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The carau (Aramus guarauna), is a bird found in the wetlands of Argentina and other countries in the Americas. It is also known as the crying bird, limpkin, carrao or courlan and is looks like a cross between a crane and a rail. From the northeastern part of Argentina comes a legend about its origin which also warns about the dangers of disrespecting one’s mother.
The Legend of the Origin of the Carau
The story tells how a mother suffering from a terrible illness sent her son to fetch medicine for her from a nearby village which she desperately needed. Her son was a young man who was perhaps not too bright and more than a little selfish and he set off walking to the next village to get the medicine. On the way he heard the distant sound of an accordion playing. Intrigued by the music he followed the sound and came to a place where a country dance was in full swing. Like many young men he liked to dance and liked nothing better than dancing with a pretty girl. Searching out the prettiest girl he asked her to be his partner and was soon completely taken up with dancing with her.
He was enjoying himself so much he forgot his poor, sick mother was waiting for him to return with her medication. He danced and caroused with her all through the afternoon and as evening began to fall one of his friends tapped him on his shoulder and said,
“Please accept my condolences on the death of your poor mother. I am very sad and very sorry for you.”
“It matters not that my mother has died, I will have time to grieve later. Right now I am enjoying myself” he replied and carried on dancing through the night. As dawn was breaking he asked the girl if he could go home with her. She looked at him with disbelief and anger and said,
“My home is far away and if it were near I would never allow one such as you who has no love for his mother to pass through the door!”
This shocked the young man and broke his heart as he suddenly realized what he had done and he went home crying bitter tears. God looked down and as punishment for his callousness towards his poor sick mother turned him into a large bird wearing the black feathers of mourning. Ever since his lamenting cry will be heard at dusk, through the night and at dawn, as a warning to all young men to respect their mothers, until God sees fit to pardon him.
© 05/09/2018 zteve t evans
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Copyright August 9th, 2018 zteve t evans
A Wonder of the World
The Iguazú Falls are a natural wonder of the world situated on the Iguazi River on the border of Argentina and Brazil. In the Guarani/Tupi language, Iguazú, means big water and the Iguazú waterfall system is the largest in the world. People lived around the Iguazú Falls long before the arrival of the Spanish having their own long held beliefs and religion. One of their most important rituals was the annual sacrifice of a virgin to M’Boi, the Serpent God who lived in the Iguazú River and was the son of Tupa, the Supreme God.
Naipi and Taruba
In a village on the banks of the Iguazú lived a very beautiful maiden named Naipi who was to be married to a great warrior named Taruba from a nearby tribe. The two of them were deeply in love and looked forward to the blessed day with excitement and anticipation. One day before her wedding Napi went walking along the banks of the river and as M’Boi passed along the river he looked up and saw her. Never had he seen a maiden of such grace and beauty before and he fell in love with her. He decided he must have her and went to the Guarani elders telling them of his desire and demanding they give her to him in the sacred ritual.
A Desperate Plan
The elders were frightened of M’Boi and rather than upset him they decided that Naipi would be sacrificed to him the day before her wedding. Of course poor Naipi was frightened and upset and Taruba was furious and determined that she would not face such a terrible death. They knew that if the elders found out they would stop them and if M’Boi found out they would both die, but decided that death together would be better than death apart. Therefore, they decided they would run away together and set a time and place of rendezvous to carry out their desperate plan. As Naipi and Taruba were setting off in a canoe to go down river the Serpent God saw them and chased after them furiously.
Taruba rowed with all of his strength and managed to keep a few feet ahead of the angry god. M’Boi became so angry that his serpent body expanded to the width of the river. As he twisted and turned he created new curves in the river making the canoe rock dangerously two and fro but this only increased the anger and determination of Taruba who rowed even harder refusing to give up. Suddenly, M’Boi became so filled with rage he caused the very earth to split asunder causing the river to plummet wildly into the chasm he had created taking the vessel with it, causing it to spin uncontrollably around. The sheer force sent Taruba flying from the canoe to land onto the bank. Trapped in the falling canoe Naipi watched helplessly as the bottom of the chasm opened up under her. As she was about to smash into the bottom M’Boi transformed her into massive rock to stop her escaping him.
On seeing his beloved turn to stone, Taruba attempted to climb down to her but M’Boi pulled his hands into the earth and as he stretched out his fingers to try and take hold they turned into roots and Taruba turned into a palm tree on the Brazilian side of the falls that was forever rooted to the place above the newly formed waterfall. From this position Taruba could see Naipa on the Argentine side of the falls and she could see him but they could never ever touch, kiss or embrace. To make sure this never happens the jealous Serpent God watches them from a deep part of the river called the Devil’s Throat. Nevertheless, although Naipa and Taruba can never be reunited their love can be seen forming a rainbow from the palm tree on Brazilian side of the falls to the rock that is Naipa on the Argentine side.
© 29/08/2018 zteve t evans
References, Attributions and Further Reading
Copyright August 29th, 2018 zteve t evans