradually coming 
nearer and nearer. Recognizing it as her husband's, she turned to her child and said, 
"That tune is like what your father used to play. Perhaps he alone was saved when 
all the others were killed." As a matter of fact, it was indeed the man's Spirit trying 
to come back home again. On reaching the landing, he tied up liis corial and came 
up to the house, when she recognized him. After saying "How-day?" he asked her 
if she were well, and then inquired after the two children. He next told her to sling 
up his hammock, for he was come back sick. \VhPn rested in his hammock, he 
began to relate all that had happened, and how he and his party had all been killed. 
By and by he said, "Go and fetch a light: there must be a lot of dog-fleas about: they 
are biting my back terribly. ' ' But instead of dog-fleas it was worms that were gnawing 
into him, and when she brought the fire-stick, his wife could see them all crawling 
in and out, and said, 'No, No! There are no dog-fleas there." Now. from seeing all 
the worms she knew that it must be her husband's Spirit, and not his Body, that 
had returned, and it was a token of sometliing that was to happen. Again, and still 
a third time, he asked her to pick off the dog-fleas, but she persisted in her "No, No! 
There are no dog-fleas there." At the same time she began to consider how she could 
best save herself. She began to spit, and continued spitting in the same spot untO 
there was quite a pool of spittle, when she quietly slipped away from the house in the 
direction of a neighboring settlement. Now, when the Spirit again asked her to 
come pick off the dog-fleas, it was the Spittle that answered "No, No! There are 
no dog-fleas there. ' ' And so the same question and answer were repeated. But when 
the Spittle was finally all dried up, it could not speak any more, and as soon as no 
reply came, the Spirit got out of his hammock and followed liis wife's tracks. Now, 
although the fire that she was carrjdng had gone out, she still went on in the darkness, 
the Spirit holloa-ing behind. As he was closing in upon her, she remembered an old 
armadillo hole, in which she hid herself, while the Spirit, rushing along, passed on. 
He, however, soon saw that he had been tricked, and returned to the place where she 
ha.d so suddenly disappeared. Here he stopped and pondered a while, and she heard 

1 1 shall revert to tliis subject when dealing with the mediciae-man (Chap. XVII). — W. E. R. 


him say to himself: " I am doad. But though dead, I am looking for her, and I shall 
soon make her dead also," and with this she lost sight of him in the darkness. Emerg- 
ing from her hiding place, she reached the next settlement, and told her friends 
exactly what had happened. And what the Spirit had said was quite true: she soon 
became sick, and died. 

112A. The Result of Stealing Other People's Property (W) 

Twenty men started out to hunt bush-hog, taking with them their hammocks, 
as they expected to be out some days. They soon picked up tracks and followed them 
until nightfall, when they camped. Next morning they continued on the tracks 
until about mid-day, when they noticed plenty of victuals all stacked ready for 
consumption: there were drink and meat, plenty of everything that an Indian can 
desire. They asked one anotlier, "Are you going to eat of this?" Some said, "Of 
cotirse I am. \^Tiy not? Isn't it all ready prepared for us? " But others said: "No. 
It is not ours. AA'e will not eat what does not belong to us." The wishes of the 
majority prevailed, however, and all except two of the party partook of the fine 
food. AVhen all was eaten, they resumed the trail until nightfall, and they again 
camped. The two, however, who had declined to eat, erected their banab at a 
distance apart from the others. And all, except these two, fell fast asleep. During 
the night the Hebu came along with a light in his hand, and approached the spot 
where the eighteen were sleeping. When he got close to the first man, he extin- 
guished the light, and, sucking the air through his half-closed hand, extracted his 
victim's eyes, just as we suck the flesh out of one end of a crab-claw. He did the 
same thing in turn to each of the other seventeen, and then withdrew. The two who 
were camped in the banab apart from the others, kept awake, and watched everything 
that happened. Next morning early, as each of the eighteen woke, he exclaimed, 
"Me, eye out! Jle, eye out!" The poor fellows who had thus been blinded called 
out to the other two who had not eaten of the food in question, and asked whether 
they had also lost their e>es. The latter said "Yes" at first, but being pressed again 
and again to tell the truth, were finally forced to admit that nothing evil had hap- 
pened to them. Now, some of these blind people felt their trouble very keenly. 
Some of them had big women at home, and some had little girls there — little girls 
to whom they had looked forward to making their wives some day. Indeed, those of 
them who possessed such little girls grieved sorely, and said: "We have little girls at 
home, and as yet we have never had anything to do with them. Alas! Alas! If we 
liad only made women of them before this trouble fell on tis." ' So as to get home 
again, the blind ones told their uninjured mates to loosen the strings from all their 
bows and tie their ends together so as to make one long string of them. The eighteen 
held on to this string, and tlie two led the way, and so they proceeded on their journey 
homeward. But the two uninjured ones led the way, not homeward, as they had been 
told to do, but toward a big pond that contained a large number of pii£d(Serrasalmo) 
fish. Reaching there, the two made the blind ones surround the sheet of water in 
the form of a circle, telling them that they were about to cross a river, and that when 
they heard a splash they must immediately rush in straight aliead. The two leaders 
then stepping behind, thj-ew over the heads of their blind companions some heavy 
pieces of timlier: as soon as these fell into the water, there was of course a splash, 
and all the eighteen blind ones rushed ahead only to knock up against one another 
in the middle of the pond, where the voracious fish mutilated and destroyed them. 
They were thus punished for taking food which did not belong to them. 

1 It is not an uncommon ttiin^ to see an Indian who has already a wife and family of young children 
bringing up a little girl who will be his second wife (Br, 352). 


113. The Man Changed into a Beast (W) 

Two brothers set out in their corial to shoot morokot ( Mylctes) fish, after telling their 
old father where they were going. The younger, who was steering, started singing. 
"Don't do that." said his brother; "if you make that noise, we shall get no fish and 
father will be disappointed." But he would not heed, and went on making a 
disturbance, so the elder one said: "This won't do. I will leave you on shore." 
The latter evidently had no objection, and with an "All right; leave me here," 
stayed on the bank where his brother left him, still continuing his singing, which, if 
anytliing, he now raised to an even higher pitch. The elder brother then recognized 
that it was a token of something tliat was about to happen, and paddled on by himself 
to shoot. He shot one morokot, then a second, and then a third, now that there was 
no noise about. Having shot enough, he went to pick up his lirother at the river 
bank where he had left him, but found him singing even "more high" than ever before : 
indeed, so deafening was the noise — such a rolling and a roaring — that, becoming 
frightened, he went home without him. The father asked him where his brother 
was, and when he was told that he was screaming loud and that there was something 
wrong with him. he would not believe it, but said he would go to see for himself. 
So the two returned to the spot where the younger brother had been left ; the old man 
heard the awful noise in the distance and followed the tracks from the waterside. 
The tracks were very prominent and the leaves on each side were mucli crushed 
and damaged, showing that a big carcass must have passed that way. At last the father 
came upon his son, and said, "Come! Come!" but all the reply he received was a 
terrible roar, which frightened him so much that he turned back, his son following. 
The latter had now been changed by the Hebu into an evil beast, which was ready to 
kill anybody and anything. On reaching the waterside again, the father told his 
elder boy his experiences with the younger one, that he was on the road behind, and 
that they must both be prepared to shoot as soon as he put in an appearance. At 
last the latter came out into the clearing and they shot him. It was lucky they did 
so, because he was already changed into a beast from tlie neck downward, with two 
big teeth on his belly (Sect. 100). Had he kept quiet when his brother warned him, 
all this trouble would not have happened. 

114. The Man who Dined after Dark (A) 

[Note. — It would appear that in the olden times, it was strictly "taboo" for anyone 
to take a meal after nightfall, though the true reasons for such a restriction are seem- 
ingly not now obtainable. (Sect. 24S.) The certain punishment for infringement 
of this taboo was the transformation of the offender into some bird or beast. The 
following legend bears on this belief.] 

There were once two fishers. I do not know their names, but they were friends. 
They went out together one day to a neighboring creek, and started building a shed, 
as they intended setting their hooks in the course of the afternoon, remaining there 
all night, and -visiting their lines next daybreak. The shed built, and the hooks 
all set, they came back late to the banab, and while resting there, the}' happened to 
notice near by a kokerite (J/rj.r('mi7iana) palm with a splendid bunch of ripe nuts. 
These they cut down and began eating after breaking them on the stones. They 
were delicious, and they continued eating, imtil one of them noticed that the sun 
vras about sinking on the horizon, when he warned his friend to stop, ad\ising hinj 
to follow his example and turn into his hammock. But the warning was unheeded: 
he said they were so sweet that he couldn't stop, and he continued breaking and 
chewing the nuts until long after dark. Then, all of a sudden, instead of breaking 
the nuts with a stone, his friend in the hammock heard him breaking them in his 
teeth, and knowing well that no Indian could do this, the friend felt convinced that 
something had happened. He lit his wax torch, and instead of a man, he saw a 
tiger crunching the seeds. He slipped out of his hammock, wandered about till 


dawn, picked up his hooks and hurried home. WTien his mate's mother asked him 
why her son had not accompanied him, he told her that he had persisted in eating 
after dark, and that he was now a Yawahu tiger. But the old woman would not believe 
him; he therefore ad\ised her to come with him so that she could see for herself. 
He took her to the banab, and told her that her son was in the bush; so she went out 
and Hallel-ubaf (i. e., How are you?), and a deep rough, voice answered, "That's your 
son," but again she would not believe. Wanting to see for herself, she went alone 
into the bush in the direction of the sound, although she was strongly warned not 
to do so. She went on and on, and at last met the tiger, who sprang upon and killed 
her. The mother was punished because she would not trust the man when he told 
her that the tiger really was her son . 

115. How THE Haimaea Came to Have Such Fine Big Eyes (A) 

Returning on his way home from the bush one afternoon, a hunter met a Konoko- 
kuyuha making a basket, but though he did not actually recognize it as the Spirit 
of the Bush, he certainly recognized the uncanny appearance it presented on account 
of its having the entire face, body, and limbs covered with thick hair. He asked 
the Spirit what it was doing, but the only word it deigned to answer was baho, the 
shortened form of bako-ke.^ At any rate, when he reached home, he related his 
experiences to his family and friends, and advised them strongly not to go to sleep 
that night, because It, whatever it was, might pay them a surprise visit after night- 
fall; all he could tell them was that it was covered with hair, and that it was making 
an eye-socket basket. But they all laughed at him, and turning into their ham- 
mocks as usual, told one another stories, and soon fell off to sleep. The man who 
had warned them alone kept awake, and, recognizing the low whistle in the distance, 
tried to arouse his friends by shaking their hammocks; but it was all in vain, and 
he had only just time enough to clamber up into the roof, when It, which he now rec- 
ognized to be a Konoko-kuyuha, entered the house. Once in, the hunter was able 
to watch its movements mthout being himself seen. He saw the Spirit stealthily 
approach each hammock and remove both eyes of the snoring occupant without 
waking him. These eyes it carefully placed in the now completed basket, and 
then it left the house. Next morning, when all the people awoke, they discovered 
that they could see nothing, and they wondered what had happened, but he who 
had pre\iously warned them told them e^•erything. They said they were not now fit 
to live on the land, and that he must take them to some waterside. He thereupon 
tied them one to the other, and when they reached the stream he tied the last one 
to a tree: they could not lose their way now, and they knew where they were. 
He accordingly left them, as he thought, in perfect safety, promising to visit them 
shortly. After a time he redeemed his word, but he found that all of them had in 
the meanwhile been under water, and had changed into fish, the one exception being 
the indi\ddual tied to the tree who, being able to get into the water only up to his 
middle, had turned but halfway into a fish. So the man went away, promising to 
come again. He was a long time returning, so long, in fact, that the Spirit took pity 
on the last man, and completed his transformation, giving him back his own two eyes, 
which "are all very fine and large," so to speak, especially for a haimara fish (Hopli- 
ns mnlabaricus), which was what the Spirit changed him into. And when their old 
friend did return at last, he cut the rope from the tree, thus allowing the haimara and 
other fish to play about with perfect freedom in the water, where they have since 
remained. They were punished for their unbelief. 

116. Bush Spirits are excellent hunters, and some of them even 
know how to employ the rattle, just like a medicine-man. 

1 This word is the .\rawak term for an eye-socket: it is applied to a particular varietj- of basket, char- 
acterized by having an oblong concavity in its base, a peculiarity which the name suggests. 


The Wrong Battle, the Bush-hog, and the Baby (W) 

A man with his wife and two sons went one day to a neighboring settlement to 
join a drink-party. In the house they left their two girls, who were busy making 
cassiri, and this is what happened to them. Going to fetch some more water from 
the creek, they heard, as they strolled along, a peculiar sort of cry. It was really 
Siwara, the Hebu (Bush Spirit), intentionally misleading them by imitating the call 
of the oto, a bird bigger than the Baridi hawk. So they challenged it in the usual 
way (Sect. 130), shouting, "Don't cry, but show yourself, or kill something for 
us." They saw nothing, and they heard nothing further. However, after reach- 
ing home, and resting awhile, a young man ajiproached the house, and greeting them 
with "Good-day, Cousias!" he entered.' "\Miere are your parents?" was the next 
inquiry of the stranger, who of course was no other than Siwara, he having put in 
an appearance in obedience to the challenge to show himself. And the girls, telling 
him that they were all away at a paiwarri, offered him cassava and drink. WTien he 
had partaken of this, Siwara told them to go and fetch in the powis which he had 
brought for them: this done, he asked them to bring in his hammock, as he proposed 
staying over night. They fetched the hammock and slung it at that end of the house 
farthest removed from their sleeping quarters. "Don't be afraid! I am not going 
to trouble you." And he spoke true, because the girls slept right through the night 
without being troubled by him. Next morning early Siwara returned to the bush, 
but before taking his departure warned them not to tell their parents that he had 
paid them a visit. Not long after, the father and mother came home, and seeing the 
dried powis, exclaimed, "Hullo! How did you manage to get that?" The girls lied, 
saying, ''We came upon an oto hawk who had caught it, and we took it away from 
him." By and by, the powis was cooked and eaten, and as the old father was chew- 
ing the portion he had just jiicked out of the pot, he came across a piece of arrow in 
it, a kokerite one.- Turning to his daughters, he inquired of them: "If an oto killed 
the bird, how did this kokerite arrow get in?" and they liad to admit that the 
powis had been brought to them by their "uncle." ^ "Then why did you not tell me so 
at first?" he rejoined. "Why did you not let me know that he had visited you while 
your mother and I were away? Go straight away now, and call him in!" So they 
went outside and shouted, Dahu! Daku! and who should immediately answer the 
eummons but Siwara himself. As he entered, the house-master welcomed him, and 
he sat himself down on the chair-bench that was offered him. "Thanks! Thanks!" 
he exclaimed; "I was here yesterday, and kept the girls company." Now the old 
father, who had been to the drinking party, was still fairly bemuddled and hardly 
knew what he was doing; at the same time, although he had not the slightest idea 
who Siwara was. he certainly offered his elder daughter to him, pro\-ided he liked 
her. It so happened that Siwara liked her very much, and he therefore turned to 
her mother and asked her whether she would care to have him for son-in-law. She 
said, "Yes, very much." And thus it came to pass that the Hebu obtained his 
wife, and arranged to take up his abode with her at her father's place. Siwara, how- 
ever, proved himself a very good husband and son-in-law, and always returned from 
his hunting expeditions well loaded with game. He also took the troulile to teach 
his wife's brothers how to shoot bush-hog. Formerly, whenever these two fellows 
went out and brought back a bird, they would say they had brought back bush-hog. 
You see, they did not know what a bush-hog really was. So he took them out one 

1 Ija-sanvka is Warrau for 'cousin,' the word used by the narrator. An Indian will greet any other female 
of his tribe in three ways: If older, as 'mother' or 'auntie': if about the same age, as 'sister' or 'cousin'; 
and if much younger, as 'child,' 'daughter," etc. 

* Kokerite is used only for the blow-pipe, that is, poisoned arrows. 

3 The Warrau word for 'uncle' as used here is daku: not only does this mean the parents' brother but 
practically every male of about corresponding age. 


day, and when they reached a suitable spot, he shook his maraka (rattle) and bush-hogs 
came rushing up in obedience to the summons. "This is hog; shoot," said Siwara, 
but the two brothers, who had never seen one before, were frightened and climbed 
up a tree, so he had to kill three or four by himself, and these they subsequently 
took home. Time passed, and, his wife ha\dng presented him with a baby, Siwara 
became a recognized heir of her family's possessions, and removed his own property, 
which he had hitherto kept in the bush, into his father-in-law's house, which hence- 
forth became his own hearth and home.' Among the property which he brought with 
him to his new home were four rattles used for bush-hog only. There are two kinds 
of hog, the timid (eburi) and the very savage {ehun-oriassi), and there were a pair 
of marakas for each kind: one rattle to call the beast, the other to drive it away 
(Sect. 298). So after he had hung them up Siwara warned his wife's people that 
on no account must they touch these marakas during his absence, because trouble 
would be certain to ensue. Siwara soon afterward went away to cut a field ; during 
his absence one of the brothers-in-law came home, and, seeing the prettily feathered 
rattles all in a row. could not resist the temptation of taking one down and scrutinizing 
it closely. \\Tiile absorbed in its contemplation, he forgot all about the injunction, 
and started shaking it. Good Lord! It was the wrong rattle — the one for the wild 
bush-hog! And now these savage beasts came trooping in from near and far, leaving 
the poor mother, her two brothers, and the old people barely time to escape with 
their lives up the nearest trees. In the hurry and excitement, however, the mother 
had forgotten her baby, which the hogs tore in pieces and devoured. On seeing all 
this happening below, the fugitives yelled and screamed for Siwara to come quickly 
and get rid of all these beasts, so that they might descend in safety. Siwara came and, 
shaking the proper rattle, drove the brutes away. When they had all dispersed, 
and his relatives had joined liim, he looked for his baby, but of course did not 
find it. He blamed them for disobeying his orders, and was so angered that he left 
them. It is very hard for them to get food now. 

117. The Spirits of the Forest are blessed, or cursed, with strong 
patriarchal tendencies, are very fond of women, and of human flesh 
generally. They have an unconquerable attraction toward suckling 
babes and pregnant women (Da, 183), a statement which appears 
to be confirmed in the accompan_^ang legends. I do not know the 
reason of their supposed relationship to cliildren, but certain it is 
that among the Pomeroon Arawaks, it was the Yawahus who were 
asked by the piais to bruig babies to those women who wanted them 
(Sect. 302). On the upper Orinoco it was the Bush Spirit lolok- 
iamo who, together with the tikitiki bird, was considered responsible 
for the deforntities of new-born children (AVH, ii, 249) . 

1 Among all these Indians, the husband becomes a member of his wife's family. His permanent 
retention of his wife depends on the satisfactory completion by liim of various tasks, as the cutting of a 
field and the building of a house. The recognition of him and his acceptance of the responsibilities of the 
position as the lawful heir of his wife's family whose interests he has henceforth to protect and safeguard, 
commence with the appearance of the baby. So-called "marriage" to the Indian is a question of neither 
morality nor ethics, but one of policy. He takes up with a w^oman so that she may bear him children, 
especiaUy daughters, whose husbands will have to provide for his old age, as by custom from time imme- 
morial ordamed. If she proves barren, he but naturally takes unto himself another. Without the advent 
of offspring, no woman is wanted. Hence, in those districts where missionaries have established 
themselves, the celebration of the marriage contract very generally takes place only after the bride-elect 
has proved herself an ideal woman by becoming pregnant. Sterility is regarded as a shame and disgrace 
by both sexes. Any physically developed woman, married or single, so afflicted, is described as a " mule " 
by English-speaking Indians; the ,Vrawaks speak of such a female as massoronto (barren) in the sense of 
degradation and reproach. 


The Killing of the Bush Spirit and his Wife (A) 

This is another story about a man who went out hunting one day and took his wife 
with him. But when he left her as usual one morning at the banab, he did not know 
anything about a Bush Spirit in the neighborhood and hence could give her no warning 
as to how she should behave herself. At any rate, it was not long after her husband 
had taken his departure that a Kokono-kuyuha came to the house and asked her 
how she fared and where her man had gone. She told him that he had gone out 
hunting and that she did not expect him until late in the afternoon. The Spirit 
went away but not before mentioning that she might see him again in the course of 
the evening: you see, he was greedy and thought it would be less trouble to kill and 
eat them both at one and the same time. Now, when the husband did retiu-n, she told 
liim that a Something had been to see her, and that It intended coming again that 
very night. ''You are not speaking the truth," was all the thanks she got for the 
warning which she gave him, and after eating his meal, he tiu-ned into his hammock 
where he soon fell asleep and snored heavily. By and by the Konoko-kuyuha came 
along, giving warning of his approach in the usual way we Indians always signal 
when we approach a dwelling, that is, by striking a few times on the buttresses of the 
trees. The wife heard the noise, and recognizing what it was, tried to wake her hus- 
band, but was unsuccessful: he slept too soundly. She quickly hid herself. Once 
in the banab, the Bush Spirit approached the sleeping man's hammock, and tried 
to wake him: failing in this, he broke his neck, drank his blood, and left him 
dead. The Spirit then wandered all over the place looking for the wife, but could 
not find her. She, however, could hear him saying, " If I had known that she intended 
giving me. the slip, I would have finished her off this morning." She saw him leave 
the banab and go back into the bush, but she remained in her hiding-place until the 
dawn, when, after burying the body, she ran back home and told her brother all that 
had taken place, and that she was now a widow. The brother was exceedingly angry, 
and determined upon killing the Spirit. Next day, he went with his sister to the same 
banab where the late tragedy had taken place, and the following morning left her 
by herself there, just as his poor brother-in-law had done, but instructed her to tool 
the Konoko-kuyuha, should he come, by telling him that her husband was still alive 
and that he would be glad to see him in the evening. The Spirit did appear again, 
and was certainly surprised to see her there: he asked her as before, how she fared, 
and where her man had gone. She told him that he had gone out hunting, that 
she did not expect him until late in the afternoon, and, if he liked to pay them a visit 
in the evening, that her husband would be very pleased indeed to see him. The Spirit 
was only too glad to have the opportunity, and promised to come: in his mind, he 
said that if he broke the man's neck-bone this tune, he would make sure of killing 
him, and then deal with the wife. As had been previously arranged, the brother 
returned to the banab soon after midday, and made a special arrow while his sister 
did the cooking. After partaking of the food, he instructed her how to tempt the 
Spirit into having a dance with her, and at the same time showed her how to hold his 
hands, and not to embrace him too closely, so that when he let fly this special arrow 
it might not, by any chance, strike her. He then went and hid himself. By and by, 
just as the darkness began to fall, the Konoko-kuyuha walked up, and asked her 
where her husband was. After telling him that he had not yet returned, she obtruded 
the glory of all her charms and a.sked him to dance with her. The Spirit, yielding 
to her temptations, only too readily agreed. They began to caper, and holding him 
as she had been warned, she circled him round and round, closer and closer to where 
her brother lay ambushed. It was not long before the latter was able to take good aim, 
and, letting fly the special arrow, sent it right through the wicked Spirit who fell 
mortally wounded. Before dying, however, Konoko-kuyuha looked reproachfully 
at the woman and said, "I did nothing to you, to make you wish to kill me," but 


when her reply came, "No, indeed, but you wauled to," he closed his eyes. How 
glad the brother and sister were! and tlie brother said, ""We had better tarry awhile, 
because Kouoko-kuyuha's wife will come and look for him." Sure enough, they 
soon heard the moaning of the Spirit's wife as she came along crying, and saying, "I 
must get payment for my husband" (i. e., her husband's death must be avenged). 
So they both hid themselves, and as the Spirit woman passed along, the brother shot 
her also, and cut up the bodies. When they both got home, they told their friends 
and relatives about all that had happened, and everybody was delighted. 

117A. The Woman Kills the Hebu (W) 

Allien going to a party it is customary among us Indians for the man to start early 
in the morning, leaving his wife to follow in the course of the afternoon. Well now, 
on one such occasion, after the house-master had left for the drink-feast, another man 
came and paid the spouse a visit, telling iier that she must come with him to his place. 
She said: "No! You are not my husband, so I cannot do that." But when he 
threatened to kill her if she refused, she agreed to accompany him, although her little 
child told her not to go. This man was really a Hebu, and when he arrived with her 
and the child at his house, he told her she could have whatever she wanted, pointing 
at the same time to all the dried meat — game, fish, bird, and human flesh — that was 
hanging around. Picking what she required, she placed it in the pot and this she 
put on the fire. All the time she was thinking how she could fool the Hebu, so that 
when he called her to come into his hammock, her plans were quite prepared. She 
joined him in his hammock, but refused to lie down in it, and when he told her to 
kiss and coddle him, she said she couldn't do so because he was covered over so much 
with hair. He told her where to find a bamboo-knife, and she commenced shaving his 
face; while holding up his chin, she stuck the knife into his throat and killed him. 
Rushing off now with her child, the woman joined her husband at the drink-party, 
telling him exactly what had happened: how the Hebu had made her come to his 
house, where she had killed him. And when the sport was finished next morning 
she took her husband to the scene of the tragedy. As soon as he saw the dead Hebu's 
body lying in the hammock, he was satisfied that she had told him the truth. 

118. The Bush Spirit and the Pregnant Woman (A) 

There was a man with his wife living in a house. One afternoon, the husband went 
to watch for an acouri. By and by she heard a whistling sound, and a man came and 
paid her a visit: 'tis true he was like a man, but yet different, because there was hair 
growing all over him. He was really a Konoko-kuyuha, but she did not know this 
at the time. "AMiere has your husband gone?" he inquired; and when she told 
him he was out hunting the acouri, the stranger asked her whether he was very far 
away, and she replied, " Not very far. " To make sure that the husband might not 
suddenly return and frustrate his wicked designs, the Spirit made the wife shout out 
three times, and as no answer came, he knew he would be safe. He told her to dance 
for him, and then came very close to her. This she thought somewhat strange, because 
she was heavily enciente, but she did what she was told. At last he took his departure, 
and as he went along he knocked the tree-buttresses with a stick, to make the woman 
think that it was her husband coming. So the wife was content in her mind. How- 
ever, it was a long wait for her until her husband did finally come; he had wandered 
far, and found no acouri. Like a good wife, she made a clean breast of all that hap- 
pened in his absence, describing minutely how she had been visited by one who was 
like a man, but yet different, because there was hair growing all over him, and that 
he had been close to her. The husband laughed, and said: " Nonsense, wife! It must 
have been some old sweetheart of yours. " She replied, " Nothing of the sort; " but 


he reiterated, " Yes, it must have been so." It being now already late in the evening, 
they turned into their respective hammock.s, and the husband soon fell into a deep 
slumber. His spouse, however, could not sleep; she heard the Spirit's warning 
approach — a low whistling noise — and got up to wake her man, but, tug and push as 
much as she would, she could not rouse him — he slept too soundly. She drew to one 
side just in time to see the Spirit enter. She saw him kill her husband and then eat 
him, and when he had finished, she heard him say : " That was good. But the sweetest 
morsel has gone — the woman with a baby." She ran away as quickly and as far as 
her legs would carry her. 

119. The Contented and Happy Son-in-law (W) 

Once upon a time there was a good old man who, possessed of a young wife and a 
field well planted, lived happily and contented. \Mien off to his field one morning, 
he met a young man coming in the direction of his house, and noticed that, during the 
greeting which they gave each other, the stranger kept his eyes fixed hard on his 
wife in the dim distance. On his return home in the afternoon, he met the stranger 
again in just about the same place, where his movements seemed very suspicious: he 
rightly concluded that he was dealing with a Hebu and went on home. Arrived there, 
he told his wife he was going to hunt a little, and took his bow and arrow with him; 
but what he really did was to hide in the immediate vicinity. And from his hiding 
place he saw the Hebu steal into the house and wrestle with his wife, who was just 
about grating the cassava: he heard her say " No! No! Oh, if only my man were not 
BO far away!" So taking aim, and waiting for a chance not to hurt his wife, he let fly 
and shottlje Spirit. Both Spirit and wife simultaneously disappeared.' It would seem 
that the Hebu had dragged his victim to the water's edge and thence thrown her in; 
fortunately she had caught hold of the bushes alongside the river bank, and came up 
to the surface. On meeting her husband, she told him she thought she had been dead 
and never expected to see him more ; she told him also how the Hebu had threatened 
to visit their place again. They therefore went over to her mother's home, and stayed 
there a long while. At last the old man thought it was time to look over his cassava 
and plantains, and with his wife and brother-in-law returned to the scene of the 
outrage. The brother, who was a powerful medicine-man, led the way. As he went 
along he was accosted by a beautiful girl, who, staring into his eyes, rushed up ready 
to put her arms around his neck, and then drew back. Now, except at a drinking feast 
and when she is drunk, no Indian woman would behave in this bold manner, and it 
was thus that they recognized her to be the Hebu. The medicine-man just looked 
at her in silence, and she fell dead. The wife also met her death shortly after, and 
they then remembered having noticed the token; she had omitted to bathe after a 
meal some days before. But the parents of the deceased girl were very fond of their 
good old son-in-law, and gave him the younger of their two remaining daughters as a 
helpmate.^ But the elder one becoming jealous, went over to the husband's place 
and picked a quarrel with her younger sister; this made the latter go and tell the 
old man that she was aft-aid to remain with him any longer. But he said: " No! I 
don't want your sister. She is much too passionate for an old man like me, whereas 
you and I get along very well together." The parents then gave a drinking party, 
at which the old man got so drunk that he fell into his hammock; whereupon the elder 
sister got in also. He was not so drunk, however, as not to be able to turn her out, 
which he did. She then said that they would have to kill her before she would let 

1 When a person suddenly disappears from any place without leaving a trace, under circumstances which 
in plain English would be described as murder and disposal of the body, the Indians ascribe it to the Evil 

* Among many savage races, the husband has marital rights over his wife's sisters, and vice versa; 
I have found several traces of this communal form of marriage in the Guianas.— W. E. R. 


him alone. And so the brother killed her. On seeing all the trouble that had 
arisen, and recognizing how he had been the cause of it, the old man offeretl to go 
away, but the brother said he would kill him before he would let him go. And so 
the old man stayed mth his wife's parents in the customary way, and continued to 
live loug, happy, and contented. 

120. The Bush Spirit Tricked While Hunting Frogs (A) 

A family received an in\'itation to go to a drink-party, and they all accepted except 
the daughter, who. in spite of her parents' wishes, refused to go. And so she was left 
at home, all alone. By and by, late in the afternoon, there came to see her a young- 
woman friend whom she had not seen for a very long time; at least she thought it was 
her old friend Dai-adalla (lit., ' My- Knife ') , but in reality her visitor was Yawahu, 
who had taken on the real friend's shape and appearance, the better to carry out hia 
evil designs.' Being such supposedly good friends, the Yawahu addressed the girl 
as Dai-adalla, and asked what she was doing at home all by herself.^ AMien the girl 
had told her that she had refused to go to the drink-party, the Yawahu said: "Oh, 
very well. I will stay to-night and keep you company," and so she did. In the 
evening when darkness was coming on, a lot of frogs were to be heard croaking, which 
made the girl ask her friend whether she ate those creatures, and finding that .she was 
really very fond of that dish, they agreed to go straightway and catch some. They 
went out together into the darkness, each in opposite directions, and after a time they 
began to call out, the one asking the other what she had caught. The Yawahu 
answered, ''Plenty, but I am eating them as fast as I can gather them." Now, this 
peculiar reply — eating the creatures raw — frightened the girl, who thereupon recog- 
nized for the first time the real nature of her fictitious friend. And when the Yawahu 
called out. "Dai-adalla! how many have you got? " the girl responded, "Plenty, but I 
am putting them into my calabash. ' ' The latter was thinking hard all the time how to 
escape from her companion to a place of safety; she knew only too well that, notwith- 
standing the darkness, the Yawahu could tell her whereabouts by the sound of her voice. 
So when Yawahu called out to her once more, the girl shouted back: "Hush! Don't 
speak, or make such noise. The frogs are getting frightened, and I shall not be able to 
catch any more!" WTien silence reigned again, the girl steal tliily retraced her steps 
to the house, crept gently in. and without the slightest sound turned all the pots 
upside down. This done, she threw all the frogs away, and climbed up on the roof 
to await developments. These were not long in coming, nor was the Yawahu, for, 
waiting a wliile, and recei\ing no response to liis call, he recognized that he had been 
tricked and hurried back to the house. Here he groped about in the darkness, and 
turned up pot after pot, but his prey was nowhere underneath. "Ah! " he exclaimed, 
loud enough for liis intended \'ictim to hear, "I would have eaten her at the same 
time as the frogs if I had thought she was going to get aw^y from me." And so he 
searched unsuccessfully — there were many many pots — until dawn, when he had to 
leave. The girl then descended from the roof and waited for her people to return, 
and on their arrival she told them how the Yawahu had visited her in the disgidse 
of her friend. The father said, "Next time we tell you to come with us, you will 

131. Since Spu-its are supposed to have a peculiar fondness for 
tobacco (Sect. ^7), and to be continually inhaling its fumes, the 
smoke of the fragrant weed is largely used in their invocation (Sect. 

> The "knife " which gave rise to the girl's name was probably the labba-tooth instrument employed by 
the old-time Arawaks. .Vmong the other Indians there are records of knives and kindred implements 
being made from the teeth of the pirai fish, from a piece of bamboo, etc. 

2 Intimate friends call one another by the identical name: the same thing occm^ among men (Sect. 265), 


SOS). Among the Caribs, the first two Sjjirits that are called on by 
the medicine-man with his rattle are Mawari (Sect. 309) and Makai- 
abani. The latter puts in an appearance with the tobacco smoke, 
in which he is enveloped : otherwise he remains in the rattle {mardka) , 
coming out only when this is shaken. The foi-mcr's weakness for 
tobacco constitutes the subject of the Carib legend here given. 

123. Mawari and Tobacco Smoke (C) 

There was once an Indian who was extremely fond of smoking: morning, noon, and 
night he would bring out his little bit of cotton, strike the stones together, make fire, 
and then light his tobacco. E^■en when walking out in the bush he would continue 
smoking. While thus trudging tlirough the forest one day and puffing out clouds 
of smoke, Mawari, one of the Yurokons, or Bush Spirits, smelt the tobacco, and, 
taking such a fancy to it, sent his daughter to fetch the man in. She was a pretty 
woman and, approaching the Indian, asked him whither he was going. He told her 
he was searching for game, but she adAosed liim to come with her to her father's place; 
in fact she warned him that as the old Bush Spirit had really sent for him, it would be 
wiser on his part, not to refuse. And perhaps because she was indeed so pretty, he 
did not hesitate to accompany her. Wlien he reached lier home, Maw^i asked him a 
lot of questions about the tobacco, and begged him to teach liim how to smoke. Ha^^ng 
learned the art. and taken a \'iolent fancy to it, Mawdri next insisted upon the Indian 
remaining, and preparing the tobacco leaves as they might be required. And so it 
came to pass that the latter took up his abode with the Bush Spirits as the son-in-law 
of a Yiu-okon. Wien he was given the alligator stool to sit upon, he felt a bit scared, 
but his wife told him not to be afraid, because the creatiu-e would not bite him.' He 
remained a long time with these Spirits, so long indeed that a luxuriant growth of hair 
began to cover his face, body, and limbs. His marital relations prospered, Mawiiri's 
daughter in the meanwhile having borne him three children. One day his wife 
ad\'ised him to go \isit liis mother, so, making ready for the joiu-ney, he started off. 
On Teaching his old home, lus mother was very glad to see him, but noticing how 
he was covered all over with hair, remarked, "Wliere have you been all this while? 
You have turned into a Yuiokon, I think." Althovigh her surmises were not very far 
from the truth, her son denied all knowledge of those people, and thought it prudent 
not to remain too long in case he should be asked some more equally awkward ques- 
tions. And when he took his departure, he carried away with him the cassava 
which his mother had baked; but neither he nor his wife ate of it. he having become 
so accustomed now to the various bush fruits and she never touching tliat kind of 
food . The Indian never returned home again to his mother, being ever busy preparing 
the tobacco for his father-in-law. 

123. Whenever my Indian friends wished to impress me with the 
power and importance of any of their legendary beings, they invaria- 
bly ascribed to it great size: thus, a black tiger as big as a house 
meant a very dangerous brute; a bat as big as a tree indicated 
the "vampire," that sucks people's blood at night with fatal results. 
I learned that for similar reasons these Forest Spirits are always 
associated with unusually big things (Sects. 27, 147). Both Arawaks 
and Warraus have a story of this nature: I attach the former version. 

1 The stool upon which the Carib medicine-man sits during the incantation is generally in the form of 
an alligator. 


The Bush Spirit with Big Ideas (A) 

A Konoko-kuyuka, meeting a man one day far out in the bush, asked him what he 
was doing there. Learning that he had come to hunt, he told him to go and catch 
some akara (a species of black land crab). After a while he returned to the banab 
bringing some with him, but when the Spirit saw them, he said those were not the 
kind he required. "Come with me. I will show you what I want." With this, 
he led the huntsman to a big hole in the ground, put his right arm in, and pulled out 
two armadillos. "This is the sort of akara that I need. AMiat you brought me were 
only spiders." They returned to the banab, when the Spirit told him to go and fetch 
some cassava. Proceeding to the nearest house, the man soon returned with a few 
cassava cakes, but these were notwhat the Spirit wanted. They went to a neigh- 
boring tree, where, pointing to an immense toad-stool, the Konoko-kuyuha changed 
it into a cassava cake, explaining that this was what he meant.' The Spirit then sent 
him for a cooking-pot, telling him that he would find one lying among the roots of a 
certain tree, which he described to him. The man went as directed, but could see 
only a bush-master snake. "Wlien he came back, and reported what he had seen, the 
Spirit said: " Didn't you notice that the snake was coiled up like a pot? Wiy didn't 
you bring it as you were told?" So the man again went on his way, and when he 
reached the spot, lo and behold! there was a real cooking-p<jt painted in all the colors 
of the snake. A\'Tieu he had brought it to the banab, the Spii'it told him to bring 
firewood next. This he did, but when the Spirit saw it, he said, "That is not what 
I asked you for." So he took the man with him to a big dead tree, shook it a little, 
and made it fall, and then carried it to where they were camped. "That is what / 
call firewood," he said: "Wliat you brought me was only birds' nests!" At any 
rate, they both soon had the fire lighted, and the armadillos cooked. The Spirit ate 
all his up in a few mouthfuls, but the man could eat only a portion of his. "^liy 
haven't you finished yours?" remarked the former; "No wonder you Indians are so 
thin. Look at me. I am big and fat and strong because I have swallowed the whole 
of my armadillo."^ Having rested in their hammocks, they started hunting again, 
and by evening time returned with a large quantity of game. \Mien their bellies 
were satisfied, they stacked and smoked the remainder of the meat on the babra- 
cote. After they had retired for the night, the Spirit said that he expected a tiger 
would come to steal the meat, and therefore instructed the man to keep good watch. 
By and by, the tiger came, and the man accordingly woke the Konoko-kuyuha. 
Raising himself from his hammock to get a better look at the creature, the Spirit .said: 
"That IS no tiger. That is what I call a yawarri" (opossum, Didelphys sp.), and 
turned round to resume his slumbers. The man pondered over all this for a long time, 
and remarked: " Well, if by my kind of tiger he means a yawarri, what sort of a thing 
does he mean by his kind of tiger?" He thus became much frightened, and cleared 
out, leaving Konoko-kuyuha in the hammock. 

134. To conclude this natural history, so to speak, of the Spirits of 
the Forest, it may be mentioned that, with very rare exceptions, 
as the Mansuiskiri (Sect. 97), they shrink from exposure to sunlight 
or firelight, from hearmg their names called, or particulars of their 
origm talked about. This idea ex[)lauis why an Indian will almost 
invariably refuse to tell these spirit-legends in the daytime, when 

■.Vccording lo Dance (p. 202), the large woody fungi growing out of the fallen and decayed trunlcs of trees 
are named by the Demerara River Arawaks ■ ■ Icamara-sana " and also the "Bush-devil's cassava bread." 

■ In the Warrau version of this story the Bush Spirit asks the man to brilng him peppers, but he means 
a scorpion: then a hammock, but he means a tiger, whose color-stripes represent the cotton "cross-ties;" 
and finally a hammock-rope, but he means a snake. 
15961° — 30 ETH— 15 1.3 


he might be heard by the particular Spuit s])oken about and subse- 
quently be mysteriously punished.' There are certamly many 
examples in the Indian folk-lore illustrative of the dire results conse- 
quent on mentioning either the Spirit's name or his particular origin 
(Sects. 55, 133, 135,176). 

125. To mimic the sounds of their voices is of course as bad as 
laughmg at Spirits (Sect. 59) or mentioning their names. 

The Woman Who Mimicked the Bush Spirit (A) 

A man went out hunting one day, taking his wife with him.^ Lea\ing her one 
morning at the banab, he warned her that a Yawahu would be passing, and that it 
would be whistling like a bird, but that she must not imitate the sound in any way, 
because if she did each of her feet immediately would be turned into a sharp piece 
of 6tone. She had been by herself some time when she heard a bird whistling, and 
feeling somewhat lonely without any company, thought she would ' ' call " it. No sooner 
had she imitated the sound than the Yawahu, which it really was, became extremely 
angry, and changed her feet into two sharp-pointed .stones (c/. Sect. 126): more than 
this, the Spirit changed her heart into stone also, thus making her "wild" toward 
her husband. The result was, that when her husband joined her in the afternoon, 
she tried to kill him, but he, recognizing at a glance what had happened, turned 
on his heels and ran as fast as possible down to the creek, into which he ducked 
and dived across; coming up on the opposite bank, he rested himself awhile. It was 
not long before she reached the creek, and failing to see her husband, concluded that 
he must be in hiding somewhere among the rushes and mud, which she trampled in 
all directions with her stony spikes. Stamping here and there, she gave vent to her 
wrath every now and again, sajing: "You brute! Wait till I catch you. I know 
what I'll do with you." She little knew that her husband was listening, and 
smiling at her all the while. And so she continued stamping and swearing until 
she at last stuck one of her feet into an alligator that was lying there, and hauled it 
up on the bank, "sticking" it again and again, in the full belief that it was her 
husband. Thoroughly satisfied with her work, she now returned to the banab. her 
man making tracks for home. But when he got there, his brothers-in-law inquired 
of their sister, and would not believe what her husband said abotit her having mim- 
icked the Yawahu, and her feet being changed into stone. Finally they tried to kill 
him. Seeing that they were threatening him, he offered to show them the actual 
place where it all happened. This being agreed to. they took ui) their bows and 
arrows to follow him, and finally reached the banab. No wife was there. So the 
husband imitated the Yawahu's whistle — now that the Spirit was nowhere in the neigh- 
borhood and well out of hearing, no harm could follow — and who should come running 
up but his stone-footed wife, storming with rage, ready to destroy not only her man 
but her brothers also. The latter, however, being forewarned, put an arrow into 
her, and she fell dead; they knew now that the man had spoken the truth. 
. f . — ■ — 

' We ourselves are blessed with a corresponding weakness in believing that the best occasion for a real 
good ghost-story is when gathered around the fireside, and that there is much truth in the old adage, " Talk 
of the Devil, and lie is sure to appear." 

2 A man never takes his wife or child with him on Ihe actual hunt, where one or the other would only 
be in his way. She always accompanies him if he proposes being out some days, when he will leave her 
during the daytime at the temporary shed, or banab, while he himself searches the neighborhood for game, 
returning to her before nightfall, -is a matter of fact, even when men join together on a hunting expedi- 
tion, and the banab has been made, it is the rule rather than the exception for each to go his own way and 
thus the better scour the surrounding coimtry in all directions. It is the wife's business, if present, to 
erect the babracote, as well as dry and cook the food. 


136. And so, when all is said and done, it is just as well that we 
should be circumspect in our conduct and not incur the enmity, 
with all its attendant consequences, of these denizens of the forest. 
Indeed, it is far better to keep out of the clutches of these Spirits 
altogether, and give them a wide berth. Just consider, for uistance, 
what happened to the Warrau who would insist on associating 
with them. 

The Danger of Associating with Spirits (W) 

There were two brothers living together, both of whom used to go hunting. During 
the course of the day, when deep in the heart of the forest, they heard the sounds 
and revelry of a drinking-party, and this made the elder one say, "Come, let us go 
sport with those people." But the younger one replied, ''No! It can not be a real 
party out here in the bush away from everybody: it can not possibly be proper people 
who are sporting; they must be Spirits of some sort." Now the big brother insisted, 
and, proceeding in the direction whence the sounds came, they reached a house 
where apparently real people were much enjoying themselves. The visitors were 
made to sit down and drinks were handed to them. The elder one indulged and 
was happy; the younger refused because he was afraid of what might happen to him. 
As a matter of fact, the latter's suspicions were correct, because the people at the 
house who were sporting were really not people after all but the Spirits of the Warekki,, 
or large RaLn-frogs, who had taken on human shapes.' After awhile, both the men 
came away, and as night was fast approaching they made themselves a banab, and 
the elder sent the younger to fetch firewood; he did so. WTien the banab had been 
built and the fire lighted, they slung their hammocks. By and by, the elder brother 
told the younger to put some more wood on the fire, and when he had done so, told 
him that it was not enough: again he told him the same thing, and still once more 
the same, so that with all the extra fuel there was an immense fire blazing away now. 
After some time the younger man smelt a very peculiar strong odor, and looking around, 
saw his brother's legs hanging from out his hammock close over the fire. "Look out! 
your legs are getting scorched." But all his brother did was to say, Akha'l Akka'!'^ 
and draw his feet into the hammock. And it was not long before he again put his 
feet into danger, a fact which, considering that he had not been drunk at the 
party, led the vigilant brother to know that it was a token of some evil about 
to befall them. At any rate, the latter, seeing that his warning was disregarded, 
bothered no more about the matter, but let his brother's feet continue burning. 
After a while, their owner realized for himself that his lower limbs were pretty 
well charred, and, looking down, saw that both feet were entirely gone, and most 
of the flesh around the shin-bones destroyed. All he did was to clean the fleish off 
in its entirety, and then, with his knife, scrape both shin-bones down fo sharp 
points ((/. Sect. 1-25). There he lay helpless in his hammock. He cotdd not hunt 
any more, though it is true that now and again when a bird flew past, or any little 
animal ran along, he would cock out a leg and spear it with the pointed tip, a trick 
in which he soon got very expert.' 

127. Ilis younger brother would sometimes carry him carefully to the shade of 
some bullet tree, and then climb the trunk and shake the branches, so as to enable him 

1 These Raic-frogs are peculiar in that they make an especially loud noise at the time of the iirst rainy 
season, after which they cease. 

