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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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equivalent meanings; in their language, when, according to their priests, they seek expression to designate the deity, we understand that this word sums up in itself the whole conception of a higher, spiritual being who inspires the dark superstitions of the Indian. The conclusion is reached that the whole being of love and confidence, which leads us to a higher destiny, makes itself felt in the soul of these men by the sensation of dread before the evil, adverse force. Less thirsty than the Jurupari and the Curupira, the spirit of the woods, which meets with the Indians in any form, even converses with them, arouses or maintains enmity among individuals, and enjoys, with malignity, misfortune or misfortune of men.

When, once in Barra do Rio Negro, I took an Indian (who had come from the fields of the Rio Branco here) on an excursion through the woods, he, accustomed from childhood to life on the plains, lost his way in the darkness of the jungle and we walked lost, to and fro, for hours, with which the savage became more and more distressed. Clouds filled with thunderstorms passed through, cooling the atmosphere, and made a lethargic lizard fall on my back. From that moment on, the Indian lost his head entirely. "Aique tima catu, aique curupira" (There is no safety here, only the Curupira),

Curupira

he murmured through his teeth, and looked at me terrified, for he imagined me guarding the supposed demon in my herbal box. More and more we wandered in the woods, when my guide, frightened, sank half-bodied in a marsh covered with grasses, then turned to me with the expressive mimicry of those who already felt in the power of the evil spirit. My whole body was shaking, and with great effort, after several pauses, I was able to push forward, and so I was able to reach the river bank again.

Even more fearful was an Indian of the Catauaxis tribe, with whom I went looking for medicinal herbs at Coari. A twisted branch, or dead tree trunk, which had been overgrown with vines, had landed on him, and his dread seemed to grow, when, he began to suffer the sensation of hunger from the delay in returning home. It was only after he had climbed a beautiful tree, laden with red berries, upon which he fell heavily, and then he calmed down. As soon as he was satisfied, he regained his temper. It seemed that his terrifying visions were the effect of an empty stomach.

In addition to the Curupira, which infest the forests, making them unsafe, indigenous people believe that the waters of the great rivers are populated by other demons, called Ipupiaras. This term, which means "lord of the waters," is the same as that used by Indians inhabiting the hinterland, for a monster with feet turned back or having a third thigh to come out of his breast,

Ipupiaras, lord of the waters

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