next arrow
previous

Remember the Rainforest 1

 

Home

Expedition Index

Itinerary

Etchings

Maps

Plants

Animals

People / Scenes

Lessons

Green Girl's Eco Club

Eco SuperHeroes RTR2

Free Posters

Authors / Artists

Contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

except for the needs of the stomach, he remains isolated and alien to the family. Also, although treated in careless regard by the colonists, or above all favored with benefits, in convalescence, driven by nomadic instinct, he escapes to his dark woods, almost incapable of feeling gratitude, even for a plausible reason (1). Not at all conservative, he also sleeps for part of the day: out in the woods, he likes to play with his domestic animals, or stumbles forward, dreamlike, seeing imaginary ghosts. Rooted in the present, he hardly looks up into the sky. However, a respectful fear dominates him for some stars, especially those that have manifested correspondence with the things of the earth. It is not the sun, however, which rather attracts his attention, but the moon, to which he particularly attributes all good and evil, and uses it for the counting of time. As all good goes unnoticed, and notice is only given to the opposite, the Indian does not know the author of good or God, but only the spirit of evil, with whom he has occasion to meet, sometimes as lizard, sometimes as man with deer's feet, sometimes as an alligator or jaguar, sometimes turned into a swamp, etc., all that deceive him, seduce him into darkness and danger, or even kill him.

paje

The most direct contact with demons is through the pajes, who know many effective herbs, seeming to be both a physician and a priest, and who gain prestige among them by the casting of so-called spells. In extraordinary cases, the paje is consulted for advice, and responds after the usual conference with the demon, for which he chooses dark and stormy night. Certain animals, such as a species of araponga and the pious owls, the caracarai and the acua, are for the

Owls, Raptatore family

caracarai

paje, messengers of the dead, and therefore highly revered by all. He also wears Indian necklaces of canine teeth of jaguars, monkeys, of various roots, fruits, shells and stones, so he can defend himself against the attack of ferocious animals and diseases. The paje provides medicines, which are sometimes prepared with magic formulas; they use fumigations for a kind of exorcism, and entertain in the Indians the fear of ghosts, with superstitious practices and stories; sometimes, however, his witchcraft is attributed to the disgrace, disease, and death of his neighbors, and he pays for his office with life. Moreover, paje has as little influence on the will of the people as any

(1) An Indian of the tribe of the Coroados was raised by the whites, becoming so educated that he became a priest and said mass; but suddenly he abandoned his clerical state, stripped himself of his cassock, and fled naked into the bush, returning to his primitive nomadic way of life.

250