3 This is an e.xclamation denoting astonishment or surprise. 

3 In aCarib version of the story, it is a Yurokon by name of Araiyok6 who gives the brother his pointed 
feet, by way of punishment. 


to pick the fruit as it fell to the ground. At other times he would shoot little birds 
for him, so much that' feathered game soon got to be very scarce in the immediate 
neighborhood, and herein began the trouble. The sick man never liked his brother to 
be out of sight and would always be calling him back, even before he had an opportu- 
nityof letting fly his an'ow. At last the latter became exasperated at being continually 
called back before even taking a shot, and yet was afraid of running away because 
his brother had threatened to kill him should he eVer dare to go out of his sight: he 
only waited his chance and it was not long in coming. One day he said: "Brother! 
Don't shout out for me just now, because my arrow has stuck tip in a tree which I 
must go climb. It will be some time before I can possibly return." All this how- 
ever was a lie, an excuse under cover of which he considered he could get away in 
safety. The sick man waited and waited in his hammock and at last hoUoa'd; but 
no brother came. Again and again he holloa'd, he shouted, and he screamed; still 
no brother came. He slipped out of his hammock and started in pursuit; to his 
astonishment he found that with his bone points he could travel a great deal faster 
than he could before on his feet. Thus walking and running, running and walking, 
along his brother's tracks, he started a deer. Mistaking the trail of the latter for that 
of his brother, he followed the creature and, soon getting within reach, threw himself 
upon it and pinned it with his bone points to the ground. And as he stuck it here 
and there, he excused himself by sajdng, "I am sorry, Brother, to have killed 
you, but it is your own fault; you tried to run away and leave me." On turning 
over the carcass, he noticed the animal's black mouth. "Ah! That has got stained 
from the bullet-tree fruit." But on looking at the fore-legs he noticed something 
strange. "Eh? Let me count the fingers — one, two, three. Now, how many have 
I? — One, two, three — four! five!! Let me look at the foot now. It has toes — one, 
two, three. I'll count mine now. One, two, three — four! five!!" And thus he 
pondered and finally concluded that the creature he had just slain could not possibly 
be his brother (Sect. -26). He thereupon returned to his banab, where he laid himself 
in his hammock. 

128. In the meantime the fugitive reached home and told the others: "Something 
has happened to my brother. We can not be friends with him any more. We must 
kill him," So, leading the way, the others followed him into the bush where they 
surrounded the banab under which the elder brother was resting. They were afraid 
to attack him where he was, because of the skilful way he could tise his bone-points 
as spears: their idea was to tempt him out into the open, where he would have to 
use these bones of his as feet, so they would be enabled to attack him with impunity. 
Thus, by sending a swift-flying bird to hover around his hammock, he would be sure 
to try to pin it in his customary fashion, and of course missing his aim, would jump 
out of his hammock in pursuit. With this design in view, they sent him a little 
huku-huku (hummingbird), which flew here, there, and in all directions around his 
hammock; but it was not swift enough, and after many trials he succeeded in spearing 
it. So they sent him hura (Sciurus xsluans), the little squirrel (A'rawak, shimo- 
ok6ri), which is much swifter in its movements than the huku-huku. He had a 
good many chances, but every time it passed and repassed his hammock, the bone- 
point missed its mark, and thus the little creature decoyed him out onto the open, 
closer and closer to the ring of peojjle anumd. And when he gut quite near, they 
fell upon and destroyed him. 

139. Should unforeseen circumstances, however, force one into 
close quarters with Bush Spirits, various procedures may be adopted 
to get rid of them. Wan-aus and Makusis took measures to exorcise 
evil spirits from the dancing-ground. Schomburgk describes how 
this was effected by the former tribe: Proceeding slowly to the 
spot chosen, mth clanging Thevetia seeds, the Hoho-liit, or Master 


of the Ceremonies, ^tc, blew upon a small flute, in imitation of a 
monkey's voice, which regulated the movement. Reaching there, 
the others made a circle round him, when a second signal on the flute 
warned them all to lay their instruments on the ground, and bend 
themselves down, until he had murmured some unintelligible words. 
At a thii-d signal they picked up their instruments, straightened 
themselves, and were now allowed to pipe away (ScR, i, 153). With 
the Makusis, a deafening universal shout, like dogs howling, constitutes 
on every occasion the introduction and finale of their combined 
games and dances wherewith to expel the evil spirits from the neigh- 
borhood (ScR, II, 194). A somewhat similar course was followed on 
the Orinoco at the wedding festivities of the Guayquiries and Mapojes. 
As soon as day breaks, there comes from the bush close at hand a 
dancing party with flutes and kettledrums, which circuits backward 
and forward round the houses of the brides, whence ^Dresently there 
emerges an old woman with a plate of food, which she presents to 
one of the dancers; they then all return at top speed to the bush, 
where, scattering the plate and food, one of them will shout, "Here! 
you devil of a dog (perro demonio) ! Take this food, and don't come 
and ui^set our fun!" (G, i, 160). To prevent the Bush Spirits com- 
ing into the house, a hunter, on his return fi'om the chase, will shout 
out the name Shimarabu-akaradani (Sect. 95) before entering (Sect. ■ 
124)- Other methods may be adopted for withstanding the venge- 
ance of the Spirits of those animals which the hunter has just 
returned from slaughtering (Sect. 243). An aUigator skull stuck up 
in a Carib house will prevent the Yurokon entering it (Sect. £51). 

130. So also, when traveling in the bush, forest, and other places, 
where all these Spirits are -lurking, one shoidd never be without a 
companion, and it is always advisable to satisfy- oneself as to the 
cause and origin of any unusual sound. "The Indian always prefers 
to travel in large numbers: his dread of evil spirits is so great, that he 
will subject himself to great inconvenience rather than travel alone" 
(ScG, 262). "It is a duty to one's self to turn and look about 
when a stick falls from a tree, or when a crackUng of twigs is heard: 
for there walk together always a bad and a good spirit (Sect. 84) — 
the one wishing to injure, the other to protect living people. At 
sight of any one in the forest or on the river, the evil spirit is ready to 
harm: but the good spirit says, 'Stay! he may be a fi-iend of mine. 
Let us see if he will show liis face when I call.' He then breaks a 
twig or a branch. The person is saved from harm if he looks 
around, but is in danger of being hurt if he will not look." (Da, 262.) 
Whenever Indians — Warraus and others — traveling in the bush hear 
any unusual cry or uncanny noise, they will sing out, "Show who 
you are, or else bring something to eat!" or some similar expression 
(Sects. 116. 130). If a Spirit is met on the road, the Caribs know 
how to divert its attention (Sect. 109) with a string puzzle. 


The Rain-frog Wife (W) 

A party of hunters were walking along the pathway in the bush, one behind the 
other, the hindermost being a long way apart from the others. He heard the smaller 
Rain-frog [ho-ha'ia] croaking, so he shouted, "Don't make such a noise, Ho-ha'ra, 
but come out and show yourself! " and Ho-hara came up from behind in the shape of a 
woman. "Wio calls me? You?" "Yes, I called you; you are a nice wench, too, 
and had better come home with me. " She being agreeable, went home, and lived 
with him a long time. But his people were continually nagging at her. You see, being 
really a frog, she had no waist, her hips were narrow and her foot was long ; and accord- 
ingly her step-parents would always be calling her names, as "Froggie, where's your 
waist?" "Small-hip," "Lanky-foot." Her life, once full of joy, was now replete with 
misery, so she determined upon returning to her own people. She went into the bush, 
and her man, following the trail, got almost in touch with her; but just then she 
jumped into a little puddle and disappeared. He put his hand in, and felt all the way 
round, but no further trace of her could he lind. You can always hear her, however, 
at the commencement of the rainj' season. 

Chapter IX 


Animals as Sentient Human Beings 

Preliminary (130A). Fables, Tales, and Legends (1S1-162D). 

130A. It is proposed to devote this chapter to a collection of 
legends dealing with the many beasts and bhds met with in the 
forest, interesting in that they are aU represented as thinking, talking, 
and acting as do sentient human beings. They are also believed to 
possess Spuits 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 su])posed to have taken place a long while 
ago; but m those days, so the Akawais say, Makuriaima made man 
and anmial all of one speech, advismg them to live in unity, and judg- 
ing 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 devihnent at the 
instigation of the Sphit of some person departed. It is also a firm 
article of faith that the medicme-man, to whom nothing is impossible, 
can effect transformation of hunself or others, similar to those pro- 
duced by the Sphits. In addition, there is a widespread Indian 
belief that at every eclipse of the moon animals are metamorphosed — 
a tapu- may change mto a snake, a man mto 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 anunals 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 Tip 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 biuld the babracote. to do 



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 our- 
selves." That afternoon they retvurned 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 some- 
what 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.' 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.^ 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 their 
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 fathor-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 

1 This ahawara is ttie 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). (&) Her newly-acquired husband must not bring it 
into the house, otherwise he would lose his luck in hunting that particular animal (Sect. £44)- (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. 


nothing wrong in wliat 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.' But in spite of his objections, the two sisters-in-law persisted 
in following him about, and wiiile they would be bathing ■with his wife at the water- 
side, with liim minding the baby on the river-bank, they would try to dash spray 
over him.^ 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.^ 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 dasliiiig water over him. The result was that he screamed out, "I 
burn! I burn!" and fljdng 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. 
^Mien 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 carrj' 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 yam, because as soon as she 
had completed everything, he killed her, and remo\dng the head, cut up the rest of 
her body and put it on the babracote to dry. ^\'hen 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 gniund 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-omament. 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 recog- 
nized 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 

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 weaJiens 
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. 


from their moorings, and getting into one, made liis 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 iu, 
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 crj-ing out " Sister-Uttle- 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 falUng and the mother was preparing 
food for her husband's return. AMiile thus occupied the child started crjing, 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, "^\'hat 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 fonn of the old woman, and so had deceived the 
mother. WTien the husband at last returned, the distracted woman told him what 
had happened, and they both started out to search, but found nothing. Next morn- 
ing 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. Fh-st 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. Thtiugh the parents 
had not the slightest idea that such was the case, it was the Tiger who came everj' 
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 yoimg maiden soon became a woman, nourished with all 
the meat that Tiger provided. [Quandocumque menstruavit sanguinem lamba\at.] 
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 wae 
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 ailment, 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 


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, nhe went to 
take it off, but pretended she could not stand the heat, and turning to Tiger, said, 
"No! it ie 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 inti- 
mate 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 thej' loosened their hammock-ropes 
and hurried themselves to leave. Uliile they were doing so, a young man, a cousin, 
said: "Well! I can not leave this grindstone here: I shall want it for sharpening." ' 
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,^ 

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 ui 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 sprimg. 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 arri\'ing 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, "'RTiere did you get that beautiful woman? " He told her that he had 

1 The grindstone referred to here is a large chunk of sandstone, which is brought into the Pomeroon 
District from the Waini by way of trade and barter. 

2 \Vhen, 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, they 
found only the corpse there. Hence there was no one left to tell her what actually did transpire subse- 
quently.— W. E. R. 


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 di\'ulge 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: at 
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 sdl 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 betrajdng 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 didactt/lus] 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 JJau! Ilau! 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, "\\'hat has killed you, my sweetheart?" But the yoimg 
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 ine 
for a sweetheart." And she did.' 

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 ciuite a reputation for discovering their where- 
abouts. 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 con- 

' I liapppn to know a woman wbo 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. 


sented 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 imiversally 
acknowledged as the best man for finding bees' nests, so she made a name for herself 
in the way of brewing ex<'ellent rassiri 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 hef, his luck flew, and since that time honey has always been more 
or less scarce.' 

136. The Max 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 \dew, 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 babra- 
cotes, one close to the gi'ound, and another high up on top.- 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 babra- 
cote, but she knew why her husband had been punished. 

136A. The Womax who Battled with Two Tigees (W)^ 

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 

1 1 am afraid my readers will be weary ad nauseam of the repetition, in these legends, of rases in which the 
ton?ue gets loosened under the influence of drinli:. When, however, one realizes that these bacchanahan 
orgies constitute an inte^al 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. 

- -\mong all these Indians the making of the babracote is woman's work. 

3 For another Warrau version of this story see Sect. 300. 


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 verj' 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.' The Tiger had another 
chance and jumped on another bunch, but with the same result. He made a third 
attempt, and on thisoccasion fell down on the pimplers, upon which he was impaled, 
what with the weight of the bimch of fruit on top of him. Everything was soon quiet, 
and early next morning when the young woman looked to see- what had hapjiened, 
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 do\vn 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 vnth 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)^ 

There were once three brothers. The middle one was a very good hunter, and 
this story is all about him and his bird wife. \Miile 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 [Sarcorhaviphus 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 mahuari 
tune [Sect. 75] on all sorts of musical instruments, from the harri-harri flute to the 

1 This part of the story will be understood by remembering that in this Mauritia palm the bunches of 
fruit form around the top of the trunk a more or less circular obstacle to anything passing to the foliage 

2 This story bears somewhat close comparison with those given in Sects. 142 and 303. 


rattle . The whole place looked very pretty because it was decorated with their red 
necklaces, white dresses, and black wing-tips.' All around, hung up by cords to 
the beams, were the dau-u heiokre; these were long pieces of wood, shaped somewhat 
like your [i. e. European] "indian-clubs," bigger below than above, all beautifully 
painted and tasseled.^ 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 v^^ent 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 cjuietly 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 liigh growing tliick 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. ^ 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 tliat 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.* 
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 tlirashing. 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 treatment meekly 
and never upbraided him. She merely told him that she proposed taking him to 
see her father.* 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 

1 These birds have a feather-coloring somewhat as here mentioned. 

' 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. R. 

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 evolu- 
tions each side advances and retires with a rhythmic stamping movement. The idea intended to be con- 
veyed 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. 

* Though in human form, she still had the attributes and tastes of the Vulture. 

6 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. 


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.' "You 
must not be afraid of sajing good-day to my father," she was careful enough to 
admonish him, •'although he is a very celebrated man." \Mien therefore the couple 
readier her father's place, he went up and shook the old man's hand.^ 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 treat- 
ing his daughter, and felt too little affection to warrant his asking him to prolong his 
stay. He knew alsQ 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 beat- 
ing the girl, especially since she is so far away from all her family.^ 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?* Her son, however, refused "to hear" and com- 
menced beating his wife again.* On this occasion however, she picked up the 
feather covering — the very one that she had lent him when they went to \'isit her 
father's place — and putting it on, started to fly hcmieward. 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.^ 

1 Upon my asking for further information about the "steps," I was told that this structiue had been 
erected by the birds specially to admit of their human visitor reaching the Vulture coiuitry. — W. E. R. 

2 When I e.xpressed 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 occa- 
sions 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.* 
* My informant is firmly convinced that when \-idtures assume an anthropomorphic form the wattle- 
like growth on top of the beak becomes a sort of nose-ring. 

' 6 It is not a little remarkable that all my EnglLsh-speaking Indian friends invariably employ this 
expression "to hear "for "to heed." I have noticed and recorded the same peciUiarit.v among the Queens- 
land 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. 

"Creoles as well as English-speaking Indians iix the Pomeroon and elsewhere, from the association of 
these two species of birds, speak of the Vulture as the Carrion-Crow Governor or "Boss." 


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 liunter 
who lived a long while ago. Late in the afternoon, however, he shot a "baboon." 
as you Creoles call it [Myretes], which proved to be a female. It was too late tobring 
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 verj' 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 sus- 
picions 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.' 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 lime — 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 top- 
most 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 t)ther. 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 tnink 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 difhcultios and get him safe to the gi'ound. 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. 16S]. 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 

* When a monkey is barbecued, the digits, owing to muscular contraction, invariably become strongly 

15061° — ao ETH— 15 14 


his liouse 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 disap- 
peared. 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 Disobedient Son Kjlled by a Tiger (W) 

Two boys were playing around the liouse. 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. ^^'hen 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 sayiug, "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 detec- 
tion, 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.' 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 accom- 
pany him: the champion thereupon agreed to destroy the animal.- 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: 

1 It was a custom of the old-time Warraus thus to castigate themselves with the halves of a broken 
arrow (Sect. 331) in 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 hebv^akka, is that people in the days of long ago used to wear it on their necklaces, and that it then 
passed current in trade and barter in just the same way as does our money. (Cf. Sect. 24I-) — W. E. R. 


"Now is an opportunity for trying your mettle. I know how well you tan 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.' But they cut up the 
tiger carcass, "fine, fine, fine." The champion then turned to the father and con- 
soled 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 youk 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, ho 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 insects, 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 reqtiest, they shouted, "M'hat is the use of asking for the head 
when we haven't got even the body? " 

140A. The Biter Bit (C) 

Tawani-wari was a Carib Indian who one day caught a young eagle, which he took 
home with him. It became quite tame, and Tawarii-wari had to go out regularly and 
shoot baboons to feed it with. But the baboons did not like this, so they held a meet- 
ing 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 foul- 
ing 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 [TlirasijnHiis harpi/in]. 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 pnrpose 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. 

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. 


141. How Alligator C.\3ie to Have his Present Shape ' 

Adaili [Hadalli] is the Suu, but when long ago he came to earth in the shape of a 
man, he was called Arawidi. Once, after fishing in a fa^'orite 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 term.s, but to this day the alligator shows 
the marks of the thrashing on its battered head, and in the notches along its tail.^ 

142. How the Birds Obtained their Distinctive Markings'" 

An Arawak hunter captures a Vulture, daughter of Anuaninia."' She lays aside her 
feathers, appears before him as a lieautiful 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 dis- 
card 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 safety. Then follow his efforts, extending over several 
years, to regain hi.s 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 
[Lanius 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.^ . . . The Warracabba, or trumpeter 
bird [Psophia crepitans].'' 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 ov^r. 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." 

' AccordiiiR 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). 

- 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 inquii'ies. 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 sup- 
posei! to have I >een long and fie.xible. { BrB , 1:^2. ) 

'See BrB, 29. 

* I find that this name should be Annuannn, the carrion crow: indeed it almost would seem that this 
legend is but an .\rawak version of the latter part of the Warrau story given in Sect. IST.—'W. E. R. 

s 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 malmgerers. The Fai-fai-a is now always making a 
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 Hying down into an 
ants' nest, thus getting her legs, which had previously been nice and plump, picked quite clean. On the 
saine occasion, the Marudi (.Penelope sp.), thinking some glowing hot embers to be an insect, swallowed 
them, and so got his fiery Ihroal. Compare Brett's story in Sect. W2. 

' Sandals are in common use in the hinterland of Guiana. 


Let me have a trial of them," The Turtle, who was very proud of them, said: "Cer- 
tainly. 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.' 

144. Black Tiger, Wau-uta, and the Broken Arrow (W) 

There was once a man who had two brother.s-in-law. While he was one of the 
imluekiest <;f 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 liim]. 
So one day they took hun 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 liim to follow 
led to the lair of Tobe-horoanna.^ 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? " Wliile thus talking to himself, he heard a great rushing noise approach- 
ing, 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. Pamuing 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 tlie 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 ytm 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. Wliom could he consult better than Wau-uta, the 
Tree-frog? ^ So he went along until he found the tree wherein she resided, and 
stopping underneath, he commenced calling upon her to help him; and he continued 

> It is of interest to note tliat among f lie Gran Chaco Indians, the head of a turtle should be an ■ amulet ' 
for hunting deer (Nor, .58).— W. E. R. 

2 Tobe-horo-arma, signifj'ing literally in Warrau "Tiger-blaclj-slcin." is the name given to an immense 
cruelly-savage beast believed to exist in tlie depths of the forest. From the mformation 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 
ctiaso. Sgc Sect. 2^S. 


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.' -As he stood wailing under- 
neath 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 Doro- 
quara [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 
si^e, 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 ita 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 tiling, 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.^ 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 xine rope '' hanging a long way off: tiie arrow hit the mark. 
Replacing the arrow on the bowstring, Wau-uta instructed hmi 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, ^lien 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. 

> This was the exact exBlanation given when I interrupted my informant, to ascertain why the crying 
took place.— W.E.R. 

s In the Arawak story of Adaba (Sect. US) it is the fungus on the arrow itself which prevents it hitting 
the mark. 

» In the Arawak story just referred to a flshing-line serves the purpose of the vine rope. 


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 tliey built a banab, wliere the sister was left all alone, wliile 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. Tliis happened for 
many days. Now tlrere was an Adaba [tree-trog] 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. "WTiat are you holloing 
for?" she said; "it would be much better if you stopped that noise and brought me 
some game to eat" [Sect. ISO]. 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 dowTa 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 
himting, and was informed that they had shot nothing, he told them he would like 
to see the arrfiws they were using. When they showed him these, he burst into a 
hearty laugh, and pointing to the fungus that was growing e\'erywhere 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 tlien told their sister 
to spin a fishing-line wliich, 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 fi-shing line. 
Adaba also had a curious trick in shooting with his arrow, because instead of taking 
aim at an animal direct, he would point tlie arrow up into the sky, so that in its descent 
it would stick bito the creature's back. The brothers began to learn tliis 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, tlie woman said to him, "Husband, let ut, 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 tliis, 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 liim, 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 Tigee (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! WTiat can that be?" 
When he came to think over the matter, he recognized that the soimd came, not from 


tlie clouds, but from some spot on the earth. Tlie horriljle soimd 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 tliis he fell into the water and liid under a 
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 liere; 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 tliird 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 ho distinctly heard the Tiger following him. Running 
as fast now as possible, he managed to reach home in safety, and told liis wife and the 
other people in the settlement to clear out at once, as Tobe-horuanna 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 settle- 
ment," 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, l>ut 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 liun in payment for my friends," So he traveled far and wide and gathered 
together, the remnants of his people. Ha\Tng made plenty of arrows and lances, 
they all proceeded to where Tolie-hm-oanna 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 
lielow the hiding-place of the people, they all jumped upon the immense brute's back. 
Tills contained a large ca\ity, so they were able to work with their a.xes froni 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 Tolje-horoanna lived, ' ' and after a while 
they discovered the spot: it was a rocky cavern as big as this house. Looking care- 
fully 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)' 

Some men were out hunting, when they came across a dead mora tree that had a 
daiha creeper ^ 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 drownied the roar of 
an immense Tiger, which, before they were aware of its presence, suddenly appeared 

^ For another Warrau version of this story, see Sect. S21B. 

' The daiha is the tree {Lecythis), the cortex ot which is u.sed, after pounding and other preparation, 
for making apron-belt^, chemises, and cloaks. 


among them, and without givinj; them a chance of escape killed every one — all 
except the little boy, who, like a watchman, could see everjthing 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 wps clear, the child slid down the tree, 
fan fast down to the lauding, 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 
everjlhing 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. WTien 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'sfeet, and then gave him his daughter to wife. WTien ten daj^s 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 yoii. 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. Wliereishe?" " 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? ^Miat 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 sous. As the children 
became older, and covdd manage to crawl and creep, the father wa^ minding them 


while his wife went out to the field: all of a sudden they growled 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 tigress, wlio 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, " WTiere 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. Ba-mu [Bahmoo] and the Frog 

To account for the division of mankind into races, the following 
little story is given by Brett (BrB, 167) : ^ 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 

' The Booroo I Booroo I choras in Brett's verse is onomatopoeic for the Bura-bura-u, the Arawak term for 
a certain frog with a particularly loud croalc. 


will kill him." So saj'ing, he hung his poto [stone-club] ' 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 dowii 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 sUng 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 liad happened. The latter would not believe that any drunken 
Indian could have killed so big a tiger, but when he went and saw vriih his own 
eyes, he had to admit that his late guest had spoken truly. 

151. Among the Arawaks trfidition has it that the old stone axes, 
or wakili-na-haro (ht. ancients-theu'-ax), came from a far distant 
country, from a place so far awa}- 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 imple- 
ments, in the same way that many a superstition is attached to the 
weapon itself among several nations, both civilized and savage, else- 
where. The very length of the supposititious journey to be accom- 
plished has given opportunitj' 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 exaggera- 
tion 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 addi- 
tions and embellishments that, in the absence of any written records, 
must necessaril}' 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 — 

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. 


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. -S-W.) 

The Huri Fish Nation 

153. 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 of 
fish Ijdng 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 liimself, and returned to his hammock with- 
out 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 of 
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 a,s 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. WHien boiled, 
they gave to each of the visitors, beginning with the old man, a calaba.shful 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 to 
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 ft>rbidden fish. They said, 
"You are the one that killed our brother." ^Tiereupon 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 cir- 
cumstances 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 info 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 


you; but as you are yet quite fresh, I will take you home." He accordingly went 
in search of a piece of strong bark-slrip 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 t-hat if he had olioyod orders, he would have had something 
good to eat. 

How THE In'dians Learned TO Paddi.e 

151. 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 haxing to travel with a very long jjole. 
When the tide turne<l against them, they would drive this pole into the liottora of the 
stream, and make their corial to it until the tide turned again. The old leader, 
who,ashasaheady been stated, was a medicine-man, changed himself into a bunia,and 
yelled out its note Tarbaran! Tarharan! ' Now, when some of the people who were pad- 
dling in this curious fashion heard what the bird said, they were annoyed, and remarked : 
"Nonsense! It 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, Tar- 
baran! 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 show^l 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 
edgewiae again. ^ 

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 to 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 as.sisting the others to build the shelter. He 
said he did not believe that the Bats, however big they were, would luu-t him before the 
morning. In spite of the old man's entreaties, he refused to come into the inclosure, 
Ijut, 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 to 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. 

' Tills word in Arawalc means " broadside." 

2 Tliere is an island in the F.ssec|uibo just above Oroote Creek called hiarono-dnlliihing (woman 'spole). 
The story goes that once 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. 


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 ham- 
mock, 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.' 

The Amazons 

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 t hose 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 yoti. '" 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 ham- 
mock [atque commonuit marem ut neUgeret offlcium 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 lea\nng the men in the hammocks 
to rest. It was naturally many years before the crew finally got away from this settle- 
ment.^ > 

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 pro- 
ceeded 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. 196. 

both] the spirits of the bush 223 

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,' and some o£ 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 noctesj. One of the men, however, disobeying the 
instructions, was punished in a very peculiar fashion by being immovably fixed in 
[positione copulationis]. 

159. I Tow 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 businesses — 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 mclosure. Every month did Yawarri visit his willing 
captive and ask whether he were still alive. "Still alive! \Miy 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 aUve. "Yes! alive!" was the answer. After the lapse of another month Turtle 
visited him again ^vith 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 aliAe: only the flies on 
his dead body were aUve. 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 Iiig 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.^ 
"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 1,1 am faster than you; I can run more quickly. Let 

> For the Indian belief that all mankind were derived originally from rocks and stones, see Sect. 68. 
' The details of what now takes place are identical with those given in the ne.\t story, in which the 
Ant>eater replaces the Turtle. 


us have a race, and prove it." They accordingly arranged to run to a certain spot, 
along a certain ]iath, and whichever got there first would be admitted to he 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 tor them to place themselves at stated inter- 
vals 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.' 
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 Tiu'tle 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 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 juet 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 havuig 
gorged hiin.self. 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.^ Turtle 
watched very carefully and, assured that he was ia a dee]3 slumber, quietly and softly 
removed the necklace, wliicli he handed to one of his friends in the neighborhood, 
telling the latter to make off with it. When TigA at length woke, he missed liis necklace 
and asked Turtle where it was, but the latter of course said he did not know. Tiger, 
however, accused liim of l>eing the thief, and said that whether he had stolen it or 
not he would eat him unless he replaced it. Turtle, however, protested that neck- 
laces 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 liis 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 liand. there was much more reas(m for belie \ing 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 ha allowed a little time to get ready for the fra)'. The ccmditions 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 

' This procedure .savors of African origin. 

2 Tiiis " tiger-bead necklace " is a rope-vine of some kind with more or less globular enlargements tlirough- 
out its length, like beads threaded on a string. 


way, and on a given signal returned tn 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)' 

One day Tiger met the Taraanoa (Great Ant-eater) in the forest, and chaffed him 
about his fimny mouth and his climisy toes. "Never mind," said Tamanoa; "even 
if my mouth is small and my feet are cliunsy, 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 liis 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, e.xclaimed: ''What! 
Do you mean to tell me that you can eat meat? I don't believe you have ever tasted 
it in your life." "Youlie!" replied Tamanoa, "becauseit was only this very morning 
that I finished the deer carcass that you had left behind. [Si stercus meum obser\'es], 
you can see that I ate even more of the meat than you did." It was agreed, there- 
tore [ut ambo defecarent instanter], Tamanoa stipulating that while thus engaged 
both shotild keep their eyes tightly closed. This also was agreed to, but while occu- 
pied 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, [l-'elis 
Tigris animadvertavit stercus suum], and was much ])uzzled, but, when he went to 
exanxine 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 jmzzled 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."^ 

162. How Birds Got their Present Plumage ' 

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,^ 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 coidd 
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 jvist helped 

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. 

' See BrB, 173; compare Brett's story in Sect. 142. 

' im Thum (382) cavils at Brett making the attacker a cormorant, which, he says, is not a Ouianese 
bird, and in his version replaces it by a duckler (P/o/«.y anhintia). Schomburgk, however, speaks of 
cormorants (Scharbe), Halieus brasiUanus 111., on the Essequibo (ScR, i, 293). 
15961° — 30 ETH — 15 15 


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 — paiTots gi'een. 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 

162A. Hunting is no Paet 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 
sa j-ing, she went about her business, taking a little granddaughter to kee]) her company 
and give help. \Mien 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 — [\'idet 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. 

Wlien they got home, the little girl told her parents exactly what had hapjjened 
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. 

163B. How THE Tapik Punished the Indian (W) 

While traveling through the forest one day an Indian came across a party of men 
seated, eating something that smelt veiy 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 woidd find a bush-cow sleeping, and advised him 
that the best and quickest way to get the li^•er was [manum cum cultro in ano inserere 
atciue 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 tlie time the man reached home all the skin had peeled off his arm, and when his 
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. 

163C. The Turtle and the Arubesso Bird ' (W) 

A woman had a daughter with whom Turtle and Aruresso were anxious to go court- 
ing, 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 

1 This bird is the korasiri of the Arawak, well known for its habit of making a"playing-groimd": it is 
said to whistle three different tunes morning and afternoon. 


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 botli of them, 
telling them that she proposed taking a walk the follo^ving 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 smoothmg 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 tliat he 
must necessarily be working hai'd. 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," 

163D. SisTEKS BusH-coAV (Tapir) and Water-cow (Manati) (W) ' 

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. "\Miat does this mean? ^Miy 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 cus- 
tomary 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, ha\dng now realized what had happened, "That 
is our pet whom you have killed," they said, A\'ith tliis. 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.- The elder sister there- 
upon 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 In connection with this story see Sect. 183. 

2 Suicide is not unl^nown among these Indians. I have received particulars of three cases of -\rawalf 
women mailing away with themselves by means of bitter-cassava water owing to "unrequited love. "— 
W. E.R. 

Chapter X 


Associated with Particular Planis 

Derivation of Man from Plants, and vice versa (163-163 A); Association of Bnsh 
Spii-its with Silk-cotton Tree (164), Cassava (165-166), Maize (^67), Kofa (16S). Snake- 
bush (16SA), the \\'histling Caladium (Kanaima), Blow-tube Grass and Dakini Tree 
il68B). Ite and Mora (16SC), and possibly with the "Ti-ee of Life," the "Devil-doer," 
SilverbaUi, Darina, Hiari, and Bamboo (169). The belief in Binas may be btit a 
development of this association of Bush Spirits with plant-life (^70). 

163. So far as mankind is concerned, their original derivation from 
trees, trunks, and fruits is accepted by many of the tribes (Sect. 57). 
As to the converse idea — the transfoi-mation of human beings, or 
their Spirits, into phints (Sect. 59), I can find only two traces of it: 
one, in an Ai'awak legend relative to the discovery of the whip used 
in the malcuari dance (Sect. 76), and the other, in the Yahuna story 
of the Jurupari ceremony (Sect. 163A). 

The First "Makuari" Whips (A) 

There was a family of two sisters and two brothers. Going out one day to cut 
firewood, the former proceeded to the forest and cut the timber; on splitting a log, 
they found inside a pretty little whip. After closely examining it, each girl proceeded 
to make another exactly like it. Then they proceeded to their provision field, put 
up a little banab, and hung inside it the tluee whips. WTien they reached home 
they made .some drink, two jugsful altogether, one for their two brothers, and one 
for themselves: they took their portioji to the banab, where they left it. On three 
occasions they did this [i. e. they made drinks and took their own share to the field]. 
The brothers, suspecting that something was wrong, and being unalile as brothers 
to talk with their sisters on so delicate a matter, sent the little hummingbird to make 
inquiries. While the girls were working in the field, the bird fiew into the banab, 
saw the jug of drink there, and the three whips hanging up. and reported accordingly. 
The brothers thereupon asked the sisters to explain what they had been doing in the 
banab, and when the latter said ''Nothing," they reproached them for not having 
mentioned anything about the whips, the possession of which they were then forced 
to admit. The lirothers then asked to have a trial of the whips, but this the sisters 
refused; they would not deliver their charge over to anyone. So the brothers said, 
"Well, if you won't let us touch them, you can at all events let us look at you when 
you are sporting with them." No exception was taken to this, and the girls, making 
some drink, enlarged the banab and widened the pathway leading up to it. At the 
entrance to the pathway they placed the jug of diiiik. The brothers came, stopped 
to refresh themselves with its contents, began to sing, and then proceeded to the 
banalj, where, addressing their sisters, they asked them to take down the whips and 
show their manner of play. This the women did. Ijut it was soon evident that they 
knew neither how to sing, to dance, nor to whip properly witli them. Admitting this, 
they were finally constrained, after repeated entreaties, to hand the whips over to 


their brothers, who now showed them how the real tiling ought to be done. Further- 
more, they "called" their sisters Kussaro-banna [ = Kiiraiia plait] and Koro-l)otoro 
[=Ite fiber], the elder and younger, respectively, that is, they transformed them into 
Kinaua [BromeUa] thread and Ite fiber, the two materials out of which the Arawak 
have ever since made their Makuari whips, 

163A. In the origin of the Jurupari festival according to the 
Yahiina Indians of the River Ajiapori-s there i.s also a convcTsion of 
a human being into a plant. This is their story (KG, ii, 293): 

A long time ago, from out of the gi'eat Water-house, the house of the Sun. came a 
little boy Milomaki, who sang so beautifully that everyone came from far and near 
to hear him; but when they reached their settlements again, all died. Their rela- 
tives thereupon came and burned him on a large pyre, but he continued singing imtil 
he died. Thus was his body destroyed, but his spirit went up to heaven. From the 
ashes grew a long green leaf, which visibly became greater and greater and turned into 
the first Paxiuba palm [Liariea exorrhiza], a timber used for all kinds of weapons and 
articles. The people made big flutes of this tree, which produced the same melodies 
that Mil6maki had sung. To honor Mil6maki the men dance and blow on these 
flutes nowadays when the various fniits. as Inga, Pupunha [Giiilielnia spenosa], Cas- 
tanha, Umari, are ripe, because it was he who created them all. The women and 
children must not see these flutes; the former would die. and the latter would eat 
earth, become sick, and die. 

164. Several examples are to be met -with of Bush vSpirits being 
associated with particular plants or Perhaps the most inter- 
esting is that of the silk-cotton tree (Bombax sp.), the superstitions 
concerning which have been incorrectly surmised (Br. 369) as com- 
municated from the negroes to the Indians. The earliest reference 
in this connection that I have been able thus far to find for it, m the 
Guianas, is by Stedman (St, ii, 261), in Surinam: "Perceivmg that 
it was their [negroes'] custom to brmg their offerings to the wild 
cotton-tree . . . under this tree our gadoman or priest deUvers his 
lectures: and for this reason our common people have so much 
veneration for it, that they will not cut it down on any account 
whatever." It would be interesting to learn whether the so-called 
fromager of the French Ivory Coast is identical with our tree. Certain 
it is that the records are abundant as to both Indians and negroes 
(AK, 45) refusing to cut one down. As a matter of fact, however, 
the superstitions of the Bombax were cherished in middle America 
long before the arrival of the negroes: the Mayas of Yucatan spoke 
of it as the Tree of Creation, etc., under whose shade the spirits of 
mortals reposed. I know Arawaks who firmly believe that this tree 
moves within a circuit at midnight and returns to its proper place 
again. Dance (57) states that its guardian spirit "walks round the 
tree at mid-day, and at mid-night." Brett (377, 398) informs us 
of an Arawak tradition that men and other living creatures were, 
originally made out of its bark and timber (Sect. 57). Women 
have told me that the Adda-kuyulia, in the form of a large bird, 
lives on the buds (i. e. picks out the cotton to build its nest with) ; 


that the shedding of the leaves is a sign that the Spirit has taken its 
departure; and that when the foliage is resumed, tha Spirit has re- 
tui-ned. Considering that there are some fom- or five other deciduous 
trees known to the Ai'awaks, it would not appear that their super- 
stitious regard for it can be due to the periodic shedding of the leaves. 
From the fact of the silk-cotton tree being credited with the power 
of moving withm a circuit (Sect. 8), a separate sentient existence 
may have been claimed for it; but such a property might equally 
be due to the particular medicine-man or Bush Spirit (Sect. /6'7) 
happening to occupy its trunk or branches. 

165. The cassava plant affords a very good illustration where the 
associated Spirit remains distinct, and is given a separate existence, so 
much so that it may be attacked by evil Spirits to prevent it dis- 
tributing its favors, or may be thanked and honored for the benefits 
bestowed by it upon mankind. The Arawaks, even at the present 
time in the Pomeroon District, with the building of a house, or rather 
at its completion, give a party: when all the guests are arrived, some 
of the cassiri, before its distribution among th? guests, is thrown by the 
house-mistress on the uprights; she also places pieces of cassava at 
the four^ corners under the eaves. This is supposed to feed the 
Yawahus, or Spirits of the Bush, who, unless thus treated, would 
not permit the Spirit of the Cassava to furnish the next crop. The 
Warrau Indians of the Monica River had also a special festival, or 
thank-ofl'ering to the Cassava Spirit for the boimtiful harvest which 
it had supphed them with, such festival taking the usual form of a 
drinking bout and a dance: they called it the Aru-hoho (lit. cassava 
festival) . 

166. So also, the first baking of cassava bread from a new field 
formerly was attended by unusual ceremony. " The cassava, which 
on ordinary occasions is scraped and washed, at the preparation for 
the first baking, was scraped but not washed. . . . The juice ex- 
tracted from the grated cassava by means of the matapi (and which 
otherwise would be boiled into cassirip) is, on this occasion . . . 
poured out on the ground as a libation for this, its first fruits " (Da, 
102 — at Berbice) . This is still done on the Moruca River, the Arawaks 
here making the juice from the first cassava collected off the new 
field, sprinkling it a few days later here and there over the centsr of 
the field. The Indians say that this is a gift, a sort of thanks, to the 
Spirit of the Cassava. On the upper Amazon a pm-ely Indian festival 
is celebrated the first week of February, which is called the Feast of 
Fruits, several kinds of wild fruit becoming ripe at that time (HWB, 
280) : this may have a meaning similar to that ascribed to the cere- 
mony in connection with the cassava. 

167. Another curious sort of Spirit, that of "the Rot," is asso- 
ciated with buck-corn (maize). Here is an account of it: 

both] the spirits of the bush 231 

The Spirit of the Rot Saves the Youxg Woman (C) 

Two girls were left in fharge while the remainder of the household went to a drink- 
party. The former had been told by their parents to accept the invitation, but had 
preferred staying at home. About sunset a Yurokon emerged from a neighboring 
silk-cotton tree: he had an arrow and with it he shot a parrot. He brought the bird 
to the young women and asked them to cook it. and they, not knowing that he was a 
Bush Spirit, were only too ready to oblige him. After they had eaten the bird and 
he had slung his hammock, into which he threw himself, Yurokon called on the younger 
sister to join him, but she, not feeling so inclined, sent her sister instead. Later, 
when all was still and dark, the younger sister heard extraordinary noises and growling 
proceeding from their visitor's hammock. [Credens eos copulare], she paid no further 
attention to them. After a whOe, however, the clamor was even worse than before, 
so, blowing up the fire, she went over to Yurokon 's hammock, whence she saw blood 
trickling to the ground. Looking inside, there was her sister lying dead. [Yurokon 
intravit eam.] She now recognized the tribe to which the man belonged, and 
hastened to save herself from a similar fate. She had a stack of buck-corn, which 
had all become mildewed and rotten, and in this corn she hid herself. To make 
assurance doubly sure, she further warned the Spirit of the Rot that if he allowed 
the Yurokon to come and catch her, she would never supply him with any more 
com. By very early dawn, Yurokon had completed his work of destruction with 
the elder sister, and now asked the Spirit of the Rot whether he had not seen another 
woman about, but this Spirit refused to answer the question, being so busily engaged 
ill eating the corn. Yurokon therefore walked all about, looking e\-er>nvhere 
for the younger sister, but could not find her, and now that the day was 
just breaking, he had to hurry back to h« home in the silk-cotton tree. All 
this time the poor woman was crouching in her hiding-place, and it was not 
until midday when the sun was shming brightly, that she dared emerge. 
Directly she did so, she rushed down the pathway to meet her people, who were 
returning from the drinkiug-party, and, as soon as she saw them, she fell exhausted, 
and commenced halloa'ing and crying. "'WTiafs wrong?" asked the mother. "The 
komaka [silk-cotton tree] Yurokon has killed my poor sister," was the reply. This 
made the mother say, "You ought to have come with us to the party, as you were 
told, instead of staying behind by yourselves." 'WTien at last they reached home, 
the parents picked all the peppers around, gathering twenty basketsful of them. 
They then made a ring of fire right round the komaka tree, which the surviving 
daughter had no difficulty in pointing out to them, and as soon as the ilames began 
to blaze, threw peppers into them. There must have been a big family of Yurokons 
in that silk-cotton tree, because as the irritating, pestiferous smoke arose, down came 
a lot of small baboons of which the fire made short shrift. They threw on more peppers, 
and down fell a niunber of bigger baboons, and they soon shared the same fate [Sect. 
24~]. The parents now threw in the last of the peppers, and dovra scrambled the 
very Yurokon who had killed their elder daughter: they clubbed him to death, and 
the father said, "I am killing you in payment for my daughter." They then opened 
the corpse's belly, in which they found woman's flesh. The younger sister obeyed 
her parents from that time onward. 

168. Another tree which, according to Arawak beliefs, has inti- 
mate association with the Spirit world, is the Clusia grandiflora, an 
epiphyte, wliich thi-ows down straight aerial roots that fmally fix 
themselves in the ground below. Indian belief explams this pecu- 
Uarity by the statement that the bunia bird roosts on the host, 
whence it drops its castings (Sect. 3S0), which are nothing more 


than the aerial roots in question. The Arawaks speak of this epiphyte 
as the kofa. 

168A. Space must be found here also for mention of the Pomeroon 
Arawak beUef in some intimate relationship between certain plants 
(known as "snake-bush" to the Creoles) and venomous serpents, the 
poisonous effects of which they can avert. A similar idea prevailed 
among the same tribe on the Demerara River: 

The Indians advised that when the snakes (a bush-master and a labaria that had 
been killed and buried) were supposed to be decomposed, they should be dug up, 
the bones burned, and carefully replaced, and the spot of ground fenced in. From 
the ground manured with the burned bones of the snakes, would grow up, they said, 
snake-bushes that could be used as antidotes to the virulence of snake-bites. Some 
plants called "snake-bush" resemble a group of small snakes flattened laterally, 
standing upright, from twelve to twenty inches, with their tails planted in the ground; 
[Da. 324.] 

168B. Among the Caribs, the masiemo (i. e. kanaima), Calad'mm, 
would seem at first sight to possess qualities ahnost distinctive: it is 
a large-leaf species which I have seen cultivated at Carib settlements 
on Manawarin Creek. Its peculiarity hes in its supposed power of 
uttering a long low whistle, and shaking the sleeper's hammock 
with the object of rousing him from slumber to a sense of his danger 
on the near approach of the human and animal kanaima, or blood- 
avenger (Sect. 320). The plant from which the blow-tube is derived 
commonly grows in wet places, as wide stagnant marshes, and super- 
stition has stationed an Evil Spirit to defend it, whence the Indians 
have the apprehension that some iU must befall him who ventiu'es in 
to procure the reed (Pnk, i, 488). In especially bad cases of sickness 
among the Surinam Caribs the chief remedy is the sap of the Dakini 
tree: to obtain this, the piai has to get the permission of the Spirit 
of the Tree, and only after many a parleying will he cut an opening 
to obtain it (AK, 193). 

168C. The Ite Palm and the Mora Tree (W) 

In the days of long ago there was always to be found growing a Mora near an Ite: 
wherever one was to be seen, there sure enough, close by, would be found the other. 
The Baboon would forage on the Ite and eat of her fruit, and this is just what made 
the Mora jealous. In those times the trees, like the animals, would converse with one 
another just as people do; and these two trees must have been women, for did they 
not each bear seed? At any rate the Ite said she would leave the Mora and travel 
eastward, but the Mora followed her: she wanted the Baboon to come and stay with 
her. She was very jealous. As they both traveled on and on toward the east, they 
left some of their seeds behind: on and on they went, farther and farther east. As 
the ground of course gradually changed from dry bush to swamp, the Baboon more and 
more preferred to feed on the Mora, whose branches were always well above the water 
surface, and so finally left the Ite altogether. The Mora now at last satisfied, and with 
no further cause for jealousy, remained where she was, while the Ite traveled still 
farther eastward , stopping only when she came to the heavy swamps of the Orinoco. 
And here was too much water for the Baboon to follow her. Hence it happens that the 


Baboon is never met with nowadays on the Ite palms, but always on the topmost 
branches of the Mora. All the Ite palms that you see here and there more or less 
isolated in this district are stragglers from the original palm which traveled to the 
Orinoco. It is only on that mighty stream where you see the real Ite palms. There 
they yield starch and fruit and drink in plenty: the stragglers left behind here are 
so miserable and poor that it is not worth our while to cut them down. 

169. Among remaining plants which may, perhaps, be regarded 
as associated more or less intimately with Spirits and the like, are the 
"Tree of Life," the Devil-doer, the Silverballi, the Darina, the Hiari, 
the Kanaima (Sect. 168B), and perhaps the Bamboo. A leaf of the 
plant of the "Tree of Life" {Bryophyllum calycinum) , the Kakuhu- 
adda of the Arawaks, is sometunes suspended in the house, both on 
the Demerara and the Pomeroon, when one of the inmates is ill. 
Should the leaf germinate, as is its nature to do under ordinary circum- 
stances, it is accepted as a sign that the sick man will recover. But if 
it wither, that is an indication he will die. The Devil-doer, the uses 
of which have apparently been taught by the Indians to the blacks, 
is a bush-rope, called by the latter, the Fighting Stick, or Debbil-dooha, 
Debra dwar, or Zebra dwar. It is said to have the effect when dried, 
pulverized, and smoked with tobacco, of rendering all within the 
influence of the smoke pugnacious — and a row is certain: it is used 
to stimulate virility, and excite venery (Da, 286). So again, the 
Indians are of opinion that the scent of the burning chips of the 
Silverballi (Nectandra jnsi) makes people quarrelsome (ibid.). At 
a certam season, the Darina has every appearance of being dead. 
But having shed its bark it begins to revive ; the new bark becomes 
red like the bloodwood and thickens; new leaves spring forth, and the 
tree resumes its beauty. At midnight the Arawak Indians hear the 
chants of the medicine-man emanating from the tree (ibid.). The 
Hiari [Hearili], a large tree with thick leaves, which bears a small 
seed, is probably the Aiuke of the Akawais. The gum, or the inner 
bark, scraped, mixed with water, and given to the sick will cause the 
Spirit of the tree to appear to him, and point out the person who 
inflicted his illness upon him : thrown into the fire, it stupefies all who 
inhale its fumes (Da, 285). The smoke of the wood when burning 
is fatal to all kinds of animals (Bol, 258). The Pomeroon Arawaks 
believe that if the leaves fall into the river from an overhanging tree, 
sickness will fall upon the people farther down the stream. The 
same folk believe that the Bamboo flowers and seeds only during 
the night, which certainly accounts for the fructification not being 
seen, if for nothing else : any alleged Indian superstition concerning 
this palm must be counteracted of course by the fact that it is an 
introduced plant. The ability of the house-posts to talk (Sect. 16) 
may be traces of a Spirit originally associated with the timber. 

