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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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It was only men who were in our presence; women and children, probably fleeing in terror, would have gathered in one of the most distant huts, and during all the time of our stay there they would only make a shout to us. The men were tall, handsome, very dark in color, with no disfigurement for tattoos; but some of them carried the elongated ears in a frightening way.

They had never seen whites, and whatever trifles they saw in us, seemed to interest them; especially marveling at my writing, when I asked the leader about the vocabulary of his language and about his settlement. The chief behaved with dignity, and when we left, he retired to his hut, sending his son to return us to the port. The huts of these Cauixanas were the most well-designed I had ever seen. With six arms of diameter and four of height, they were constructed with the maximum regularity. They had two square doors, borders, four feet high, and a round opening in the cupula, to let in the light and vent the smoke, that could be closed from the inside.

The beam consisted of matamata trunks, bent over the fire, and the cross-beams were attached to the studless beams, tied only with vines.

The palm-leaf deck was so thick that no drop of rain penetrated it. Later, I found an identical construction of cabins between diverse tribes of the Japura and the Mundurucus of which were built with a special straw. The Cauixanas, from which this horde had separated, lived with some 600 individuals, further to the west, on the banks of the Manapari River. The new settlers were satisfied with the place and intended to invite their kinsmen here. And this is how the savages of Brazil change their domicile; and therefore, under certain constraints, one can certainly regard them as Nomads. Cauixanas have the custom, identical to the Muras and Miranhas, to flagellate from time to time, and judge their heroicsm by their resistance to the blows. Like many other tribes, they often fast on the occasion when women give birth. Their dead are buried in large pots of clay.

Returning from Lake Acunaui, we disembarked for the night, on an island located on the southern bank of the river. In the past the Indians had discovered the first beach that was still left with turtle eggs, and they had the same find here; but instead they have brought eggs from a chameleon of the species Iguana or Lophyrus,

which appear on the shore, slightly covered with earth and leaves. Our men had been led there by a band of Maguaris, looking for these eggs and

 

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