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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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turtles and monkeys, running at will, seemed like the family’s pets. We were not satisfied in our desire to obtain the rarest of these birds, despite the soldier's earnest pleas, until this man took that bird with one hand and offered the owner a flashy gift. After many hesitations, the Indian grasped the present, and so each one, in the silent pact, was in possession of his prey.

One by one, the Indians were returning from the bush and from the most distant farms, such as those scattered throughout the villages, where they had fled; but they still stole a glance at us. An old woman returned to her work, however, and began to pound corn diligently in the pile made of a hollowed-out log; another weaved a hammock, half unfinished, working with a chopstick; the younger women peered curiously behind the palm trees nearby; some were completely naked, others had a cotton cloth around their thighs; some had necklaces, others black and red beads (Canna glauca, Abrus precatorius and Ormosia coccinea

Ormosia coccinea

Jacks.) or monkey and jaguar teeth. Nursing children, were tied behind their mothers' back; these little ones were already painted, especially on their faces, with red and black lines and dots, because the tenderness of their mothers cares to adorn them as soon as they are born with these paintings (1). However, the Indians domiciled here, like most of the tribes of southern Brazil, use only fading paint; The custom of tattooing is most commonly found among the Amazonian tribes. After we cheered up our dumb hosts with various gifts, and they were all accepted without any mention of thanks, we returned to the farm to fetch our weapons and troops. Some Indians, attracted by those present, accompanied them until again they were offered cachaca and cornmeal again. Among these was an old Indian distinguished by a tight beard, with his wife. It seems that Indians women are more fond of blacks than their Indian husbands. The women often appear in runaway blacks’ woods, such as "cicisbei" (from the Indians), and are passionately sought after by them. The opposite is true of Indian men who consider black women below their dignity).

Genipa americana

(1) The Indians are dyed black with the fruits of the genipapo (Genipa americana); in bluish black, with an undetected species of Cissus; red, with the seeds of the urucu (Bixa Orellana), or with litomargio ferruginoso, from which there are river bank deposits.
(2) In the original text, ciscibei. This word originates from the Italian cicisbeo, that was "the gentleman always obeys a lady", custom that, starting in Spain, passed to the country of Dante in century XVI and lasted in the cultured world until century XVIII. The word is, of course, used in a humorous tone. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. and Geogr. Bras.).

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