170. I am very strongly inclined to regard all the (vegetal)_ attrac- 
tion — charms, or binas, used in hunting (Sect. £33) or love-making 


(Sect. 237), and otherwise, as svirvivals of an original belief in plants 
possessing associated Spirits; while the presence of the originally 
associated Spiiit has been lost sight of, and more or less forgotten, 
its attributes, properties, and powers have been retained. It will be 
remembered that all such binas have an exceptional source of origin — 
the calcined bones of a snake (Sect. 235), and in this connection it is no 
less interesting to note that the Haiari root {Lonchocarpus sp.), fish- 
poison, which can equally be regarded as an attraction-chaim, 
should also possess animal (with its contamed spirit) relationships, 
in that it has been quickened in human blood. I here paraphrase 
the Legend of the Haiari Root, given by Brett (BrB, 172): 

An old fisherman noticed that when his boy accompanied him, and swam about 
in the river, there the fishes would die, and yet were quite good to eat. So he made a 
point of making the lad bathe every day. But the fish were determined upon putting 
an end to this. Accordingly one day when the lad. after a swim, was lying basking in 
the sun, those fish which were possessed of spines, and especially the sting-ray, sprang 
quickly up at him and pricked him. The lad died of his wounds, but before dying 
told his father to watch for the strange planis that would spring up from the ground in 
those spots where his blood had fallen. The father did so, and found the haiari. 

Chapter XI 


Their presence due mainly to: Peculiarities in geological conformation, markings, 
etc. (171), for example, in legend of Kaieteur Fall (17'2), Rock-engl•a^'ings (173); 
Actual Transformation of Sentient Beings into rocks and stones {174}', Site of some 
long-past remarkable occurrence (175-176). 

171. The belief on the part of the Indians in the presence of Moun- 
tain Spirits in certain locahties would seem to have been <hie in large 
measure to one or another of three sets of causes: peculiarities in 
conformation, marking, position, and other features of the roclvs 
(on the principle of suiting a picture to the frame); the supposed 
transformation of the person or animal into stone; or the association 
of the locaUty with some remarkable event that took place in the 

There are an endless number and variety of Spu-its connected with 
mountains, precipices, rocks, cataracts, etc. (cf. Sect. 68). South of 
the Takutu River is a mountain chain taking its name from a hill 
resembling a crescent in the distance, whence the Wapisianas have 
compared it to the moon (Kaira in their language), and designating it 
in consequence Kai-irite, or Mountains of the Moon (ScT, 48). Now 
all tliis country in Schomburgk's time was terra incognita to both 
Brazilians and Indians, and hence, as might have been expected, and 
as he tells us, "the Indian banishes all evil spirits to this region, 
while the Brazilian considers it the abode of wild Indians who massaci'e 
any person foolhardy enough to come within their precincts." So 
extraordinarily has nature molded her mountain forms in different 
parts of the Guianas, that there are sel4om wanting resemblances, 
comparatively striking, to common everyday objects. I can quite 
sjTnpathize with Schomburgk when he so much regretted that the 
little knowledge which he possessed of the Makusi language did not 
permit hun to understand some of the many wonderful stories the 
Indians hatl to tell hun of every stone they met on the road that was 
of more than ordinary size or fantastically shaped by nature (ScF, 
199). Along the valley of the Unamara, a very good example is 
Mara-etshiba, the highest mountain, where the bulging out in the 
middle of this mass of rock has been identified with the maraka. 
Another is Blount Canu-yeh-piapa (lit. "guava-tree sttunp"), while 
a third is Mount Pure-piapa ("headless tree") (ScF, 197). Else- 
where, there is Mount Pakaraima, a singular isolated mountain 
which from its figin-e "has been called the Pakara or Pakal, meaning 



a basket" (ScF, 221). Mount Sororieng, the "swallows' nest," an 
object of much dread to the superstitious, is another good instance 
(BW, 177). The Takwiari offset of tlie Twasinkie Moun tarns, Esse- 
quibo, derives its Carib name from a remarkable pile of large granite 
bowlders so placed as to resemble a water-jar, called Comuti by the 
Ai-awak Indians, and by this name they are more commonly known 
(ScR, I, 328). Ayangcanna Mountain can be seen in the distance 
from the upper Mazaruni, forniing a most singular picture. The 
word means "'lice-searchers," this disagreeable name being bestowed 
on account of a row of huge pointed rocks on the crest, which are 
sharjily defuied against the sky, and to the Indian eye resemble a 
row of women seated one behind the other, searching each other's 
head for vermin, a custom very prevalent among all Guiana tribes 
(Bro, 390). It must be admitted that such fancied resemblances are 
not always too clear to European eyes. Clear or not, however, f>nce 
the resemblance admitted, then follow the explanation and the 
"padding," the pointing of the so-called moral to adorn the tale. 
Wayaca-piapa Mountain, northwest of Roraima, is the "felled tree" 
which, as the Indians say, the Spirit Makonaima cut down during 
his journey through these parts. On the IMazaruni, near Masanassa 
village, relates Boddam-Whetham: "We passed a peculiar rock in 
the middle of the river somewhat resembling a human figure: the 
Indians thought it was a river-god watching for pacu" (BW, 179). 
On some granite blocks, above the Waraputa Rapids, Essequibo 
River, "I found," says Schomburgk, "two impressions of a man's 
foot, as if he had sprung from one rock to the other. The imprint 
of each foot, even to that of the five toes, was really striking. The 
Indians told us that these were the tracks which the Great Spirit had 
left lichind when he took his dej^arture along this route from among 
their forefathers with whom he used to live" (ScR, i, 326). 

In passing the Carownring [branch of the upper Mazaruni] the guide informed us 
that when liigh it is navigable for canoes for hah' a day's journey up, to tlie foot of a 
high fall, at which there is a large sand-beaeh, marked with mysterious footprints 
resembling those made by the human foot. The sand also is thrown up as if children 
had been playing there. If the Indians who visit the spot trample down these heaps, 
and go away for a short time, on their retiirn they find them there again as before. 
The Indians believe that wild men live near the spot, but have never succeeded in 
seeing them. [Bro, 385.] 

The torrential streams which so sudflenly gush down from the 
heights of Roraima are but the sorrowful tears of the Mother of Pia 
and Makonaima— she who had been left behind on top of this moun- 
tain by the former (Da, 342). At least that is what the Makusis 
afhrm. Some people say that over the tops of Roraima and Kukenam 
are spread seas fill"d mth all kmds of fish, especially dolphins, and 
contmually circlsd by gigantic white eagles, which act as perpetual 
watchmen (ScR, ii, 26.5). 



(From a jjhotograph by W. 11. McTurk) 


172. Another example of this sci-ies of cases is the legend i-elative 
to the cslcbrated Kaieteur Fall (pi. 4), vrhich I give here in the words 
of Barrington Brown (Bro, 214), the discoverer of this wonder-spot: 

Once upon a time there was a large \'illage above the fall, situated on the little 
savanna, amongst the inliabitants of whicli was an old Indian, who had arrived at 
that period of human existence, when his life had become a liurden to himself and a 
trouble to liis relatives. Amongst other duties, there devolved upon his near rela- 
tions the tedious one of extracting the jiggers from his toes which there accumulated 
day by day. These duties becoming irksome at last, it was arranged that the old 
man should be assisted on his way to his long home, that spirit land lying two-days' 
journey beyond the setting sun. He was accordingly transferred, with his pegall of 
worldly goods, from his house to a woodskin on the river above the head of the great 
fall, and launched forth upon the stream. The silent flood bore him to its brink, 
where the rn.shing waters recei%ed him in their deadly grasp, bearing his enfeebled 
body down to its watery grave in the basin below. Not long after, strange to relate, 
his woodskin appeared in the form of a pointed rock, which to this day is seen not 
far from our lower barometer station; while on the sloping mass of talus to the west of 
the basin, a huge square rock is said to be his petrified pegall or canister. Thus has 
the fall been named Kaieteur in memory of the victim of this tragic event. 

173. The remarkable pctrogh-phs, scattered through the Guianas, 
to which so many travelers have drawn attention, are m the same 
way credited ^^-ith a supernatural origin. Thus Schoniburgk relates, 
when at the Waraputa Rapids: "I was most anxious to carry away 
part of one of the rocks . . . and neither threats nor promises could 
mduce any of our Indians to strike a blow against these monuments 
of their ancestors' skiU and superiority. They ascribe them to the 
Great Spirit, and their existence was known to all the tribes met with. 
The greatest uneasiness was depicted upon the faces of om* poor crew; 
in the ver\^ abode of the Spirits, they momentarily expected to see 
fire descend to punish our temerity" (ScG, 275). The Piapocos of 
the lower Guaviar River ascribe such rock-gravings to their Mami- 
na'imis, or Water Spirits (Cr, 525, 529). The amount of mtelligence 
displayed by the expression of such a belief was however, within com- 
paratively recent times, paralleled by that of a Einopean Power, for 
on the Montague d'Argent on the coast between Cayenne and the 
River Oyapock, the rock-carvings were claimed by the Portuguese 
to represent the coat-of-arms of Charles V when they had a dispute 
with the French over their boundary line (Cr, 145). 

174. The existence has been shown (Sect. 5S) of a belief m the 
origin of human and animal life from rocks or stones and m the trans- 
formation of such sentient beings into the inorganic material smiUar to 
that from which they have sprung. This transformation is regarded 
not only as a natural departure from the normal comse of events, but 
also in the light of a punishment (Sect. 67). At Aramayka, a settle- 
ment on the Mazaruni, close to Karamang River, the cliffs of Mara- 
biacru become visible to the height of about one thousand feet, with 
perpendicular faces on the north. A remarkable detached peaked 


rock Oil the western face of the cliffs is called the Caribisce. The 
legend says it is a man of that nation turned mto stone for attempting 
to scale the cliff (HiA, 32). The Nation of Stone-adzes, where all the 
people are really stones, has been mentioned (Sect. 158). But how- 
ever produced, these inorganic objects with human instincts, powere, 
and ideas, so to speak, all play a more or less important part on the 
world's stage. Thus, a rugged rock, a real good friend, conies and 
quells the fountain which threatens to overwhelm the nation (BrB, 
106). In those cases in which the transformation is the result of 
punishment it might only be expected that the propensities of such 
rocks and stones would be directed into channels other than good. 
Perhaps it was some idea similar to this which led to the loss of 
Schomburgk's geological specimens: "One of the Indian carriers 
said he had lost my geological specimens: my brother had previously 
warned me of this — the Indian thinks it something evil, and will 
secretly thi-ow it away" (ScR, i, 433). The same may possibly be 
said of the following: Above the cataracts of the River Demcrary 
are abundance of red and white agates, which remain untouched by 
the natives, who avoid them from a principle of superstitious venera- 
tion, as they are dedicated to the service of their magical invocations 
(Ba, 21). Probably some idea of this nature may form the basis of 
the practice noted by Brown, in the Cotinga District, in connection 
with certain small artificial stone-heaps on the sides of the paths 
over the Savannah Mountains. These were 3 or 4 feet in height. 
The Indians with him, in passing, had added to the heaps by dropping 
on them stones picked up near by; he could never learn their object 
in so doing, for when cjuestioned about it, thej' only lauglied (Bro, 
276). (In the Gran Cliaco, the Indians, on going over a pass, wiU 
place a stone on the ground, so that thoy will not get tired on the 
%vay (Nor, 12).) 

I'J'S. Again, just as in the Old World, the scene of some tragedy 
apparition, or of any untoward event — real or imaginary — niay 
ultunately assume by the addition of tale and fable a halo of reputed 
sanctity, so may many a local feature of natural scenery in the 
Guianas constitute the landmark as it were of some notable occur- 
rence — a death, a bloody feud, the appearance perhaps of some 
extraordmary animal — with the result that such a spot becomes 
weird and eerie, and all kinds of fanciful stories are told in connection 
with its immediate neighborhood. The Indians have a tradition 
that the cliffs, hillocks, and other places, about a mile from Kayiwa on 
the Corentync are inhabited by a large snake, whicli from time to time 
goes to drmk the water of the river, and that its passage thither has 
deprived the cliffs of vegetation (ScC, 289). On a low hill above the 
Waiquah River, a branch of the Cotmga, Barrington Brown "ob- 


served a huge artificial mound of earth and small stones, wMch the 
guide said was the grave of Makunaima's brother. It would seem that 
the Great Spirit is a dweller in this region, for an isolated rocky moun- 
tam, seen from the Cotinga lower down, at the head of the Maiiitzic 
Kiver, is called Makunaima-outa, which means the 'Great Sphit's 
House'" (Bro, 276). In the Pakaraima Mountains there is a smgular 
rockcalled by the MakusisToupanaghoe, from its resemblance to a hand. 
The Indians make it the seat of a demon and pass it under fear and 
trembling (ScG, 256). At the J^Ierume escarpment, upper Mazaruni, 
says Brown, "the Indians begged my men not to roast salt fish on the 
embers, fearing thereby to rouse the he of a large eagle and camoodie 
snake, which they said lived on the momitaiu side, and would show 
their displeasure by causing more rain to fall" (Bro, 399). According 
to the tale told by a medicme-man, Mount Roraima was guarded by 
an enormous camudi, which could entwine a hundi-ed people m its 
folds. He himself had once approached its den and had seen demons 
running about as numerous as quails (BW, 225). Another Indian 
m the same neighborhood objected to campmg near what he believed 
to be the cave of a celebrated "water-mama," near which it was 
dangerous to sleep (BW, 210). * 

176. Sometimes the facts of the original occurrence have been lost 
sight of and only a memory remams, but this memory is grafted on 
the minds of the Indians apparently in the form of a Spirit, if we are 
to judge by the procedures adopted on theh visiting such localities — 
these must neither be approached too closely, nor pomted to, and 
sometimes not even looked at, or spoken of. jVlthough it is per- 
missible to single out a person by a nod with the head, to point the 
finger at a fellow-creature is to offer him as serious an affront as it 
would be to step over him when he is l\ang on the ground (Sect. 72); 
m the latter case he would tell you that he is not dead yet, and that 
you must wait until he is. To pomt the finger at a Spirit must 
necessarily be a much more serious matter. We have the Old Plan's 
Rock in the Essequibo, which a murdered buckeen continually 
haunts, and at which it is dangerous to point the finger (A, i, 93). 
So also, there is a large bare rock (the Negro Cap) standing with its 
head about six feet above the water, close to the Three Brothers 
Islands, in the same river, concerning which the natives entertain a 
most curious superstition. They believe that if any individual 
points at this rock a heavy storm will immediately overtake him for 
his audacity (StC, ii, 37). The dangers consequent upon talking 
about Spirits have already been dealt with (Sect. 124), hence the 
following allusion from im Thurn is of interest : "In very dry seasons, 
when the water in the rivers is low, the rocks in their beds are seen to 
have a curious glazed, vitrified and black appearance, due probably 


to deposits of ii-oii and manganese. Whenever I questioned the 
Indians about these rocks, I was at once silenced by the assertion 
that any allusion to their appearance would vex these rocks and 
cause them to send misfortune" (IT, 354). The most curious, how- 
ever, of all the procedures indicative of a Spirit's presence somewhere 
in the immediate neighborhood is that which concerns the sense of 
sight; several examples of this temporary occlusion of vision are 
recorded elsewhere (Sect. 26ii). 

Chapter XII 

Names and general appearance: Anthropomorphir (177) ; partly human, partly ani- 
mal {178); Zoomorpliic, as porpoise, manati, macaw (179), snake (ISO), big fish, Omar 
{lSl-182); derived from men or animals (ISo); kindly disposed on the whole — they 
gave man Ms water-jug and potato (1S4), the rattle and tobacco (IS5); of an amorous 
disposition (1S6-1H7), with strong likings for menstruating women (18S-1S9) ; share, with 
Bush Spirits, the responsibility for sickness, accident, and death (190); responsible 
also for the Tidal Wave (191) ; they object to mention of their names and antecedents 
(191); to a pot-spoon being washed outside the traveling boat (193); and woe betide 
the voyager if he dares to utter certain forbidden words (194 ). 

l??. The Water Spirits, whether anthropomorphic or zoomorphic, 
are known as Ori-yu or Orehu (Arawak), Ho-aranni (Warrau), Oko- 
ynmo (Carib), etc. The Warraus, especially a swamp-inhabiting 
tribe, seem to have made several distinctions m their Spirits: they 
had their Ahuba, Ho-inarau or Ho-aranni, and Naba-rau or Naba- 
ranni. The iytiiba is the "Fish-mamma," the chief of all the fish — 
one male and one female. The two live m undergromid water; their 
heads arc like those of people, but their bodies resemble those of 
fish though they are provided with all the different Idnds of feet 
belonging to land animals. They work evil on mankind; when ship- 
wreck takes place they eat the bodies. The Ho-inarau and Naba- 
rau represent the Water Spirits of the sea and the rivers, respec- 
tively; they are sometimes like people, sometimes like fish, and 
were once good and kind, but the Warraus have made them bad. 
Indeed, there was a time when these Water People used to live in 
amity and friendship with the Land People. There are two reasons 
for the teitoination of this ideal state of existence. The Warraus 
used to exchange wives with them m those days, that is, a wife would 
be taken as required alternately from the one and the other tribe 
(see Sect. 190). The Warrau supply ran short, however, and the 
Water Spirits accordingly became vexed and angered with them. 
The second alleged reason is that the Warraus msisted on the isolation 
of the women at their menstrual periods, a practice to which the 
Water Spirits were unaccustomed and strongly objected (Sect. 190). 

Though some of the Water Spirits have been repeatedly described 
by certain authors as the Water-mamma, they have nothing whatever 
to do with the African-Creole superstition represented under that 
designation. Still less have they necessarily any connection with 
the water-cow or manati (the Kuyu-moro of the Arawaks), or with 
the water-camudi (the madre del agua of the old Spanish authors), 

15961° — 30ETH — 13 16 241 


except of course iii the possibility that the physical attributes and 
peculiarities of these and other huge creatures have had to be 
accounted for in the Indian cosmogony. The natives of the Amazons 
country have their mai d'agoa — ^Mother or Spirit of the Watar — in 
the shape of a water serpent said to be many score fathoms m length, 
a monster doubtless suggested by the occasional appearance of the 
anaconda {Eunectes murinus), which assumes a great variety of 
forms (HWB, 236). One of the many mysterious talos told of the 
Bouto, as the large dolphin of the Amazons is called, "was to the 
effect that a Bouto once had the habit of assuming the shape of a 
beautiful woman, wth hair hanging loose to her heels, and walking 
ashore at night in the streets of Ega to entice the young men down to 
the water. If anyone was so much smitten as to follow her to the 
water-side, she grasped her victim round the waist and plunged 
beneath the waves with a triumphant cry" (HWB, 309). 

The accounts of these Water Folk vary a great deal, but I beheve 
the followuig represents the consensus of Ai-awak opinion. The 
Oriyus always live in the water and one at least accompanies every 
corial. If an accident takes place the Spirit is blamed for it. These 
Spirits may appear in human shape, impersonating both sexes. 
The female sometimes can be seen bathing on the banlcs of a stream, 
or combing her long hair with a silver comb, which she occasionally 
forgets and leaves behmd m her hurry to return to the water when 
suddenly surprised. 

178. Oriyu sometimes splashes and tramples the water like a horse 
where horses are known not to exist; Brett even goes so far as to tell 
us that ''she sometimes presents herself above the water with the 
head of a horse or other animal as it may suit her fancy, or the object 
she has in view" (Br, 367). On the oth^r hand, I have often heard 
her or hun described by Warraus as havmg a fish's head. Brett as a 
matter of fact always speaks of Oriyu as a female. Of remammg 
Water People those mentioned by im Thurn as the Huroni (cf. the 
Warrau term Ho-aranni, Water Sphits hi general), "a tribe of 
Indians living beyond the Pakaraima [mountains], who are men 
by night, but fish by day," etc. (IT, 384), will doubtless remind 
the reader strongly of the Huri Fish story (Sect. 152). People may 
actually be transformed mto fish (Sect. 115). The Piapocos of the 
lower Guaviar, a branch of the Orinoco, have a belief in Evil Sphits 
who live by day at the bottom of the water, but emerge at night, 
when they walk about, screaming like little children: they call these 
Spirits Mami-naimis, and consider that the various rock-carvings are 
then- handiwork (Cr, 525, 529). Endowed with somewhat sunilar 
habits there must be included here the Water People mentioned by 
Bro^vn (Bro, 247), who apparently received liis information from the 
Tarumas of the upper Essequibo, and by Ci-evaux (274) who de- 


rived his from the Indians of the upper Parou, m the far eastern 
Guianas. The former tells us that the Toonahyannas, or Water 
People, are said to live more to the south, near the headwaters of the 
Trombetas River (ui Brazil). These have ponds encircled by 
stockades, to which they retire for the night, sleepuig with then- 
bodies submerged. The latter authority states that "on a march of 
four days to the westward, we would meet some very bad Indians 
whom it would be ijupossiblc to take by surprise because they plunged 
in a stream called by the same name (Parou) as that which we were 
now on. . . . Let us note in passmg that toona signifies 'water' not 
only amongst the Taruma, but also in the language of the Trios, 
Roucouyennes, Apalai, C'arijonas: the C'aribs of the Antilles call 
water tone." Perhaps these Water People were undergomg a gi-adual 
transformation before reaching the final change with advancing 
European civihzation, after the style of the Partamonas at Waipah 
village on the Ireng, who stated that it was currently reported among 
the surroundmg inhabitants that now that a white man had come 
among them, theh country would sink under water (Bro, 283). 

179. Wien zoomorphic the Water Spu"it may take on the form of 
a porpoise, manati (Sect. 188), macaw, snake, or fish. Thus, the 
Pomeroon Ai-awaks believe in the kassi-kuyuha, a white or a black 
variety of porpoise: the latter will hunt and hijurc a person who 
happens to fall mto the water, whereas the white species will save one 
from dro^vning and carry him to shore.' All that one has to do is 
to jump on the Spirit's back — it wiU do the rest and wiU always help 
anyone who is not afraid of it. Caroquia, on the Demerara River, 
is a place avoided by the Indians: Water-maiimaas m this place 
take the form of huge scarlet macaws, which rise out of the river 
and drag them beneath the water, woodskms and all (Ki, 179). On 
the Moruca River an old Warrau piai friend of mme told me that 
it is the macaw who tells the Ho-aranni to come and upset the canoe, 
as weU as to destroy the occupants: the bhd itself may also assist 
directly in the work of destruction. 

180. The Caribs talk of then- Oko\T.im6 being like a camudi snake, 
but much bigger; it lives m undergi-ound water: in habitat, it 
corresponds closely to the variety of Water Sphit which the Warraus 
call Ahiiba. In cases of snake-bite among certain tribes, in addition 
to any other treatment the bitten person must neither drmk water, 
bathe, nor come mto the neighborhood of water, during the period 
immediately following the accident [cf. Sect. 317]: the same prohibi- 
tion, for a sunilar period, is incumbent on his children, his parents, and 
his brothers and sisters so long as they reside in the same settlement. 
His wife alone is free from the taboo (ScR, ii, 130). The freedom of 
the woman from such an mconvenience is mterestmg when regarded in 
conjunction with the belief in human milk as an efficacious antidote 
for snake-poison . 


181. Of Water Spirits in the form of fish I must note the Omars, 
of which, so far as the name is concerned, tlie only record I can find 
is given bj' im Thiirn. These are beings — 

With bodies variously described as like those of exaggerated crabs and fish, who 
live under water in the rapids, and often drag down the boats of the Indians as they 
shoot these places. , . . Astory was told meat Ouropocari fall on the-Essequibo. . . . 
This Omar used to feed on rotten wood, and he draffged down many boats merely in 
mistake for floating logs, but all the same the Indians were dro^vned. So one day an 
Ackawoi peaiman carefully wrapped up two pieces of the wood with which fire is 
rubbed, so that no water could make them damp. Then he dived down into the mid- 
dle of the falls, and got into the belly of the Omar. There he found whole stores of 
rotten wood. So he set fire to this. Then the Omar, in great pain, rose to the sur- 
face, belched out the peaiman and died. [IT. 385.] 

I do not know whether this author was aware that omar is the 
Arawak term for that terrible little fish, tlie pirai, whose peculiarly 
destructive powers would constitute a capital groundwork on which 
to weave fabulous embellishment, though there is a suspicion that 
the word is but a play on the word Jonah, the exploits of these 
extraordinarj' individuals hemg so closeh- parallel. 

182. I obtained a somewhat similar story from the Warraus of the 
Moruca River. 

The Piai in the Watek Spirit's Belly (W) 

Plenty of men would go fishing down the river, but every now and again one of 
their number would disappear: a Ho-aranni, one of the ^^'ater Spirits, caught him. 
It caused the son of the local piai to exclaim: ' ' \niat ever can be the matter with the 
stream? Friends of mine go regularly to fish, and just as regularly does one of them 
disappear." Traveling to the particular spot where the alleged ■'accident " always 
took place, he himself was caught and taken away by Ho-artinni. It was now the turn 
of the piai to say, " I will go to the place where my son disappeared,'' and wise in his 
generation he carried with liim, in his corial, banab, posts, firewood, and fire. Before 
taking Ms departure he warned his wife that perhaps Ho-ardnni would swallow him 
also, but that if not, she might expect liim to return witliin a month. He traveled 
down the stream, and turning a point, liis lioat was suddenly engulfed within the open 
jaws of the Water Spirit there hdng in wait: boat, posts, firewood, and fire were all 
swallowed with him. When at last the piai ' ' caught himself ' [i. e. came to liis senses], 
he was in complete darkness: so after lighting liis lire, he liegan to make Iiimself 
comfortable and set up his banab, by sticking the half-dozen rods in regular sequence 
deep into the Water Spuit's belly. Ho-ardnni naturally experienced acute pain and 
went to consult a piai friend of his who, however, could give him no relief, but ad\rised 
him to go elsewhere. The sufferer therefore visited another medicine-man, who told 
him practically the .same tiling: "I cannot help you. It is just what you can expect 
for treating people of my profession in the way you do. " As a last resource he went to 
a third doctor, of even greater renown than the others, but l)y tliis time the piai 
willun was making the pains ten times worse, -^vith the heaping up of the firewood 
on the lighted iu-e, and the sticking in of the posts around. All the consolation he got 
was, "There's notliing to cure you. It is all j'our own fault and you must die." 
Ho-ardnni accordingly considered it time to retrace his journey and make haste 
homeward. The pains becoming so strong, he raised himself out of the water just 
as a fish does when he becomes poisoned with the haiari root and, rising to the 
surface, gasps for breath. The piai inside kept a sharp lookout, and when Ho-ar- 


dnni gasped, he recognized an immense sheet of water which showed that they 
were still far away out at sea. In a little while the Water Spirit gasped again, and the 
piai could just see a small bush in the far, far distance. On the third occasion 
he recognized clearly the trees, and taking the next opportunity of Ho-aranni rising to 
the siu-face, he shoved himself and his corial out of the creature's jaws and liastened 
liome. When he saw his wife, all he could say was: " I am come only to show myself, for 
what ^Fith all the heat , my hair is dropping off and I must die. ' ' And he did die soon. 
Several of the Water Spirits used to be Ijad, like the one we have just been talking 
about, but fortunately for us present Warraus, our ancestors killed most of them, and 
this is the reason they are so scarce now. 

183. Some of these Water Spirits have been derived from human 
mortals as well as from animals. 

(In connection with the following story see Sect. 162D.) 

Sisters Porpoise axd Sea-cow {Manatus) (?A) 

Once there were two sisters who had a Bush-cow [tapir] for a sweetheart: he used to 
live with both of them. They had a habit of regularly going to their field, collecting 
the plums (hobu). of which their lover was so fond, and making drink from them; 
when it was ready they whistled for him to come. They whistled by putting their 
fingers into their mouths and blowing. They did this everj- day. Their brother in 
the meantime had his suspicions as to what was going on, so one day he followed 
them, and without being himself seen watched everything that took place. He 
said nothing, but returned home. Soon afterward the two girls went to a field other 
than that which they hitherto had been in the habit of visiting, in order to dig cassava. 
The brother seized the opportunity of \-isiting the place where the Maipuri lived and 
where the plums were. Having arrived there, he whistled as the girls used to do, 
and as soon as the creature put in an appearance, he shot him with his arrow: he then 
cut the body into pieces, which he scattered. Next morning the girls went as before 
to the old place to make the plum-drink, and when it was ready, they whistled. 
But no Maipuri came. They whistled again, and still their lover came not. Tired 
of whistling, they commenced to search in order to discover what had happened to 
him. It was not long before they found the place where the slaughter had taken 
place, and soon -they came upon tlie mangled remains. They both began to cry 
and determined upon throwing themselves into the water. This they did. One 
sister turned into a manati, and the other into a porpoise. 

Others again may claim genealogical relations with a totally dif- 
ferent beast. On the left bank of the Pomeroon, just above the 
mouth of Wakapoa Creek, is a place where the water used to be 
generally "on the bubble": this is beheved to be the spot where 
some gigantic Salapentas (hzards) after being vanquished by the 
Indians threw themselves into the river and became Oriyus. 

184. Certam of the Water Spii-its are of a kindly nature, in the 
sense of having conferred gifts and blessings on mankind (Sect. 185), 
in saving men from drowning (Sect. 179), and in other ways. 

The Fisherman's Water-jug axd Potato (A) 

There was once a fisherman who went fishing daily, and whose catch was invariably 
large. One day, when out in his corial something pulled at his line but he missed 
it; three or four bites followed, yet he caught nothing. Once more he tried. Some- 
thing tugged at the hook; he hauled in the line, and what should he drag up to the 



surface but Oriyu herself! There she was. the real Spirit of the Water, with all her 
beautiful hair entangled in the line. It was but the work of a minute to get her 
into his boat, and she was indeed beautiful to look upon. So beautiful was she that 
he carried her home to his mother, and made her his wife, the only condition that 
Oriyu stipulated being that neither her prospective husband nor her mother-in-law 
should ever di-\ailge her origin. Being so accustomed to the water, Oriyu proved an 
excellent helpmate: out she would go with her husband, in his boat, and look into 
the depths for fish. These she could see when no one else could, and she woidd advise 
him not to throw his line in here, but over there, and so on. And thus day after day 
they returned home, always bringing the old mother-in-law plenty of fish. As you 
can well imagine, this happiness did not last very long; it came to an end through 
the old woman, when in liquor, loosening her tongue and letting out the secret of 
Orijni's origin. Oriyu said nothing at this time, so grieved she was, but she waited 
her opportunity to take her husband with her to her former home under the 
waters. So on the next occasion that the crabs began to "march " from out the ocean 
to the shore, the family made up a large party, and all took their places, with their 
quakes, in a big corial. As they were coming down the river. Oriyu all of a sudden 
told her companions that she and her husband were about to pay a vi.sit to her people 
below, but that they would not be gone long, and that in the meantime she would send 
up something for them to eat and drink, but they must share everything fairly 
Without more ado she and her man dived into the water. After awhile up came a 
large jar of cassiri, and a lot of potatoes, a very welcome addition to the few pro- 
visions they had on board. Wlien they had each had their fill of the cassiri, and 
had eaten the potatoes, they threw the jug and the useless skins back into the water, 
where the Oriyu turned the former into the giant low-low [Silunts] and the latter 
into the squatty little imiri [Sciadcicthi/s]. This is why we old Arawaks always speak 
of the low-low as the fisherman's water-jug, and of the imiri as liis potatoes. 

185. Brett mentions certain Dther good qualities of the Oriyus. 
Out on one of the islands all the men, women, and children were 
struck doAvn wath sickness. Arawanih [cf. Hariwah, Sect. 3], the 
island chieftam, begged Oriyu for some charm to withstand the Evil 
Spirit's power which had made his people sick. She gave him the 
branch of an Ida tree, which she told ,him to go and plant, and 
to bring back to her the first fruit that should fall from it. This 
turned out to be a calabash (Crescentia), with which he did what he 
was told. Having emptied the rind through certain holes cut m it, 
she provided him with the feathered handle, and dived into the sea 
whence she brought the shining white stones to put into it; with 
these she thereupon showed him how to invoke the Spirits. Thus 
was the first Tnaraka (rattle) formed. Besides this, she taught 
Arawanih the use of tobacco, till then unknown to man (BrB, 18). 

186. Like the Spirits of the Forest, the Oriyus have strong sexual 
predilections. Every night, in their anthropomorpliic form, both 
males and females may come after Indians of the opposite sex, 
respectively, and no disastrous result follows the intimacy.' But 
the Indians who happen to have such dealings must keep the fact 
absolutely secret: if divulged, either they will not live long, or they 

1 Among some of the old Warraus the proJuct of an abortion is described as the Water Spirit's child, 
being 2 or :! inches long, with the head like that of a horse and the feet like those of a lizard. 


will never be visited again by then- Spirit friends. Furthermore, 
those Indians who foster such friendships must on no account have 
similar dealings with their own people.' Perhaps it is as a result of 
these sexual weaknesses of the Spirits that some of the Arawaks 
believe in the possibility of an Oriy\i introducmg into the womb a 
full-term fetus, provided the woman really wants to be pregnant 
(Sect. 28J1.A) — a real water-baby. 

187. How THE Water Spirit Got the Man's Wife from Him (W) 

A man took liis wife with him on a fishing expedition. He built a banab on an 
island in midstream and as night came on told his wife to remain there, while he 
went to fish. .She was very anxious to accomjiany liim in the eorial, but he insisted 
on her remaining and of couise slie had to obey. Being very tired, she soon aftei-ward 
fell asleep, and about midnight the Water Spirit paid her a visit. . . . Half- 
dazed, she woke up, and asked him whether he had done anj^hing to her, and when 
he told her that he had, recognizing a stranger's ^oice in place of her husband's, she 
felt very much ashamed. However, the Water Spirit told her who he was, of his 
great love for her, and that he would now take her to wife: all she had to do was to 
tell her previous husband that it was entirely his fault that she had been left alone 
and taken advantage of. and that henceforth she declined to share his hearth and 
home. So when the latter returned next morning from his fishing, the wife made a 
clean breast of everything, for which she blamed him. as he had refused to let her 
accompany him in the eorial. and she told him further that she intended li\'iug with 
him no more. They started now on their way home, and getting into the boat, they 
paddled a short distance, when the wife said: "After today you will not see me. You 
must tell all my family to meet me tomorrow at a spot that I will show you." As 
they traveled along, she showed him the very spot and at the same moment the boat 
stopped, just as if some one were holding it. She got out. the water coming up to her 
knees, and the eorial continued on its journey. After a while the husband turned 
around to have a look, and saw his wife with another man, the A\'ater Spirit, just step- 
ping ashore; as he turned the point, the couple were walking together along the river- 
bank. Now, when he reached home without his wife, all her people wanted to know 
what had liecome of her: the mother especially was angry, but became somewhat 
mollified when he assured her that next day he would take her to the very place 
where her daughter had left him. He also gave her a message from his late wife that 
she was to bring the silver nose-ornament and the bead bracelets and necklets which 
the latter had left behind. So on the following morning he took the mother down to 
the river-bank, and there sure enough they saw the guilty couple, the daughter and 
the Water Spirit, behaving in a very friendly manner. As they got quite close, the 
Spirit suddenly disappeared , leaving the woman by herself. The mother then handed 
over the beads and ornament*:, while her daughter murmured: ''Your son-in-law 
caused this trouljle: he would not let me come into the eorial with him; and so when 
I was fast asleep the Water Spirit took ad\'antage of me." Mother and daughter 
sobbed, and the latter .said; ''You will see me sometimes, but never distinctly; directly 
you think you see me clearly, I will disappear." No one Itnew at the time that the 
Water Spirit had taken advantage of the man also: but it was this Spirit who had 
made the husband refuse to let his wife keep him company in the eorial, so as the 
better to carry out his wicked design. 

1 This explains a curious phase of Indian character; Celibacy in either sex is regarded as something 
uncanny or unnatural. It is on this account that two very respected residents in my district, leading 
presumably irreproachable celibate lives, were believed by many of the Indians to have enjo.yed intimate 
relations with the Oiij-u. 


187A. How THE Water Woman Secured a Landsman for Hus- 
band (W) 

A corialful of men vreve paddling down the river to catch crabs. They reached 
the sea, and while hunting in and among the bushes one of the party heard a noise 
behind him, and turning aroimd was much surprised to see a young woman there, 
and still more so when he heard her say: "Brother ! I am come.' 5Iy father sent me 
to you to give me a quake of crabs." Having handed them over to her, she paid him 
with the loan of her body. Before taking her departure she told him that, while the 
boat containing him and his friends would be passing up the creek on the way home, it 
would suddenly stop of itself in a certain spot: he was then to jump into the water 
and join her, and she would bring him to his own home later on. This is exactly 
what did occur, ^\'hen the man and his friends had filled their quakes and boarded 
thecorial, he told them that he had acted in an evil way to a girl among the crab bushes, 
and that when the boat suddenly stopped of its own accord, he would have to jump 
out, but that he would join them later on. After a while the corial suddenly came to 
a standstill, our friend jumped out,, and his friends left him standing in the water 
where the girl was holding him up. They reached home at last, and on arrival at the 
landing-place their women were waiting to carry the crabs up to the house. The one 
who was disappointed at not seeing her husband asked what had become of him. 
They told her that he had acted wrongly with a girl, and that they had left him behind. 
In the meantime the erring spouse was taken by the Ho-aranni girl [Sect. 177] to her 
people below, and her father told him that he had )>een sent for because his daughter 
wanted him. But he added: "You can go home to your own people this very day, 
and enjoy the feast of crabs that you and your friends have been gathering. I make 
only this one condition. If there is any disturbance or fighting at the sport, you must 
come back here at once: otherwise, you may remain with your own people, and we 
will not trotible you further. I am sending both my daughters with you." And so 
it came to pass that the two girls took him to his own landing-place, and when they 
got near, they told him to shut his eyes. As soon as he opened them again he found 
himself on land, close to his house. He entered, and telling every one "how day?" 
sat down: his wife brought him food and drink. But as the evening progressed, the 
people all began to be quarrelsome in their cups, with the result that his brothers-in- 
law, sisters-in-law, and wife all threatened to beat him for sporting with the strange 
girl. This was quite enough for him. He rushed out of the place right back to the 
landing, where the two Water Women were awaiting him, and who asked why he 
was not enjoying himself at the party. But when he told them how his people had 
commenced to interfere, and had threatened to Ijeat him. they took him back into 
the water, where the old Ho-ardnni father said, "Take my two daughters to wife." 

188. These Water People have great liking for women at the 
menstrual period, so much so that, at such a time, no Carib, Akawai, 
Warrau, or Arawak woman will travel bj' boat or even cross water. 

The Moon-sick Girl and the Water Spirit (C) 

A young girl had reached the age when she was developing certain signs indicative of 
approaching womanhood. Her mother went as usual to work in the field, but on her 
return was much surprised to see neither daughter nor house, and in place of the latter 
a large sheet of water. She .said that OkojTimo must have carried her girl away, and 
began to weep. When her husband later on came back from the chase, she told him 

1 For this mode of address, see Sect. 116. 


that ( Ikoyiiino had swallowed her daughter, and this news tipset him much. "I do 
not want to live without my girl." he cried; "Okoyumo mu.«t swallow me ako,"' and 
so .saying, he jumped into the tiood. The Spirit of the Water, however, did not want 
to punish him, and so would not let him drown, but just made him float le^■el with 
the surface; he of course could not be sick in the same way as the girl. It is the 
scent of a woman's sickness when in that condition that makes her .so attiacti^'e to 

189. .The Moon sick Gmi, and the Water Spirit (W) 

There was once a little girl by the river-side catching fish with a cassava-sifter. 
She caught one little fish entirely different from anything she had ever seen; it was 
so pretty, with beautiful eyes, and a slim body, covered with red spots. "What a 
pretty fish you are!" she exclaimed; "I must really keep you all for myself." So 
she put it alive in water in her calabash and took it home, where she dug a little hole 
near the house. Into this hole she poured water, and there she placed the fish . Then 
she tended it, and strange to say the water never dried up. The fish gradually grew 
bigger and bigger, and when it had arrived at a good size, its guardian, who had 
already entered womanhood, took it down to the water-side just where she used 
to bathe. There she set it free. As soon as she got into the water, it would approach 
and nestle quite close to her. The mother often saw it swimming about there, and 
would often warn her daughter that it wa.s not a real fish, but something else, and when 
it got very big, she recognized it as the Ho-aranni, or the Water Spirit . Then she warned 
her girl especially to keep out of the stream when she was moon-sick. "Don't go 
. anywhere near the water until so many days are passed, " the mother repeated; but 
her advice was not heeded, and the young woman, although sick, insisted next day 
on bathing. As soon as she touched the fish, as had hitherto been her wont, it became 
much excited, and instead of coddling up to her, swam zigzag around her. This was 
repeated three times: the fish meant to tell her that she must return at once to shore, 
but she evidently did not understand, because she touched it a fourth time. But 
on this occasion the Water Spirit swallowed her. The father was sorely grieved 
at this, and came and asked the Ho-aranni why he had treated his daughter in 
that shameful manner, but the latter defended himself by saying that she had 
insisted on bathing herself too soon after she had been moon-sick, and that he 
had already warned her three times. So saying, the Water Spirit withdrew. 
^^'hen he was gone, the father exclaimed, "As Ho-aranni has eaten my daughter, 
he must eat me too: I cannot rest until he does." Being a piai, he knew 
where to find the Water Spirit, so collecting hi.s relatives around him, he told them 
what he proposed doing, and that when they heard him blow his shell they must dig 
at the very spot indicated. With this, he dived into the water, right down below the 
river bank tmder an overhanging hill, straight into the underground cavern of the 
Water Spirit. And there Ho-ardnni killed him, but before he died, he blew his shell; 
his friends heard him, and digging quickly, soon unearthed the pair. They killed the 
Water Spirit, and left his bones to rot. Some fifteen years ago, when I was so high 
[indicating his size], I saw the bones rotting on Wakapoa Creek, above where the 
Mission now stands. Why was the piai killed? Because he ought not to have gone 
alone; when people start on such expeditions they should always have company. 

190. Like the Bush Spirits, the denizens of the deep are in large 
measure responsible for the disease and sickness existent in the 
world: the Carib medicine-man stiU invokes them (Sect. 309). 


How Sickness and Death Came into the World (W) ' 

A man went fishing, and wished for a wife from among the Water People, the Ho- 
ardnnis. Every time he went to the water his heart yearned to see a Water Spirit, 
and one day, while fishing, one put in an appearance waist-high above the surface, 
and came quite close. "Would you like to take me home with you?" was the first 
question she asked him, and when he told her "Yes, " she clambered into his corial, 
and he took her home. WTien they reached there she told him not to roast the morokot 
fish [Mylctes] which he had caught, but to boil it, and impressed him that for the 
future he must never bring fish for her to eat, but only animals and birds, 'the next day 
she went with him in the corial while he fished, and after a time got into the water 
and went deep down. After a while she came up to the surface again, with a message 
from her father, who said he would be very glad to welcome him below. The man 
was afraid to go, but the woman told him to have no fear as nothing would happen to 
him. Just to show that there was no danger she stood straight up in the water, which 
came to the level of her hips. ' ' Come along ! Don't be frightened, " she repeated, and 
so he jumped in close by her side. Saying that she was going to tie the boat up with 
a rope, she bent down and seizing the head of a big water-camudi, clamped its jaws 
on the gunwale. She now took the man's hand, and led the way below: as he sank 
below the surface he shut his eyes and opening them almost immediately afterward, 
found himself in the house of his father-in-law. The latter gave him a bench to sit on, 
which was really a large live alligator. This is how it has come to pass that we Warraus 
always use a bench carved in the likeness of that creature. AMien he had sat on it some 
time the old man said, "I sent you my daughter for your wife; you must live a good 
life, and must now send down your sister for my son. " This was all agreed to, and the 
man's Ho-ardnni wife brought him dry boiled meat and cassava: the eating done, 
she gave him to drink, ^\^len all was finished, she led him up to the surface again. 
They got into the corial and reached his home once more. She then said to him: 
' ' Remember, when I am moon-sick you must not send me away to the naibo-manoko," 
but you must let me remain in the hut with you. In fact, if you insist on my going 
there I shall die, and if I die, my father will have a spite against you, and send you 
sickness and death. " Now the Warrau people were strongly averse to such a defiance 
of their long-established custom, and when the man's wife did at last become moon- 
sick, the women insisted on her going into the naibo-manokii, but they found her lying 
dead there the following morning. Placing her body in a hollowed-out piece of ite 
palm, they put it on a sort of babracote under a banab [as the \\'arraus of the Orinoco 
treat the bodies of their dead]. After a few days the widower went back to his usual 
fishing-place, wishing he could see his wife again, but being unable to see her any- 
where, he became exasperated and flung himself into the water, sinking down in just the 
same spot as on the previous occasion. He reached the house, and there on the farther 
side lay his poor wife. She looked ill; indeed, she was quite dead. Her old father 
turned to him and said: "Why didn't you listen to my daughter? Why didn't you 
do what she told you? You see how you have killed her. From now on sick- 
ness, accident, and death will come among your people from mine, and what is more, 
if any of your women-folk travel on water while they are moon-sick [Sects. 18S, ISif], 
my people will ' draw their shadows' . " [Sect. S5S.] ' The man was much grieved to 

1 See Sect. lOS. 

3 The Naibo-manoko is the little out-house for the special use of women at their periods, and sometimes 
for the use of a female during confinement. It can always be distinguished by the tassels of "skinned" 
Matiritia leaves (those from which the cortex has been removed for twine manufacture), hanging from the 
posts and other parts. This building is of course taboo to the males, though I am afraid that advantage is 
often taken by bachelor friends of this isolation of the females from their husbands —W. E. R. 

3 What is intended is, that just as a person draws the entrails out of a fowl, so will the Water People, 
or Ho-arAnnis, draw the Shadow, or Life-essence, out of a person, that is, kill him. 


hear all this, and returned to hisown home by the way that he had come. By and by 
he arranged with his friends and relatives to go to sea, never thinking of the warning 
which the Water People had given him. They started in two big canoes and got out 
into deep water; so deep that to the Ho-artonia at the bottom the corials looked 
like two parrots flying in the skies. Nevertheless, these Water People shot at them 
with their round-knobbed arrows, hit them, and both boats sank. When they got to 
the bottom, the AA'aler People put one of the canoes on each side of the old man's 
house, and unchained their sharks — for these people keep sharks as we keep dogs — 
which tore to pieces the bodies of the already dead occupants of the two canoes. 
Before that time Warraus ne\er had accidents or death; they had only moon-sickness. 
It was in this manner that the Water People punished the Warraus. 

