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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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The Holy Priest added that he felt sure that this tail was grown in haste, when it was necessary, therefore, to appear again. The deception, doubtless, was implemented, in this case, by a belt of tree bark, which several tribes usually use in the upper Japura, such as the Miranhas.

Moreover, there is other singular news, besides the legend of the Indians with tails, of more natural phenomena, precisely in those regions between the Alto Purus and the Jurua. They believe that there are tails, in the tribe of Anoes, and, according to other news, giants of 16 feet tall. Just as the Tamanacos believe that on the banks of the Rio Cuchinero were the only couple of ancestors who escaped the “great flood”. Also the Brazilian Indians place most of their legends originate from the Purus and the Jupua,

and, from the south, in the basins of the Beni and Madeira. So generalized are such fables and other similar stories, among the Indian tribes of Brazil, they cover a wide range of religious notions of goblins and of demon persecutors. They are one of the most important proofs of the primitive state of these peoples, where in fact, in a high degree of progress, but living close to each other, they formed concepts so identical, which we currently see spread in an extraordinary way throughout Brazil. Almost everywhere, the Indians recognize three species of evil spirits: The Jurupari, the Curupira and the Uaiuara.

Curupira

Uaiuara

The word Jurupari is more widespread throughout Brazil, among the Indians who speak the general language; Where the use of this language was abandoned, the Portuguese term “Demonio" is used. Almost all the uncivilized tribes have in their language expressions of equal meaning. It deserves mention that this Jurupari, as well as the Greek “demon”, is, in many tongues the only identical designation for the spirit or soul of men. Man’s essence is evil, and he has a part in all the disgraces we're exposed to. Epidemics, fierce beasts, harmful influxes of the elements, are not, in the belief of the Indians, things sent by the evil spirit, but apprentices that materialize from the spirit.

Paje, witch doctor

Maracuimbara, the rattling agitator

Pajes or sorcerers, not rarely, have the ability to communicate with the Jurupari and likewise the ability to protect it. This Demon, however, never appears in human form; It fades fast, and its influence in the fortune of men is fleeting and ghostly (1). This observation is the circumstance of employing many tribes of Indians. Almost always, the vocabulary of Jurupari, has other

(1) When the Indian feels excited and defeated by hostile forces, when evil does not attack him suddenly, either by the forces of the spirits or the elements, then they believe the black art of some angry sorcerer is working. We have already mentioned the influences of the sorcerer on the Indians. Their action can be likened to East Asian shamans. Also in Amazonas we hear of sorcerers (maracuimbara, "rattling agitators"), whose evil art is employed to take advantage of the childish fear of ghosts, which the Indians have.

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