191. Not only are many of the troubles afflicting mankind, as just 
recorded in the legend, ascribable to the machinations of Oriyu, but 
he (or she) is held responsible for more than one natural phenomenon. 
Tiie tidal wave, or bore, known as appapuru [an Arawak term] on the 
Berbice and other streams, in certain of this colony's rivers is a case 
in point. Among the natives the popular explanation is that when 
thi.s River becomes inconveniently low for the had things of the deep, 
they show their uneasiness by moving furiously about, and thus 
agitate the river (Da, 21). The several tribes on the coast, we learn 
from Doctor Hancock, usually give it some name, signifjTiig "head 
of waters" or "mother of waters," and in connection with this have 
many strange stories to teU of the Loku-kuyuha (people's spu-it) mer- 
maid, or "watery manuna" as they translate it (ScC, 288). Again, 
Wailak-paru, a creek on the right bank of the Potaro, is so called 
from a part of the human body, and is believed to be the home of 
Orijii: the turbulence of the water as it runs into the Potaro is 
caused by water issuing from the body of that Spirit. 

193. The Water Spirits must not be talked about, nor may their 
names be mentioned. 

Amanna and her Talkative Husband (C) 

Heated with the fimies and liquor of a big paiwarri feast, an Indian succeeded in 
making his way to the pond where he intended bathing his skin and getting cool. 
On arrival there, he was met by Amanna, one of the Okoyumo Nation, a veiy pleasant- 
spoken woman, who asked him to join her in the water. He demurred at first, but 
what with her repeated requests coupled with the attractiveness of her physical 
charms, he ultimately consented. E\-en at the last moment, he said he felt sure that 
he would be drowned; but she promised to look after him and see that no harm befell. 
When they got below the surface, he saw a numl)er of houses, plenty of people, and 
many young women: he felt quite content now, especially when the latter offered 
him drink. But Amanna would have none of this, and took him straight away to her 
old father, who ga\e him welcome and instructed his daughter to look after him 
properly. And this she did. In the meantime the man's mother had missed him 
from the con\ivial gathering, and following his tracks, traced them to the water's edge; 
and there the tracks disappeared. "My poor son must have been drowned." she mur- 
mured, and proceeded to look for his floating body: but of course it was nowhere to be 
seen, and she mourned him a long time as dead. Thus, time slipped on. and the desire 
came on him to see his mother ; so he visited her. After she had asked him where he had 


been in the meanwhile, he told her that he had been for a " walk-about." This made 
tlie old woman say: ''Well, you must not go away again, because I am aged now and 
starving. I cannot depend on your little brother to support me. and you know I have 
no other children." But the man had a bad mind, and went l^ack that xery afternoon 
to his Water Spirit 'wife, and on this occasion remained with her even longer than he 
had done liefore. When at last he returned after his second absence, he found liis 
mother and little brother drinking paiwarri. The latter questioned him point blank 
as to whether he was living with the Okojaimo People. This naturally made him 
extremel}' angrj^ and, with a '"How dare you ask me such a question?" he hurried 
back to the water, where he remained a still longer period than that of his second 
alisence. In the meantime Amanna had borne him three children, and leaving the 
latter behind, he told his wife to accompany him on a visit to his mother. The couple 
on anival found the old mother and her younger son again at a drinking party, but 
this time the son was absolutely drunk, and nothing would do btit he must ask his 
elder brother as before whether he was living with the Okojiimo People. "Yes, 
I am ! " replied the exasperated man, "and this is my wife. Amanna. one of that nation." 
Directly the woman heard this, she made all haste to the waterside, and jumped into 
the water, her husl>and in close pursuit. As soon as he got below her friends and rela- 
tives set on him and killed him for ha\'iug mentioned her name and telling people 
who she was. 

193. Besides their dislike to hearing mention of their names and 
antecedents, as well as their passion for menstruatmg women, it is 
interesting to note the strong objection of the Water Spirits to a 
I)ot-si>oon being washed outside of the traveling boat in either river 
or sea (Sects. ^4, 219). 

194. The surest way of offending the Water Spirits, however, and 
thereb}' getting caught in a storm, and bemg capsized, wrecked, or 
cb'owned by way of punishment, is to utter certain words strictly 
forbidden under the circumstances. Thus, among the Arawaks of the 
Pomeroon antl Moruca Rivers, there are certam terms wliich must 
never be employed when on a boat: they have to be paraphrased. 
The majority of these tabooed words are evidently of foreign fmostly 
Spanish) origui: a few are certaml}" indigenous, Thtis, the occupants 
of a c.orial will never be heard to use the term arcabuza (gun), but 
they will speak of a gun as l-ataroro (foot, referring to the stock); 
they talk of l-ariro (the one with the teeth) instead of perto (Span., 
dog); of Icanakara-sTiiro (load on the head, the cock's comb) instead 
of gaiAna (Span., gallina, fowl); of ahwadoa-l-otiro (round foot) 
instead of Tcawai-ijo (Span., caballo, horse); of l-ahtaro (horn) 
instead of haH-a (Span., vaca, cow); of taturo (something hard) 
instead of srreri (grindstone, or saw, probaldy from Span, sierra) ; of 
majcrill (the tmtrimmed one, referring to the hair) instead of ho-a 
(monkey); of ehedoa (frothing, brimmuig over, in reference to its 
snarling or growUng) instead of aroor (tiger); of hatau-dii (the one 
with wisdom) instead of f<e mi-chichi (medicine-man), etc. The War- 
raus, it seems, had also various words strictly taboo when traveling 
by boat. The same holds good for Cayenne, where the superstitious 
Indians take care not to speak of several things by then- right names : 


thus, if one has to speak of a rock, it must be described as " that which 
is hard;" if it is a hzard, the}' must similarly jniraphrase by sayui<!; 
"that which has a long tail." It is dangerous also to name the 
streams and little islands that they pass en route. Even the medi- 
cine-men may not be mentioned as sucli: infringement of this rule 
will cause at least rain to fall, without reckoning that one is exposed 
to shipwTeck, together witli the likelihood of some frightful monster 
rismg from out tlie deep, and swallowing the whole lot (PBa, 184). 
Records have been left to us of similar practices ))y the Carib islanders. 
When they have to cross the sea . . . upon approaching land, tliis 
must not be named or pomted out, but it can be noticed by shouting 
Lijca! "It is there! " (BBR, lM.5). 

Chapter XIII 


The Sun, male: Greeted of a morning (195); eclipsed (196); origin of his) warmth 
and heat (197). The Moon, also male: Cause of the "spots" (198); beliefs concerning 
the "new" moon (199); when eclipsed, a transformation of animals occurs (300); 
causes of eclipse (201-203). Comets (20,3). Stars: Morning and Evening, etc. (204); 
the Milkj' Way (205); Southern Cross (206); Babracote and Camudi (207); Pleiades— 
their story told by Arawaks (208). Akawais (209), Warraus (210), Caribs (211); 
Orion's Belt (211A). Other Sky Spirits derived from man (212). The Woman of 
the Dawn (212 A). Rain: Can be made as required (213); pimishment for infringe- 
ment of taboo (214); can be stopped (215); Rainbow (216). Weather-forecasting 
{S17). Thunder and Thunderbolts (2i5). Storms generally (fJ9). 

195. The Sun seems to have been regarded invariably as a male 
(Sect. 29): The SaUbas of the Ormoco — certainly a section of the 
tribe — claimed to be his children (G, i, 113). At Enamouta Village, 
on a branch of the Ireng, it would appear to be the usual practice 
for the Indians to issue simultaneously from their houses at daylight 
and greet the morn with cries and loud shouts (Bro, 129) . It was cus- 
tomary for the Otomacs to bewail the dead as a matter of daily 
routine. "Thus, as soon as the cocks crow, about 3 o'clock in the 
mornmg, tlie air is rent with a sad and confused sound of cries and 
lamentations, mixed with tears and other appearances of grief. 
They mourn not b}' way of ceremony, but in very truth. Wlien day 
breaks, the waiUng ceases and joy reigns" (G, i, 167). So also on 
the Vichada, a branch of the Orinoco, the Guahibos at sunrise come 
out with a pan-pipe and make the round of the village while playing 
on this instrument, but their purpose m doing so is not made clear 
(Cr, 554). Among the Wapisianas of the upper Rio Branco, the 
first to awake strikes a drum until all jump out of tlieir hammocks, 
and, in the meantime, with a quick step, he -will promenade around 
the maloka with his barbarous music (Cou, ii, 268) . With the Island 
Caribs the flute is ordinarily played m the morning when they rise 
(RoP, 509). 

196. It is said by im Thurn that on one occasion, during an ecHjise of 
the sun, the Arawak men among whom he happened to be rushed from 
their houses with loud shouts and yeUs: they explained that a fight 
was going on between the Sun and the Moon, and they shouted to 
frighten and so part the combatants (IT, 364). Brett speaks of 
Oroan,' the great Demon of Darlcness, who causes eclipses; he seizes 

1 Warraus tell me that this word is a form of Yurokon, the name of the Carib Bush Spirit. — W. E. R. 


the Sun and strives to quench the fire, till scorched and blackened, 
he retires, only to return another time (BrB, 1S9). In Cayenne, 
ecUpses of the Sun and Moon upset the IncUans a good deal: they 
think some frightful monster has come to devour these heavenly 
bodies. If the echpse is total or of short duration, they consider it 
a fatal thing for them: they make a terrible noise, and shoot a volley 
of arrows into the air to chase away the monster (PBa, 232). Island 
Caribs attribute the ecUpses to Maboia, the devil, who tries to kill 
Sun and Moon: " tliey say that tliis wicked sethicer cuts their hair 
by surprise, and makes them drink the blood of a child, and that, 
when they are totalh^ echpsed, it is because the Stars, being no 
longer warmed by the Sun's rays and hght, arc very iU" (Ti, 1886, 
p. 227). 

197. The Story of Oko6-hi (Wy 

Waiamari was the name of a young fellow staying at tlie house of his uncle. One 
day he went down to the water-side to bathe. WTien in the water, he heard some one 
running down the pathway and then a splash. This made him look around, and, 
recognizing his imcle's young wife, he commenced swimming to a distance. But 
she chased him. The girl wanted him very much, and as she got close to the spot 
where he was, whispered, "Don't you want me? " Instead of replying quietly, how- 
ever, Waiamari loudly upbraided her by shouting Bita! Kwahoro![''InceBt ! Shame !"), 
and the girl drew back. The imcle, hearing the noise up at the house, called out to 
liis wife, "\Miat's the matter? Don't trouble the boy," because he thought that 
she must be at fault, and not his nephew. At any rate the couple got out of the 
water, and came up to the house, which the aimt entered, the boy passing on to go 
to stay with Ms elder uncle, Okohi, at whose place he slept that night. Now, the 
very fact of not going home as usual with his aunt made Waiamari guilty in the eyes 
of her husband, who followed his nephew ne.xt morning to Okohi's place. When he 
reached there, he reproached his nephew for ha\ing attempted improper conduct 
with his wife, a charge wliich was indignantly denied. At any rate, they started 
fighting and the uncle was thi'own down. They fought again and the uncle was 
thrown a second time. Okohi now interfered, and said, "Boy! That will do," and 
so stopped the contention between Ms brother and nephew. Indeed, to save further 
strife, Okohi thought it best to take Waiamari away with Mm on his journey, and 
told the youngster to prepare the waija [canoe], as he proposed leaving next morning. 
So Waiamari went down to the water-side and painted the sign of the Sun on the bows 
of the boat, while at the stern he painted a man and a moon.- Next morning the 
two got away, the nephew paddling in the bow and the uncle steering: it was a big 
sea that they were crossing, and as the paddle-blades swept along one could hear the 
water singing Wau-u! Wau-u! Wau-u! ^ At last they crossed this big sea and reached 
the opposite shore, where they landed, and then they went up to a house near by, 
where they met a pretty woman, Assawako.* After greeting Okohi, and telling 
him to be seated, she asked him to let his nephew accompany her to the field, and, 
this permission being granted, the young couple started off. When they reached 
there Assawako told Waiamari to rest himself while she gathered sometMng for him 
to eat. She brought him yellow plantains and pines, a whole bundle of sugar-cane, 

' This word okdhi among the Warraus means the hottest part of the day: it refers to the warmth and 
heat of tlie sun as distinguished from its power of producing light. 
- Even up to very recent limc« the Indians' canoes were thus decorated with Sun and Moon. 
3 This sound would correspond with the English " SwishI SwishI SwishI " 
* This is the Warrau term for any smart, sensible female. 


some watermelons, and peppers; he ate the lot and spent a very happy time with 
her. On the way back, she asked him whether he was a good hunter; he said never 
a word but stepped aside into the bush, and soon rejoined her with a quakeful of 
armadillo flesh. She was indeed proud of him, and resumed her place behind.' 
Just before reaching home, she said: "We are going to have drink when we get in. 
Can you play the hihabassaf" ^ "Yes, I can play it a little," was the reply. AMien 
they got back to her place Assawako gave him a whole jugful of drink all for himself, 
and this primed him for playing the music; and he played bea^itifuUy, making the 
kahabassa sing Waru-huru-lea.' They sported all night, and next morning Okohi 
made ready to leave. Of course poor Assawako wanted Waiamari to remain with 
her, but he said: "No! I can not leave my imcle. He has been good to me, and he 
is an old man now." So she began crying, and between her sobs told him how sad 
she felt at his going away. This made him feel very sorry also, and he consoled her 
by saying, "Let us weep together with the kahabassa." And there and then he 
sang Heru-heni, etc., on the instrument, and thus comforted her before he kit. 

Now when at last uncle and nephew got back to their own country, old Okohi 
bathed his skin, and after seating himself in his hammock, gathered all his family 
around and spoke to them as follows: "When I was young, I could stand traveling 
day after day, as I have just done, but I am old now, and this is my last jo:irney." 
So saying, his head "burst," and out of it there came the Sun's warmth and heat. 

198. The Moon also is clothed with male attributes, and among 
the tribes here dealt with, as is the case with many another savage 
race, is held responsible for certain conditions met with during the 
child-bearing period of woman's hfc. I have heard the following tra- 
dition among both Arawaks and Warraus: 

How THE Moon Got his Dirty Face 

Long ago a brother and his sister were li\'ing by themselves. Every night after 
dark some one used to come and fondle and caress the sister, attentions which she was 
very far from being averse to, Vjut she was very curious to discover who her unseen 
visitor was. She could never find out. She therefore blackened her hands one 
day with the soot from the bottom of the pepper-pot, and when her lover came that 
evening, she smeared her hands over his face.* When day dawned she thus came to 
learn that it was her own brother who had taken advantage of her. She was extremely 
angry, abused him roundly, and told the neighbors, who in turn spread the story of 
his conduct far and wide. The result was that everybody shunned him, and he 
became at last so thoroughly ashamed of liimself that he declared he v,'ould keep 
away from everyone, and live l)y himself. He is now the Moon, and the marks which 
can still l>e recognized on his face are those whi<h his sister imprinted with the soot 
(or blue paint) years ago. Even to this day women do not trust him, and no matter 
whether he is new, full, or on the wane, there will always be found somewhere a 
female who is in such a physiological condition as will preclude all possibility of the 
moon wishing to pay her a visit.* 

1 On the march the Indians alwaj's walk in file, the men leading. 

!^ This is the name of an obsolete form of musical instrument, which none of my Warrau friends have 
ever seen, but have only heard of, and hence cannot fiu-nish me w'ith particulars. From indirect evi- 
dence, however, I am inclined to believe that it was some form of the "crow-slvull" gourd-flute— the 
Warrau bure-akwa. — W. E. R. 

3 This sound would correspond with our hootiti-tootiti, etc. 

< This is the Arawak version. The Warraus say that, instead of soot, she u.scd the humatuba, tlie blue 
paint of the Caril)s. 

<' Ehrenreich (.37) cites a somewhat similar story of incest and subsequent discovery, in wliich the girl, 
however, becomes the Moon, given bj" Barboza Rodriguez, from the Rio Jamunda. 


199. A peculiar custom among the Makusis, practised as soon as the 
new moon is visible (Sect. 227), is that of all the men standing before 
the doors of their huts, and drawing their arms backward and forward 
in its direction at short intervals : by this means they are strengthened 
for the chase (ScR, ii, .328). "As soon as the new moon appears, they 
all run out of their huts and cry hook at the moon! . . . They take 
certain leaves, and after rolling them in the shape of a small funnel, 
they pass some drops of water through it into the eye. while looking 
at the moon. This is very good for tlie sight" (BBR, 22S). The 
first night of the incoming moon was considered the proper occasion 
for obtaining clay for the manufacture of pots and other utensils 
which, it was believed, would not speedily be broken (Sect. 258). 

300. With regard to the explanations given as to the nature of the 
eclipse of the moon, I have obtained the following at fu'st-hand from 
the Pomeroon Arawaks. The phenomenon is due to its traveling 
along the Sun's ])ath, faUing asleep, and so not being able to get out 
of the way quickly enough. AYith tlie object of awakening tlie Moon 
members of this tribe strike drums, blow shells, and make a big noise 
general!}", whenever the eclipse takes place. They must also keep 
thenxselves hvely and active, and during the whole night must eat 
al)solutely nothing: were they to break the fast, they would change 
into wiiatever animal or plant they might be eating (Sect. 248). 
Indeed, it is a cfimmon beUef among tliese people that, at the time of 
an ecU])se, there is a constant change or transformation-scene taking 
place on Nature's stage, in l>otIi animal and vegetable kingdoms, 
owing to this cause. The transformation is not necessarily sudden 
but may take time. I can call to mind an old Arawak story of a hunter 
who had gone to visit one of tlie streams away back from the Moruca 
River: On the first occasion he sees a huge land-camudi; on the 
second, at the time of an echpse, he finds the snake changed into a 
tapir; and on the third he sees it swimming in the water as a manati. 

201. As to the Orinoco Indian tribes, Gumilla has left us some very 
interesting records concerning the eclipse of the moon. Some of 
these nations beheved that it was about to die: others that it was 
angry with them, and that it woidd give them no more light. The 
Lolaca and Atabaca Indians held to the death theory (G, ii, 274) 
and were under the conviction that if the ^loon were indeed to die, 
aU exposed fires would be extinguished. Their women, crA-ing and 
yelhng — an outburst in which the men joined — accordingly would 
each seize a glowing ember and hide it, either in the sand or under- 
gi'ound. Moved by their tears and entreaties, the Moon however 
recovers, and the hidden fh-es are extinguished: but were he indeed 
to die, the concealed embers would remain ahght. The Sahvas had 
different views (G, ii, 277). All the warriors stand up in rows facing 
the Moon, offering him their prowess and strength and entreating 
15961°— .30 ETii— 15 17 


him not to leave them. The young men, of 15 to 20 years of age, 
stand in two rows apart while certain old men roughly thrash them 
in turn with wliips. Finally, the women, in a sea of tears bewail 
the Moon's projected departure and fatal absence. The idea woidd 
seem to be that the Moon has enemies whom, through fear, he is 
anxious to avoid, and he is therefore desirous of gi^^ng the benefit 
of his Ught to other nations. It is only the promises of these Indian 
warriors to fight in liis favor which allay his fears, and hence there is 
no necessity for hmi reaUy to take himself off. As soon as the 
Guayanas (G, ii,-278) recognize an eclipse of the moon, they take up 
the implements used in cultivating their fields. With much talk 
and gesticulation, some cut the undergrowth, others clear it, and 
others again dig up the ground, all of them loudly proclaiming that the 
Moon has cause for being annoyed, and particularly good reason for 
forsaking them, considering that they had never made a field for him. 
They accordingly beg him not to go, because they are now providing 
him with a field, in which they propose planting maize, cassava, and 
plantains. With these promises and entreaties they continue at 
their task, working on it with vigor so long as the eclipse lasts ; and, 
as soon as it is over, they return to their houses overjoyed. But 
there is no more working on the field in the Moon's behalf until the 
next eclipse takes place! Among the Otoniacs (G, ii, 279), when the 
event occurs, the husbands aimlessly take ujd their weapons, sldp 
about, and yell beyond measure, stretch the arrow on the bow in 
sign of anger, and ask, beg, and implore the Moon not to die. While 
they continue in their grief, the Moon goes on diminisliing and lan- 
guishing. Recognizing fi-om this that their actions are not under- 
stood, they run back to their houses, where they bitterly reproach 
tlicir wives for not gi-ieving over and bewailing the Moon's siclcness. 
The latter make not the slightest sign that they understand what is 
expected of them, and answer never a word. The men then change 
their tactics and start begging and beseeching their wives to cry 
and weep, so that the Moon may revive and not die. Still the 
women act as if they do not understand what is besought of them. 
So the men give them presents — glass-beads, monkey-tooth neck- 
laces, jewelry, and the Uke. The women now understand in truth, 
and saying many prayers soon make the Moon sliine as bright and 
clear as before — for doing which they earn their husbands' gratitude. 
According to their idea it is the female voices that move the Moon 
to take compassion on them, and save them from extinction. 

202. The Uaupes River (Rio Negro) Indians beHeve that at an 
eclipse, Jurupari (Sect. 101) is killing the Moon; they make all the 
noise they can to frighten him away (ARW, 348). So again, the 
Island Caribs say that Maboya (Sect. 84) is eating the Moon on such 
an occasion: thev dance all night, and rattle their calabashes with 


little pebbles inside (RoP, 461). Schomburgk jjoints out the curious 
fact that the Taruma word for a moon eclipse is piwa-toto, the hteral 
translation of which is 'Moon-Earth' (ScR, ii, 469). 

203. Any reference to comets in the Indian literature is extremely 
scarce. With regard to the one that was seen by Schomburgk in the 
early forties, the Ai-ekunas and Makusls regarded it as a sign of 
pestilence, famine, and disaster. One night they all emerged from 
their huts . . . men, women, and cliildren extended their arms expres- 
sive of gupf)lication and beseeched it to leave the heavens, so that 
tliey should not come to grief under its influence . . . the Makusis 
called it Ca-po-esehna, "Fire-Cloud," or Wae-inojisa, "Sun that throws 
its rays behind"; the Arekunas gave it the name of Wa-taima, and 
the Wapisianas Capische, both terms signifying "Spirit of the Stars" 
(ScR, II, 30S). The Pomeroon Arawaks speak of the present year's 
(1910), Halley's, comet, simply as Wiwa-kihi-koro (lit. "Star-taU- 
with"), but have no information to furnish concerning it. Among 
the Island Caribs, limacani is a comet sent ])y Coualina, the " boss" of 
the Chemeens [i. e., FamiUar Spirits] to cause evil when he is vexed 
(BBR, 2.31). 

303A. In the ^lakusi legend of Murapa-yeng (lit. Bat Mountain, 
one of the Pakaraima Range) the phenomenon is ascribed to an old 
woman carrying a fire-stick under somewhat pathetic circumstances: 
Schomburgk tells the story. 

The Legend of Bat Mountain ' 

A long, long while ago, an immense Bat lived on the mountain and spread fear and 
terror among the Makusis. As soon as the Sun had sunk in the west, the huge creature 
left its unknown dwelling, swept down upon the happy homes, and, swift as an arrow, 
pounced upon and carried off anyone whom it found out of doors: it carried the indi- 
vidual in its powerful claws up to its unknown nest and there devoured him. Fear 
reigned of an evening throughout the settlements and in the huts, and lamentation 
filled the air of a morning when often two, sometimes three, persons would be missing; 
not a night passed without an abduction, the tribe dally numbered less, and its entire 
annihilation seemed at hand. The medicine-man exorcised the Spirit; it returned 
again: the men went to discover the residence of the cursed murderer, but they did 
not find it — ^Makunaima was not with them. To prevent the total destruction of her 
tribe an old woman arose and declared herself ready to sacrifice herself for the good 
of her nation, ^^'hen night fell, she stationed herself, with a covered fire-stick, in 
the middle of the village while the remainder of the people crouched in terror within 
their houses. The fluttering of the wings is heard, and the heroine, seized in the 
creature's frightful claws, is carried aloft to the charnel house. She now uncovers 
the fire-stick, -nliicli like the Sun throwing its rays backward (the Comet), shows by 
the streak of light thus produced the direction that the people must follow to find 
the mortuary house of their brethren. The high fiaraes of fire from the burning nest 
upon this very mountain showed the folk next morning where to go : they succeeded in 
killing the creature. Hist.orj' does not say whether the old woman lost her life in this 
heroic deed; but even now immense heaps of bleached bonos are to be found there. 
(ScR, II, 189.) 


304. Arawalcs, Warraus, in fact all tlio Indian tribes of wlioin we 
have reliable accounts, possess myths and legends indicative of a 
more or less animistic conception of the stars and constellations. 

Dance (270) says that Eweiwah, or Hiiewah (Arawak), and 
Koiunnk (^Vkawai) are the names of the Mornmg and Evening stars 
interchangeabh^, these tribes supposing that they are one and thosame. 
Brett (Br, 107), on the other hand, gives the Arawak name for Venus 
as Warakoma [Warukoma], and that geneially used for Jupiter as 
Wiwa Kalimero (i. e. the star of brightness). The Warraus here on 
the Pomeroon call the Morning Star Okona-kura. She it was who 
stuck in the hole when her people first came down from above the 
skies to populate the earth (Sect. 31). The llakusis speak of the 
Evening Star as Kai-wono, wife of the Moon, because she is to be 
seen m his near neighborhood, and also on account of her shining 
more brightly than all the other stars (ScR, Ii, 328). According to 
Father Gili, the Indians of the Casiquiare believed that the dew 
which falls by night was the spittle of the stars (AR, 207), a belief 
similar to that reported of the Makusis. The Caribs ascribed it to the 
urination of the stars (ScR, i, 429). Tne Makusis speak of shooting 
stars as Wai-taima (ScR, ii, 328). The Island Caribs regarded all the 
heavenly bodies as Carib. Father de la Borde mentions some five 
or six stars in their cosmogony, but unfortunately has apparently 
not identified them. Racumon was one of the first Caribs made by 
Louqiu)-, he was transformed into a large snake with the head of a 
man; he was always seated on a cabatas (a hard and high tree); 
he lived on its fruit, which resembles a large plum or small apple, 
and which he gave sometimes to those who passed; he is now changed 
into a star. "Savacou was also a Carib. He was changed into a 
large bird ; he is the captain of the Storms and Thunders ; he has 
caused the heav)" rains, and is also a star now. Achinaon, a Carib, 
at present a star, causes light rain and strong winds. Couroumon 
(a Carib), also a star, causes the heavy sea waves, and upsets canoes; 
he is also the cause of flood and ebb." (BBR, 229.) 

205. Arawaks speak of the Milky Way under two names, one of 
which signifies the Path of the ilaipuri (Tapu-1, and the other is the 
Path of the Bearers of Wai-e, a species of white clay of which their 
vessels are made. The nebulous spots are supposed to be the tracks 
of Spirits whose feet were smeared w^th that material (Br, 107). 
On equally reliable authority we are told that the three nebulae 
within the Milky Way represent a tapir being chased by a dog, fol- 
lowed by a jaguar, who is not particular in choice, so that he take 
cither the dog or the tapir. Another legend is that the nebulae were 
formed by celestial wild hogs rooting up the white clay (Da, 296). 
The Makusis call the :Milky Way Parana, a term which they apply also 
to the sea. 


206. With regard to tho Southern Cross, Dance talks of it as being 
the great White Crane, and gives a legend relatiA'e to it (Da, 296). 
^Vrawalvs and Wairaus, however, have told me that this represents the 
powis {Crax sp.), the nearer "pointer" to it being the Indian just 
about to let fly his arrow, the farther one indicating his companion 
with a fire-stick running up behind. Tliis constellation serves also 
as an indication for the hunting of the bird, Schomburgk recorduig 
(ScT, 23) how, when the Cross stands erect, the powis commences 
its low moan (Sect. 98). The Makusis apparently regard the Southern 
Cross as the home of the Spirit of this bird. 

207. There arc two groups of stars described by the Arawaks and 
certain of the Warraiis, as the Babracoto and the Caniudi: four bright 
stais (Pegasus) with four imaginary connecting lines constitute the 

' square frame of the former, another thick cluster (Scorpio) repre- 
scntuig the Snake. This is the Arawak story: 

The Babracote .4nd Camuui (A) 

There was a man living with his wife and mother-in-law in the same house: the 
wife's father had been dead a long time. The man was always going out huntmg, but, 
although he started early, and returned late, luck never seemed to attend his efforts. 
This made the mother-in-law very angry, and one day she said to him: "You are a 
worthless son-in-law. Day after day. jrou go out hunting, and you bring back nothing. 
Day after day. you go out fishing, and bring back nothing.'' The man made no reply 
to all this, but just laid himself quietly down in his hammock where he remained 
until next morning. Next morning he called his wife and told her to pack the ham- 
mocks with sufficient cassava for two or three days, as he intended taking her out 
hunting with him. After they had traveled a long wa}% he killed her, cut her into 
pieces, and dried the flesh on a liabracote. Next day he returned home with his 
victim's Uver, and handing it to his mother-in-law said, ''Here's the liver of a tapir 
for you. The wife is laden with the flesh and is slowly coming on behind." The 
old woman, who was so hungry, spared no time in eating it, and when finished got 
into her hammock cjuite satisfied, anxioush' looking down the pathway for her daugh- 
ter. After watching for some hours in vain, .she began to Ihink that the alleged tapir's 
Uver must really ha\-e been her daughter's. Turning to her son-in-law, she charged 
him with having killed her daughter, because it was then very late and still she had 
not returned. He denied it and swore that .she would soon be coming, but the woman 
would not believe him. She continued watching until late in the night, and then 
she knew that the liver she had eaten was indeed her own daughter's. Of course 
she slept but little, and early next raormng crept quietly out of the house, and made 
her way to her brother, the large camudi, that lived at the head of the neighboring 
creek. She told him how her son-in-law liad killed her child, and given her the liver 
to eat. She told him also that she would send the culprit along that very creek, and 
that as soon as he got within reach he was to catch and swallow him, ^\^^en she reached 
home again the old woman said tiothing, but next day told her son-in-law that she 
was feeling very hungry, that he must go out hunting, and that if he went up to the 
head of the creek, he would find plenty of game to shoot. The son-in-law suspected 
something, so he went to a younger l^rother of his and told him to put in a day's hunt- 
ing at the head of that verj' same creek, while he took good care to take his bow and 
arrows in exactly the opposite direction. That same evening, instead of returning 
to hia own place, he came back to his younger brother's house. No brother returned 


that iiight, nor the next day. Indeed, he never came back, because he had been 
killed and swallowed by the cainudi, who had mistaken his man. The son-in-law, 
after waiting theie a few days, then knew what had happened, and made his way 
to another settlement, far, far from the nagging old woman. On a clear night you 
can still see the babracote where he barbecued his wife, and close to its side you can 
just make out the camudi with its swollen belly, due to the younger Ijrother being 

208. The Pleiades^ the Seven Stars, bore a very important rdle in 
the daily life of the Guiana Indian.s in that, among several other 
reasons, their rising from the east marked the commencement of theh 
new year: this measurement of time was adopted from the Orinoco to 
Cayemie. All the legends relating to the constellations Taurus and 
Orion have something m common in the detail of an amputated arm 
or leg. Dance speaks of the Stars forming the belt and sword-sheath 
of the constellation Orion (Da, 343) as Mabukuli (Ai-awak) or Ibbeh- 
puglm (Akawai). Now the word Mabukuli signifies "without leg," 
and the corresponding little story which he relates (Da, 296) will not 
prove out of place here: "A huntsman being unsuccessful in the chase 
one day, and being loth to retm-n without flesh for his stepmother, 
whom he loved, cut off one of his own legs, and wrapping it up in 
leaves, presented it to her as veritable game; and then ascended into 
the heavens as Mabukuli (Ibbeh-pughn) or one-legged." 

209. The Legend of the Tumong, or Seven Stars, as told by Dance 
(296), apparently from Akawai sources, is this: 

The Legend of the Seven Stars 

A man having lustful inclination toward his brother's wife killed his brother while 
hunting in his company, and cutting off an arm of the murdered man, presented 
it to the widow as a proof of her husband's death. He then took her as his own wife. 
But the spirit of the murdered man haunted a tree near by his brother's house, and 
filled the air at nights with his laments, so that ttie widow, discovering the treachery 
of her new husband, became disconsolate. The fratricide, from vexation, decided to 
rid himself of her, and of her little child. For this purpose he took her ostensibly to 
hunt with him, and observing a hole at the root of a large tree, he desired her to stoop 
and search therein for a suspected acouri. While she looked in, he pushed her in com- 
pletely, and also her child after her, and then stopped up the hole. On that night 
the spirit of the murdered man appeared to his brother and informed him that he 
knew of his deed of violence, and was not angry; for his wife had been transformed 
into an acouri, and his child to an adourie, so that his unnatural malice, save by the 
infliction of death, could not any more affect them. For himself, he would not cease 
to render the murderer's life miserable so long as his own mangled body remained 
unburied. But if the wicked brother would disembowel the body and scatter 
the entrails, after interring the other remains, not only would the dead cease to be a 
terror, but at that season every year an abundance of fish would gather in the 
river. The wretched brother then went to the ])lace of the bloody deed, and did 
what he was told, when the scattered entrails of the murdered man floated upward 
to the skies, and assumed the appearance of the Seven Stars. And truly, as was 
predicted, on the annual appearance of those stars, the yarumak [rimelodus macu- 
latiis]. tibicurie [Prochilodus ruhro-tfnintus], caburessi [Chalcens teeniatvn] and several 
other excellent fishes are abundant in the rivers. 


210. The Story of Nohi-abassi (W) ' 

There were once two brothers: the elder, a celebrated hunter, was called Nohi- 
abassi; I do not know the name of the younger one. Every day Nohi-abassi went 
farther and farther afield in the pursuit of game, and at length he reached a creek, 
wliere he climbe<l a tree, watching for the animals to come and quench their thirst. 
While waiting among the branches, he saw a woman wading up the creek toward 
the tree and noticed that every time she put her hand into tne water slie drew out 
two fish: one of these fish she put into her moutli; the other she put into her 
basket. She was a very big woman, Nahakoboni by name.'^ She was carrying a 
calabash upside down, like a cap, upon her head, and would every now and again 
toss it into the water; as she jerked it in, she made it swirl round and round like a 
top, and there she would stand a few minutes watching it spinning on tlie surface. 
Then she would proceed on her way, put herJiand into tlie water, draw out two fish 
again, devom- one, and place the other in her quake. And so she proceeded on her 
way, passed the tree where Nohi-abassi was in hiding, and still catching two fish at 
a time, went on her way to the creek-head. Night caught the hunter, and so he 
had to sleep up the tree. Next moniing he reached home, and told his brotlier what 
he had seen. The latter said, "I should like to see such a woman, who can catch so 
many fish, and can eat them as well." But Nohi-abassi answered him: "No! I 
don't care to take you with me to show her to you: you are always laughing at every- 
thing, and you might laugh at her." And it was only when his brother faithfully 
promised not to laugh at anything that he might show him, that Nohi-abassi agreed 
to take him. So they started on their journey and reached the creek where 
the adventure mth the big woman had taken place the day before. Nohi-abaosi 
climbed the identical tree whence he had originally seen Nahakoboni, this tree being 
situated a few yards away from the creek bank. His brother, however, who wanted to 
get a good look at the wonderful woman, insisted upon climbing a tree close to the 
water's edge, and made his way up and along a branch which overhung the stream. 
Both brothers sat quiet, and by and by Nahakoboni came along as before, doing 
just the same thing, spinning her calabash, putting her hand into the water, drawing 
out two fish at a time, ope of which she put into her mouth, the other into her ba:?ket. 
At length she came along right underneath where the younger brother was in hiding, 
and recognized his shadow in the water. This shadow she tried again and again to 
catch; she put her hand in quickly, first this side and then that, but of course she 
did not succeed, and what with all her queer gesticulations and fumiy capers 
made so ridiculous an appearance that the brother up above could not resist 
laugliing at her vain attempts to seize the substance for the shadow. He laughed 
again and again and could not stop laughing. Unfortimately for him, Nahakoboni, 
hearing the sound and looking up, recognized not only liim who was just over her head, 
but also Nohi-abassi, who was on the other tree some few yards distant. Furious 
at being ridiculed [see Sects. 59, 125], she ordered the former to come down, but he 
would not. So she sent the "yackman" ants[£c!ton sp.] up the tree; and when they 
reached him, they bit him, and stung him so hard that he had to pitch himself into 
the water, where she caught and ate him. She then ordered Nohi-abassi to come 
down, but he would not either, and so she played liim the same trick by sending the 
yackman ants again in pursuit. These forced him to come down, and so soon as he 
reached the ground Nahakoboni caught him, put him into her basket, which she 
tied up tight, and carried him home. Arrived there, she placed the quake in a comer 
of her house, covering it with leaves and bushes, at the same time giving her two 

1 This name (lit. " Leg-half ") is Warrau; its signification here will be seen below. 

2 This female was really a Bush Spirit, or Hebu, and thougti of the same name has nothing whatever 
to do with the old man mentioned in the story in Sect. 29. 


dauf;hters strict injunctions tliat they were under no pretext whatever to touch it 
during her absence. Directly her back was turned however — and it was not very 
long before she remembered that she had to go to her field to pull cassava — the two 
girls wanted to see what their mother had been at such pains to hide from them. 
They said, "WTiy did mother tell us not to trouble the basket?" and, promptly 
removing the bushes and leaves, cut open the quake and foimd a real live man inside. 
They took him out to have a good look, and the >"0unger sister could not help exclaim- 
ing, "Oh! what a fine fellow he is, isn't he?" They then a.-ked him if he was a good 
hunter, ar.d he answered them that he was and would always bring them plenty of 
game. Both girls therefore fell in love with him, and the younger made hira hide 
in her hammock. Now, when old Nahakoboni returned mth her cassava, she busied 
herself gi-ating it, and it was not until everything else was prepared for the feast that 
she went to the quake to kill Nohi-abassi with a view to eating him. Judge of her 
surprise when she found it empty! '^Tien asked about it, the girls admitted that 
they had been to the basket and let the captive free, the younger one adding, "and 
as he said he was a good hunter, I took him for my husband." The old mother was 
quite .satisfied ^\^th this arrangement, and .said: "All right! You can have him for 
your man, so long as he regularly brings me something to eat, but remember, on the 
very first occasion that he returns home \\'ilh nothing, I shall eat him." P'rom next 
day on, Nohi-abassi started going down to the sea regularly to catch querriraan [Mvgil 
brasilien^s] for her. No matter the size of the load offish he procured, old Nahakoboni 
would eat the whole lot, except two. Fishing like this day after day soon had its 
effect upon poor Nohi-abassi, who got heartily sick of the task of having to procure 
BO much food for his mother-in-law. His girl fell in with these views and consented 
to releas'e him from so thankless a task by running away with him. So on the last 
trip he intended making in the way of brinring home fish, he left his corial, with the 
catch in it, a little farther out from the Ijank than had hitherto been customary with 
him; indeed, he anchored it in deep water and told a shark tit lurk underneath. 
When Nohi-aliassi reached home he told his wife as usual to inform her motlier that 
he had brought home a load of in the corial, and that she must g i down to the 
water-side for it.' So old Nahakoboni went down the pathway, reached the creek, 
and went into the water to haul in the corial with the load of fish, but as soon as she 
reached the deep part of the stream, the shark seized and devoured her.- In the 
meantime, our hero and the younger daughter made preparation for their journey, 
but the elder one, beginning to feel anxious about her mother staying away so 
long, went down to the water-side to seek the cause, wliich she was not long in 
discovering. She returned in haste, and could hardly speak for passion. She 
sharpened her cutlass and slashed a tree with it; the cut reached only half through. 
She sharjiened it again, and slixshed another tree-trunk; the lilade cut it clear through. 
When Nohi-abassi saw what she was doing, he recognized tliat his sin had been dis- 
covered, and without further loss of time made all speed with his wife to run away. 
Now, although they had a good start, Nohi-abassi soon recognized that his sister-in- 
law was quickly gaining on them. He therefore made for the nearest tree and, telling 
his wife to clunb quickly, helped her up with an occasional push behind, he following 
closely at her heels. He had just made his third step up when Iris sister-in-law 
reached him with the cutlass, and making a slash, managed to cut off a portion of 
his leg,, which stuck upon one of the branches. This leg makes a noise' like the 
"maam"— it is in fact the mother or spirit of tlie maam [Tinamus sp.] [Sect. 9S], 
and when people are out shooting tliis bird, it is tliis same leg wliich occasionally 
falls down and kills the hunters. We can still see Nohi-abassi's wife climbing the 

1 He could not, of course, speak to the old woman directly, she being his mother-in-law; he himself was 
precluded from bringing the fish up to the house, as this procedure would spoil his luck (Sect. 244)- 

2 In another Warrau version of the same story, Nohi-abassi sets a big cage-trap for the fish, and asks an 
alligator to remain alongside, for the same purpose and with similar results. 


tree: she is what we call Ktira .Miiku-nidku [lit. stars little, i. e. the Pleiades], 
Behind her is Nohi-abassi himself [the Hyades], and farther back is his cut-off leg 
[Orion's Belt]. 

211. Brett's account (BrB, 191) i.-; of interest in comparison with 
the Warrau story, and I accordingly adapt it here from the metrical 
vei'sion. Before doing so, however, I can but express the proba- 
bility that the idea of making Aldebaran (the Bull's-eye in our con- 
stellation Taurus) tlie organ of vision for the Tapir — making, in fact, 
the Tapu- correspond wdth the Bull — is the result of contact with 
Afi'ican or European influences. Brett calls the myth the Legend of 
Sirikoai, and from internal evidence (cf. Sect. 3S) I am inchned to 
think that he must have received it from C'arib sources. Sirikio is 
the Carib name for a star, Wailya for a watchman, and Wawa (cf. 
Wawaiya) for a sister or a wife: on the other hand, Sahtaiis the Akawai 
name for an ax. 

The Legend of Sekikoai 

Wawaiya, the lately-made bride of Serikoai, was one day off to her cassava field, 
wlien she nietaTa]iir. He said his name was Wailya, that he liked her, and for the 
same reason had assumed that form so as to have the chance of coinins^ near her. He 
came the ne.xt day, and the next, and every day while Wawaiya was on her way to 
the field, and she became fonder and fonder of him. He finally tempted her, and 
promised her that if she followed liim to the eastward, imtil earth and sky met, he 
would resume his human shape and take her to wife. But she refused. So he 
charmed her ax. and assured her that if she did what he told her to do. she would be 
safe with him. Soon after. Serikoai asked Wawaiya to come with him and gather 
avocado pears [Persea gratissinw], which were now ripe, so that wliile he climbed 
the trees, she might collect firewood. She did so, and while her husljand was up a 
tree, she went to grind her ax. but every time it touched the stone it called out, "I 
must cut. I mu.'-t wound!'' [Sahtal!]. She asked her hiLsband whether he could 
hear it talking, and he said, ''Yes;" that it always spoke like that when being .sharpened 
there, but she must not worry over it. Howe\"er, wliile Serikoai was descending 
the tree she cut his leg clear througli and took to flight. Though exhausted by loss 
of blood, Serikoai plucked an eyelash, and blew it into the air, where it becamea 
beautiful little bird, which he told to fly away to liis mother's place and call his 
name. When the latter heard her son's name, she did not know what the bird meant, 
and so sent the bird back again to find out. On its return, she immediately rushed 
off and nur.sed her son so tenderly that he recovered of his wound. Serikoai now 
managed to walk about with a crutch, and took up the search to find his wife, but 
all traces of Wawaiya had then disappeared, what with the lapse of time and the 
heavy rains. Nothing daunted, however, he traveled on and on, until at last he 
discovered a sprout of avocado pear. .V little farther on he saw another, which 
re^'ived his hope of finding her, because he now knew that she who had taken the 
pears must liave eaten them on the road, and cast the seeds by the waj-side. Traveling 
on and on, always to the eastward, he saw at last Wawaiya'a and Wailya's footprints, 
and a little farther on saw them conversing right ahead of liim. He thereupon shot 
the Tapir and, cutting off its head, implored his wife to return, saying that if she 
refused he would follow her forever. She did however, and hurried on with 
her lover's spirit still after her, and her husband behind them both. Still rusliing 
headlong, the hu.sband reached the earth's steep edge, where Wawaiya tlirew her,se!f 
into the deep blue sky. If you watch on a clear night, you can still see Wawaiya 


[the Pleiades] with the Tapir's head [the Ilyades: tlie red eye is Aldebaran] close 
behind, and Serikoai [Orion, with Eigel indicating the upper part of the sound limb] 
farther back — all three in pursuit. 

311A. Orion's Belt is part of the leg of a woman (Sect. 98) — of 
Mabukuli (Sect. 208), of Nohi-abassi (Sect. 210), of Makunauna (Sect. 
38) — and the arm of the murdered husband (Sect. 209). 

212. As has been already mentioned, the Spirits of ])eople departed 
may wander upward to jom other Spirits in Sky-land (Sect. 81). 
Some of these may pass their existence happily, and harm no one, 
or in the course of their transformation (Sect. 69) they may become 
changed into birds — perhaps into bu-ds of ill omen sometimes — and 
so have then* place in the heavens. Again, the Spirits of good niedi- 
cine-men travel upward to Cloud-land, and may be invoked by their 
surviving professional brethren with the aid of the rattle and tobacco 
(Sect. 309) . There are a few other Spirits of the Sky who are essen- 
tially bad-minded in the sense of bringing sickness into the world: 
these also are referred to elsewhere (Sect. 309). 

212A. The Woman of the Dawn (W) 

Plenty of people went out to hunt, but on the way l>ack, four of them were caught 
by nightfall when far away from home. These four comprised a man, his wife, and 
two daughters; and a long, long waj' behind them was yet another man. This last 
man shouted out to the four others, "Hi! Stop! wait for me! wait for me!" to which 
they replied, "Come along quick, and follow us." But as he could never reach 
them, he kept on singing Mawa-kakotu [lit. "for me — wait'']. He is the little night 
owl, who still sings like this. The darkness was now so thick that the four could get 
no farther. They had to remain where they were, and though they waited and waited, 
no daylight came. In the meantime they made a fire from ite-palm leaves, but it 
burned away too quickly; it was no good. They then rolled some wax in. a leaf, 
but this also liurned away too quickly: it too was no good. The parents, seeing a 
little dawn a long distance away in the bush, sent the elder daughter to go and bring 
it. She went on and on. l:mt zigzag and crossways just like a drunken man, a token 
that she would never obtain the daylight. She walked in a crooked way because she 
had already had dealings with a man. Finally she reached the spot where the day- 
light was, and there she came across an old man and his wife. She asked for his son, 
but as he was out at work, the old man bade her to wait. When at last the old man's 
son did reach home, the mother said: "A friend has come to see you. She has waited 
long. You had 1 )etter ask her what she wants, ' ' And when he asked her what she wanted, 
she told him how her father had sent her to fetch some daylight. [Kxtrahens suum 
clavem, incepit arcam intrare], but the key' would not fit, the lock' having been tam- 
pered with, and he therefore sent her home again. Wheushe got back, empty handed, 
the younger si^iler .said, •' I will try to get some daylight," and althougli her father told 
her she was too young to go, she insisted, and went. She did not stumble on the road 
from one side to the other because as yet she had never had anything to do with a man, 
and she reached the spot without trouble. Like her sister, she had to await the young 
man's return, and when he did arrive, hia old mother said: "I don't know what is the 

1 When I reminded tha old Warcau informant that Indians had no locks and keys, she told me that 
the story as told above is just as she heard it, and that oldtime people do not like to mention bad (i. e. 
indecent) things.— W. E. R. 


matter with yoiir friends. They have never come to visit you like this before. There 
is another young woman come to see you." On learning that she had come to fetch 
daylight [inseruit clavem in arcam eiiis et demonstravit quoquo modo opportuisse uti]. 
He gave her the Daylight, which she brought back to her parents and sister. 

[Among the Paresai (Peru) there is a vaginal origin ascribed to both organic and 
inorganic nature (PE, 33).] 

313. Rain can be produced as well ;is stopped by human, animal, 
or spirit agency, but at the same time would appear to have an inde- 
pendent existence. To make rain on the Pomeroon, one of the 
authorized methods consists in plunging into water a length of cas- 
sava stalk held at one extremity. Next the stalk must be tied up in 
the center of a bimdle of other cassava stalks, and the whole left to 
soak in water: rain is sure to fall within twenty-four hours. Another 
method practised here is to wash in water the scrapings from one of an 
alligator's largest teeth. Arawaks as well as Warraus believe also in 
the piai or any layman biu'ning the carcass of a camudi as an induce- 
ment for the rain to fall. The Oyambis of Cayeime have the same 
belief in the efTicacA' of the killing of a snake (Cr, 174). On the 
Kamwatta Creek, in the j\Ioruca River district, there is a half-sub- 
merged tree stump, known as Ibtima (lit. "young woman," in the 
Warrau language), believed to be the site wliere either an Indian mur- 
dered his wife or where she killed herself. In chy weather the tree is 
exposed, and as the Indians pass it in their corials, they call out, 
"Ibuina ! " and slash theu- cutlasses into it , with the avowed purpose of 
making the woman vexed, and so causing the rain to fall. Rain can 
also be made to fall in this district by cursing the black kurri-kurri bird 
as mentioned in the story of the Medicine-man and the Carrion Crows 
(Sect. 303). On the upper Mazaruni it is a large eagle and a camudi 
that can cause the rain to fall (Bro, 399); frogs arc reputed to be 
able to do the same thing (Sect. 4^). 

314. The infringement of certain taboos can also entail a downj^our 
of rain. For instance, when traveUng on the sea or any other large 
sheet of water, as a big river, the Indians (Arawaks, Warraus, etc.) 
have to be very careful as to what they do with the pot-spoon, the 
Jiardro of the Arawaks (Sect. 193). After use they must wash it in the 
traveUng boat or wait until they get on land, but never wash it in 
the river or sea: otherwise, big squalls and storms will arise. Nor 
must any fresh water be spilt in the traveling boat (Sect. 219). 
Near the Qiichi Falls, upper Mazaruni, on giAang the Indians rice 
to cook that evening, the men tokl them to wash it tirst by dipf)ing 
the earthen pot into water, but to this they demurred, saying that 
if they placed their pot in the water the rain would fall more heavily 
(Bro, 397). In the same way a Cayenne bush-negro, in order to stop 
the rain, advises his fellow-servant not to wash the inside of the pot 
(CV, 276). 


315. Conversely, the rain can be stopped. Near Mora Village, on 
the upper Rupununi, there was a hill close by on wliich, the Indian 
said, a "Spirit at the approach of the end of the rainy season, made a 
noise like the report of a gun to stop the rain" (Bro, 138). "We 
passed an old man." says Brett (Br, 169). "fishing in a canoe on the 
Manawarin. The clouds threatened rain, and when he perceived it, 
he began to use extraordinary gesticulations, flourishing his arms, 
and shouting his incantations to drive it away. It soon cleared up, 
and tlie old sorcerer rejoiced at his success, as he deemed it." So 
again, Dance (p. 234), on the Potaro: "A cloud was gathering wind- 
ward, and threatened rain. The Indian who had the front paddle 
in my woodskin commenced to blow away the threatening rain cloud. 
This he attempted to do by blowing into his fist and dashing his 
hand upward toward the cloud." Schomburgk describes a similar 
nianoeuver executed by a Warrau (ScR, i, 186). On the Pomeroon, 
should rain fall at a time when it is particularly not desired, as when 
traveling in an expo-ed corial, one of the occupants will address the 
' ' Boss ' ' Spirit of the Rain somewhat as follows : ' ' Pass on. We don't 
want you here. Clear out to the head of the river where you are 
wanted," at the same time pointing with liis finger toward the direc- 
tion he wishes it to take. Another of the- occupants will as often as 
not then get up in the boat on all fours and, pointing his posterior in 
the direction of the Rain, will address it with an obscene remark. The 
Being thus addressed is Uni-shidu, so called by the iVi-awaks from I'ni, 
the Rain, and Shidu, a term applied to any chief or boss. As first 
recorded by Bancroft (312), it is noteworthy that if it rains at the time, 
the medicine-man will postpone his incantations. 

316. The Ai-awaks speak of the Rainbow as Yawarri {Didelphys 
sp.), the reddish '"olor of its fur bearing some fancied resemblance 
to the coloration of the bow. These same pcojDle (certainly in the 
Pomeroon District) hold that white people are coming from the direc- 
tion where they see a rainbow: On inquirv, I learn that the con- 
nection between this natural phenomenon and the European lies in 
the high arched forehead of the latter. The Island Caribs more or 
less personified it as Joulouca [ ^another form of the word Yurokon, 
Sect. 04], the Rainbow Spirit, which "lives on fish, hzards, pigeons, 
and humming birds, and is covered with fine feathers of all colors, 
especially on the head. He is the rain-bow which we see: the clouds 
prevent us from seeing the rest of the body. He makes the Carib ill 
when it finds notliing to eat above. If tliis fine Iris appears when 
they are at sea, they take it as a good omen of a prosperous journey. 
T^Tlen it appears to them while they are on land, they hide in their 
homes and think that it is a strange and masterless spirit which seeks 
to kill somebody " (BBR, 231). 


217. As wall be scon from the following list, weather forecasting 
must be somewhat easy foi the Indians. Unfortunately I have been 
unable to discover at first hand, the connection, if any, between 
the sign and the event, that is, whether it is a case of cause and effect, 
at the instigation of some Spirit, human or animal. On the Moruca 
River, rain will fall or an accident of some sort will happen to the 
person hearing, the karra-suri (small kingfisher) or the fika-wanna 
(a little bird with red legs and its long tail) whistle notes; so again, 
certainly on the same river, if when the weather happens to be dry, the 
kaiokochi (crocodile) "barks" late of an afternoon, rain is certain to 
follow either that night or during the course of the following day. 
Wlien the river ibis, or kurri-kurri (Ibis infuscatus), utters its cries in 
the evening, the natives of the Cuyxmi say it is a sure sign that rain 
will fall during the night (Bro, 21). Gumilla makes the cin-ious 
statement (G, i, 289) that the manati is to be seen taking big jumps 
out of the water a day before rain falls. On the Pomeroon and 
IMoruca, among the Arawaks, when plenty of swallows are seen, or 
the toucans cry loudly, or various frogs (as the akiu-a, tontonh, 
kure-kure, warra-raura) are heard, or a little insect (the kudu-kudu) 
chirps, or the yarau fish are found bearing plenty of eggs, wet weather 
is believed to be approaching. In Cayenne, the araqua or paraqua 
is the rain-bird of the Ouajana Indians. A long spell of dry weather 
may be expectetl when any large camudi is found high up on a tree, 
and a correspondingly short one if the serpent is but a small one and 
only a few feet from the gi'ound (Arawaks and Warraus, Moruca 
River). Again, if a Pomeroon Arawak hears the kukui (a hawk some- 
what like a 'carrion crow') he knows the soimd presages prolonged 
dry weather; what is more curious still, he and his people when they 
hear this sound rush to the pepper trees around the house and shake 
them with a view to making them bear more peppers. There are 
two birds that I shall always be glad to hear singing, the warri-kuraa 
and the dara ("bell-bird," CJiasmarhynchus), because the Arawaks 
have taught me that they indicate the coming of plenty of sunshine. 
Some Indians enjoy the same prospect when they hear the baboon 

218. The Cayenne Indians are not so much afraid of thunder as 
of an eclipse; they believe the former is caused by piai who, climbing 
up into the skies, makes this frightful noise (PBa, 233). As soon as 
they recognize the approaching storm which usually accompanies the 
thunder, the Island Caribs at once make for their houses, and stepping 
into the kitchen, seat themselves on their little stools close to the 
fire. Here, hiding their faces, and resting their heads upon their 
hands and knees, they commence to cry, bewailing in their gibberish 
that Maboya (Sect. 84) is nmch angered with them. They do the 
same thing when there is a hurricane on (RoP, 486). The Uaupes 


River Indians blame their corresponding spirit, the Jurupari, for 
the thunderstorms; it is at these times that he is angry with them 
(ARW, 348). The Kobeuas beheve that at death separation of spirit 
from body is taking place (KG, ii, 152). Warraus believe thimder 
to be the roar of Black Tiger (Sect. US). The vSurinam negroes 
regard tlie old-time Indian stone weapons as thunderbolts, and look 
on them as talismans with which they part only with reluctance (WJ, 
71). Many people [?Indians, ^Spaniards] at Caracas and elsewhere 
wear them on their necks as amulets for protection agaiast hght- 
ning and thunder (AR, 461). 

319. With regard to storms generally, the Carib Islanders — 

TVHien they have to cross over sea to go to another island like St. Alousi or St: Vin- 
cent ... no pure water is drunk, and they are very careful not to spill any in the 
canoe or in the sea (Sect. 193); it would tlie eea to swell and make rain and bad 
weather come. . . . They cannot pass certain places at sea without throwing o\-er 
food: it is for some Caribs who have perished there, and now have their huts at the 
bottom of the sea. They could othei-wise not pass without the boat capsizing. When 
.a storm cloud is seen, they all blow in the air and drive it away with their hands to 
turn the rain in another direction. To make the sea calm, and allay a storm, they 
chew cassava, then spit it in the air and sea to appease the Chenieen (Sect. 89) who is 
perhaps angry because he is hungry. If they have an unfavorable wind, an old man 
out of the crowd takes an arrow and hits the hydrant of the canoe, which is supposed 
to let the tanoe go as straight as an arrow: if a gust of wind makes them lose sight of 
land, they consult the devil. [BBR, 245.] 

Chapter XFV^ 

Omens, tokens, auguries, etc., dependent on — human beings {220-221); quadrupeds 
{222); birds {223); insects {224-225); plants {226). Ordeals, Preparatory Charms, for 
the Chase, with: Incisions, mutilations, nose-stringing (^27); frogs, toads {228-229); 
caterpillars and ants {230): perhaps have a physiological basis {231). Hunting-dogs 
have to undergo similar ordeals {232). Attraction charms, Binas (1) for hunting: 
Plants, used on hunter {233), or on liis dog {234), originally obtained from a.snake {235). 
Animals used on the hunter and on his dog {236); (2) for sexual purposes: Plants 
(.^,37); animals {238). Talismans, Repellent (and so Protective or Defensive) Charms: 
Plant {239), animal, tooth [240], blood and red paint {240A), stone {241). 

330. Omens, token.s, augurie.s, etc., are known to the Arawaks as 
adibuahu, to the Warraus as a.sljatai-aJid. Lucky indeed are those 
children who are born wath a caul {shiho-addahu) , because they are 
going to see spirits (Yawahu) and so become more clever. If the 
husband is away fishmg or hunting, and any little child of his, boy 
or girl, takes up a pot, and puts it on the fire pretending to cook some- 
thmg (leaves, etc.), the mothe. can rest assured that their father is 
bringing something home with him. If a healthy person is suddenly 
overcome by a sleepy feeling, or if during sleep he happens to spit, 
this means that he is about to be visited by some one (Arawaks). 
During sneezing and ya■^\^ling, the spirit temporarily leaves the body 
through nose and mouth (KG, ii, 1.52). To point the finger at a 
fellow creature (Sect. 263) is to offer him as serious an affront as it 
would be to step over him when lj"ing on the ground; in the latter 
case, the recumbent person would rightly say, "You can cross me 
when I am dead. I am not dead yet!" (Arawaks). Our old chief- 
tain, says Schomburgk, had during the morning sprained liis foot, 
while jmnping from rock to rock, an accident to which he paid little 
attention, but which showed he was unable to proceed on the journey 
to Nappi: this accident was taken as a bad omen by both the Makusis 
and Arekunas who, with the exception of those who were bound to 
us by agreement, all turned back to their settlement on the following 
morning (ScR, ii, 291). If the occupants of a settlement [Pomeroon 
Caribs] wish to assure the victory for their warriors on the march, 
and want to assure themselves at the same time of the issue of the 
battle, perhaps ah-eady fought, they place two boys on a bench and 
whip them without mercy, especially over the shoulders. If the boys 
bear the pain without shedding a tear or uttering a groan, victory is 
certain. One of the boys is then placed in a hammock, from which 
he has to shoot at a target fixed to one of the roofs: as many arrows 



as hit the target, so many of the enemy will be killed by the warriors 
(ScR, II, 431). If after their descent upon the Arawaks, they are dis- 
covered before striking the first blow, or a dog yelps at them, the 
Island Caribs take the incident for a bad augury, and return to 
their boats: they believe that hostilities, begun openly, will not suc- 
ceed (RoP, 529)". 

221. As a matter of fact, anything that occurs out of the ordinary 
is accepted in the hght of a token of something evil about to happen. 
For examples of tliis, I am taking at random the following extracts 
from the legends aheady given : 

He brought them a ttirtle. which they put on the hot ashes without killing it, so it 
promptly crauled out; they pushed it on again, but witli the same result. It was the 
omen betokening their death [Sect. 4]- 

And when asked how she knew [that the Bush Spirits were coming to spoil the 
drink], she told them that she had received a sign, or token, because when she was 
weeping for her late husband, he suddenly appeared before her and told her to cease to 
cry [Sect. 1U9]. 

The elder brother then re<'Ognized that il [the fact of the younger persistently making 
a noise while fish in g\ was a token of something that was about to happen [Sect. 113]. 

The wife also met her death shortly after, and they then remembered having noticed 
the token: she liad omitted to Itathe after a meal, some days before (Sect. 119). 

Her visitor eating the frogs raw was a sign of something -wrong somewhere, causing 
the girl to become suspicious (Sect. 120). 

It was not long before the brother again put his feet into the fire, a fact which, con- 
sidering that he was not drunk, led his brother to believe that it was a token of some 
evil about to befall (Sect. 126). 

Wlien the husband claimed the beast which he had not hilled, as his own, the wife 
realized the token that something unusual was about to happen (Sect. 136). 

NMiile eating the beetle grub out of the Mauritia palm, the elder brother heard it 
whistle: he knew tliis to be the sign or token that he was about to die (Sect. 139). 

221A. Tlie token or augury may be in the nature of an indescribable 
sort of feeling. 

The Obstinate Girl who Refused the Old Man (W) 

An old man asked a woman to come and live with him. She, however, was young 
and wanted a yotmger husband, so she declined him. This made the old man much 
vexed, and he threatened to punish her badly. By and by the woman took as hus- 
band a young man. He was a splendid hunter, and always killed anything and 
everything; even at night, if he heard a tiger growling anywhere in the neighbor- 
hood, he would never hesitate to go out into the darkness and slay it. One day he 
went into the to ctit out honey, his wife accompanying him. "That will do," 
she .said when she thought he had cut enough, but he wanted to cut one more tree. 
"No, don't cut another," .<he repeated, "I feel frightened. I feel strange, as if some- 
thing were about to happen." ' But he insisted upon cutting one tree mure, and no 
sooner had he done so than two creatures like tigers rushed out of a neighboring thicket 
and killed him. They were not exactly Hebus. and they were not exactly tigers: 
they were Spirits of some sort whom the old man had sent to revenge himself with. 
Now the deceased husband had left two brothers behind him, and when they heard 
of his death, they made inquiry and examined the place in the forest where he had 

1 This was really the token. 


been attacked, but could find uo trace of the body. The young widow then wanted to 
take unto herself one of these brothers-in-law, but he was afraid after what had hap- 
pened to her first husband. Nevertheless, she loosened her hammock, and slung it 
next to his; she even brought him food, water, and other things, but he refused to 
handle anything that she offer?d. Had he done so, she would have said to herself, 
"He loves me" [Sect. -175]. Nevertheless, she persisted in her attentions, and fol- 
lowed him everywhere; where he went, she went. He told her he was going to cut 
out honey and that she must go back; she refused, so he threw her into the river. 
She did not mind, but clung to the edge of the corial, and though he bashed her fingers 
with the paddle, she refused to let go her hold — well, at last he gave way and let her 
join him. So they went together to the place where the honey was to be procured, 
and filled all their goblets. The woman said. "Don't cut any more. I feel strange. 
Something is about to happen." He stopped cutting, and helped to pack the corial 
ready for the return journey. ^Tiile doing so, the two Tiger creatures came from out 
of their hiding-place and killed him. And the woman was for the second time a 
widow. The remaining brother and other members of the family came and visited 
the spot as before, but there was no trace of the body to be found. It was this remaining 
brother that the woman next wanted, but after what had happened, he was too much 
afraid to have anything whatever to do with her. However, she persisted so much, that 
he was finally forced to consent. They went for the honey as before, the stranp'e 
feeling came over her, she warned him to stop, they started packing, and the two 
Tiger creatures appeared. On this occasion, the man killed one of his assailants before 
being himself dispatched by the other. At any rate, the woman was for the third 
time a widow. Did she then marry the old man who wanted her originally? No; 
she would not even look at him. 

22tB. How THE Little Boy Escaped from the Caries (W) 

A party of women and girls went to gather wild jiineapple. They traveled in a large 
corial, and at last landed. Having roamed the bush and gathered a number of pines, 
they all sat down in a circle to eat them, and commenced laughing and chattering, 
as women do. Now there was a little boy among the party, who climbed up an over- 
hanging tree, where the corial had been tied up at the water-side, in order to keep 
watch; he was afraid that something wa.s going to happen.' After a while he called 
out that some men were swimming across the stream, but all that the women jokingly 
said was: "All right. Let them come. We will have some sport and fun with them.", 
But the men were really Carib cannibals, and as soon as they reached land, they 
rushed upon the women, slaughtered every one of them, and began cooking the 
flesh. The boy up the tree was much frightened at seeing all this, but did not dare 
descend just yet. The Caribs were watching the corial lest anyone should come and 
fetch it away, and at irregular intervals would wander backward and forward from 
the scene of the outrage to the landing-place. It was during one of these intervals that 
the youngster slipped down the tree, and, breaking his arrow, rubbed the pieces 
over his body to make him brave [Sect. SSI]. He then slipped off into the corial, 
and as quickly as possible reached midstream. By this time the Caribs had recog- 
nized him and shouted for him to return . ' ' Come back ! Come back ! " they screamed : 
"Your sister is aUve and calls you," but the lad knew better and, paddling strongly, 
got home safe. He told his father and other relatives all that had happened. These 
hurried back, only to find that the Caribs had made their escape, and so they "received 
no payment" [i. e. they did not get their revenge on them].^ 

' When I asked the narrator ftou' the little boy knew that something exceptional was about to take place, 
she told me that when youn^ people and children travel far atield, they often get frightened and nervous. — 
W. E.R. 

1 For another Warrau version of this story, see Sect. 147. 
1.J9(>1° — 30 ETH — 1.5 18 


222. With regard to animals, let us see what tliey or their actions 
can presage. 

Serious sickness or death is indicated by either small or large 
species of armadillo (yeshi and monoraima, respectively), or the 
jaguar, burrowing or digging up, for the purpose of covering its 
excreta, any portion of the road leading up to the house. Similarly, 
it is a bad omen for any droppings of the buhiini (a bat) to be foujid 
on the pathway (Arawaks) . There is a frog with a spotted back which 
jumps well, and is known to the Pomeroon Arawaks as sorukara. A 
pregnant woman will tickle it to make it jump, and according as it 
lands on its back or its beUy, so will her child prove to be girl or boy. 
The Island Caribs regarded bats as their guardian Chemeens or 
Familiar Spirits, and believed that whoever killed them would become 
ill (BBR, 2.35). When the warritimakaro {Braclypus tridactylvs), the 
smallest kind of sloth, which has a cm-ious habit of always covering 
its face with its crossed hands, imcovers its face, it is a sure token that 
some one is going to die (Arawaks). 

223. Birds of ill omen are present in plenty. Chief among these is 
the goat-sucker {Caprimulgus). Writing from the Takutu, Schom- 
burgk says that — 

The Indians have the greatest superstition with regard to this bird, and would not 
kill it fur any price. They say it keeps communication with the dead, and brings 
messages to their conjurers. Even the common people on the coast retain in a great 
measure this superstition, and hold the bird in great awe. Its nocturnal habits, the 
swiftness and peculiarity of its flight, and its note, which breaks the silence of the 
night, have no doubt contributed to the fear which Indians and Creoles entertain 
for the Wacarai or Sumpy Bh-d [ScT, 67]. 

As is the case with even far more civiUzed nations, owls are of 
equally evil portent and may indicate sickness, death, the presence of 
an as-yet-unborn babe, or a birth. Thtis, among the Pomeroon and 
Moruca Arawaks, the boku-boku, and the waro-baiya or maletitoro 
(both of them species of night-owl), and among the Dcmerara River 
Arawaks, the hututu (night-owl) and makudi (small owl) are said 
always to be heard when a person is sick or about to die. In the 
Pomeroon the morokodyi (night-owl) cries when a female in the 
house is enciente. On the Demerara, when the night-owl calls 
cuta! cuta! cuta! quickly, it is to notify that one in the family is about 
to give birth to a child; and when that bird mews hke a cat, it is the 
notification of death (Da, 269). In French Guiana, on the upper 
Parou River, at an Apalai village, Crevaux had a curious experience: 
"Arrived in the forest where we proposed camping, we heard the notes 
of a bird which I have reason to believe is a kind of screech-owl. A 
panic seized my escort, the torches were put out, and men and women 
saved themselves in the obsciu'ity of the night. We were obUged to 
return to the village for our night's rest " (Cr,300). OnthePomeroon 


and elsewhere, probably from their custom, when in large numbere, 
of flying in pairs, one behind the other, the baridi hawks are taken 
as an omen of a funeral. On the lower Amazon, a black eagle 
{Milvago nudicolUs) locally known as the caracara-i, is considered a 
bird of ill-omen by the Indians; it often perches on the tops of trees in 
the neighborhood of their huts and is then said to bring a warning 
of death to some member of the household. Some say that its whin- 
ing cry is intended to attract defenceless birds within its reach 
(HWB, 146). With regard to remaining species of birds, the Pome- 
roon Arawaks beheve that if the koko-bero fhes over the house, some 
one in it will shortly prove pregnant, that or a httle baby is about to 
be taken sick. The voice of the kwa-kwarra brings an evil message, 
similar to that of the boku-boku. The kareo-obannahu is a small 
night-bird, so named after its note, l-arau! Icarau! and ohannahu (the 
liver, the color of which it resembles). If its note is heard but 
faintly, some individual must be exceedingly ill: if distinctly, the 
patient is getting better and stronger. When the beletika cries, some 
one is about to be married; hence this token may be both of good 
and bad omen. Another set of bird-tokens may indicate approaching 
rainfall as well as accident (Sect. 217). There is still another class of 
omens, indicative of either prospective good luck or bad luck. Thus, 
when on a hunting expedition, one hears the karrasuri, a small bird, 
uttermg a kind of laugh, he is sure to kill something, but if it should 
cry shirai, he will get nothing. According as the bukulaura, another 
bird, turns its back or its breast toward a person, so will fortune or 
misfortune attend that person's wishes in obtaining whatever food 
he wants. [Furthermore, when walking along the pathway one must 
not mind if a munirikuti (species of black ant) bites his foot, because 
this means that he will obtain something very good and satisf\ang.] 
Some Indians will never turn their back on a trogon: " He [the Indian] 
attributed his safety (from drowning) to the strictness with which the 
Indians had observed the proper respect due to a trogon that had 
flowii over our heads in the morning: they have a superstition that 
if, on setting out on a journey, they should turn their bacl« to this 
species of bird, ill luck will sui-ely follow." (BW, 146: on the Maza- 
rmii, with an Ai-awak and Akawai crew.) The following are some 
miscellaneous examples of bu-d-omens : On the Pomeroon one must 
not gaze too long on the great red macaw, unless the mdividual ^\^shes 
to become bald, presumably in view of the bird having its cheeks so 
markedly devoid of feathers. The advent of strangers is notified by 
the warracabba (trumpeter-bird) when it is seen playmg about near 
the house, having m its mouth a leaf with which it is believed to be 
building a banab. On the Orinoco, in token of the Father coming 
to visit them, the Cacique said that on the previous, day he had seen a 
bii'd with peculiar feathers and colors passing over his house: it gave 


them notice of his approach (G, i, 311). Children are discouraged 
from picking up certain feathers, as these tend to weaken memory, 
and the handling of the feathers of a scissor-tail hawk, called by the 
Atorais cliaouneh, conduces to insanity (Da, 250). 

333A. The Night-owl and uis Bat Brothers-in-law (W) 

Bokii-boku, the Night-owl, marrit'd llie bats' sister, and often took liis brothers with 
him at night to rob peoples' houses. One night they came across a house where the 
people were drying fish on a babracote: just to frighten them, they all sang out, hoku! 
hoku! boku! — this made the occupants run out into the bush, and so gave the bata 
their opportunity for stealing the fish. The trio played the same trick at many a 
settlement, imtil one day the owl told them he had to travel about for a while, and 
that during his absence they must behave themselves, and stay indoors at night, as 
otherwise trouble would be sure to happen. But no sooner had Boku-boku turned 
his back, than the bats, unable to resist temptation, continued their e\'il courees. 
They got to a place one night where the fish were being dried, but ha\-ing no owl with 
them on this occasion, they could not shout boku! boku! boku! as loudly as they 
did before; hence, the people not being so frightened now, ran away only a little 
distance, just far enough to be able to watch everything and to see that it was only the 
bats who were stealing their food. But the bats, remaining imdisturbed, thought 
they could now do what they liked with impunity, and hence returned again upon 
the following evening, when the people remained just as they were, some seated, 
some lying in their hammocks. The bats still thought of course that nothing bad 
could happen them, and were laughing chi! chi! chi! for very joy. But tlie house- 
master took out his bow ana arrow, the latter tipped with a knob of wax, with which 
he shot one of them on the rump, stunning it.' The other bat, escaping into the 
forest, met Boku-boku, who had just returned from his travels, and to whom he nar- 
rated the circtimstances of his brother's untimely death. Nothing daunted, the two 
returned to hunt that night, and on this occasion the noise of their voices, now that it 
included the owl's, created such a stir that the folk ran as before into the bush, while 
Boku-boku and his brother-in-law stole the fish. But lying on the babracote Wiis 
the dead bat, which they took home with them, and there they soundly smacked 
him on the spot where he had been struck with t\va arrow: this brought him round, the 
fire not having withered him up beyond recovery, and he laughed chi! chi! chi! on 
awakening. And although Boku-boku was prevented accompanying them the 
following evening, the two bats insisted on repeating their nocturnal exclusion: as 
before, the folk were not frightened, and again one of the bats got shot in his posterior. 
Next night, the surviving bat returned with Boku-boku, and they found as before upon, 
the babracote, the body of their relative: this they took away with them, but on this 
occasion, when they smacked the corpse, it never woke — it had been dried too much 
over the fire. The surviving bat however continues to take his revenge u pon people 
and sucks them and their fowls, as well as doing other damage, while tlie presence of 
Boku-boku, his brother-in-law, invariably means mischief: when heard at night, 
some one is surely about to sicken and die. 

234. There are two bees which indicate the an-ival of a stranger. 
One of these insects (honorari) comes in the morning early, and in 
the afternoon late, while the other (wariro) lives in the ground; 
when either of these buzzes Arawaks are convinced that people are 
about to visit them. The modudu is another bee that fhes round 

1 On the upper Aiary the children's toy arrows are tipped with a button of black wax (KG, i, 106-7). 


somewhere between 4 and 5 a. m.: should a young person hear it 
buzzing he (or she) must immediately get out of the hammock, on 
penahy of having pains all over the body. The Arawaks of the 
Pomeroon beheve that if a candle-fly, Pyrophorus nodilucus (koko-i) 
is seen coming into the house, it may mean three tilings : supposing 
it falls to the ground, tliis indicates the near death of one of the 
inmates; if it falls into the fu'e, this shows that a deer has sent it 
along to fetch a light for him; but if it settles down imder the roof, 
the arrival of a stranger is to be expected. The bite of a certain ant 
is lucky (Sect. 2£S). 

225. The Candle-flt saved the Lost Hunter (C) 

Five men formed themselves into a hunting party, and went out into the forest. 
At nightfall they built themselves a banab, and next morning they all started in 
different directions to scour the neighborhood. Late in the afternoon they had 
returned to the resting place, all except one. Three of the four said, "Our friend is. 
either lost or a tiger has eaten him," but when they discussed the matter further, 
they remembered that they had seen no tracks of a tiger throughout the district. 
The head-man was therefore right when he said, "No. He must be lost." Tliis 
was really what had happened to the fifth man, who, penetrating deep into tlie forest,, 
was overtaken by the darkness, which made him miss the track. He wandered on. 
and on, and laid liimself down under a tree. By and by, a Pu-yu [candle-fly] came 
along and asked him what he was doing all alone there: when it learned that he had 
Icist himself, it offered to show him the way. But the man doubted how such a little 
thing could help him, and it was only when the Candle-fly told him that it intended 
warming itself at the verj^ fire which his four friends had made at the banab, that 
he agreed to follow it. And as the two approached the camping-ground, they heard 
the voices of people talking. "Listen!" said the little Fly: "That's where your 
people are. We are going there." AATien they at last reached the shed, the Candle- 
fly flew in ahead, and told the four men that it was bringing them their lost com- 
panion; the latter then came in, and his four friends were right glad to see him. 

226. The only example of plant-hfe in connection with omens and 
auguries so far met with is that recorded by Bernau: "Marriage is. 
frequently contracted by parents for their cliildren when infants; 
and trees are planted by the respective parties in witness thereof: 
it is considered a bad omen if either tree should happen to wither 
as in that case the party is sure to die" (Be, 59). 

227. The Guiana Indian voluntarily submits to various painful 
ordeals or preparatory charms, previous to setting out on, and with 
the object of wimiing success in, the chase. He believes in priming 
hunself whenever his huiiting powers appear to be impaired, and may 
spend some two or tlu'ee months or more in the process; during this 
period he abstains from salt and peppers, also perhaps from sugar. 
The ordeals apparently consist m the "mortification of the flesh" 
by scarification, etc., and its irritation with various frogs, toads, 
caterpUlars, ants, or by special nose-stringing apparatus. I pur- 
posely use the term "apparently" because their real signification 


(see Sect. 231) is evidently not even known to the InfUans who 
practise them. In Surinam, among both the Ojanas (Caiibs) and 
Trios (Caribs) it is customary (Go, 21) to slash arms and legs with 
a knife, and the scars may be rubbed perhaps %vith turalla (Caladium 
bulb). An Ojana told de Goeje that he cut his arm in order to be 
able to shoot the quatta monkey well. A Trio slashed his arm and 
forearm and rubbed earth into it, to become a good hunter; another 
cut his thigh in order to become a strong mountain chmber; some 
women also had on the outer side of the tliigh scars from wounds 
inflicted to make themselves strong. With the Island Caribs, the fore- 
head and nose were flattened artificially (RoP, 437). This was done 
as soon as the infants were born by exerting pressure in such a way 
as to cause a shght backward slope of this part of the head. Besides 
being considered a sign of beauty, this shape was said to be advantage- 
ous in shooting arrows from a tree-top, in securing a foot-hold, etc. 
(RoP, 552). Among the Yaruro IncUans of the Orinoco, in order to 
become skillful with the bow and arrow the men submit to a sexual 
mutilation with a stingray "barb", which is made to pierce the 
prepuce (Cr, 570). The Cayenne Caribs never go on a big hunting 
expedition wathout drawing a little blood from their arms to prevent 
them shaking when puUing the bow: to give them greater strength 
for paddling, the young men scarified themselves on both arms. 
Similarly, before undertaking a journey on land they never fad to 
make incisions at the level of the calves (Cr, 280). Schom- 
burgk reports seeing Indians bleeding each other as a remedy for 
over fatigue (ScF, 235). There is stiU a nose-strmgmg procedure 
to be mentioned: "In most Indian houses pieces of thick roughly- 
plated fiber or cord, as thick as codhnc, and a yard in length, are 
seen hanging up in the roof. These have all been used once . . . 
that is, passed up through the nose oJ the owner of the house, and 
ch-awni out by the mouth, for the purpose of giving him good luck in 
hunting" (Bro, 302). The string tapers "from a very small point at 
one end to a considerable thickness at the other end, where the fibers 
hang loosely in a bunch . . . the thin end [is passed] up his nos- 
tril .. . employed by Makusis, iVi-ecunas, and Ackawoi" (IT, 228). 
The "exercising" of the limbs at each new moon may perhaps be 
regarded in the light of a preparatory ordeal (Sect. 199). 

328. In British Guiana, on the Kaieteur savannah, a frog is rubbed 
on the transverse cuts made adown either side of the hunter's chest, 
a different frog being used for different game. In the same district 
a small live toad is said to be swallowed for the promotion of general 
success in hunting.' "Having scratched his wrist with the telson or 
sting of a scorpion to insure precision in darting the arrow from the 
bow, and cut liis arms and legs with the flakes of a broken bottle, he 

I H. W. B. Moore, in Daily Argosy, Aug. 12, 1910. 


rubs the back of the kimaua toad over the wounds; the virus of the 
reptile burns hke fire" (Da, 253). In the Pomeroon District, in 
addition to abstention from salt and peppers, cuts are made on the 
arms, and the spawn of the akm-a frog (Sect. 229) is rubbed not only 
into the incisions, but also into the mouth, nose, eyes, and ears, 
where it is said to cause acute irritation. It is difficult to understand 
the relationsliip, if any, between the frog or toad, and success in the 
chase (Sect. 144)i except on a basis of some original belief in the 
divinity (Sect. 4^) of these batrachians, as we know to have existed 
in other parts of the Guianas (Sect. 34-9) . The following is an Ai-awak 
story : 

239. The Wife Teaches her Husband to Hunt (A) 

There was a man whci though he went off regularly to the forest, never managed to 
bring home anything, while his brothers-in-law, who seldom went out, always returned 
with plenty of game; but they gave none of it, either to him or to their sister. She, 
however, determined on asking other people how she could teach her husband to be 
as lucky as her brothers, and after a long long time she found out what to do. She 
then took him one daj- into the bush to hunt for the akura frog, and when they had 
found the nest she introduced some of the spawn into his ears, ej'es, nose, and mouth. 
This burned him terribly, and made him vomit, so much so that he was obliged to 
roll about in the sand to ease the pain. After this, she made him bathe, and then 
brought him home. She next asked her brothers to make a small bow and some 
arrows for her, and with these she sent her husband out to shoot small birds only, 
and not to shoot more than four. \Miile he was away she made pepper-pot, using 
very few peppers and no salt whatsoever. He returned with the four little birds, 
which she cooked, giving him two, and retaining two for herself. The same procedure 
was repeated daily for a week. The wife then destroyed the small bow and arrows, 
and asked her brothers to make bigger ones, and instructed her hu.sband to shoot 
bigger birds with them; this also continued for a week. She next sent him out with 
this big bow and arrows to hunt game of all and any description, but with a certain 
proviso : as each animal or bird would approach him in answer to the ' ' call " 
which he would imitate, he was not to shoot, but merely to point his arrow at 
it ; only when it was time to return home in the afternoon was he to kill one animal, 
and fetch it to her. At the beginning of the fourth week, she sent him out htmting 
again with fresh instructions: he was now to shoot and kill e\'erything that he could. 
He killed and brought hoxne plenty. From that time he and his wife were never in 
want of food, and they took care to treat her brothers as they had treated them. 
\Miat they could not eat, they would barbecue, and then hide. The selfish brothers 
accordingly wondered how their sister's husband now always managed to kill more 
game than they did. They asked their sister, but she refused to tell them. 

330. In the Pomeroon District a hairy caterpillar may be rubbed 
into incisions made on the wrists and thighs. This creature, obtained 
on the Rupununi and brought down here in barter, is said to be 
soaked in water tlte whole of the night previous to the solution being 
applied, by means of cotton-wool, to the cuts. I have also seen a 
Pomeroon Arawak wear one oii his neck. Im Thurn (230) speaks 
of caterpillars ''the hairs of which break off very readily, and have a 
great power of irritating flesh. These caterpillars he rubs on his 


chest or thighs, and thus produces a considerable and very painful- 
looking rash." This method employed by Makusis, Arekunas, and 
Akawais. Or the hunter maj^ mortify his flesh with ants, a practice 
indulged m by a member of any of these three tribes who — 

Takes a small mat, about six or eight inches square, made of narrow parallel strips 
of the skin of a reed-like plant [Ischnosiphon] tied together somewhat as are the laths 
of a Venetian blind. Between each two of these strips he inserts a row of living ants, 
their heads all one way. The strips are exactly at such distance apart that the anta 
when once inserted can not extricate themselves. The huntsman then presses the 
whole mat, on the side on which are the heads of the ants, against his own chest; and 
the ants, which are of a large and venomous kind, bite most painfully. " [IT, 229.] 

231. While recovering from the effects of his self-inflicted cuts and 
other injuries, the Carib and Akawai nuurod may be waited upon 
and nursed by some woman, but she must be past the climacteiic; 
he is strictly forbidden to take liberties with any female. Though, 
at first sight, the inconvenience and suffering entailed by certain of 
the above procedures might seem to constitute a sort of sacrifice or 
free gift for favors to come, or at all events expected, I am afraid all 
the evidence is in the negative. On the other hand these practices 
may have a physiological basis of fact, and so of reason. The passing 
of the, nose-string would certamly tend to clean the nasal mucus 
membrane, and so render the oLfactoiy organ more keen; the pro- 
hibition of women combined with an enforced diet would certainly 
tend to make the individual more fit and thus get him into better 
training; the stimulation of all his sense organs with the particular 
frog slune may possibly hypersensitize them: while the infliction of 
physical pain within certain limits can reasonably be expected to 
irritate the nervous system to such an extelat as to render it responsive 
to but the slightest external stimulus — qualities, all of them, advan- 
tageous for the hunter to insure success- in the chase. It is perhaps 
on somewhat similar lines that, with a view to stimulating the child 
quickly to learn to walk, the Ai'awak mother wfll get a tibi-tibi 
lizard and encourage it to bite the infant's feet and knees; the child 
is also incited to activity by putting a smaU stinging ant on him 
(Da, 250) . But it is certainly difficult to understand how the artificial 
flattening of the children's foreheads by the Carib Island mothers 
can be vmdicated m the belief that it helps the victims in years to 
come the better to fly their arrows from the tree-tops by securmg a 
firm foot-hold for them (RoP, 552). 

233. Hunting dogs are also made to undergo similar ordeals, but 
whether as part and parcel, or independent, of their general training 
(Sect. 234.) it is difficult to say. On the Pomeroon in adchtion to, or 
in lieu of, the rubbing of a leaf (vSect. 233) the animal's snout may 
be rubbed with a certain tree-bark peculiar in that, when squeezed 
in the hands, a sort of frothiness exudes [ ? a species of Inga]. Or 


again, the Pomeroon Indian \vi\[ gash the snout with a sting-ray barb 
and pour on the raw surface a few drops of a solution made as follows: 
Some of the hottest kind of pepjjers are squeezed into a swab of 
cotton already moistened with a little water: a sugar-loaf funnel is 
then made of a suitable leaf, the cotton swab expressed into it, and a 
few drops allowed to trickle down through the funnel on the inci- 
sions. It is said that in two or three days' time the animal is ready to 
hunt, and when on the chase will keep his nose close to the ground, 
this action allowing of all grass and undergrowth being well turned 
over and scorned. i\jits are also sometimes made to bite the crea- 
ture's snout; or the same hairy caterpillar previously mentioned 
(Sect. 230) is rubbed into it. There is reported, however, an equally 
painful method as practised by the Makusi, Arekunas, and Akawaios. 

Two holes are dug in the gi'oiuKl. and l>y pushing a stick from one to the other of 
these, and then withdrawing this, a tunnel or covered passage is made between the 
two holes. A fire in which parings of the hoofs of tapirs and other animal substances 
are burned, is then kindled in one hole; ants and wasps are also put into this hole, 
and it is then covered over with sticks and earth. The smoke . . . passes through 
the tunnel into the second hole. The poor dog is then caught, and its head is held 
down in the second hole, until the animal sometimes drops senseless from pain. 
[IT, 228.] 

233. Binas are charms, plant or animal, which effect their purpose 
by enticing or attracting the particular object or desire yearned for, 
whatever it may be — from the capture of an animal to the gratifica- 
tion of a wish. The real source of the term bin-a is from the Arawak 
bia-bina, meaning " to entice, attract," etc., and so comes to be apphed 
to all those things, plant or animal, wliich act on those lines. I have 
found nothing of this nature in the inorganic world, unless the quartz- 
pebbles within the piai's rattle are to be considered such. As against 
this view, it might be m-ged that the medicine-man's tobacco-smoke 
constitutes the real or at least co-equal attraction for the Spirits 
(Sect. 170). Im Thurn is certainly incorrect in speaking of the word 
being of Carib origin. As a matter of fact, the Carib term is tuntlJa'ri; 
for example, the Caribs speak of the bush-hog bina as ponjo-turallari. 
The Warrau word is aibiJii; for instance, toma-aibihi means the bina 
for meat, in general. As a rule there is but one bina for each special 
object or thing, but not necessarily. I know of one that is employed 
for small hog, deer, and acouri; and with very few exceptions, the 
plants employed as binas are the different varieties of caladium. 
Indian huntsmen place great value on the use of the caladia, each 
variety being a bina or charm to assist in the taking of a particular 
kind of game. Not only do these plants grow spontaneously in old 
fields, but the Indians carefully remove and plant in the immediate 
neighborhood of their dwellings the most valued kinds, as the binas 
for tapir, wild hogs, deer, labbas, turtle, and those for the various 


kinds of fish (Da, 253); As a rule, women are supposed neither to 
see nor to handle such plants thus cultivated. Even in so compara- 
tively civiUzed a district as the Pomeroon and Moruca, I have col- 
lected more than a score of such plants, the respective leaves of which 
in the majority of cases bear some real or fancied resemblance to the 
animal for which they are reputed to have so pecuUar an affinity. 
Thus the bush-hog bina has a loaf easily recognizable by the small 
secondary leaf on its under surface, representing the animal's scent- 
gland, though some Indians say that it indicates the tip of the nostril; 
the decrl)ina shows the horns, in its general contom-, and the color- 
ation of the fur in its venation; the armadillo bina typiiies the shape 
of the small projecting ears; the lukunanni bina bears a variety of 
colors resembling those around the fish's gills; the gillbacker bina 
develops the same yellowish color as the fish which it attracts; the 
labba bina has the typical white markings; the powis bina bears the 
identical shape of that bird's wing-feather — and so on for turtle, huri, 
etc. Some of these binas seemingly must be of comparativeh- wide- 
spread use ; thus, that for the bush-hog is known in the Makusi country, 
those for the turtle, and armadillo, in Surinam (J. Rodway), etc. 

The hunter puts the particular plant to use by taking ofl' a young 
as-yet-unopened shoot, and placing it, in the rough, ia his powder- 
flask, or rubbing it up into the jiaint, with which he smears his 
face and body, but especially all the main jomts; or, on the other 
hand, he may employ only the leaf, which he rubs on his an-ow, 
his fish-hook, his gun-barrel, or on his dog. In Cayemie, these binas 
{des Jierhes enchanteresses) are said to have been hung up on the trees 
(LAP, 11, 221). 

234. In Cayenne, the dog was also rubbed with "simples," for 
which procedure Pitou gives the negative reason, "so that the game 
should not take itself off on its approach" (LAP, ii, 220). The 
Eoucouyennes, a Carib nation of the same colony, cultivate in their 
clearings the Ilihiscus abelmoschus, from which they make a musk- 
scented infusion for washing thcii- dogs before taking them to hunt 
jaguar (Or, 330) : this, however, has nothing to do with the binas, the 
object of its application being to prevent the tiger biting the dog, 
owing to the pungency of the smell. Hunting dogs are also rubbed 
over with ruku (Bi.ra ordlana) both by Indians (Trios, Ojanas, and 
others) and Bush Negroes (Go, 3): in British Guiana the practice is 
said to keep ofl' certain ticks (Ki, 184). The methods adopted 
by the Corentyn Arawaks for "training" (Sect. 332) their dogs 
to hunt may be included here. While the procedure may be 
correctly given, the statements relative to the naming of the 
particular leaf after the animal which feeds on it and the alleged 
odor are of course imaginative. These Arawaks first choose the 
dogs for hunting various animals, according to strength, having 




each one broken for hunting a different species of game; taking 
the hirgest for the wild hog, and the smaller ones for the smaller 
animals. When about sLx months old they are taken to the hunt 
with their sh-es, having previously gone through the process of being 
washed and rubbed over with a particular leaf named after the anunal 
which feeds on it, and which the dog is intended to hunt; and it is 
curious that these leaves should partake of the odor of the animal. 
The game being discovered, the young dog is taken forward, and set 
on him; but he generally turns tail for the few first times, as this 
breed is naturally without spirit. He is then taken up, and again 
goes tlu-ough the same process of washing and rubbing with the leaf; 
and at length he is treated to a piece of the animal's flesh, which 
makes him more 
keen and ravenous. 
In this manner, 
exerting patience, 
of which these In- 
dians have a most 
abundant stock, 
and seldom correct- 
ing the animal, it 
becomes in time a 
reliable and valu- 
able dog (StC, I, 
315). The method 
sometimes used by 
the Zaparo Indians 
of the Napo River 
(upper Amazon) in 
traming then- cele- 
brated hunting- 
dog.3 consists in 
putting a dose of tobacco down the animal's tkroat, his nose and 
mouth being then also stuffed full of it, until he nearly chokes; this 
is to clear his scent and sharpen his perceptions (AS, 169). 

335. Old Caribs, Warraus, and Arawaksof thePomeroon and Moruca 
Rivers agree in telling me that they originally obtained theu hunting 
binas — they are not so sure about the binas employed for other pur- 
poses — from certain very large snakes, which are invariably to be 
met with only in localities so far distant from the source of informa- 
tion as to preclude the possibility of my ever obtaining specimens. 
The Caribs refer me to two snakes, the Oruperi (Sect. 3) and the 
Aramari (fig. 2). The former lives on the ground, beyond che Waini 
and the Barima. The latter, which is much the bigger, lives in the 
tops of trees and catches its prey by pouncing upon it from above: it 

Fig. 2. Carib drinkinfi-cup, Poraeroon River, bearing design showing 
tlie two trees (a ) in the tops of whicli lives the wonderful Aramfiri 
Snake (6), while the roots (d) are surrounded by scorpions (c). 


is also the more dangerous because from it can be obtained binas 
which, in addition to attracting all kinds of game, can attract thunder, 
lightning, and rain. The Warraus admit that almost all they know 
about the binas has been taught them by the Akawais and Caribs. 
The Arawak serpent is known as Oroli (Sect. 36S), or, on account of 
its rate of progression, Kolekonaro (the slow walker). The tradi- 
tions of all tliree tribes agree in that, after having been killed, the 
snake was carefully burnt, and that from the ashes there subse- 
quently arose all the different plants, mostly, but not all of them, 
caladiums, which are now employed as binas (Sect. 168A). The 
Arawaks say that — 

A long time ago people noticed how every now and again one of their friends would 
leave his house, go into the forest, and never be seen more. They accordingly made 
up a big party, and tracked the latest victim to two immense silk-cotton trees, and 
there was the huge serpent stretched across, somewhat like a bridge, from the summit 
of one tree to the other. They found out that from this serpentine bridge, pieces of 
the flesh would fall to the ground where they took on the form of dry firewood, which 
the innocent folk passing by, would gather up in mistake: that immediately upon 
just touching this dead timber the awful snake pounced down and seized its human 
prey. It was accordingly agreed that Oroli must be killed, a deed which they suc- 
ceeded in effecting by means of Ijlow-pipes and poisoned arrows. The carcass was 
then covered with bushes anfl saplings, and set fire to; as already mentioned the binas 
all grew out of the ashes 

How the special efficacy of each bina was originally discovered has 
been explained to me somewhat on the following hnes: Trial would 
daily be made of one plant after the other. Taking, for instance, 
Plant No. 1 : On the fu'st day, the hunter might come across a tiger. 
A plant that enticed or attracted such an animal would certainly be 
of no use to him, and would accordingly be discarded. Another day, 
he might try Plant No. 2, and run across a snake; that plant also 
could be cast aside. If on the other hand, with Plant No. 3 he were 
to fall in with some scrub-txu"key or similar game, he would reserve 
that plant for futm'e use — and so on with each animal or bird of 
economic value. But of course nowadays since they know of and 
cultivate these different plants around their houses, such trials 
are not necessary; they are quite aware what particular plant will 
specially attract some particular animal. 

336. Corresponding animal binas for attracting game must be 
somewhat scarce: I have succeeded in obtaining only the following 
examples. When Arawaks on the Pomeroon kill a bush-hog which 
happens to contain young, they bury the latter under the house in a 
spot below the place where the cassava is usually grated, the idea being 
that other bush-hogs may come near the house to the spot whither the 
young are calling them. So among theUaupes River Indians, when 
they kiU a bush-hog they bury the head at the .spot where they first 
met the band, so that the latter may not stray away but return 


there (Cou, n, 171). If a fisherman [Pomeroun Arawaks] has been 
unlucky, and finally catches any Uttle fish, he will take it off the 
hook and, blowing into its mouth, say: "I wiU let you go again, if 
you tell yom- friends, the bigger fish, to come." Of course it tells 
them, and the fisherman's luck is rewarded. But the little fish is 
not given its liberty again as promised, for the Indians say that if 
they retm-ned it to the water, it would tell its friends not to" bite at 
the hook. There are three such fish that are thus supposed to act 
as binas: the we-shi {Crenicichkt saxatilis), "sun-fish," the shibaUi 
(vlcara), "patwa," and the hura-diro {1 Eigenmannia lineatus), a 
fish 12 to 14 inches long, but of which the long thin tail con- 
stitutes a good thii-d. SimDar ideas underUe a procedure reported 
from Caracas: "When an Indian slays a wild beast, he opens its 
mouth, and poiu-s dowTi its throat some intoxicating liquor, in order 
that its soul [Spirit] may inform others of a similar species of the 
kind reception it received, and that they may be encom'aged to 
come and share the same favor" (FD, 52). 

Game, however, can be attracted to the hunting-dog. There is a 
certain ant (kudu-kudu-barilya of the Arawaks) which, after being 
roasted, is put inside a piece of cassava, and given to a dog to make 
it a good himter of any animal; the dog is simultaneously trained to 
go into wood-holes and earth-holes by having its food placed inside a 

337. The next class of binas deals with phases of the sexual ques- 
tion: conjugal rights, mutual love and affection, and babies. Where 
plants take the title roles, these are again mostly calacUa. Arawak, 
Warrau, Akawai, and Carib women all have their own binas for 
managmg the opposite sex. The Arawak young woman plants her 
hiaro (girl)-bina usually in some secluded spot known only to herself; 
she will bathe with a leaf of it, or carry it about with her, and, pro- 
vided the opportunity offers, without her being seen, may rub it 
over her lover's hammock, or she may rub her own hands with it, 
and then touch his. In any case, the man must be ignorant of what 
is gomg on, and, provided the procedm-e is strictly carried out as 
described, he wiU never have any desire to transfer his affections 
elsewhere. Again, the same woman may employ another plant, not 
a caladimn, called the kurua-bina, apparently a Rajania of the Yam 
family; she will similarly bathe with the leaf, but retaining the 
water in which she has thus made her ablutions, will strew it on the 
path along which her sweetheai-t is about to travel, teUing it to make 
him return soon. The male Ai'awak has a corresponding befief as to 
the wajili (man)-bina, the leaf of which he generally carries about 
with the object of brushing over his girl's face or shoulders: he is 
very intent on gomg tlu'ough this performance when lie notices that 
she has a weakness for other men. Other peoples (as the Caribs) have 


similar practices. I know of tlu-ee plants that are used by these 
people on the Pomeroon. Wai-^ru: squeeze and pinch up a leaf or 
two in water, rub one's self now with the leaf, and tlu-ow the water 
just used in the direction of the person desired, at the same time 
calhng his (or her) name. Wamba: used by the father for an absent 
elder son, or by the mother for an absent elder daughter; take a 
leaf with you in your hammock and call the boy's or girl's name. 
Akami: when a person has come with the object of picking a quarrel, 
rub the leaf over one's head and face: it will make him quite ami- 
cable and friendly. So also among the Surinam Kahnas (Caribs) 
de Goeje tells us that to evoke affection, one rubs the hands and 
face with turalla (Go, 14, 15) : a woman, for instance, can do this when 
her man is away traveling, so that he may not forget her. When an 
Arawak or Warrau woman is desirous of having a baby, and none 
happens to appear in the natmal course of things, she pounds up in 
water a certain fimgus, and drinks the infusion. As I have shown 
elsewhere, the absence of a boy is a slur on the Indian's womanhood 
and entails many opprobrious epithets. The fungus in question, 
a species of Nidularia, is known to the Arawak as Kassato-lokono- 
biabina (lit., "baby-plenty charm"), or, in its shortened form, as 
Kassa-Io-bina. These women here never eat of a "double-fruit" which 
would mean twins for them (Sect. 284A). 

237A. The following is one of the few legends met with that con- 
tains reference to the application of Binas: 

The Bina, the Resurrected Father, and the Bad Girl (W) 

There was onoe a man with wife, two children, and his brother staying together in 
the one house. They were all Warraus. Going one morning to their field, husband 
and wife left the brother-in-law with instrtiotions t~o go fishing so there might be some- 
thing to eat on their return; but when they came back, they found he had been lazy, 
had never even been outside the house, and had eaten even the little that was in it. 
This made the man angry, and he upbraided his brother-in-law thus: " I have to go 
and cut the field. I have to go into the bush to get game, and down to the water to 
catch fish, I have all the work to do, while you do nothing but lie idle in your ham- 
mock all day. Although I am now tired, I must go and catch" Saying this, 
he took his harpoon ' and went down to th? creek. The brother-in-law thereupon 
took up his cutlass, and after sharjiening it followed him and got into his corial. They 
met just as the husband was returning with his boat, bringing a large fish that he had 
speared with his lance. "Hall"! finished already?" said the one. "Yes," replied 
the other, " I caught a fine fish, and have it here." "AVell, lend me your lance," said 
the brother-in-law, "and I will go and shoot a fine fish also." The two corials thus 
drew Tiear, and raising his lance, the man put it into his brother-in-law's boat. Just as 
he did so, the latter struck him with the cutlass and he fell dead after giving his as.sail- 
ant two cuts. The brother-in-law then tried to get rid of the by throwing it into 
the water. Now it seems that when the sister saw her brother, after sharpening his 
cutlass, leave the house in a passion, she knew that some evil was about to happen, and 
said to the children : "Your uncleis vexed: he has sharpened his cutlass and followed 

' Fisli-lanoe witli detachable head. 


your father. Let us see what he intends doing." So with her children she followed 
the two men. and came upon them just as lier brother was trying to throw over the 
body. "No! don't do that, brother." she said: "Since you have killed him, you 
must take the body back to his house and bury it there." He did what he was told: 
took the body liome, and started felling a tree in which to bury it. In the meantime 
the woman sent her children to fetch the deceased's brother and his old mother, at the 
same time sending them a message that they must not be vexed. The mother and 
brother came, and as they drew near they saw the murderer finish scooping out the 
tnink and take it to, where he commenced digging the grave. The brother 
was vexed, but his mother said: " Bon't trouble the man: we will see first of all what 
the widow intends to do. The latter, holding a cutlass in her hand, was watching 
the murderer dig; she told him to huiT\' and finish his task quickly. WTien the 
grave was finished, he put the coffin in, and then the corpse, which was properly dressed 
with paint and ornaments, and with which were placed knife, fish-hooks, and other 
things.' As he was filling up the .grave with earth, his hands all bleeding from the 
wounds the deceased had given him, his sister struck him from behind on his neck 
with her cutlass. After standing awhile, he dropped dead and a new grave was dug 
for him, alongside of the other. They put him into this bare as he was, without dress or 
ornaments, or any of his belongings; this was because they had no pity or sorrow for 
him. The mother and brother of the dead man returned to the old woman 's horae that 
very same day. They prevailed on the wiilow much against her will to come mth 
them and bring the children. \Mien they reached home the brother took charge of 
the widow, placed her in his hammock, and turning to his first wife said, ' 'I am .going 
to take this woman: she can make children: you cannot make them." But the two 
children that she had already did not like staying in their new horae, and regularly 
every morning, after they had had something to eat, they would hurry off to their 
father's grave and would not return imtil late. On the third da> of their \-isit to the 
grave they met a Hebu, but the children did not recognize him. He said to them: ' 'If 
you want your father you must pick a leaf of a certain tree [which he mentioned] and 
rub it over the <;nive, when he will appear to you." But we don't know the leaf, "they 
rejilied: so the little man gathered some of the leaves for them. He told them to 
rub the leaves over the ground where the body was buried, directly they reached 
there on the following morning, and then to come again at mid-day, when their father 
would be present. They did exactly as they had been told next morning, and when 
they returned at mid-day they s;iw their father seated ou a bench. They approached. 
He said, ' 'Fetch me water to drink." After he had drunk, he said, ' 'WTiere is your 
mother?' ' and when he learned that she was at their grandmother's he told them to 
go and fetch her. Now as soon as they reached their mother and told her all these 
things, she exclaimed, ' 'How can this be? How can your father .send for me when 
he is dead?" Thus it was, she would not believe all this at first, but when the boys 
pleaded, ' 'Come, Mother! It is all true! ' ' she went. The boys ^vished her to bring 
her hammock along, but she refused. ' '\\'hat is the use cf it?' ' she .said; for she did 
not believe as yet what they told her. However, .she did go, and sure enough when 
she reached the place, she recognized the very man, her husband, seated there on the 
bench right in front of her. The first thing he asked her was, ' 'WThere is your brother? ' ' 
to which she replied, "A\Tiy! I killed him, and buried him beside you." "Well," 
came the husband's answer, "you will never see him again." Now although her 
husband was very weak with all that he had suffered and passed through, she nursed 
him carefully and brought him back to health, so that within a week he was quite 
himself again. 

1 It is usual among the Warraus, some six days or so after a dealti, to prepare a small quantity of drink, 
to cut tlie wife's haii-, and make a bundle of the deceased's remaining belongings, which are then biu-ied 


238. There are certain animal binas corresponding in their action 
with the plant binas just mentioned in connection with sexual niat- 
tere. Among the Pomeroon Arawaks, when the husband is very 
jealous and ill-tempered, his wife will cut off the head of a small 
lizard (yamorro), burn it, and put the ashes iuto the water which 
she gives him to cbiuk; any man or woman can then make the hus- 
band do whatever he or she likes. Wlien one woman wants another's 
husband she will manage to put marabunta (wasp) eggs into his 
driuk, which will make him leave his owni wife and go off with, her 
(the eggs are pounded up and roasted before mixing) . On the upper 
Amazons, the native women, even the white and half-caste iuhabitants 
of the towns, attach superstitious value to the skin and feathers 
of the papft-uira, beUeving that the rehcs will have the effect of 
attracting for the happy possessors a tiaui of lovers and followers. 
[The Indians have noticed these miscellaneous hunting parties of 
birds, but appeared not to have observed that thej' are occupied in 
searching for insects. They have suppHed then want of knowledge 
... by a theory which has degenerated into a myth to the effect 
that the onward moving bands are led by a httle gra}- bird called 
the papa-uii'a, which fascinates all the rest and leads them a weaiy 
dance tlirough the thickets. There is certainly some appearance of 
truth in this explanation; foi sometimes stray birds encountered in 
the line of march are seen to be drawm into the throng, and purely 
frugiverous birds are now and then foimd mixed up with the rest, 
as though led away by some wUl-of-the-wisp (HWB, 346).] When 
it is known to her intimate friends and relatives that an Arawak 
woman wants an hifant, they will give her to drink of a mixture, in 
which, unknow^l to her, they have placed the roasted and pulverized 
remains of either a cockroach (matero), the eggs of a certain spider, 
or the paw of an opossum (yawarri) . 

339. Talismans, the last groujj of charms to be dealt •with, include 
those which repel evil, bad luck, and the like, and so have a protective 
or defensive character — those which endow the Indian with such 
superior advantages of body and estate as enable him to get the 
better of his fellow-creatm-es, human and animal. Matters of cour- 
age, health and strength, power to withstand sickness and his ene- 
mies, craft to excel in the chase, trade and barter, all find a ])lace 
here. With regard to the chase, the provisions mentioned in Sect 
24s might very reasonably be regarded as tahsmanic. iVmong the 
Trios (Caribs) of Surinam, says de Goeje — 

We saw afresh how one of our party nibbed tlie palms of his hands with turalla 
[caladium bull)] on arrival at a \-illage of which they had much dread. A young man 
on the journey tlirough the forest carried siinti [turalla] in a Little palm-leaf box 
attached to the neck, in order to strengthen his head and shoulders. A child with 
fever was one afternoon washed by its mother with water into which finely ground 
siinti had been placed. As after two days, the fever again appeared, it was streaked 
with ruku paint, with which the same stuff had been mixed. [Go, 14-15.] 




De Goeje states also that when making a purchase, the buyer will 
take a little turalla between his lips to prevent the seller overreaching 
him. Accoriling to Schomburgk (ScF, 215), the Maiongkongs used for 
necklaces a bunch of the slender stems of a cryptogamous plant, a fern 
called Zinap%po by them, to wliich they asciibed tahsmanic property. 

240. On the Pomeroon one can string the tail rings and claws of a 
scorpion, and tie it round his Uttle girl's wrist. By and by, when she 
becomes a woman and makes paiwarri, the Uquor will be "strong 
and biting."' Tiger teeth, tlu-eaded and tied on the chUd, will also 
insure its gaining strength [Arawaks]; bush-hog teeth will make a 
good huntsman of him [Atorais and Wapisianas] (Cou, ii, 315); tiger 
teeth or bush-hog teeth will 
preserve him, when he grows 
up, from being attacked by wild 
beasts [LTaupes River] (Cou, ii, 
171). Makusi women and chil- 
dren wear round their necks 
tigers' teeth, to which they as- 
cribe t aUsmanic power (ScT, 6 1 : 
ScR, II, 83). On the Berbice 
the sticks cut down by the saw- 
yer beetle are given by the In- 
dians to children cutting teeth, 
to rub their gums with, under 
the impression that as a result 
the teeth will grow strong and 
sharp (Da, 15). With the In- 
dians of the upper Napo River 
(Amazons) bracelets and arm- 
lets of iguana skia are much 
affected, as m some parts of 
Central America, with the same 
association of their imparting bravery and pugnacity to the wearer 
(AS, 154). To obtam sharp vision, a Kobeua Indian will rub his eyes 
with those of a certain falcon (KG, ii, 153). The Caribs and almost 
all other Indians ascribe tahsmanic powers to the large teeth of an 
alligator (ScA, 336). West of the Orinoco aUigator teeth are em- 
ployed by the Indians as an ornament for the neck and arms; they 
are also regarded as an antidote for certain poisons, and as an 
alexipharmic in general (FD, 151). As an antidote for poison, 
within the Orinoco area, Gumilla speaks of aUigator teeth mounted 
m gold or silver and tied by a small chaia on one of the arms or 

' This comparison between scorpions and strong liquor is very characteristic with the Pomeroon Caribs. 
A typical decoration on their drinking vessels is the pot-hook (i. e. the scorpion, flg. 3). See also around 
the central ring in fig. 3. 

15961° — 30 ETH — 15 19 

Fig. 3. Carib goblet, Pomeroon River, decorated 
with pot-hook (scorpion) pattern. 


made up into rings worn on the fingers; but this would appear to be 
a discovery learned from the negro slaves (G, ii, 225). 

S40A. The appHcation of red paint was sometimes considered a 
talisman against sickness and disease. Thus, among the Makusis of 
the Rupunini the mothers ceremonially rub red (aromatic) paint on 
the heads of then- chUch'en, who are then supposed to be protected 
from illness and the power of Evil Spirits (ScR, i, 366). The men 
[Guahibos of the Vichada River, Orinoco] then squatted on the little 
benches, and the women painted them from top to toe with a red paste; 
this, the women said, would protect them from sicknesses (Cr, 548). 
On the branches of the upper Rio Negro also red paint was considered 
a prophylactic agamst disease (KG, i, 158; ii, 85, 150). The applica- 
tion of blood would almost seem to have had an antecedent origin, 
from which that of the red paint was but a development, and yet, 
strange to say, the positive evidence now available points rather to 
the reputed curative than the protective power of the vital fluid. Thus 
in some cases the father, when the child is weakly, has his own flesh 
cut in close parallel hues: the blood flowing from the wounds is 
mixed with water for washing and strengthening the child (Da, 250). 
Among the Island Caribs, after the couvade the child's face is 
smeared with the father's blood to impart courage (RP, 550). On 
the Orinoco, when the Guama women recognize that any of their 
children — nurelings or somewhat older ones — are sick, they transfix 
their own tongues with finely-ground bone lancets: the blood gu.shes 
forth in torrents and with it they bespatter their youngsters by 
mouthfuls, while, with their hands, they smear it all over them from 
head to foot (G, i, 164). In the same area, for older people it is one of 
the duties of the captains of the Guama nation to slash his flesh daily 
and drain off his blood in order to besmear the breasts of all those 
under his command who are sick (G, i, 164). Dance (250) speaks 
of an old man being washed in turtle's blood. 

241. The widespread belief in Spirits connected with mountains, 
rocks, stones, etc., wiU probably help to explain the talismanic virtues 
ascribed to the green Amazon-stones (Lapis nepJiriticus), the piedra 
Jiijada of the Spaniards. Out on the islands " they also wear necklaces 
made out of large crystals and green stones which come from the 
mainland toward the Amazon River, and have a healing virtue; it 
is their precious ornament and is only worn at feasts" (BBR, 248). 
Humboldt found them among the Indians of the Rio Negro, where 
they are carried on the neck as amulets for protection against fever, 
and the bites of poisonous snakes (AVII, ii, 395, 462); Martins found 
them on the Rio Negro among the inhabitants of Sylves, and Schom- 
bm"gk in Demerara. The last-named authority says: 

Through the Caribs along the Guiana coast these stones were brought into Demerara 
where they are known aa Macuaba or Calicot stones. On the Orinoco they are called 


Macagua. They were formerly brought in considerable quantities by the Caribs to 
Demerara, but now very rarely ... As I was told by people, these stones were also 
formerly brought to Demerara in the form of fishes and other animals, as well as with 
figures cut into the surfaces. . . . According to Barrere, they were treasured more than 
gold by the Caribs: such a stone was the price of a slave. Ealeigh saw them on the 
Orinoko, and noticed that every Cacique had such a stone which was usually carried 
by his women: they treasured them more than gold. Lawrence Keymis says of the 
Carib and other tribes who dwell on the Arawari, I)elow the Oyapoke: "Their money 
is white and greenstones." He foimd the same tiling on the CorentjTi . . . According 
to Clavigero they are identical with the green stones of the Mexican Anahuacs: these 
people could cut all manners of figures out of tliis stone, and knew also how to cut 
diamonds. [ScR, ii, 330-2.] 

These Amazon stones, as just mentioned, were highly valued by 
the GaUbis of Cayemie, who caUed them takourave, about which Pierre 
Barrere has left us this account : 

This stone is of olive color, of a slightly paler green, and close to a pearl gray (presque 
(Tun gris de perles). I have brought all colors from Guiana. The most common 
shape one gives to this stone is cylindrical, length of 2, 3, up to 4 inches, by six or 
seven lines in diameter, and drilled their whole length. I have seen some of them 
that were squared, oval, to which one had given the shape of a crescent and imprinted 
upon it the figure of a toad, or some other animals. This stone is known by lapidaries 
imder the name of jade. It is liighly polished, and so hard, that one can hardly work 
with it except with diamond powder. J^)ne has assm-ed nie that it is artificial: that 
a nation called Tapouye who live 150 leagues, or thereabout from Para, busy themselves 
in making them. [PBa, 175.] 

There is another interesting reference to these green and gray jade 
stones in Surinam. They are stones harder than jasper, susceptible 
of a fine poUsh and making fire with a steel, although oily to the sight 
and touch: they are extremely hard to work. The Indians also set 
such great store on them that they regard these stones as very precious 
jewels, with which they decorate themselves when disposed to show 
themselves with all their fine attire (Fe, ii, 351). I have come across 
a possible reference to them in a Warrau legend (Sect. 139). A com- 
parison between these Amazon stones and the drilled stones of quartz 
imperfectly crystalized, used as neck ornaments and as symbols of 
authority by the chiefs among theUaupes River Indians (ARW, 191), 
is well worth consideration. 

Chapter XV 


Restrictions on Game and Food: Must not hunt too many of one kind (242); spirit 
of slain animal must be prevented injuring slayer (24^S): hunter must not himself 
bring Ids "bag" into the house (244); when animal is killed by arrow or gun-trap, 
meat has to be cooked in special manner (245); food not eaten after nightfall (246); 
Food restrictions on age, sex, and nation (24~): at moon-eclipse, puberty, pregnancy, 
and other periods, in mourning, sickness, traveling (24S); of totem-animals (249); 
Attributes of animals eaten may be transferred by ingestion to the consumer (250). 
Dogs also restricted as to food (251). 

Restrictions on ^^ision: Protective or defensive measure to prevent Spirit being 
attracted toward visitor (252); same principle applied to taking of a photograph, etc. 
(253); practice may be accompanied with flagellation (254); a sign of envy, hatred, 
and malice (255); concurrent expression of a wish (256); at place of entertainment 

Restrictions on Arts and Crafts: Manufacture of potterj' (258-259); hammocks, 
canoes, huts, and field-work (260); the uses of the fan, and dress (261); preparation 
of curare (wuraU) poison (262). 

Restrictions in Nomenclature — Personal Names: Association between individual 
and name, which must not be mentioned in his presence (263); naming of child (264); 
change of name (265). Reasons for gi-ving certain names to dogs (266). Special 
words have to suit special circumstances (266 A). 

242. If Indians hunt too many of one kind of game, the Bush Spirit 
of that particular animal may come and do them harm (Sect. 98) . 

The Baboon Cough (W) 

There was a party of Indians hunting baboons. They would take their hammocks 
out into the forest, kill a baboon, dry it, smoke it, catch another, rest themselves 
there, and start a similar procedure on the morrow. They made a continuous business 
of baboon-hunting, and did nothing else. One day they went away as usual, lea\dng 
but one woman behind. After a time she heard a roaring in the distance, just Like 
thunder, and waiting a while she heard a whistling, just like that of a man when he 
is tired.' It was indeed some one coming along, and at last she saw an old man with 
bent back supporting himself with a stick. He approached the woman and said, "How 
do you do, grandchild! " Now, as she was quite an old woman you can imagine how 
old he must have been. He was really the Hebu grandfather of all the baboons. She 
goi up, fetched a stool, bade him be seated, and offered him dried meat and cassava. 
The old man had a good look at the dried meat and started crying: "Oh, my poor 
grandchildren! So that is how I am losing everj' one of you." He told the woman 
to take the food away, that he wanted none of it, and he then asked her where all the 
rest of the people were gone. She told him that they were all out hunting the very 
same game that he had refused. "Very well, " said he, "let them all remain at home 
tomorrow, and I will meet them. " He then went away. At evening time, the hunt- 

1 "When a Warrau is very very tired he gives a whistle, sometliing like ho-ho'~u'i.' ho-ho'-wi! to catch his 
breath. The Indians say the old people do it still. 



ingparty returned, and the old woman told her husband what had happened, and all 
about the queer old man, but he would not believe her, sajang that she must have been 
A-isited by some old sweetheart. So she went and told the rest of the people, and when 
the head-man had listened to her story, he said, "Yes, what she says must be true. 
We will remain with her tomorrow, " They therefore stayed with her next day. At 
the appointed time they heard the roaring followed by a whistle. Now when the 
old woman, who was still angry with her husband for not ha^■ing believed her, heard 
the whistle, she said mockingly, "There you are! That's my sweetheart!" and a few 
minutes later the old man put in an appearance. He was given a seat, and having 
learned that everj'body was at home, he told them all to stand up in a line, side by 
side. One woman, who was in advanced pregnancy, was half ashamed to take so 
prominent a position, and recognizing that the queer old man's hand was big and 
sharp like a claw, she became frightened; she felt sure she must be dealing with a 
Hebu of some sort, and made her escape. Having thus got all the people into line, the 
Hebu quickly passed down the ranks, and "clawing" in the air, so to speak, at each 
person's head, killed every one of them. This done, he called out twice for his wife 
to come, and she answered him; she was a verj' old granny carrying an immense 
quake, so big that she could cram four or five people into it. And this is just what 
the old woman did; she carried the dead bodies, quakeful by quakeful, over to her own 
place. In the meantime, the old man Hebu examined the roof and under the flooring; 
he even opened the troolie covering of the banab to see if anyone was in hiding. But 
both he and his wife were being watched by the pregnant woman, who had made her 
escape; she saw everything, and then reported to her friends at the next settlement. 
The head-man and the others accompanied her to the spot where the Hebu'a wife 
had carried all the dead bodies. They came to an immense silk-cotton tree, bo huge 
that the ca\aries of its entire trunk and branches were occupied by members of the 
baboon-Hebu family. The party made a large fire around the tree, and threw peppers 
into it;' tliis smoked out and killed all the Hebu baboons, from the youngest to the 
oldest, the queer old grandfather Hebu being killed last [Sect. 167]. Of course before 
giving up the ghost they did a lot of choking and coughing, and in liis djang rage the 
old Hebu swore that this choking and coughing would remain \vith us forever. 
Indeed, it is tliis pepper sickness which is causing so much mischief pow and killing 
80 many of our children. We Warrau Indians have known the sickness for a long time 
as the "baboon cough, " but you white people are ignorant of this, and persist in calling 
it whooping-cough. 

243. Special jDrecautioiis have to be taken when any large animal 
has been slain, to protect the hunter from any harm that might be 
expected from the Spirit of the animal he has just destroyed (Sect. 
129). Thus, when a big snake or other large animal is killed, arrows 
are stuck into the ground in the middle of the pathway leading from 
the place of destruction toward the house, with a view to preventing 
the Spirit of the beast coming to do the slayer or his family any 
hurt. The peculiar arrangement of the pointed sticks which B'ar- 
rington Brown described from the Emoy River between Enaco and 
Taiepong villages toward the upper Potaro, probably served a 
similar purpose: "In many places on the path we had to step over 
arrangements of little sharpened sticks, placed loosely together in a 

1 This idea of throaing peppers into a fire appears to have be«n an old trick. It is stated by Captain 
Jean-Pierre that, when the old Oyampis, of the upper Yary, Cayenne, wished to stop an enemy, they sur- 
rounded their village with a circle of fire into wh ich they threw handfuls of dry capsicums. It is impossible 
to fight when one is seized with an unconquerable sneezing (Cr, 271). 


variety of ways. These, the guide said, were put by the Indians 
usmg this path for the purpose of keeping the pumas and jaguars 
from traversing it. These sticks were not meant to injure the 
animals, in fact they were too loosely stuck up for that, but were 
merely intended by their artificial appearance to scare off the tigers" 
(Bro, 198). The pomted hardwood sticks, stuck into the ground, 
guarding the pathways leading to the houses of the Akawaios (Ba, 
268-9), of the Oyapock River Indians (Cr, 169), and others, may 
have been employed for corresponding reasons, although other reasons 
have been given. The same may be said of the following: "Before 
leaving a temporary camp in the forest, where they have killed a 
tapu- and dried the meat on a babracot, Indians invariably destroy 
this babracot, saying that should a tapir, passing that way, find 
traces of the slaughter of one of his kind, he would come by night on 
the next occasion, when Indians slept at that place, and, taking a 
man, would babracote him in revenge" (IT, 352). In Cayenne, 
between the upper Yary and Parou Rivers, Crevaux (252) makes 
this interesting note: "I see ten boucans disposed in a line along the 
pathway. What puzzles me is that there is no fire beneath. Another 
thing, instead of being charged with smoked meat, they are covered 
with several billets of dry wood alternating with stones. I learn 
that these altars . . . have been made by ten hunters of a neighbor- 
ing village who started some days ago on a big expedition. Every 
time the Roucouyeimes go hunting (shootmg wath arrows) the 
quatta monkey, they stop to trim these boucans." ' 

244. An Indian must never himself bring into the house any game 
that he has taught, but leave it for his wife to carry in if she has 
been accompanying liim; otherwise he wiU place it on the pathway, 
some four roods or so from the house, whence the women-folk will 
fetch it. Pitou gives a very interesting example of this from Cayenne 
(LAP, II, 220, et seq.). Similarly, with fish — unless very small, or 
imless there is only a single one that he can carry on the stick with 
which he has skewered its gdls — he never brings them into the house, 
but makes his wife go fetch them from the waterside. The reason given 
for this custom is that, were the food to be brought home direct by 
the man he woidd have bad luck in fishuig or hunting on the next 
occasion. A similar practice is recorded from Cayenne and from the 
islands. When the men (Roucouyemies) return from the chase, 
they brhig the game as far as the edge of the forest, whither the 
women go to fetch it (CV, 283). Carib Island women go and fetch 
the venison from the spot where it has fallen, and the fish on the 

1 It is only proper to state that Crdvaux gives i t as his opinion that the object of these boucans is to placate 
(.calmer) Yoloek, the Bush Spirit, who can prevent them killing game. With this opinion, however. I am 
unable to agree, but can only regard these structures as having something to do in the way ot protection 
from the injuries which one might reasonably expect the slaughtered monkeys would do their liest to 
inflict.— W. E. R. 


banks of the stream (RoP, 493). When they have caught anything, 
they leave it on the spot, and the women were formerly obliged to 
go and fetch it to the house. 

345. Among the Pomeroon Arawaks, when an animal is killed 
with an arrow-trap or a gun-trap, its flesh has to be cooked in a pot 
without a cover, over a fire which is not too large, so as to avoid any 
water boihng over. Were either of these matters not attended to, 
there would be no further use either for the arrow or for the gun, as 
all the game of the same kind as that recently trapped would take 
its departure to another region. 

246. .Vmong the Arawaks it would seem that food in general was 
not allowed to be eaten after nightfall, any person guilty of this 
offence being invariably changed into an animal. The story of the 
man who dined after dark (Sect. IIJ^) has reference to this beUef. 
The origin of such a custom it is somewhat difficult to trace. That 
it can not be due to any desire to prevent exposure to the enemy 
tlirough the lights of the fires required for cooking is evident fi'om 
the fact that fu-es for purposes of warmth, protection fi-om jaguars, 
and other beasts of prey may be kept burning all night. It may be 
due to some such superstition as is met with among the Jivaros of 
the Pintuc, the Piojes of the Putumayo (upper Amazon), and others, 
who argue that all food which remains in the stomach overnight is 
unwholesome and vmdigested, and shovdd therefore be removed; 
accordingly they have the habit of inducing vomiting every morning 
by the use of a feather (AS, 93). 

347. On the Amazons, " the children, more particularly the females, 
are restricted to a particular food: they are not allowed to eat the 
meat of any kind of game, nor of fish, except the very small bony 
kinds; their food principally consisting of mandiocca-cake and fruits" 
(AEW, 34,5). We must accept with caution the opinion impUed or 
expressed by various authorities that each nation as such differs from 
the others with respect to the indigenous foods from the use of which the 
people abstain. A certain food may be taboo to any one or more indi- 
viduals, independently of membership in a certain tribe, at the instiga- 
tion of a medicine-man as a part of the treatment for ilhiess, on account 
of his wife's condition, or for other reasons. WliUe we have the defi- 
nite assurance of Schomburgk that the Caribs never eat monkeys (ScR, 
II, 434), Gumilla says that each nation is fond of one kind of monkey 
but loathes the others. The Achaguas are very fond of the yellow 
ones, which they call arahata, the Tunevos hke the black ones, while 
the Jiraras, Ayricos, Betoyes, and other nations prefer the white ones 
(G, I, 260) . The present-day Pomeroon Caribs will eat neither arma- 
dillo, aUigator, camudi, nor monkey, but no reasons for such restric- 
tions are obtainable. Kappler speaks of the Surinam Indians refus- 


ing to eat snakes and large sea-turtles (AK, 188). "All tribes . . . 
agree in refusing to eat the flesh of such animals as are not indig- 
enous to their country but were introduced from abroad, such as 
oxen, sheep [pigs], goats, and fowls; . . . It must, however, be added 
that, imder great pressure of circumstances, such as utter want of 
other food, these meats are occasionally rendered eatable by the 
simple ceremony of getting a piaiman, or even occasionally an old 
woman [who may play the role of piai], to blow a certain number of 
times on them; apparently on the principle that the spirit of the 
animal about to be eaten is thus expelled" (IT, 368). Schomburgk 
tells us how the aversion to European pork was never so strongly 
met with as among the Wapisianas; at Watu-ticaba Village the 
indisposition of a little gu'l was considered due to the circumstance that 
Ills cook, who had helped the child carry wood and water, had given 
her some to eat (ScR, ii, 389). In Cayenne, they do not eat fowls 
(poules) and other bii'ds though they be dehcious ; they imagine that 
out of spite these animals would cut their stomachs to pieces, gnaw 
their intestines, and cause frightfid cohc witli the beak and spurs, 
although only the meat portion should be eaten (PBa, 231). Tlie 
bush-negroes at ApikoUos Village (Surinam) said that aU the Trios 
Indians would die because the Europeans had partaken of the same 
food as they had (Go, 22). AU the old piais that I have met stiU 
persist in their refusal to partake of European food (Sect. 286). 

•248. Food may be restricted or taboo only under special circum- 
stances, as at an ecUpse of the moon (Sect. 200). In Cayenne, 
apparently men and women rehgiously abstain during the period of 
mourning from eating certain meats, or from cuttmg large tmiber, 
and several other practices of this nature (PBa, 229). The whole 
family may be restricted in the way of food, when a member of it 
happens to be ill (Sect. 317). The taboos of various foods at the 
physiological periods of a man's or a woman's Hfe are noted elsewhere 
(Sects. 267-284). Among the Makusis, during the time that the 
natural colors of the feathers are being artificially altered the owner 
of the bird eats very sparingly and chiefly of certain kinds of food 
(Ti, 1882, p. 28). The Island Caribs eat flesh only when there are 
strangers at table; otherwise, they hunt but for Hzards and fish: it 
is only on those special occasions when they want to entertain their 
European fi'iends or for purposes of trade and barter, that they liunt 
anything else (RoP, 506). "Wlien they have to cross over sea to 
go to another island like St. Alousi, or St. Vincent, they eat no crabs 
or hzards, because these animals Uve in holes: consequently this 
would prevent them getting to another land" (BBR, 245). An 
Indian does not eat an animal that he may have domesticated and 


249. Unlike what might have been expected from a consideration 
of other savage races, even so near as those of North America, there 
seems to be no record of the taboo of the so-called totem-animal, 
but I can not assume for this reason that such taboo is, or was, non- 
existent. As a matter of fact, during the whole course of my anno- 
tation of aU available literature relative to the Guiana Indians, I 
can find but one statement bearing on the question and that in the 
negative. Tliis is from Crevaux (523). On the Guaviar, a branch 
of the Orinoco, he found an Indian who, although a Piapoco (i. e. 
Toucan), had no quahns about killing the bird after which Ms 
tribe was named. All the other references are of doubtful totemic 

350. Certam mdigenous animals are not to be eaten, apparently 
for no assignable cause. On the Moruca, the Arawaks do not use 
the flesh of the Palamedea cornuta Linn., although they employ the 
tail feathere for arrow-barbs (ScR, n, 457). While the Makusis 
touch the flesh of the ant-bear only when forced by want, the Caribs 
regard it as the greatest dehcacy (ScR, ii, 434). So also the Uaupes 
Indians do not eat the large wild pig (Dicotyles labiatus), the anta 
{Tapirus americanus), or the white-rumped mutun (C'rax globicera'i) 
(ARW, 337). In the Pomeroon when men kiU a bush-hog or any 
other animal that happens to contam young, there are always to be 
found Indians who will not touch the flesh. Other animals wiU be 
avoided for more or less defined reasons. Thus, the savannah pewit 
(Vanellas cayennensis) is never eaten by Indians, as they say that par- 
taking of its flesh produces deafness (Bro, 104). At Carichana, near 
River Met a, Orinoco, the Piaroas said that the people of their tribe in- 
faUibly die when they eat of the manati (AVH, ii, 492). In Surinam, 
an old Trio informed de Goeje that he would never eat the head of a 
quatta monkey, because his mother had told him that he would get 
gray hair like it, and women consider gray hair hateful (Go, 22). 
Though hog anfl tm'tle were abundant on the islands, the Caribs 
there eat neither, for the assigned reasons that their eyes might 
become small like the former animal, that they might participate in 
the clumsiness and stupidity of the latter (RoP, 465). The attributes 
of the animal eaten could be transferred by iagestion not only to the 
person eating [compare ingestion of human flesh to obtain attributes 
of the deceased, in Sect. T?^ but even to the chdd of such pei-son 
(Sect. 279). The Zaparo Indians of the Napo River (upper Amazon) 
are "very particular in their diet: unless from necessity, they will, in 
most cases, not eat any heavy meats such as tapir and peccary, but 
confine themselves to birds, monkeys, deer, fish, etc., principally 
because they argue that the heavier meats make them also unwieldy, 
like the animals who supply the flesh, impeding their agility and 
unfitting them for the chase" (AS, 168). On the upper Amazon the 


flesh of the male turtle (much less numerous than the female) is con- 
sidered unwholesome, especially to sick people having external signs 
of inflammation (HWB, 309). 

351. Dogs also are precluded from eating certain foods. In 
Cayemie CrevaiDC noticed that his Roucouyenne cooks threw the 
beaks of the kinoros birds (Ara canga) into the river, in the belief 
that were their dogs to eat them, they (the dogs) would be poisoned 
(Cr, 2S4). Here, on the Pomeroon, in many an Indian house you 
will often find stuck under the eaves of the overhanging troolie roof, 
or slung up in a basket, the wings and breast-bones of certain birds, 
and often the bones of a labba or an acouri. It was a long time before 
I learned that they were j^laced there for a purpose other than orna- 
ment or decoration. If a dog were to eat either of those particular 
bird bones or any bones whatever of a labba or an acouri that it had 
not itself hunted, such dog would never catch any of these animals 

252. The temporary occlusion of vision, as with tobacco and pep- 
pers, on the occasion of visiting for the first time any strikingly 
peculiar landmark of natural scenery, especially in the way of moun- 
tains, or even on entering a new region, would seem to have been a 
custom very prevalent among the Indians. From the examples 
which I propose here submitting it will be seen that the procedure 
specially concerns the particular Spirit with which such landmark or 
region is coimected. Its object, partly perhaps to placate this 
Spirit, and so turn aside the sickness or any other evil it might other- 
wise choose to send, is mainly to prevent the visiting individual 
attracting it toward himself. The procedure is protective or defensive 
in the sense of thwarting evil. On first gaining sight of the Arissaro 
Ilifls, Essequibo River, the Caribee Indians, who had never ascended 
the river so far, had to undergo an initiatory sight, which consisted in 
squeezing tobacco juice into their eyes (ScG, 229). So again, at the 
Twasinkie or Coomootie Mountains, much superstition, as usual, was 
attached to them, and those who had never seen them before were 
obliged to drink lime juice, and to have tobacco water squeezed into 
their eyes to avert the Evil Spirit (ScG, 231). Im Thurn (368) 
speaks of peppers (Capsicum) being employed for a similar purpose, 
and says: "Once, when neither peppers nor limes were at hand, a 
piece of blue indigo-dyed cloth was carefully soaked and the dye was 
then rubbed into the eyes." While on the Cuywini, writes Barring- 
ton Brown: "We passed a place one afternoon where the river was 
studded with high granite rocks two of which rose ten feet or so 
above the level of the highest floods. . . . Our guide, Edward . . . 
turned his head away and would not look at them. Eruma, one of 

1 The alligator skull stuck up in the Carib houses serves a diflerent purpose; it keeps away the Bush 
Spirit, the Yurokon. 


our Caribs, took some tobacco, and dipping it into the water, leaned 
back and squeezed the juice into his eyes, and as soon as the "tears 
thus produced had subsided, he cahnly gazed upon the rocks" 
(Bro, 30). Near the mouth of the Cuywini River, upper Essequibo, 
to quote the same author, "were some hirge granite rocks in passing 
which our Carib . . . turned away his face in an opposite direction. 
Upon questioning him as to his reason for so doing, I learned that if 
he looked at them, he would get fever" (Bro, 244). Another interest- 
ing extract is from Jemnan (23): 

We met on the Savannah about a hundred Indians of all ages and both sexes, resting 
on their way down to the hill to the landing at Tukeit, going down to the Mission. 
It was the first time they had passed the "Kaietuk" (Kaieteur) as they called it, 
though they were careful to keep almost beyond the sound of its roar and far out of 
sight of it. Each one, from the newly-born baby in arms, to the oldest man and 
woman, had pepper-juice applied to the balls of the eyes, carefully inserted within 
the lid.s, with a small loop made of a finely twisted piece of Tibesiri [Mnurititi fiber] to 
avert any evil which might otherwise befall them from having come near the Fall 
and into a new part of the country. Its application appeared to give acute pain for 
a short time, and brought a copious flow of tears. Some courageously just kept the 
eyelids open without touching them; others, with less nerve, had to hold theirs 
open. . . . The pepper-juice . . . was applied by one man, a middle-aged person. 

The present-day Arawaks when visiting any new ])lacc for the 
first time, whether now connected with Spirits or not, put creek water 
or river water into then eyes: they tell me here that it is with the 
object of placating any spirits that may be lurking in the vicinity, 
for should they neglect the custom, the Yawahus might not only 
send them sore eyes, but many other sicknesses. One woman mam- 
tamed that, independently of any evil spirits, the very novelty 
of the scene might give her sore eyes, in the absence of the usual 

35.3. Warraus assure me that on looking at a mountain for the 
fii-st tune the eyes are shut to prevent the person attracting or draw- 
ing the Shadow of the Spirit toward him (Sect. 1.90). When one 
person looks at another, the former draws or drags the latter's shadow 
(Sect. 6S) toward hina, a prmciple on which these Indians explam the 
taking of a pln)tograph. The Island Carib corpse is laid out with 
two weights on the eyes, that he may not see his parents thus making 
them iU (Sect. 80). Catliu gives an amusing instance among the 
Conibos of the Amazon, of the local medicine-man preventing hun 
painting any more portraits by exhorting the tribesmen as follows: 
"These things are a great mystery, but there you are, my friends, 
with your eyes open all night — they never shut: this is all wrong and 
you are very foolish to allow it. You never will be happy afterwards 
if you allow these things to be always awake in the night, il}^ 
friends, this is only a cunning way this man has to get your skins; 
and the next thing they will have glass eyes, and be placed among 
the skins of the wild beasts and birds and snakes." (The medicme- 


man had been to Para or some other place where he had seen the 
stuffed skins m a museum.) (GC, 321-323). For a pregnant woman 
to look at the face of a corpse will draw trouble on her unborn child 
(Sect. 279). It is possible that, perhaps on principles analogous to 
some of the preceding, most European races liave adopted the practice 
of closmg the eyes when iu the attitude oi prayer; it is therefore 
not so very remarkable that I found the aboriginal communicants 
of a certain Mission speakmg of prayer generally by a term which, 
litertilly translated, means "to shut the eyes." 

254. But this temporary occlusion of the eyes may be accompanied 
with another jn'ocedure, that of whipping. Thus, at the Cara-utta 
Rocks, head of Wenamu River, a branch of the Cuyuni, "the Indians 
who had never been here before, gave themselves up to the wildest 
orgies. Several calabashes were placed on the rocks, before which 
two old Ai-ekunas, with faces turned toward the north, squatted, 
and murmured unintelUgible words, wbUe an equally old piai rubbed 
powdered capsicum uito the eyes of each of the novices. When the 
first pams were over, they broke twigs off frt)m the nearest bushes, 
and whipped one another on the legs and feet, until blood was 
drawn" (ScR, ii, 346). In the last gi-oup of cases, it is not the body, 
but the rock or other natiiral feature that is whipped. And so it 
happens that while Boddam-Wlietham admits that they wiU never 
point at certaui rocks with a finger, although one's attention may be 
drawn to them by an inclmation of the head, other rocks "they beat 
with green boughs" (BW, 182); that along the slopes of the Seroun 
lilountains, Mazaruni River, under some of the enormous masses of 
conglomerate rock, were flowers and green branches that had been 
offered to the Rock Sphits by the superstitious natives (BW, 190). 
But as this author may have obtamed his information concerning the 
very same place (Seroun River valley) from Browti's work, published 
a couple of years before, I quote from the latter as well: "On the 
way we passed a very large isolated rock of diorite which had formed 
part of one of the great layers of this rock, horizontally bedded m 
the sandstone, upon which were lymg the bruised remains of a small 
tree branch with many more around its base. These were offerings 
left by Indian travelers at the shrme of the spmt of this rock, who 
believe that if they did not perform the rite of breaking off a green 
bough and beating it on the rock, evil would assuredly befall them" 
(Br., 78). 

355. In a sense analogous to the idea of thwarting or avoidmg evil 
may probably be regarded the closing of the eyes as a sign of "envy, 
hatred, and malice." Thus, among Warraus and Arawaks, as between 
man with man or woman with woman, the angered one wOI look at 
the other, suddenly shut the eyes, keep them closed a few seconds, 
and then turn away. The person thus treated wiU know that he or 
she must be prepared for the commg storm. So also the following 


occurrence reported from the Parou River in Cayenne may find 
place here: "In a retired spot, I surprise a little girl who, like the 
ostrich, hides her face in a hole, leaving her body entirely exposed" 
(Cr, 273). It is possible that the peppering of the witch's eyes 
before clubbing her was intended to prevent the poor wretch attract- 
ing toward herself the (spirits of those people she might otherwise 
have looked at (Sect. 319). Compare also the binding of the girl's 
eyes in the puberty ceremony (Sect. 271). 

356. The closing of the eyes and the concurrent expression of a 
wish I am unable to obtain explanations for, except on the hyjjo- 
thesis of some Spirit being supplicated, and deal with the practice 
here only as a matter of convenience. Mention is made of the custom 
in the Carib story of — 

"Shut Your Eyes and Wish! " (C) 

There were two brothers, and each had set a spring trap to catch Maipiiri [tapir] 
but it had proved too smart for them. One day the younger came home and said, 
" I have caught a bush-cow." This made the elder one jealous, and hence his remark, 
"If you have fooled me, I will kill you." So they went together into the bush, and 
sure enough there was the tapir caught by the leg in the trap. The elder brother 
thereupon killed the beast, cut up the meat, and took it all for himself. lea\ang only 
the entrails for the younger. The latter returned home, and telling his mother how 
greedy her first-born had been, prevailed upon her to leave the place with him. When 
they had Irav'eled a great distance,-, they reached a hill, and the son said: "Mother! 
Shut your eyes, and say, ' I want a field here, with plantains and potatoes, together 
with a house right in its very center.' " The old woman did what she had been told, 
and lo, and behold! there she had exactly what she had asked for. The two of them 
remained there for a long period, quite happy and content, but the mother was getting 
old now. So the son said, " Mother! Shut your eyes, and say, ' I want to be a young 
girl again.'" This she did, and her wish was immediately granted, she becoming 
so very sweet and attractive that her son became quite proud of her and wanted 
other people to see her also. Indeed, this made him say, "Mother! Shut your eyes, 
and say, 'I my big son would come see me.'" No sooner said than done, and 
the elder brother put in his appearance. Now that they had a visitor, they must of 
course have paiwarri, so the younger brother told his mother as before to shut her 
eyes and wish for drinks — and accordingly they had a big jar of paiwarri. All three 
of them drank, and the big brother became beastly intoxicated, so much so that he 
commenced trying to take liberties with the pretty young woman. " How dare you! " 
expostulated the younger one. "Don't you know that she is your mother?" "No! 
I don't," replied the elder, "and what is more, I don't believe it," and as he insisted 
upon attempting to carry out his wicked designs, the two men fought. 'WTien the 
elder brother finally awoke from his drunken brawl, he found himself all alone in a 
strange broken-down old hut, and so he returned home disconsolate. 

The Makusis also would seem to have had simOar ideas about 
wishing, for in their legend of Pia and Makunaima the former tells 
his mother that whatever of good she desired she would obtain if 
she would bow her head and cover her face with her hands while 
she expressed her wish (Sect. J^l). 

257. It was a superstition of the Indians in Cayenne that the first 
person to see the dancers arrive at the actual place of entertainment 


would die during the course of the year oi meet with other misfor- 
tune. Hence, directly the dancers left the public meeting-house 
Qcarhet) to go to a retu-ed spot for the purpose of decorating them- 
selves, the audience took good care to go into hiding, and to return 
in a body, shouting and screaming like madmen, when the performers 
put in their appearance (PBa, 201; LAP, ii 242). 

258. The followmg are examples of what might be called restric- 
tions in arts, crafts, and manufactures. 

On the left bank of the mouth of the Cuyuni is a small hill whither 
Indians come from long distances to obtain clay, which is beheved 
to be especially desirable. Schomburgk tells of a certain superstition 
which accounts for such large numbers of people congi-egating there. 
The Indians believe, for instance, that only durmg the first night of the 
incoming full moon (Sect. 199) dare they carry on their business. 
Hence, numbers of people congregate at these times, as Bernau 
vouches for, and at break of day start for home laden with a large 
quantity. The Indians cling fast to the superstition that if the clay 
is obtained at any other times, the vessels acquire an evil peculiarity 
not only for becoming speedily broken, but also for bringing numerous 
diseases to him who eats out of them. 

259. Such vessels could be even more intimately associated with 
Spirit life, as witness the following story of — 

The Lucky Pot (W) 

On his way home from the bush one day a man came across a hanab, with no human' 
occupants but with a Pot simmering on the fire. The Pot addressed him, asking if 
he were hungry, and having received an affirpiative reply, said, "All riglit! 1 will cook 
bird for you," and began to boil. A\Tien ready, the man ate of the contents, and went 
home. His wife pat fish before him, but he said, " I do not want it. 1 am satisfied." 
By and by her husband made an excuse to leave the house, and having arrived at the 
banab, said to the Pot, "lamhungry. You must cook meat now." So the Pot boiled 
away and supplied him with pure bush-hog. ^\'hen he got home his wife put some 
cassava before him, but he said, " I do not want it; my belly is full." After remaining 
at home two days and refusing the food which his wife regularly brought him, he paid 
another visit to the lucky Fot, gorged himsalf with both bird and meat, and returned 
home again, where, as before, he assured his wife that he was satisfied and wanted 
for nothing. Now the two sons looked at him and at one another and then whispered 
to themselves: "^liat does this mean? Our father stays at home two whole days, 
and is not hungry. He goes into the bush and even when he returns will not eat. 
Wlience does he procure his food?" So they watched his movements, and next day, 
following him at a distance, saw him talk to the Pot and help himself. On his return 
home, he still refused toeatwhat his wife continued tooffe.- him. As they were getting 
short of food for the household, he went away to shoot morokot [Myletes], the sons in 
the meanwhile going to the banab, asking Pot to cook bird and meat for them. After 
eating they washed the vessel "clean, clean," so as not to leave even the trace of a 
smell in it. By and by the father came home from his fishing excursion, handed over 
to his wife the morokot which he had caught, but refused as usual to eat any himself. 
"I do not want it. 1 am satisfied," was all he said. He then slipped away to his 
lucky Pot, and told it to cook for him, but it would not boil any more for him or for 


any one else, so perfectly had it been cleaned out.' He then commenced to cry, but 
the Pot reminded him: "You were greedy. You gave the bird and meat neither to 
your wife nor to your children. You ate it all yourself." 

260. Among the Island Caribs, when the women make hammocks 
they place at each end a small parcel of ashes. Unless this ceremony 
were observed the hamunock would not last. Should they eat figs 
when in possession of a new hammock, they think it would become 
rotten. They take great care also not to eat of certain fish with 
sharp teeth; for this would cause the hammock to be soon torn. 
The men erect the houses, except the roofs, which are made by the 
women, and canoes (BBR, 242). With the same people, during 
the course of manufacture of a canoe, while being burnt out, sticks 
are placed across, so as to enlarge it. If a woman did but touch it 
with her fingers, they behove it would split (BBR, 243). Father 
Gumilla, the missionary of the Orinoco, evidently commiserating 
the unliappy lot of the weaker sex, and recognizing the hardships 
to which they were exposed in carrying on their field work, made the 
attempt to get the men to lend assistance. His exhortation with its 
fruitless results is given here in his own words: "Brethren," said I 
to them, "why don't you help your poor women to plant? They 
are tired with the heat, working with their babies at the breast. 
Don't you see that it is making both them and your children sick?" 
"Father," they replied, "you don't understand these things, which 
accordingly worry you. You have yet to learn that women know 
how to bring forth, and we don't: if they plant, the maize stalk gives 
two or three ears of corn, the cassava bush yields two or tlu-ee 
basketsful of roots, and similarly everything is multipUed" (G, ii, 237). 

361. A woman must preserve her fan for the uses for which it is 
intended, namely, for blowing up the fu-e; should she use it on herself, 
she would become thin — at least this is what the Pomeroon Arawaks 
tell me. 

Among the nations bordering on the Amazon the Indians are 
entirely nude. They regard it as an almost certain sign that he who 
would cover what shame obhges civilized man to hide would soon be 
unfortunate, or would die in the course of the year (PBa, 121-2). 
It might be pardonable perhaps to mention here the reproof which the 
Island Caribs gave their European visitors when the latter, regarding 
them too closely, laughed at their nudity: "Friends! You should 
look only at our faces!" (RoP, 461.) 

362. Waterton has recorded the following behefs in connection 
with the manufacture of curare (wurah) poison: 

The women and young girls are not allowed to be present. The shed under which 
it has been boiled is pronounced polluted and abandoned ever after. He who makes 
the poison must eat nothing that morning and mtist continue fasting as long as the 

' The vessel in which the staple Indian dish known as "pepper-pot" is daily warmed, cooked, and 
added to from time to time is never cleaned. 


operation lasts. The pot in which it. is boiled must be a new one, and must never have 
held anytliing before, otherwise the poison would be deficient in strength; add to this 
that the operator must take particular care not to expose himself to the vapor which 
arises from it while on the fire. . . . Still the Indians think that it affects the health; 
and the operator either is, or what is more probable, supposes himself to be sick, for 
some days later . . . and it would seem that they imagine it affects others as well as 
him who boils it ; for an Indian agreed one evening to make some for me, but the next 
morning he declined having anything to do with it, alleging that his wife was with 
child! \\\, 93-1.] 

Schomburgk more or less confirms these restrictions when he says 
that before and during the making of the poison the operator must 
submit to a strict fast, and that during the cooking, no woman, 
especially a pregnant woman, or maid may. come near the house; 
furthermore his own wife must not be pregnant. In the particular 
instance cited the distinguished traveler was asked not to eat sugar- 
cane or sugar during the manufacture of the poison (Sc,Ri, 455-7). 
"Thus the greater the abstention from food on the part of the peai 
men, the greater the virulence of the urah, its action being supposed 
to be deadly in correspondence with the degree of hunger of the maker " 
(J. J. Queich, Ti, 1895, p. 262). Im Thurn supplies the following: 
"Water was fetched especially for the poison-making from a stream 
nearly a quarter of a mile distant; and care was taken in carrpng 
this to the house, to rest it on the ground every few yards. For, 
say the Indians, a bird wounded by a poisoned dart will fly only as 
far as the water, with which the poison was made, was carried mthout 
rest" (IT, 311). 

363. There would ajjpear to be some intimate relationship between 
an mdividual and his personal name (cf. Sects. 124, 1^^)) of such 
nature that the very mention of it in his presence would be fraught 
with serious consequences ; neither, as in the case of spirits (Sect. 17:^), 
may he be pointed at, or trodden over (Sect. 220). The name is 
deemed to be part and parcel of the individual, and the mention of it 
under those circumstances would put him in the power, as it were, 
of the person speaking. This rule held good for both Mainland 
(KG, I, 184; II, 147) and Island Indians. According to age and sex, 
one will address another as brother, sister, father, mother, son or 
daughter, etc., or wiU speak of him or her as the father or mother, 
etc., of such an one; or, to specialize, "they will speak half the name, 
e. g. Mala instead of saymg Mala-kaali, and Hiba for Hiba-lomon" 
(RoP, 451; KG, ii, 147). This fact will thus render the followuig 
statements of de Goeje and Kirke more intelhgible: "Some Trios 
have two names, one reserved for friends, the other for strangers: 
Crevaux says that the Ojanas might have two names, one for ad- 
dressmg the person and the other for referring to him when absent" 
(Go, 26). "It is a curious thing that you can never discover an 
Indian's real name ... he never divulges it, nor is he ever called 


by it. ■ H.^ is always known by dome nickname or name of distinction 
for his prowess in war, limiting, or fisliiug" (Ki, 120). So also when 
dead, the name of the deceased must not be mentioned. 


There were two sisters looking after their brother, for whom they were always making 
cassiri, but try their best, the drink had no taste; it was never good and palatable, 
so the brother did not enjoy it. He wa-s forever complaining, saying he -n-ished he 
could find some one who would make liim a real sweet drink, something like honoy. 
His sisters sj-nipathized, and said they would be only too glad if he tould find the right 
woman, who would make good liquor. One day while wandering through the bush 
he expressed aloud his wishes as to finding some woman who could manufacture a 
drink as sweet as the honey-bee makes it. No sooner had he expressed his wish than 
he heard footsteps behind, and, turning round, saw a female approach. "What is it? 
Where are you going? You called Koh6ra, ray name [lit.. Honey-bee], and here I 
am!" lie told her about his own and his sisters' wishes, and when she asked him 
whether he thought his people would like her, he said he was quite sure they would. 
Kohora accordingly went home with him, and when his parents asked her how he 
had met her, she said that she had come because their son had called her. She then 
made the drink. And the way she made it! All she had to do was to put her little 
finger into the water, stir it up, and the drink was ready! It tasted sweet! sweet!! 
sweet!!! and never before had it tasted so good. From that time onward they always 
had sweet drinks; on every occasion that Kohora brought her husband water she 
would dip her little finger in and so make it sweet. But at last the man got tired of 
all this sweet drink, and began to quarrel with Kohora. "Well, that is funny," she 
said. "You wanted sweet drinks, you called me to get them for you. I came and 
made them, and yet you are not satisfied. You can get them for yourself now!" 
With this, she flew away and ever since then, people have been punished by being 
put to all the trouble of climbing up, and cutting the honey out of, the tree, and having 
to clean it before they can use it for sweetening purposes. 

364. Among the Pomeroon Arawaks the mother always gives the 
name first to her child, independently of the piai, who bestows one 
subsequently. It is said that friends, brothers, and sisters may call 
them by these names, which stick to them throughout life, but it 
should be borne in mind that these Arawaks have been in closer 
contact with Europeans than any of the other tribes. The followino- 
are some of the names given by the mother at birth: 

Girls' names Boys' names 
Satu =darling 
Kakushika =blg eyes 

Korelyaro =baby girl Korelyali =baby boy 

Kai-inasaro=big buttocks =Kai-inasali 

Sato-bara =pretty hair =Sachibara 

Kuroshiro =brown hair =Kurashili 

Kabararo =plenty of hair =Kabarali 

Kakarishiri=curly hair =Kakarishili 

Irihibaro =dark hair =Irihibali 

llihiro =dark girl Ilihili =dark boy 
Natukoro =sp. of pretty flower Deringko =sp. of parrot 

Kuyari =toucan W6-shi =sp. of little fish 
Durakuaro =bird (Odonlophoms) 

15961° — 30 ETH — 15 20 


The name bestowed subsequently in this tribe by the piai takes 
place about the period when the child begins to creep; he asks the 
Spirit in the maraka (rattle) to give the name. "An offering of con- 
siderable value is necessary on this occasion, as, accordmg to the fee 
given to propitiate the pe-i-man, is the virtue of the mcantations 
pronounced: an unnamed Indian is thought to be the certain victun 
of the first sickness or misfortune that he may encounter: accordingly, 
only the very poorest of them are wdthout names" (HiC, 229). At 
the present time, it would seem that the piai gives a name only if 
he has been called m to attend a child when sick; under such cir- 
cumstances he will say that he has dreamed that the child requires a 
name, and the parents accordingly ask him to give one. Such names 
are given with regard to the personal appearance, to birds or other 
animals, to tobacco (e. g. Yuri-niro, Yuri-tukoro = tobacco flower), 
after the piai's Idckshaws, etc. (e. g. Shibari, "stone," KaUiko-yang, 
"crystal," Wara-maraka, a name derived from his rattle), or "after 
some quality or title." With the Makusis it was either the grand- 
mother or grandfather, who, on the conclusion of the couvade, gave the 
infantoneof the names customary in the family (ScR, ii, 315). Among 
the Tukanos it is the father, under similar circumstances, who gives the 
name, generally that of an animal (KG, i, 313). So also on the Islands 
the Caribs do not bestow names immediately after bhth, but wait for 
twelve or fifteen days when they call in a man and woman who take 
the place of sponsors, and pierce the child's under-lip and nostril. 
The majority of the names which the Caribs impose on thek children 
are taken from their ancestors or from various trees which grow on 
the islands, or from something that has happened to the father 
at the time of his wife's pregnancy, or duruig her lymg-m (RoP, 
5.52-3). A convalescent patient may start life afresh with a new 
name (Sect. 305). 

365. The cii-cumstances vary under which the name already given 
may be changed. As already mentioned (Sect. 26 Ji), this was the 
case with the Arawaks on recovery from prolonged sickness. On the 
Carib Islands the names given to the male chilchen shortly after 
birth were not retained thi-oughout life; they changed them when 
old enough to be received mto the rank of warriors, or if they had 
borne themselves bravely m battle and had killed an Arawak chief, 
they took his name as a mark of honor (RoP, 552-3). Both on the 
Islands and on the Mamland names were exchanged in testimony of 
great affection and mviolable friendship (RoP, 513): "Wlien they 
want to make friends, they ask for our names and give us theirs. To 
show affection and friendship they want us to exchange names" 
(BBR, 237-8). In Porto Rico "Juan Ponce de Leon, in fact, was 
received mto the bosom of the family, and the Cacique exchanged 
names with him, which is the Indian pledge of perpetual amity" 


fWI, 778). With the present-day Arawaks and Warraus, among 
members of the same sex it is of common occurrence as proof of 
friendship and affection not to exchange names, but for the younger 
to adopt the name of the older one (Sect. 120). Tlie Island Caribs 
have also in then- drinkuig bouts or on occasions of pu1:)hc rejoicmg, 
some one appouited to give them a new name, whom they address 
after having drunk well. "I wash to be named. Name me!" one 
will say, whereupon the other mimediately satisfies him and is 
rewarded with a present — a quartz-crystal, or other article (RoP, 

266. With a view to their becoming good huntmg dogs, the War- 
raus name theu' canine friends after those animals which are known 
to hunt well, as certam ants and bees which catch plenty of other 
prey; after warribisi (Sect. 88), a big wasp that lays its eggs in the 
ground and brmgs various worms from the bush for its young, when 
hatched, to feed on; after sakaro and buruma, two crabs which run. 
quickly and hunt well; after the giant anteater, the shark, and the 
small wild dog (karishi), all of these possessing undoubtedly good 
hunting qualities. 

366A. Special words, or paraplarases, have to be used under par- 
ticular circumstances; thus, hi travelmg over water — river or sea — 
the use of certain names otherwise employed in ordinary every-day 
conversation, is absolutely forbidden (Sect. W^). On the Aiary River 
(Rio Negro) the villages have secret names which are not mentioned 
except under pressure (KG, i, 184) . There are some few words which 
may be employed only according to the sex speakuig, or spoken to. 
Thus, among the Ai'awaks, to express the word "surely " or "certainly " 
a man will say tashi to a woman, but tade to a man, whereas a woman 
will use the term tara when conversing with one of her own sex, but 
tashi when talking to one of the opposite. "Oh, yes!" "So you say," 
is similarly expressed by three words: habui between woman and 
woman, or woman and man, but dadai when a man adch'esses a 
woman, and daido when he is talkmg to another man. The signifi- 
cation of this distmction I have not been able to discover; it is not 
connected, of course, with the use of different languages by the 
opposite sexes, as was the case in the Lesser Antilles with the Carib 
warriors and their i\j-awak wives. And, finally, with the mainland 
Arawaks a particular plaintive intonation is used in inquiries after the 
health or welfare of those who are iU or unfortunate ; and the tone is 
always suited to the circumstances and situation of the party ad- 
dressed (HiC, 248) 

Chapter XVI 

Puberty Ordeals (267): fasting {J6S); exposure to ant bites (269); scarification 
(270); flogging {271); other inconveniences in connection with isolation, water, 
fire, cooking, and the hair (272) ; conclusion of ceremony (27.i). Similar ordeals at 
subsequent menstruations (274)- 

Courtship: Tokens of accepted proposals (275). 

Marriage Ordeals: Similar to those at puberty (276), but additional trials of skill, 
etc., for males (277-278). Family Restrictions on Marriage (275.4). 

Childbirth Ordeals: Pre-natal, for one or both parents (279); Post-natal — fasting, 
scarification, flogging (280), isolation and couvade {281); Male as parturient parent 
{281 A); Miscellaneous restrictions {282, 283); Destruction of new-bom child, Twins 
<2S4). Asexual genesis of children (25M). Birth marks (2S4B). 

267. In many of the tribes, as the Warraus and the Caribs, the 
young people of both sexes can not enter into permanent sexual 
partnership until thej^ have successfully undergone the puberty 
ordeals (Cr, 612); in others, the betrothal or perhaps even the con- 
summation of the marriage follows as a direct consequence of such 
ordeals. The result has been that some authors have referred certain 
marriage customs to puberty ceremonies, while occasionally the 
reverse has happened. As a matter of fact they would seem to be 
more or less identical. The puberty ordeals include (a) more or less 
rigid fasting, combined with (6) exposure to the bites of ants, 
etc., (c) severe scarification, or {d) sound flogging — all to be borne 
without visible signs of suffering. A careful study of these leads one 
to the conviction that with both sexes the effect is to ensure the 
young people being healthy and strong, willing to work, skilful, and 
industrious. In the case of the female, the general tenor of the 
facts points to a belief in her being possessed by some Spirit prone to 
evil, whose influence so far as practicable, has to be counteracted and 
destroyed. Hence the piai blows on (Sect. 85) and mutters over the 
[Makusi] girl and her more valuable belongings so as to disenchant 
her and everything she has come into contact with (ScR, ii, 316). 
Some of the ordeals may be repeated, though in a less degree, at the 
second, perhaps at the third menstrual period. 

368. To account for this enforced abstinence from sufRcient food 
on the part of the women at times of menstruation, a cacique on the 
Orinoco told Gumilla: "Om- ancestoi-s observed that wherever the 
women, during their monthly periods, happened to tread, there 

1 For the various charms connpcted with sexual matters, love and affection, see Sects. BS7-BS8. 


everything dried up, and that if any man trod where they had placed 
their feet, his legs would swell: having studied the remedy, they 
ordered us to starve them, so that their bodies should be free from 
the poison" (G, i, 159). So with the Pomeroon Caribs, it was 
essential that when the girl was carried from her hammock to the 
place where the scarification had been effected, and back again, her 
feet must not touch the ground (ScR, ii, 431). Among the 
Pomeroon Arawaks, at the puberty ceremony of fu-st menstru- 
ation the girl is allowed no meat, but a little fish (and these 
must be only of smaU size), together with small cassava cakes, of 
which she must eat only the center, and a modicum of water in a 
very small calabash. For the next six months or so, according to 
circmustances, the yomig woman does not eat any meat of large 
animals, or fish which has much blood in it, as flesh of the tapir, 
yarau, turtle, etc. With the Warraus the girl must not speak or 
laugh or eat during the two or three days of the period. Were she 
to do so, she woidd lose all her teeth when she grew into a big woman. 
The first tMng she is allowed to eat is a Uttle cassava flour wrapped 
in a leaf. The Pomeroon Carib girl who, for the space of three days 
had to do without food or water, was not allowed to utter a word. 
She was subsequeuth^ starved for a month on a diet of roots, cassava 
bread, and water (ScR, ii, 431). Girls may die under this treatment . 
269. In order that the Arawak girl, now become a woman, may 
henceforth have strength and willingness to work, some old stranger 
whose character is known to be strong and good, and a willing 
■worker, is chosen to place an ant-frame on the young woman's fore- 
head, hands, and feet. The ants are attached at their middles. 
in the interstices of the plaited strands forming the framework, the 
frame itself being applied on the side from which all the little 
heads are projecting. In Cayenne, Pitou (ii, 2G7) describes the 
ant-frame as being applied by the girl's mother. Among the 
Warraus, as with the Caribs, the yoimg people of both sexes cannot 
many xmtil they have gone through the ordeal of the ants. 
Among the WaiTaus [mouth of Orinoco], the sufferer is put in 
his hammock; they apply the tari-tari ants to him; if he cries 
out he is condemned to ceUbacy (Cr, 612). My Wai'rau friends on 
the Moruca recognize the above-mentioned insects as their natatari. 
They teU me that long ago the same practices were carried on here. 
If the girl cried it meant that she could not work, and was therefore 
not deserving of a husband. The Roucouyenne (Cayenne Carib) 
would-be bridegroom has to submit to a corresponding ordeal at the 
hands of the jjiai: the latter api^lies ants to the chest and wasps on 
the forehead, the whole of the body being subsequently stung with 
ants and wasps (Cr, 245-50). According to Coudreau, the Ojanas 
believe that the wasp ordeal undergone by the men renders them 


skiKul, clever, and industrious; and certainly the obligation of pub- 
licly braving severe bodily suffering has an assured intrinsic value 
(Go, 21). If the parents had not previously submitted themselves 
to these ant and wasp tests and other ordeals the Cayenne Apaliiis 
and Koucouyennes believe that "onlj" emaciated and sickly cliildren 
would be born to them" (Cr, 307). It is noteworthy that in both 
Surinam and Cayenne the insects above referred to "are held in 
frames of bizarre shapes fringed with feathers, representing cjuad- 
rupeds and birds (Cr, 245-50). In such cases it certainly seems a 
very fair cjuestion to inquire whether it is the properties and cjuahties 
of the particular quadruped or bird represented in the shape of the 
frame, or those of the old stranger, piai, or other individual applying 
it, that are supposed to be impressed on the young person's character; 
unfortunately the evidence thus far collected is insufficient to furnish a 
satisfactory, answer. But in the following example the object of 
applying the ants at all would seem to be — though the suggestion 
after all may be wrong — ^to obtain the personal characteristics and 
qualities of the European traveler: "On entering the Apalai village — a 
custom we did not find among the Ouayanas — they brought me 
a framework of pahn leaves to which were attached at their centers, 
some big black ants. All the people of the tribe, irrespective of age 
or sex, presented themselves for me to apply it to their bodies, loins, 
thighs, etc." (Cr, 300). 

210. The Warrau boys had to undergo at initiation greater ordeals 
than the girls, to demonstrate their strength and manly prowess. 
These ordeals consisted principally in the infliction of paiiiful wounds 
■upon the breast and arms with the tusk of the wild boar or the beak 
of the toucan. If the boy endures all this without showing signs of 
pain, he can rank thenceforth with the men; if not, he has to submit 
to the ordeal on another occasion (ScR, i, 168). The Carib girl of the 
Pomeroon is operated on by the piai, who with the incisors of the 
Dasyprocta [acouri] makes deep incisions down her back, and from 
shoidder to shoulder; he then rubs pepper into these wounds, without 
the poor tortured creature daring to utter one cry of pain (ScR, ii, 
431). So also in Cayenne, a number of bloody incisions are made in 
her body, and it is only subseciueut to this that she is allowed to 
wear the apron-belt Qcewe-yo) : the young man is allowed to wear the 
lap-cloth only after having passed the necessary ordeals (PBa, 225). 
In Cayenne again, the girl is said to have her teeth filed down by the 
piai at her puberty initiation (LAP, ii, 267). 

371. On returning from her first bath [after the first menstrual 
period] the Makusi ghl must during the night sit upon a stool or 
stone, to be whipped by her mother with thin rods without raising 
the slightest cry to wake the sleeping occupants of the hut, an occur- 
rence which would prove dangerous for her future welfare. The 


whipping takes place also at the second menstrual period, l)ut not 
subsequently (ScK, ii, 316). Among the Puinavis Indians of the 
Ynirida [upper Orinoco], the "Devil" who three days before has 
been making terrible music in the forest at last enters the house of 
the poor young girl, who tries to take to flight. A piai at this moment 
runs up and, binding her eyes (Sect. 255), leads her through the 
village while the Devil all by himself is making a frightful hubbub. 
Now is the time for the festival of the beating with the sticks, when 
the men strike the unfortunate girl, who dares not complain. At last 
a young man, admiring her courage, takes her place, and exposes 
himself to the blows of the company; 'f he bears the pain without 
murmuring she chooses him for her husband (Cr, 532). [Compare 
Sect. 276.] With the Uaupes River Indians, "all relatives and 
friends of the parents are assem])led, bringmg, each of them, pieces 
of sipo (an elastic chmber) ; the girl is then brought out, perfectly 
naked, into the midst of them, when each person present gives her 
five or six severe blows with the sipo across the back and breast till 
she falls senseless, and it sometimes happens, dead. If she recovers 
it is repeated four times at intervals of six hours, and it is considered 
an offence to the parents not to strike hard. During this time numer- 
ous pots of all kinds of meat and fish have been prepared, when the 
sipos are dipped in them and given to her to lick ^ and she is then con- 
sidered a woman and allowed to eat anything, and is marriageable. 
The boj^s undergo a somewhat similar ordeal [at puberty, as the girls] 
but not so severe, which initiates them into manhood, and allows them 
to see the Jurupari music" (ARW, 34.5). 

373. 'What may be regarded as remaining puberty ordeals to which 
the young ghl has to submit at her first menstruation, and to a minor 
degree at all her subsequent ones, are certain procedures connected 
with her isolation, with water, fire, cookmg, and cookuig apparatus, 
and with the hair. In the "old days" of the Pomeroon Arawaks, the 
girl would remain with her mother in a separate logic, or in a spe- 
cially constructed compartment of the house. The former would be 
distinguished by hanging from the posts waste shreds of the ite {Mau- 
■ritia) palm, that is, the leaves from which the outer fibrous layer, for 
making twine, has already been removed. The specially constructed 
room was called the aihona-lehi. The Warraus are said to have used a 
separate closed house. With the Makusis, at the first signs, the girl 
is separated from all intercourse with the occupants of the hut; her 
hanmiock is taken from its usual place and slung in the highest part of 
the hut, where the poor creature is exposed to all the smoke which, if 
that be possible, is now increased. For the first few days she must not 
leave her hammock at all during the daytime. When the most active 

'Compare the licking of the stick by the Kanaima devotee to obtain purification (Sect. S19). 


and striking of the symptoms have passed she can come down from her 
height, and occupy a small place partitioned off in the daikest corner 
of the hut (ScR, ii, 315). So also in Cayenne, the girl's hammock 
was slung high up to the ridge of the Icarbet (PBa, 225). On the 
upper Amazon, she is similarly banished to the girao [an overhead 
stagiiig inside the oblong hut] under the smoky and filthy roof (HWB, 
383). She must not go near water until when the period is past; her 
mother bathes her in the closed room. If, dining the day, the Arawak 
gul wishes to micturate she must do so into a goblet, which she empties 
after dark in the bush. "VMien she thus similarly goes to ease herself, 
she must be accompanied by her mother, and must take with her a 
lighted fire-stick, which otherwise would not be used. The Makusi girl 
uses a fire which she herself has to light, and alone gets the benefit of. 
For ten days she cooks her cassava meal in her own pot at her own 
fire. Pots and drinking vessels that she has used are broken, and the 
chips buried (ScR, ii, 316). The Arawak girl must not comb her hair, 
but must let it hang loose until such time as her mother combs it 
after batliing her when the event is over. The Warrau matron (or 
the father sometimes) crops her (or his) daughter's hair ; the Carib girl 
has hers burned off (ScR, ii, 431). On the Aiary River (Rio Negro), 
the hair cut from a girl at menstruation is used for head and dance 
ornaments by the men (KG, i, 181; ii, 253). 

373. As a rule the puberty ordeal is brought to a conclusion with a 
drink-and-dance party, in which the girl herself neither drinks nor 
dances, though she constitutes of course the central object of attrac- 
tion. If an Arawak, she is brought out of the closed room by a 
middle-aged man, and shown in her decorations to the assembled 
guests; she then takes her seat on a stool especially made for her, 
shaped like a crocodile or a "tiger." Previous to these festivities 
her brother or father has killed a hummingbird, dried it, and cut it 
up into very small pieces. Every visitor, male or female, now gets a 
bit of this on a small piece of cassava, the idea being that when the 
girl grows older she will obtain her share of any of the good tilings 
that the other people may possess. The Warrau young woman is 
decked with beads and the white feather-down of various birds, as 
Crax and Ardea, apparently stuck with some giunmy substance to the 
smooth head [the hair having been cut], and the arms and legs (ScR, i, 
168). The Caribs paint her red all over. In place of the stool they 
would seem to have employed a stone or (?) plate (ScR, ii, 431). 

274. The following are the ordeals regularly undergone by Arawak 
women at subsequent menstruations, and which I understand are 
undergone, to a greater or less extent, by women of other tribes 
also, for example, the Warraus. The girl takes up her quarters in a 
separate logic or banab, distinguishable from all other structures by the 
susi^ended bunches of waste ite shreds. She hes in a smaller ham- 


mock than usual. She must not eat meat from any big animal 
(as ta]jir and turtle), or fish which contains much blood. The flesh 
of any game hunted by dogs is strictly forbidden her; othenvase the 
dogs would be pennanently spoiled for hunting. On no account 
may she cook, bake, or prepare drink, for other men or women. 
She must not cross water, travel in a corial, or bathe in a river or a 
pond; if she wishes to wash she may pour water out of a calabash 
over herself. Using a separate fiire for herself, it is imperative that 
she never blows one out. She has to cook in a smaller pot, and 
employ a smaller fan, goblet, etc., all especially made for the pmpose. 
In this connection I would suggest that many of the "toy vessels," 
described by im Thurn as being ''seen in and about almost every 
Indian house" (IT, 278), are in reality the pottery-ware used specialty 
during the periods of menstruation. Finally, the girl must not comb 
her hair but must let it hang loose. 

In addition to the bathing prohibition, the Makusi women dining 
these times must not go into the forest, where they would be exposed 
to the embraces of snakes (ScR, ii, 316). On the lower Guaviar the 
Piapoco husband is said to bring the wife her food during the few 
days that she remains isolated in the special hut (Cr, 526). 

375. In matters of com-tship the would-be benedict knows that 
the acceptance of an offering of food or of other objects is the token 
of a favorable, the rejection, that of an unfavorable issue. The 
Arawak lover, after making sure beforehand through the girl's rela- 
tives that he will not meet with a refusal, pays a visit to her parents, 
tells them how poor he is, that he has no wife, etc. At the conclusion 
of these prehminaries the young woman puts before him something 
to eat (SR, ir, 459). He knows that the path of true love is going to 
run smooth. So again in the same tribe if a father wants some 
well-known person for son-in-law, he lets his daughter place food 
before the latter during the course of a visit; if he partakes of it, the 
union is assured ; if not, the old man knows that their wishes do not 
agree (ScR, ii, 459). At the present day, on the Pomeroon, when 
the Arawak young man returns on the appointed day to receive an 
answer from the father, he takes care to leave his hammock at the 
waterside, or on the pathway. If the girl brings this in, he knows 
that his prospects are favorable, any doubt being chnched by the 
father teUing his daughter to give the young man cassava, pepper-pot, 
beltiri, or anything else that may be on hand. In Surinam, it is 
sufficient for the man anxious to marry, to take to the girl all the 
game and fish that he has caught during the day; if she accepts this 
present it is a sign that she is willing to have him (Fe, 38). In 
Cayemie, with the Gahbis, as soon as a girl has taken a fancy to an 
Indian she \vill offer him drink, together with firewood to light near 


his hammock; if he refuses the offer it means that he does not want 
her (PBa, 220). 

376. In none of the tribes is any sexual union pubUcly recognized 
as permanent — the closest correspondence I can find to our idea of 
marriage — prior to the advent of womanhood. Certaui of the ordeals 
of puberty are closely j^aralleled: indeed, as at puberty, the candi- 
dates for matrimony have to submit to a rigid fast with or without 
exposiu-e to ants, wasps, etc., a sound flogging (KG, ii, 144), or a 
severe scarification. It is only the males on whom somethmg addi- 
tional is imposed in the way of trials of skill and the like. Among 
the Makusis the man, for some time before marriage, abstains from 
meat (IT, 221-3), which was apparently the case with the Guayquirie 
and Mapoye females of the Ormoco. Concerning the latter tribes 
GumiUa says: For forty days before marrying, their girls are locked 
up to a continuous and rigid fast: tlrree seeds of the Murichi, three 
ovmces of cassava with a pitcher of water is their daily ration; and 
so, on the day of the nuptials, they are more like corjises than brides 
(G, I, 159). No reasons for this abstention are given, though it was 
asserted for the Carib girls on the Islands, who were treated simi- 
larly, that the idea of the fastmg was to prevent them becommg slug- 
gards, not likely to work when married (BBR, 250). The young 
Apalai males on the Parou River, Cayenne, have to undergo the marake 
(the ant and wasp ordeal) prior to attempting the trials of skill. 
Among the Guahibos of the Vichada River (Orinoco) on the occa- 
sion of the marriage of a widow, after having covered her husband's 
remains with earth, they put her on the grave, and remove the rag 
which, for the time being covers her chest: she then holds her hands 
above her head: a man comes forward and strikes her breasts with a 
switch — this is her future husband: the other men hit her on the 
shoulders, and she receives the flagellation without a groan: her 
fiance in his turn is struck with the switch, his hands joined above his 
head and without a murmur (Cr, 548). [Compare Sect. £71.] After 
the above ceremony, they place another woman on the grave and 
pierce the extremity of her tongue with a bone: the blood runs down 
her chest, and a sorcerer besmears her breasts with it (Cr, 548). 

277. In most of the tribes there were certain trials of skill (Sect. 30), 
certain marriage ordeals, which the would-be suitor had successfully 
to surmount before gaining permanent possession of his wife, in 
addition to the puberty ordeals that had previously to be passed. 
These marriage ordeals at the same time may be admittedly regarded 
as omens or tokens of what the father-ui-law or his daughter 
might reasonably expect from the husband in the future. The 
Uacarras Indians, a tribe on the River Apaporis, a branch of the 
Uaupes, of the Rio Negro, have a trial of skill at shooting with 
the bow and arrow, and if the young man does not show himself a 


good marksman, the girl refuses him on the groxnid that he will not 
be able to shoot fish and game enough for the family (ARW, 346). 
On the Oruaoco, he had to kill a bush-hog all by himself and brmg it 
to his future father-in-law's house to show that he was indeed a man 
(G, II, 285). Tlie young Apalili Indians on the Parou River, Cayenne, 
after submitting to the maral-e (ant and wasp oideal) must now "go 
through the target test: with their backs turned, they have to throw 
cassava pellets (houlettes) at a piece of wood upon which a circle has 
been traced, and must hit it three times running, etc." (Cr, .307). In 
its most complete form, however, the shooting ordeal seems to have 
been carried out by the Arawaks, and it is from the very old people 
of this people that I have been able to gather the following facts 
concerning what used to take place m bygone days. Wlien the youth 
went to his futiu-e father-in-law and asked for the girl, the old man 
would consult his wife and daughter, as a rule, and if everything 
were satisfactory would say "yes," but would not give him actual 
possession of her until he had performed certain deeds, the first and 
foremost of which was to shoot into a certain woodjiecker's nest. 
He would accordingly ask the suitor whether he were ready or 
whether he wished to wait a few days. The latter would of course 
say he was quite ready, so mipetuous is youth, and would give a 
minute description of the situation of the particular tree, usually 
one close to the water-side, into which he proposed shooting the 
arrow. The girl's father, however, would invariably plead some 
excuse to put him off, say to the next day, and in the meantime would 
get ready a big corial — big enough to carry 10 or 12 men — and engage 
his crew. Wlien next mornmg the 3"0ung man turned up again, the 
old man had everything ready and would get them all into the boat, 
he himself steering. The girl herseK had to sit on the left of her 
would-be husband in the bows. When within a comparatively short 
distance from the tree wherein the woodpecker's nest lay concealed, 
the old man would call upon the crew to pull with all their strength — 
and the young man to draw his bow. Before, however, the arrow 
had sped, and while yet the bow was fully stretched, the woman had 
to touch his left side with her hand signifyuig that if his arrow reached 
its mark she agreed to be his. If he missed, the performance had to 
be postponed to another occasion, he having the right to try as many 
times as he Uked until he succeeded and in the meantime he might 
continue practismg on his own account. Luck might assist him on 
the first occasion, sometimes on the second, third, or fourth, or he 
might have to make the trial so many tunes that he would give up the 
attempt as well as all thoughts for the gu'l, and proceed to some other 
settlement where the woodpecker's nests were situated to better 
advantage. Without shootmg his arrow mto the nest the wooer would 
certainly never get possession of the girl — neither father nor mother 


would givo way on that pai'ticular point. On the other hand, suppos- 
uig his aim to have been finally successful, the ghl would be as wife 
to him, and he would take up residence ui his father-in-law's house. 
The next thing was for the old Arawak paterfamiUas to mark out 
a piece of ground, which within so many days the young man to 
whom he presented an ax for the j^urpose, had to cut and clear for a 
provision field. The time specified was usually short, the young man 
having to work with might and main, starting early and returning 
late, but finally completing the task. A similar ordeal was exacted 
among the Makusis and other tribes (ScR, ii, 316). But th?re was 
still something else for the Arawak would-be bridegroom to do. For 
during the time occupied in cutting the field, the old man had busied 
himself in collecting a large number of crab quakes (baskets), and 
subsequently he would accompany the lad out to sea, and would 
himself watch to see that within the one day the j^oungster really 
filled all the baskets through his own exertions, and did not obtain 
the assistance of friends. This completed, the youth became hence- 
forth one of the legal heirs of the house. Should, however, the lad 
not have cut the field nor filled the requisite number of quakes within 
the allotted period he would have been laughed and jeered at when 
attending subsequent paiwarris. The two ordeals, just described, 
however, were never so essential as that of the shooting of the arrow 
into the woodpecker's uest. 

378. A Warning to Wives (A) 

You nuist remember that in the days of long ago we Arawaks -n-ould never accept 
a suitor for our daughter unless he gave us some proof that he was skilful in the chase, 
and able to support a wife. Among such tests were those of shooting into a wood- 
pecker's nest from oft the bows of a swiftly paddled corial, the filling of so many 
baskets with crabs diu-ing the coiu-se of a single tide, and the clearing of a field within 
a certain specified period. The first of these was a severe test, it is true, and grad- 
ually fell into disuse, though the others were long retained. It was just about the 
time when the first-mentioned ordeal had been done away with, that a young man, 
courting a girl, thought he would have no difficulty in gaining permanent possession 
of her, now that all he had to do for his father-in-law was to catch some crabs (Sect. 
365) and cut a field. So when he went and asked the old man for his daughter and 
obtained liis consent, he had no compunction in settling down at his new quarters, 
for with us a husband always lives with Ms bride before he completes the tests: on 
their fulfilment, however, will depend his fate— whether he retains permanent pos- 
session of her. Two or three weeks ha\-ing been spent on the honeymoon, the old 
man talked to the lad about going to sea, after the usual manner, to catch crabs, 
and advised him to get his quakes (baskets; ready for a certain day. The youth 
went into the bush with his companions to cut the necessary mulcru [the Creole term 
applied to the material used in weaving baskets], and, on his return, sat down to pre- 
pare it (that is, to split it into strands, and to tie them into bundles). As a matter 
of fact, he did not know what else to do with them! And when his comrades, who 
were already weaving baskets for themselves, saw that he had stopped operations, 
they inquired the cause, and were told that he intended making his when he 


got out to sea. (He was ashamed to expose his ignorance of their manufacture.) 
"You must be very quick at it," they said. "Not at all!" he replied, "there 
is no difficulty whatever in the matter. Indeed, I bet that I will make my quakes 
and catch crabs while you are catching yours, and that I will even then beat you." 
They then all made a start: in the corial were the would-be husband, his new 
wife, the old father-in-law, and some five or six other j-oung men. 'WTien they 
reached the sea, they anchored their Ijoat at a little distance from the shore, all 
excei)t rtie honeymoon couple getting out, each with a Ijasket, to hunt for crabs. 
After they had gone, the young man told his bride to jump out also, and drive all 
the little "four-eye" fish [Tetrnphthaliniis sp.] toward the boat. And while he 
was there squatting on the bench, with the mukru strands in his hands tr\-ing to 
make his basket, the fish all passed by.' As might have lieen expected, he realized 
that he was making no progress, so he made the woman surround the shoal a second 
time, and drive the fish back again, thus allowing him to have another look. She 
thus continued dri\'ing the fish backward and forward, and still he made no progress. 
She finally became very angry, and picking up one of the cjuakes out of the corial, 
waded on to shore: he called out to her to come back, but she took no heed of 
him. Xow the particular quake which she had taken belonged, as she well knew, 
to one of the other men who had accompanied them on the expedition and who was 
an old lover of hers; it was this same man whom she proceeded to join when she 
reached shore. She came close to him, and sa\-ing that she wanted t<i help him, lent 
her assistance in the usual manner: as he dragged the craljs out of their holes, he would 
every now and then jerk one near her, and she would gather it up into her basket. 
Her husband now came over and joined them, and though he would drag out a crab, 
and throw it toward her, she took not the slightest notice. Although he repeatedly 
shouted, "Look out! It is escaping. Put it into your basket, " she would not even 
recognize him. With her old lover, on the other hand, it was quite different: they 
soon f.lled their quakes, and went back to the boat for two more baskets; and these 
were soon filled. Back to the boat for two more, and so on, backward and forward, 
until all the quakes were full. When the husband realized that the others had gath- 
ered almost all the crabs that they could possibly carry home with them, he became 
desperate, and taking his hammock, wrapped within its folds as many of the crus- 
taceans as he could gather. It was now time for them to start on their return journey, 
but getting into the boat the bride squatted, not on her husband's tench as was the 
proper tiling for a recently married young woman to do, but on that of her old lover. 
The would-be husband said, "Come here: you are sitting in the wrong place;" but 
she and the old man took no notice of the remark, and simply snuliljed him. Fur- 
thermore, when they reached home, all the men turned into their hammocks, while 
the wife busied herself over the cooking. This did not take veiy long, as she was 
only roasting the crabs, so she was soon able to announce, "Father! It is quite ready 
now." Getting out of his hammock, the old man called the young men up one after 
another, giving each one his name, and then called Satchi! Now, on hearing this 
term of endearment, the husband thought he was intended, and accordingly replied, 
Wangj" [i. e. Yes, thanks, etc.]. "No, no!" said the old father, "I mean the 
son-in-law whom I brought in the boat back with me today. He knows how to make 
quakes. You don't." Naturally, the erstwhile husljand was put to shame, and imme- 
diately wended his steps over to his mother's place, carrying with him his hammock 
and the few crabs it contained. His mother was indeed a dear old soul, and after 
cookingthe crabs, and giving him a real square meal, consoled him as only a mother 

1 The pattern of the weft of these crab-quakes is known to the Arawaks as the kassaroa, or "four-eye 
fish," from the manner in which the starting strands are arranged, like so many "eyes." The idea 
intended to be conveyed here is that as the man in question did not really know how to make these baskets, 
he was anxious to get a full view of the fish, so as to serve him for a model which he could copy. 


can, advising him at the same time that he must wait a while, and be patient, because 
she was sure the girl would make up to him again. A few days later she took her 
son away to visit an old friend of hers, a man who was very wise in his way. She 
told this man all her son's troubles, and begged that he would teach him not only 
how to hunt, but also how to make quakes, pegalls, matapis, sifters, and fans, because 
it was due only to her boy's ignorance of these matters that he had lost liis wife. The 
old man agreed, ftjr friendsliip's sake, and mother and son remained with him for more 
than a year, the latter finally becoming quite as proficient in all the manly arts as 
Ms teacher. The result of all tliis in.struction was that when the two of them, after 
leaving the old man's place, returned to their own little house, they never experienced 
those pangs of hunger that they did in the old times. Each day her son brought home 
something, and the babracote was almost groaning under the load of dried meat that it 
now carried. It happened that a woman passing that way called in one afternoon, 
noticed all the smoked game, and accepted a choice piece which the old woman offered 
her when she was leaving. Of course, woman-like, she must needs straightway go 
and show tliis veiy piece of meat to all the inmates of the where the faithless 
wife of a year ago was residing, telling her and all her people that her late husband 
was not Such a fool as they had thouglit: did she not with her own eyes see all the 
game that he had killed, and all the quakes and matapis that he had made? Of 
course, conversation of this nature, and lots more of it, only made the late wife more 
and more anxious to visit the spouse whom she and her father had spurned. And 
there was good reason for it too. The past year's experience had been a sad one for 
her: she had discovered too late that her second husliand was not only worthless, but 
in addition lazy, and that all he was now bent on doing was to lie in his hammock 
all day, and make her work for him. So next morning, alie and her mother, telling 
their people that they were going for a walk, set out in the direction that led to the 
house where lived the master of whose prowess and skill they had heard so much about 
the day before. They arrived there. The man was hing in liis hammock, Init his 
mother received them, placed stools, asked them to be seated, and put cassava with 
peppers before them. She also took pains to apologize that there was nothing else 
to offer them, notwithstanding that the babracote with its load of meat was, as it 
were, staring at them. The visitors gave a significant look at one another, at the 
babracote, and at the pepper-pot with the cassava and peppers: they now felt so 
ashamed of themselves at having treated the young man so badly a little more than a 
year ago that they could not even eat" the cassava, and mthout even touching it, 
told their hostess to "take the pot away." ' The elder of the two visitors rose to leave, 
and expected her daughter to do the same, but the latter said, "No! I intend stajdng 
here with my first husband; whether he beats me or not, I don't care. He has turned 
out far better than my second one! " So when her mother had got out of sight, she 
went up to the hammock where the man was resting, and climbed in, saying, "I 
have come back to you, my sweetheart." He, however, immediately pushed her 
out, saving, "I don't want you.. I am the lazy, ignorant, and worthless man whom 
you scorned a year ago." She tried again to dim I) into his hammock, but he would 
not have her: she spoke "sweet-mouth" to him, but he would not listen: crestfallen, 
she left him, to return to her own people and her second husband, but the first one 
remained alone in his hammock and was glad to hear her go. 

378A. I have been unable to confirm Brett's statement as to the 
members of the Demareua, a particuhir family group, being restricted 
to connubium only with those of the Korobohana family group 
(BrB, 179); otherwise, all the Guiana Indian tribes are exogamous 

> Whenever a visitor comes to a, he is offered something to eat or drinlc; to e.xpress his satisfaction 
at having had enough, he informs his hostess accordingly in this terse manner. 


and trace descent exclusively through the mother. Certainly among 
the Arawaks and Warraus, sexual imion between persons of certain 
degrees of cousinship is regarded in the same light as is incest by 
Europeans. (See Sect. 131.) 

379. An analysis of the pre-natal and post-natal ordeals under- 
gone by father and mother bring into prominence the fact that they 
bear remarkably strong resemblance to those submitted to at puberty 
(by both sexes) and at menstruation (Sect. 267 at seq.). In the 
main, these ordeals consist of food restrictions; the tolerance of severe 
physical pain without visible signs of suffering; and procedures con- 
nected with isolation, with water, fire, and cooking. The proper per- 
formance of the childbirth ordeals insirres that nothing wiU go amiss 
with the baby. With regard to the food restrictions, before the child's 
birth, these may be imposed on both parents. 

Some of the men of the Akawai and Carib nations, when they have reason to expect 
an increase of their families, consider themselves bound to abstain from certain kinds 
of meat, lest the expected child should, in some very mysterious way, be injured by 
their partaking of it. The acouri (or agouti) is thus tabooed lest, like that little 
animal, the child should be meager; the Haimara also, lest it should be blind, the 
outer coating of the eye of that fish suggesting film or cataract; the labba, lest the 
infant's mouth should protrude like the labba's, or lest it be spotted like the labba, 
which spots would ultimately become ulcers. The marudi is also forbidden, lest 
the infant be still-l.iorn, the screeching of that bird being considered ominous of death. 
[Br, 355.] 

Among the Pomeroon Arawaks, though the kilUng and eating 
of a snake during the woman's pregnancy is forbidden to both father 
and mother the husband is allowed to Idll and eat any other animal. 
The cause assigned for the taboo of the snake is that the httle infant 
might be similar, that is, able neither to talk nor to walk. Neither 
parent, however, when carrying a piece of cassava cake, may either 
turn it over in the hand, or cuurl it up at the sides; otherwise, the ears 
of the child, when born, will be found curled over. Any game hunted 
by dogs is strictly forbidden the pregnant woman of this tribe, just 
as it is at her menstruation; otherwise the dog would be spoiled for 
hunting purposes, permanently in the latter cu-cmnstances, tempo- 
rarily in the former, the dog recovering its powers only when the 
baby was born. Hence, when a man brings home any animal that 
has been hunted by a dog, it is his wife's business to see that it is 
not partaken of by any woman in either of the states named. 
An interesting reference to this beUef will be found in Timehri (vol. 
II, 1883, p. 355), in which report is made of a woman's wages being 
stopped because, while weeding, she partook of the game caught by 
a hunting dog and so rendered the dog useless. She is forbidden to 
eat when pregnant any "big meat," as turtle or tapir, or fish that 
has much blood in it, as at menstruation; she can now eat only the 
tail portion of a fish. Infringement of any of these rules will result 


in something being amiss with the cliikl when born. The Indians of 
the Uaupes River, Rio Negro, "believe tliat if a woman, during her 
pregnancy, eats of any meat, any other animal partaking of it will 
suffer; if a domestic animal or tame bird, it will die; if a dog, it will 
be for the futm-e incapable of hunting; and even a man will ever 
after be unable to shoot that particular kind of game" (ARW, 349): 
hence, meat has to be avoided by her. A Pomeroon Arawak female 
will beget twins through eating any double fruit during the period of 
her pregnancy. The SaUva husband, however (G, i, 189), regarded 
such a result as a sure sign of his wife's disloyalty, beUeving that only 
one of the twins could possibly be his. Another pregnancy restriction 
on the Pomeroon is that the Arawak woman must not laugh, and 
must not grieve; neither may she look at the face of a dead person 
though it is permissible for her to gaze on the body. 

280. And even when the baby does put in an appearance, the 
mother's troubles, hke the father's, are far from over; for until her 
youngster is able to walk well, the Arawak mother on the Pomeroon 
must eat neither deer, turtle, nor iguana, animals which, for some 
days after birth, creep or crawl very slowly, in contradistinction, for 
instance, from the bush-hog, that will start to run directly it has 
littered. The idea is that by eating such flesh the mother will cause 
her infant to walk too slowly. On the islands, the Carib mother 
abstained from female crabs, which would give the child stomach- 
ache, while the father had to avoid certain animals for fear of 
the youngster participating in their natural faults. If a father 
ate turtle, the child would be heavy, and have no brains; if he ate a 
parrot, the child would have a parrot nose; if a crab, the conse- 
quence would be long legs (BBR, 248-9). The mainland Caribs of 
Cayemie (GaUbis) avoided deer, hog, and other large game (PBa, 
223-4). Brett, in a quotation apparently from McClintock, says that 
the Akawai, Carib, and Warrau husband abstains from venison 
after his wife's dehvery for the same reason that the Ai-awak mother 
shuns it (Br, 3.56). The Roucouyenne father must eat no fish or game 
that has been caught with an arrow, but must content liimseK with 
cassava and with small fish that have been poisoned with the "nicou" 
plant; should he disregard this taboo the child will either soon die 
or develop vicious propensities. For the Caril) Islander, paternity 
must undoubtedly have proved somewhat trying; for ten or twelve 
days he had "to take to his bed," and subsist on a little cassava 
and water; he ate only of the insides of the cassava cakes, leaving 
the outsides for the subsequent feasting; for from 6 to 10 or 12 
months later he had to abstain from several meats, as manati, tmile, 
hog, fowl, and fish, for fear of hurting his infant, but such extreme 
fasting was carried out only at the birth of the first male child. 


When the fastmg period was approaching its oonchision, ho had to 
submit to a scarification, by means of agouti teeth, upon his sliouklers 
without a miu-mur, and the better he bore this infliction the more 
vaHant woukl his son prove; the blood thus made to flow was not 
allowed to fall onto the ground, but was smeared on the child's face 
to make it com-ageous (genereux) (RoP, 550). The actual termina- 
tion of the fast must here have been celebrated more or less cere- 
moniously: ''Placed on a red-painted seat, the women bring him 
food, which the old men put in his mouth, as they would do to a child, 
the cassava and the fish being in small pieces; he eats the cassava, but 
ejects the fish after chewing it. He would become sick if he began to 
eat too well at once; he is made to drink by being held by the neck" 
(BBR, 249). The scarification and flogging ordeals of puberty are 
repeated on the Carib father, both island and mamland, after his wife's 
delivery of either boy or girl : the reputed idea is " to transfer his coiu-age 
(:muth) to the children" (ScR, ii, 431). In the former case, after a 
course of very limited diet he is "brought to a pubhc place, lookuig 
hke a skeleton, and standing upright on two large flat cakes of cassavas. 
The sponsors then begin to scratch and cut his skin with very sharp 
agouti teeth. They first begin on the sides, then the shoulders, from 
the arm to the elbow, from elbow to MTist, and from the thighs to the 
ankles. . . . He is then painted and rubbed with roucou leaves, 
pepper seeds and tobacco juice, and placed on a red-pamted seat" 
(BBR, 248-9), and fed, as already mentioned. The Mainland Carib, 
the Galibi of (Jayemie, after some weeks' subsistence on a stinted diet, 
is "scarified on various parts of the bod}^ with fish-bones or agouti 
teeth: very often even he is given several lashes with a whip" 
(PBa, 22.3-4). 

281. After the birth of the baby come the various procedures con- 
nected with the isolation of one or both parents; in the case of the 
father, his so-caUed "hong-in" is spoken of as the couvade, and is 
met with in many tribes, for example, Arawaks, Warraus, Caribs 
(who call the practice Tcenonimdno) , Makusis, and Wapisianas. In 
the case of the Mauiland Caribs (Cayenne) "when their wives are 
confined for the first time, the newly married husband has to sling 
his hammock high up to the ridge of the house" (PBa, 223-4). 
With the Island Caribs, if the child is a fu-stbom male, the hus- 
band, as soon as the woman is delivered, goes to bed, complains 
and acts as though he had been delivered (BBR, 248), and submits 
to a restricted diet, etc. As with the Caribs, so with the Arawaks 
and Warraus, it is practically the husband who is isolated, and does 
the "Iving-m." Indeed, in these three tribes, the woman is Lsolated 
only durmg actual delivery, which takes place either out in the bush, 
in a separate shelter, or in a compartment specially partitioned ofT from 

15961°— 30 ETH— 15 21 


the rest of the house. With the bath that she takes withm a com- 
paratively few hours after the interesting event has occurred, her 
isolation, and with it any dangerous influence of her recent condition, 
ceases. The woman is her own accoucheuse; even during the night 
and in wet season she -Rail leave the house and retire to a secluded 
spot near by. She occupies herself with her daily affairs until the 
last moment: she may come home with a quake contammg the baby 
instead of the usual cassava; and "on the morrow she is prepared 
to undertake all the indoor work of the household " (Da, 248). Con- 
finement takes place either in the forest or in some little hut; she is 
always alone unless some difficulty presents itseK, when an old woman 
will attend (PBa, 226). With the Makusis and Wapisianas, both 
parents engage in a "lying-in" for a shorter or longer period after 
the appearance of baby. The Makusi father takes to his hammock, 
placed near that of his wife, until the navel-string falls off; but before 
doing this, if he has no separate building, he will prepare a palm-leaf 
partition in the hut (ScR, ii, 314). When the partition was finished, 
the [Wapisiana] husband hung up in it both his own and his -nTfe's 
hammock, and therein they lay to "take to bed" {die Wochen zu 
halten) like the Makusis (ScR, ii, 389). During the lymg-in of the 
mother, or couvade of the father, they are considered equally unclean, 
such uncleanness being occasionally regarded as persisting for long 
afterward. Thus, the Mainland Carib (in Cayenne) is obliged to devote 
himself to the service of an old Indian and to leave his wife for some 
months; during this period he has to be submissive and regard himself 
as a real slave (PBa, 223-4). When in couvade a visitor enters his 
house, that visitor's dogs will soon die (Cr, 241). The Arawaks and 
Warraus say that if a man durmg the period he ought to remain in 
couvade indulges in sexual relations with any woman other than his 
wife, the infant ^\^U die through inability to exert its emunctory powers. 
After lighting her fire and supplying her with drinking cups it is the 
duty of the female Wapisiana population to keep as far away from 
the lying-in woman as possible for the few days that she is deemed 
unclean (ScR, ii, 389). With the completion of the couvade, on the 
upper Tiquie River, among the Tuyuka and other Indians, the grand- 
mother "smokes" the pathway leading from the maloka to the water, 
as well as the water itself, before the parents have their first bath 
(KG, I, 312). With the Uaupes River (Rio Negro) Indians, when a 
birth takes place in the house, everythmg is taken out of it, even 
the pans and pots, and bows and arrows, till the next day (ARW, 

281A. In connection with this question of couvade, it is of interest 
to note that from among the Caribs I obtained a trace of an idea of 
the male acting as the parturient parent. 

koth] sexual life 323 

The Broken Egg (C) 

Uraima once had in his possession a bird's egg, which he Icept in a calabash; he 
took great care of it until it should hatch out. He met two girls on the road: they 
saw the egg and asked him to let them have it. "No!" he said, "I can not." They 
worried and even followed him, but he still refused. So they seized the egg, and 
in the course of the scuffle broke it. Uraima then spoke to the women as follows: 
"Since you have done this, trouble will follow you from i^ow onward. Up to the 
present, the egg has belonged to man. For the future it will belong to woman and 
she will have to hatch it." It is only the female that lays eggs nowadays. 

383. There seem to be some curious restrictions concerning water, 
so far as the father is concerned, both previous and subsequent to birth. 
R. L. Kingston gives the following interesting pre-natal example: 
"While some (True) Caribs were poisoning the upper Pomeroon 
with haiari for fish, I saw one of them rub his shins with the beaten 
and washed-out haiari. Asking why he did this, he told me his wife 
was with child, and that he could not therefore go into the water 
without first rubbing his legs with haiari, lest all the fish should sink 
to the bottom" [instead of floating narcotized on the surface] (Ti, ii, 
1883, p. 355). It was said to be a custom of the Island Caribs 
that "they often deliver near the fire, and the child is bathed at 
once; but a fumiy precaution is, that if it is born at night, the men 
who are sleeping in the house go and bathe so that the child may not 
catch cold" (BBR, 24S-9). It is curious that the Pomeroon Arawak 
women will not bathe their infants until such time as the navel- 
string heals, for fear of the same contingency happening. On the 
other hand, his usual bath is forbidden the Makusi father (ScR, ii, 
314) dining liis time of couvade. Strange to say, it is the bath which 
in most tribes constitutes the final purification of the mother, at the 
end of her lying-in period, whether such period be of a few hours' or 
several days' duration. Beyond what has already been mentioned 
concerning fu-e — how some women (Island Caribs) wiU often deliver 
near a fu'e and how others wiU apparently have one hghted for 
them — I have found no further references to childbirth in connection 
with fire, except one in connection with the navel-string. Bancroft 
is the only author who speaks of the division of "the umbilic vessels, 
which they do with a brand of fire, which cauterizes their orifices, 
and renders a ligature unnecessary" (Ba, 330). Two old Arawak 
women are my authority for saying that in the old days the cord was 
burned off with a heated nail. Cookmg for a man is strictly prohib- 
ited to a pregnant woman: she may however "clean" the meat, but 
in cleaning any animal or fish she must not cut off the ears, nails, or 
fins. In this latter connection there is a curious prohibition con- 
cerning fingernails in force among the ^lakusis : neither men nor women 
at times of couvade or lying-m must scratch their bodies or heads 


with their nails. A piece of the michib of the kokerite pabn is 
specially employed for the purpose (ScR, ii, 314). 

283. In many of the tribes durmg the couvade, and often for long 
afterward, the husband is prohibited from engaging in certam of his 
ordinary occupations. The Pomeroon Arawak must neither smoke, 
lift any heavy weight, use a fish-hook, nor have ultimate relations 
with any woman. "The Mainland Carib of Cayeime was not allowed 
to cut any big timber with an ax (PBa, 223-4). The Makusi must 
not touch his weapons (ScR, ii, 313). Should these and similar pro- 
hibitions be not observed, some evil would be sure to befall the child. 
There is another interesting example recorded of a man ( ?Arawak) 
durmg couvade lymg in his hammock and twisting a new bowstring; 
baby began to scream, with the result that the father had to imdo 
the whole fine (Ti, ii, 1883, p. 355). 

When one reahzes what the Indian conception of child-life is, the 
explanation of the above otherwise extraordinary customs becomes 
comparatively simple. In its material as well as in its spirit nature 
the baby is beheved to be part and parcel of both parents, and even 
at birth is not considered to have an independent existence. Its 
material dependence on the father ceases only when the navel-string 
is finally detached, the signal for the male parent to conclude his 
"hatching" or couvade. The baby's spirit nature does not, how- 
ever, usually free itself from the mother imtil the lapse of many 
months, when it begins to crawl or walk (an occasion which in some 
tribes seems to have been celebrated by a festival, with hair cutting 
and other features) ; hence, all this time, whatever can affect the 
mother in the way of food, or otherwise, exerts a corresponding influ- 
ence on the child. On the other hand, its spirit nature may occasion- 
ally tend to wander all on its own account. Thus, when a Moruca 
River woman is carrying her very yomig infant along a pathway and 
happens to meet a cross path, she wiU break off a leaf or two from 
an adjoining bush, and throw it on the latter; baby's Spirit must 
follow her and not go ofl' in another direction. On the conclusion of 
the couvade the baby's spirit nature, though physically freed from 
the Spirit of the father, and in that sense independent of it, never- 
theless accompanies the father for a similar 2)eriod, that is, until it 
can crawl, and can be influenced by it so long as the companionship, 
so to speak, is retained. When the infant begins to crawl, its hair 
is cut for the flrst time. Rev. Mr. Dance was, I beheve, among the 
first to appreciate fully the true signiflcation of these facts in con- 
nection wath, presumably, the Arawaks. I myself have had oppor- 
tunities for studying them among Arawaks as weU as Warraus. 

The infant Spirit clings to the father, gazes upon him, follows him wherever he 
goes, and for the time being is as intimate and familiar with the father, as he is with 
his own infant body with which the infant Spirit is only recently associated. How 


then can the father ... go out to the forest or field to use an ax or cutlass, when 
the Spirit of the child which follows him as a second shadow might be between the 
ax and the wood? How climb a tree, if the infant spirit is also to essay the climbing, 
and fall, perhaps to the injury of the infant Ijdng in the hammock? How hunt when 
the arrow might pierce the accompanying spirit of the child, which would be death 
to the little mortal at home? It', traveling through the woods you happen to meet a 
tairu leaf, which is formed very much in shape of a corial, floating on a stream or pond 
of water, and furnished with a tiny wooden seat and paddle, cut out and placed therein: 
or should you, in stepping over a fallen tree discover two sticks each placed from the 
grovmd to the trunk of the tree, disturb them not. . . . When the father wades through 
the water, the toddling spirit . . . must paddle over in the tairti-leaf boat: and when 
his sire crosses over the stump, the little temporary bridge enables the infantile Spirit 
to climb over. . . . But notwithstanding the greatest vigilance, the little Spirit is 
sometimes lost, and then the body pines and dies if the Piai doctor is not fortunate 
enough to recover it. [Da, 249.] 

For my ovrti part, I am very much inclined to believe that this 
little Baby Spii-it is identical with the FamiUar Spirit (Sect. 93 A). 

384. In view of the facts mentioned throughout this chapter it is 
as well to note that, on the Orinoco, when an infant (male or female) 
was born with any defect or monstrosity it was put to death (G, ii, 
60). Similar procedure was in vogue in Cayenne (PB a, 227), while 
Schomburgk states that "the shocking practice of destroying 
deformed children is not so general among the savages of Guayana 
as has been supposed" (ScF, 219). .On the Amazon there was the 
curious custom of killing all the first-born children among the Xima- 
nas and Cauxanas, tribes met with between the I^a and Japura 
Rivers (ARW, 355). Among the Zaparos of the Napo River (upper 
Amazon), when a mother having a very young child dies, the child 
is sometimes buried ahve (Sect. 76) with her (AS, 175). On the 
Ormoco, among the Sahvas, twins were considered a sign of dishonor. 

They call the mother nicknames; some say that she is of the rodent family, which 
bear little rats four at a time, etc. Directly a Saliva savage gives birth to a baby and 
feels that still another remains, she will bury the first rather than put up with the jokes 
and chaffing of her neighbors, or merit the frown with which her husband regards it. 
The husband's view is that only one of those twins can possibly be his; the presence 
of the other is a sure sign of his wife's disloyalty. One of the Indian captains gives his 
wife a whipping in public for having dared to bring forth twins; and warns the other 
women as to the serious beating he will give them if they do the same. [G, i, 189.] 

The same thing takes place on the River Cuduiary, among the 
Kobewas, at the present day, the second-born of the twins being 
killed, but if of different sexes, the girl is sacrificed (KG, ii, 146). 

284A. There are certainly traces of a belief in sexual relationships 
having no necessary^ connection with the ])roduction of children. 
Even at the present day women can cohabit with Water Spirits 
without disastrous consequences resulting (Sect. 186). On the 
other hand women can get babies if they want them, by eating certain 
binas, plant or animal (Sects. 237, 238); in a case of this kind the 


child is already in existence, its body being attached to, and by some 
mysterious m(>ans jjassing into, the body of the mother. As to the 
origin of such babies, all I can gather is that they arrive in the water or 
in the bush, and hence may make their appearance in our mundane 
world either as a gift from the Water Spirits (Sect. 186), or at the 
instigation of the Spirits of the Forest (Sects. 117, 302), with or 
without the agency of the piai. The following is a Warrau story 
bearing on this subject: 

The Little Bush Child (W) 

A long time ago it was customary for a woman, when she yearned for a child, to 
wander about in the forest until she foimd one. It so happened that a certain woman, 
Yaburawdko, in going to her field found a little child on the road — a pretty boy he 
was — and she brought him home. She minded him, and he had sense enough to call 
her "Mdma. " By and by , however, the child got mischievous, and made her vexed. 
She said, "You have really nothing to do witli me; so why should you annoy me?" 
The husband remonstrated with her, expressing himself to her somewhat as follows: 
"You must not be angry with the child, but must mind him carefully." She con- 
tinued, however, to be cross with the boy, and finally ill-treated him. "I am not 
going to be bothered with you any more," she exclaimed. "You have nothing to 
do with me. You are not mine. You don't belong to me. " With this, the child 
disappeared, whereupon the husband said: "Well, he's gone now, but he will come 
back again, and this time enter your body, and you will have trouble enough to get 
rid of him. " Sure enough, after a tinie the child did enter her womb, and, oh ! the 
trouble and the pains she suffered before she was delivered of him. Women ever 
since have borne children in this manner just because Yaburawdko was so unkind 
to the little bush child. 

284B. j\i'awaks believe that birth-marks and moles (namaraJcan) are 
due to the failure of the mother, during pregnancy, to get what she 
wanted. She may have said, "Oh! how I should hke to have just a 
bit of marucU! " thoughtlessly jJacing her hand on her face, breast, 
body, or thigh; her baby wall be born with a corresponding mark on 
the particular part touched. The "MongoUan spot" is regarded by 
the women as due to the position of the afterbirth being near the sur- 
face in the corresponding part of the mother's body. The Moruca 
River Arawaks call this spot tvr-tehe, but as it begins to fade it is known 
as anakwarro. 

Chapter XVII 

Medicine-men practise what they preach: Names (255); respected and feared botli 
alive or dead and may be given offerings (:186), hut occupy no position necessarily 
distinctive, as captain of tribe (287). 

Insignia and paraphernalia: bench (288), rattle (289), doll or manikin, identical 
with idol or zemi of Antilleans (290), quartz crj'stala (291); miscellaneous kickshaws 

Office, hereditary (29S). Female doctors (294). Consulting-room (295). First 
Piai (296). Apprenticeship and Installation (297). 

■ Power over Spirits: of animals (298), of himself (e.g. in-\-isibilitjO and of other 
Indians (299). 

As interpreter of dreams (JOO): seer or prophet (JOl); his general versatility (.502- 
S03); guardian of the tribal traditions (.W); the giver of personal names (.50.5); his 
treatment of sickness and disease (-106). 

Disease and treatment: signification (.307); usual treatment by Arawak piai (.308); 
by Carib (309); by Galibi (810); by ?Oyampi (-311); by Makusi (312); by Indians of 
Caracas (31.3); by Carib Islanders (314)- Spirits specially invoked in cure (315); 
objects extracted from patients (.5^6); dieting of patient's relatives and iaraUy (317); 
medical fees (318); Quack doctors (319). 

285. There is abundant evidence that the medicine-men practised 
what they preached, and had every confidence in the powers with 
which they had been intrusted. "They practise those incantations 
over their own sick children, and cause them to be practised over 
themselves when sick" (BrA, 117). "They act the farce on them- 
selves when they are disordered: a practice which has not a little 
contributed to overthrow all doubts of the sincerity of their preten- 
sions" (Ba, 314). "The piai himself believes in it: one will put him- 
self in the hands of another when sick" (Go, 13). Schomburgk was 
"convinced that the piai beheves in the efficacy of his witchcraft as 
firmly as his proteges" (ScR, ii, 146). The real causes of the existing 
prejudice against the medicine-men are not far to seek, and have 
often been clearly expressed. "As doctors, augiu-s, rain-makers, 
speU-binders, leaders of secret societies, and depositaries of the tribal 
traditions and wisdom, their influence was generally powerful. Of 
course it was adverse to the Europeans, especially the missionaries, 
and also of coiu-se it was generally directed to their own interest or 
that of their class; but this is ecjually true of priestly power wher- 
ever it gains the ascendency, and the injurious effect of the Indian 
shamans on their nations was not greater than has been in many 
instances that of the Christian priesthood on Eiu-opean communities" 



(Bri, 55). On the other hand, there is not a single recorded instance 
of the Guianese Indian priesthood ever having submitted those of 
their people holding reUgious views different from their own to either 
torture or the block. The Creole term for the priest-doctor is piai- 
man, a hybrid that seems to have been first recorded by Waterton in 
the form of pee-ay-uiiin, who is an enchanter; he finds out things lost 
(W, 223). In its simple form, the word of course came into use much 
earUer, and is seemingly derived from the Carib piacfie, which Gumilla 
employs, and is still met with among the Pomeroon group of these 
Indians as piesan. Brett (Br, 363) derives it from the Carib word 
puiai, which denotes their profession. The Akawais call it piatsan. 
Dance seems to derive the name from that of the tribal hero, 
Pia (Sect. 4^)- Crevaux in Cayenne speaks of piay, de Goeje in 
Sm-inam of piai, and Bates, throughout the extent of the Amazons 
visited by him, of paje. The Warrau word for the priest-doctor -is 
wisliidatu {wisidaa, according to Brett), similarly apphed to the 
kickshaws. In some of the Orinoco nations, they caU these men 
Mojan: in others Piache: in others Alabuqui, etc. (G, ii, 25). 
The Piapocos Indiaiis of the lower Guaviar River speak of them as 
Eamarikeri (Cr, 526) ; the Caribs of the lower Caroiii River as Marirri 
(AVH, III, 89), and the Island Caribs as Bove (RoP, 473). The 
Arawak designation is of equal interest and also of extended range: 
it is Semi-tcMchi or Semi-cihi, the same term applied generally to 
the kickshaws and various apparatus employed in the pursuit of the 
craft (Sect. 93). 

286. Both aUve and dead, the medicine-men had the respect and 
fear of the community. They were the teachers, preachers, coun- 
sellors, and guides, of the Indians; "regarded as the arbitei-s of hfe 
and death, everything was permitted, and nothing refused them; 
the people would suffer anything at their hands without being able 
to obtain redress, and with never a thought of complaining" 
(PBa, 210). They thus lived "in clover, " (G, ii, 24), better than all 
the rest of the people (St, i, 399). And yet in a sense they were 
restricted: they must not partake of the flesh of the larger animals, 
"but limit themselves to those only which are indigenous to their 
coimtry (ScR, i, 173); they had religiously to abstain from certain 
fish and game (PBa, 211); no animal food was publicly tasted by 
these priests, while they abstained, even more strictly than the laity, 
from the flesh of oxen, sheep, and all other animals that had been 
transported from Europe (Sect. ^4^) ^iid were "unnatural" to their 
country (St, i, 399). They were said to renew their piai power from 
time to time by drinking tobacco juice, but in doses not so strong as 
at the time of installation (PBa, 211). As stated above, even dead 
the medicine men were still respected. 



They also keep the dead bones of these sorcerers with as much veneration as if they 
were the Reliques of Saints. When they have put their bones together, they hang 
tliem in the Air in the same cotton beds those Wizards use to live in when alive. 
[Da, 98.] 

Bates gives a cui-ious example of such veneration and sanctity, 
met with at a spot on the Jabin-u chaimel, Marajo Ishind, at the 
mouth of the Amazon, "which is the object of a strange superstitious 
observance on the part of the canoe-men. It is said to be haunted 
by a Paje, or Indian wizard, whom it is necessary to propitiate, by 
depositing some article on the spot, if the voyager wishes to secure a 
safe return from the sertad, as the interior of the country is called. 
The trees were all hung with rags, sliirts, straw hats, bunches of 
fruits, and so forth. Although the superstition doubtless originated 
\vith the aborigines, yet I observed, in both my voyages, that it was 
t)aly the Portuguese and uneducated Brazilians who deposited any- 
thing. The pure Indians gave nothing; but they were all civihzcd 
Tapuyos" (HWB, 115). Koch-Griinberg gives a similar example 
on the River Caiary-Uaupes (Upper Rio Negro), where the practice 
is undoubtedly observed by the Indians (KG, i, 237), while Coudreau 
(ii, 404) has observed it on the Rio Branco. (Compare the protective 
charm against the Curupha, etc., in Sect. 109.) 

387. It sometimes happened that the captain and the piai were 
one and the same person, as in Cayemie (PBa, 208). But on the 
other hand, however great his abilities, the medicine-man did not 
obtain any distinctive position, as head of the family, through his 
proficiency (Go, 14). Bancroft (310) says that in almost every 
family, there is a person consecrated to the craft. There was appar- 
ently nothing characteristic about the piai in the way of ornament 
or decoration. I can find no confirmation of Bernau's statement 
that the novitiate's ''right ear is pierced, and he is required to wear 
a ring all his hfetime" (Be, 31). 

388. The insignia and "stock-in-trade" of the medicine-man, in 
his highest stage of development, comprise a particular kind of bench, 
a rattle, a doll or manikin, certain crystals, and other kickshaws, 
generally sometliing out of the common, all except the first mentioned 
being packed away when not in use, in a basket, or pegaU, which is 
usually of a shape different from that employed by the lay fraternity. 
The pecuharity of the basket among Arawaks and Warraus lies in 
both top and bottom being concave. St. Clair (i, 330) reports that 
on the Corentyn, among Arawaks, he came across the "magical shell" 
(rattle) supported by three pieces of stick, the ends of which were 
stuck into the ground, in the middle of the floor; it is not clear, 
however, whether in this situation the implement was being used or 
not. At any rate, all the insignia were taboo to the common folk 
and were kept out of harm's way in a special shed, the piai's con- 



sulting-room, so to speak. Were they to be profaned, they would 
lose their intrmsic vu-tues, while the delinquents would suffer mis- 
fortunes of various descriptions. The bench (the ha-lu of the 
Arawaks) , plate 5, differed from the ordinary article of f urnitiu-e usually 
met with in Indian houses, in being larger, often painted, and carved 
in fanciful designs of various animals, but Uttle is knowTi concerning 
the why and wherefore of the selection of the particular beast; thus, 
I have seen the turtle, aUigator, tiger, and macaw more or less faith- 
fully represented on such Warrau and Arawak divining-stools. 

389. The rattle, mardka (an Arawak 
word), the shulsTial- of the Creoles, differs 
somewhat in shape, size, and ornamenta- 
tion throughout the various tribes. It 
consists essentially of a large cleaned-out 
"calabash," containing stones and other 
objects, thi-ough which a closely fitting 
tapermg stick is run from end to end by 
means of two apertures cut for the pur- 
pose (fig. 4) . This gourd shell ( Crescentia 
cujete Lmn.), which may or may not be 
painted in various colors, is provided with 
certain small circular holes as well as with 
a few long narrow shts, both kinds of 
openings being too small to allow of the 
contents (cither cjuartz-crystals or a spe- 
cies of agate) dropping out. Seeds may 
be emploA^ed with or without the stones — 
small pea-like seeds variegated with black 
and yeUow spots which, it is commonly 
believed, will occasion the teeth to fall 
out if they are chewed (Ba, 311), or hard 
red ones (StC, i, 320). But whether 
seeds or stones, the,y usually have some 
FIG. 4. piai'smttie (Arawak), Pomeroon. ou1>of-the-way Origin ; the former, for in- 
stance, may have been extracted from the piai teacher's stomach (PBa, 
208); the latter may be the gift of the Water Spirits (Sect. 18S). 
According to a KaUfia, the power of the mardka Ues in the stones 
contained therein (Go, 14). The thicker, projectmg part of the stick 
constitutes the handle, to prevent its slipping; it may be WTapped 
with cotton thread. The exposed thinner end is ornamented with 
feathers, as those of the parrot, inserted in a cotton band, which 
is then woimd spirally on it. An aVrawak medicine-man assured 
me that the feathers must not only be those of a special kind of 
parrot {Psittacus oestivus), but that they must l>e plucked from the 



» HOfN &C.": eALflMORE 

1/; R-Afi 



bird while alive. A string of beetles' wiags may be superadded. 
Gumilla (i, 155) states his beUef that the Ai-uacas [.Vrawaks], the 
cleverest of the Indians, were the inventors of the mardka, which 
even in his day, some two centuries ago, had "also been introduced 
into other nations." From the fact that, according to Indian tracU- 
tion (Sect. 1S5), the original rattle was a gift from the Spii-its, Dance 
(290) accounts for the great veneration in which it is held even 
by Christian converts who have ceased to use it. Brett (Br, 3(34) 
confirms tliis, sayhig that there are Indians who fear to touch it or 
even to approach the place where it is kept. I. have had personal 
experience that the' same holds true today in the Pomeroon. So 
again, on account of the agates being put to use in the construction 
of the apparatus, Bancroft (21) records how these white and red 
stones remain untouched where they are found in abundance above 
the cataracts of the Demerara. In speaking of the Warrau rattle, 
Schomburgk says: "If the sick man dies, the piai buries his rattle 
also, since it has lost its power now, and with the sick person its heal- 
ing properties die" (ScR, i, 172) . I can not, however, find this state- 
ment anywhere confirmed. 

390. Gumilla (i, 155) says that the medico makes the Indians 
beheve that the maraka speaks with the Spirit (demo/iio) , and that 
by its means he knows whether the sick person will live or not. This 
statement does not exactly agree with the evidence handed down to 
us by other rehable authors, nor does it quite agree with what I have 
been taught and have seen put into practice. The object of the 
rattle is to mvoke the Spirits only; it is rather the business of the 
manikin, or doll, to give the prognosis, to lend assistance, etc. Men- 
tion is made of such an object in Timehri (June, 1892, p. 183) : "Some 
few months ago, a gold expert and prospector while traveling along 
the Barima River, came upon the burial-place of an Indian Peaiman 
or Medicine-man. The house imder which the burial liad been made 
was hung round with five of the typical peaiman's rattle or shak-shak, 
and over the grave itself was placed the box of the dead man, con- 
taining tlie various objects which had been the instruments, or cre- 
dentials, of his calling. The contents of this box . . . were a carved 
wooden doU or baby." The doU, or manikin (fig. 5), which I saw 
used for the purpose on the Moruca River, was a Uttle black one 
about 2i inches long, balanced "gmgerly" on its feet, which bore 
traces of having been touched with some gummy substance : if during 
the coui-se of the special incantation it remamed in the erect position, 
the patient would recover, but if it fell over, this would be a sm-e 
sign of his approaching death. In parts of Cayenne the doU is 
replaced liy the Anaan-tanha, or Dovil-figure (wSect. 311), which is 
unmercifully thi-ashed with a view to compellmg the Evil Spirit to 




leave the invalid. The identity of this mainland doll, or manikin, 
with the idol, or cemi, of the Antilleans has already been indicated 
(Sect. 55). 

291. The crystals are employed for charming, bewitching, or 
cursing others, though the references in the literature to their appli- 
cation in this maimer are exceedingly scarce. Indeed, I can call 
to mind only the following from Crevaux (554): "I notice on the 
neck of one of them [Guahibos of the Orinoco] a bit of crystal set in 
the cavity of an alligator's tooth. The whole has the name of 
guanare. ... It is with this guanare that the Guahibos throw speUs 
(jV<<rai(?fssortiifjfes) on their hated neighbors, the Piaroas. . . . Every 
mineral that presents in its Imes and shape a certain regularity is to 

them the work of a devil or a sorcerer." 
Cursing and similar procedure are not, how- 
ever, the sole prerogative of the medicine- 
man, at least not in the Pomeroon District 
of the present day ; the procedure is known 
as ho-a to both Warraus and Arawaks, and 
is practised, I am told, by very old people. 
As a remedy for over-fatigue, Schomburgk 
describes "Macusis and Wapisianas cutting 
each other's legs with a piece of rock crystal, 
an instrument to which they ascribed partic- 
ular virtue, refusing instead of it my offer of 
a lancet" (ScF, 235). 

393. With respect to remaining kickshaws, 
Pinckard (i, p. 505) says: "And having faith 
in spells, they make Uttle decorated instru- 
ments, of tender rushes about a foot long, 
which their physicians or priests called Pyeis 
employ, together with other magical imple- 
ments, as wands to drive out these demons 
of 111." These instruments I have been unable to identify thus far. 
Finally, on the authority of the old medicine-man who taught me 
the gi-eater part of what I know concerning the practice of the art, 
a "charm" of some description was worn on the chest suspended 
by a cord hung round the neck (Sect. 93). The one that my late 
teacher (Bariki) employed is flat and oval, made of some resinous 
material, and ornamented on one side with the incised figure of a 
female frog (fig. 6) . It had been given Bariki by his grandfather when 
the latter taught him his profession, and when the old man died, he 
left it to me. In the extract from Timeliri (1892, p. 184) above 
quoted, where is to be found a Ust of the kickshaws appertaining 
to the piai-man's stock-in-trade, is mentioned: "a neatly carved 
representation, in reddish quartz, of a dog sittmg on its haunches 

Fig. 5. The piai's manikin, or doll 
(Arawak) , Moruca River. (Note 
the chest -ornament ; see fig. 6.) 




and holding its front well up. In this figure the base of the fore 
legs is occupied by two clearly-bored holes, into which, evidently, 
it had been the custom to fit strings by which to pull the little 
object along on the ground, just as toys are usually drawn along 
by small children." It seems to me far more reasonable, under the 
circumstances, to suppose that this object was the doctor's chest- 
ornament just referred to. There is absolutely no evidence of any 
Guiana Indian toy being used m this manner, and it is ridiculous to 
beheve that the vast amount of labor necessarily involved in carving 
quartz and boring holes 
through it, would be ex- 
pended on a child's play- 

293. The office of the 
medicine-man appears to 
have been hereditary and 
to have passed to the eldest 
son (Ba, 316). If he has no 
son the piai picks a friend 
as his successor (ScR, i, 
172), although the same 
authority (Scho m b u r g k) 
elsewhere states that, under 
these circumstances, he 
chooses the craftiest among 
theboys(ScE,i,423-4). It 
is likely that the secrets 
and mysteries of the pro- 
fession may also have been 
imparted to outsiders for a consideration. I happen to have known 
one of the fraternity who taught another his profession for the sum 
down of eleven dollars together ^^•ith the gift of his daughter. Im 
Thiu-n (334) says: "If there was no son to succeed the father, 
the latter chose and trained some boy from the tribe — one vdih. an 
epileptic tendency being preferred. ... It has been said that epilep- 
tic subjects are by preference chosen as piaimen, and are trained 
to throw themselves at will into convulsions." Perhaps this idea had 
its origui in the fact that through the use of a nai'cotic powder, the 
piais can throw themselves into a condition of wild ecstasy (ScR, 
I, 423-4) : several such powders were known to some of the Guiana 
Indians, as the Yupa (G, i, 181), etc. On the other hand I can find 
no references in the literature to the choice of epileptic subjects; 
furthermore, the unlikelihood is tvu"ned into impossibility, when it is 
borne in nund that the victim of such a convulsion would be uncon- 
scious during its progi'ess. 

Fig. G. The piai's chestornament (Arawak). Monica River. 


394. Occasionally the piai may be a woman. Thus, I knew an 
old Warrau dame who used to practise her profession in the neigh- 
borhood of Santa Rosa Mission, Moruca River, under almost the 
very nose of the unsuspecting Father. On the authority of Joseph 
Stoll, Arawak, catechist at St. Bede's Mission, Barama River, young 
women, certamly among his own tribe, used to be trained in the same 
manner as the boys for the profession of piai: his own gi'andmother 
(on the father's side), and his father's cousin were both trained 
piai-women. On the other liand, I can find no references whatever 
to woman "doctors" throughout the early literature of the subject. 

395. The medicine-man usually possesses a little outhouse (Pome- 
roon and Moruca Rivers), plate 6, in which he keeps his various in- 
signia : theWarraus call it liehu-ltanoku (Spirit-house) . This building is 
of course taboo, as indicated by a bundle of kokerite leaves hung over 
the entrance. As a matter of fact, I have never seen the doctor's 
"consulting-room" in the Pomeroom District built of any leaves other 
than kokerite. At Savonette, Berbice, the "consulting-room," so 
to speak, must have been a somewhat more complicated structure, 
for the use of medicine-men in common. "Near to the cabins 
that were inliabited, we observed a detached building inclosed on all 
sides, forming a single room, into which light and air were only 
admitted at the doorway. Upon inquiry we learned that this was 
devoted to the use of the sick — not as a hospital, but as a temple of 
incantation, for the purpose of expelling disease" (Pnk, i, 505). 
On the Amazons, Father Acuna (98) also leads us to believe that 
there was in each settlement one special building for the use of all 
these doctors: "There is a certain house devoted to the use of these 
sorcerere, in which they perform their superstitious exercises, and 
converse with the Devil." 

296. The original piai forms the subject-matter of legends with 
which Arawaks, Warraus, and Caribs are all more or less conversant; 
members of all these tribes assure me that tobacco was brought here 
from the islands, but I will let a Warrau give two of the versions: 

The Hummingbird with Tobacco for the First Piai (W) 

A man had been living with a woman for a long, long time: she was very good at 
making hammocks, but could not bear a child. So he took unto himself a second 
partner: by her he had a baby and was now happy. The infant, Kurusiwari, grew 
apace, and while the step-mother would be weaving her hammock, it would often 
come and hang on the suspending cord and slacken it. The old woman stood all 
this little annoyance for some time, but one day when the child was even more mis- 
chievous than usual, she said, "Go away, and play over there." It obeyed, went to 
a distance, but soon toddled back and once more interfered with the string. The 
woman now pushed the youngster aside, and in so doing it fell and cried. No one 
took notice of the incident and no one saw it toddle out of the house. All this time 
its father and mother were lying together in their hammock, and it was late in the 


day when its presence was missed by them. The child was nowhere to be found, so 
they went over to a neighbor's and there they saw their little one playing with some 
other children. They explained their errand to the house-people, how they had 
come to seek their little one, and so, one thing leading on to another, they entered 
into an animated conversation, and forgot all about their real business, with the 
result that when they did finish talking, not only was their own child, Kurusiwari, 
but also one of the house-children, Matura-wari, nowhere to be seen. So the four 
parents started in search of the two little ones, and went to a neighbor's house, where 
they saw them playing with a third child, Kiiwai-wari. But the same thing hap- 
pened at this house as at the previous one — the parents all got into conversation, and 
forgot their real business until finally they found all three children missing. It was 
a case now of six parents searching for three infants; but at the end of the first day 
the third couple abandoned the search, and at the end of the second day the second 
couple did likewise. In the meantime the three children had wandered on and on, 
making friends with the marabuntas [wasps], which in those days talked but did 
not sting. It was these children that told the black ones to sting people, and the red 
ones to give them fever in addition. And it was when the children arrived at the 
seashore that the first pair of parents met them. However, by this time they were 
children no more, but big boys, ^^^len the parents expressed their pleasure at having 
foxmd them at last and of course expected them to return home, the leader of 
the three — Kurusiwari, the boy who had been lost from the first house — said: "I 
can not go back. \Mien my stepmother pushed nie, I fell down and cried, while 
you would not even look at me. I will not go back." But when both father and 
mother implored him with tears to return, he relented, and promised them that if 
they built a proper hebu-hanoku [lit. Spirit-house], and "called" him with tobacco, 
they should see him. He and the two other boys crossed the seas, and the parents 
returned home. No sooner had the latter arrived there than the father started building 
the Spirit-house, and when completed he burnt pappaia leaves, and cotton leaves, 
and coffee leaves, but all were of no use — there was no "strength" in any of them, 
and this strength could be supplied only by tobacco. But in those days we had 
none of this plant here : it grew far away out in an island over the sea. I do not know 
whether this island was Trinidad, or not, but we Warraus call it Nibo-yuni [lit. Man- 
without] because it was peopled entirely by women [cf. Sect. 3JJ], according to 
what the old people tell us. Well, the sorrowing father sent a gaulding bird [Pilero- 
dius] over to fetch some of the tobacco seed: but as it never returned, he despatched 
various kinds of sea-birds one after another, and they all met with the same fate. 
They were killed by the watch-woman as soon as they alighted on the tobacco-field. 
Giving up all hope of ever seeing any of his messengers again, he went to consult 
a brother, who brought him a crane. This bird went to roost down near the seashore 
so as to have a good start on the following morning. While resting there, his little 
friend the hummingbird came along and asked him what he was doing. "Getting 
ready for the morning, " he replied ; " I have to fly over to Nibo-yuni and fetch tobacco 
seed." The hummingbird suggested his going instead, but the other regarded the 
proposal as absurd, and reminded him that his boat was too small, and that it 
would sink. Nothing daunted, however, the little chap rose before daylight, as is 
his custom, and saying, "I'm off! " took to flight. At daybreak the crane spread his 
wings, and, sailing majestically along, got about halfway across, when he met the 
hummingbird struggling in the water. The latter had made a gallant attempt, but 
could not of course make headway against the wind. The crane picked him up and 
placed him on the back of his own thighs, which stuck out behind. Now, this posi- 
tion was all very well for the little hummingbird so long as no accident occurred, but 
when the crane commenced to relieve himself, the hummingbird's face got dirtied, 
and he thus found himself forced to take to the wing again, with the result that, reach- 
ing Nibo-yuni first, he waited for his big friend, who arrived shortly. He now told the 


crane to remain where he was, while he would visit the tobacco field ; he was small, 
could fly swiftly, and no one would see him stealing the tobacco seed. \MLile carrying 
out his design, the watch-woman tried to shoot him, but he was too smart for her, and 
darting quickly from flower to flower, soon colle