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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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enterprising and jovial Paulista, inspired, thanks to his perseverance and firmness in favor of the Indians, such confidence and peace, that they represent the most promising example of what is possible for the forest people who function within an effective system. Wherever we passed by the huts on the waterfront, the residents, confident and satisfied, left them and offered us the sale of flour,

guarana berries,

salsaparrilha,

Maranhao clove, wax and palm fibers.

The cheerful Paulista, on whose farm I was offered lunch made of roasted manioc,

guarana and wine, had become familiar with the Tupi language, expressed himself in it with ease, and, therefore, seemed to command the Indians, who sang these simple verses with strange modulation (1).

In the very mission of the Mauhes (called Uacituba by the Indians),

I was greeted with open arms by the priest. For fourteen years, Friar Jose Alves das Chagas had been in charge of conducting various missions; the snows of old age sprinkled his head, but his heart still beats with the joy of spreading good between the indians. His bearing lends dignity and confidence to all acts. Coexistence with a man like this, all devoted to high ideals, ennobles others; I was almost ashamed of the stern expressions with which I related to him what my experiences had taught me about the nature of the Indians.

(I) Some verses, as we already mentioned others in chapter IV, of Book VIII, have a place here:
Nitio xa potar cunhang = I do not like women
Setuma saci wau = Too thin leg,
Curumu ce mama-mamane = Because you can coil me,
Baia sacai majaue = Like a snake.
Nitio xa potar cunhang = I do not like it of woman
Sakiva-acu = Longer hair
Curumu monto-montoque = Because you can cut me,
Tiririca-tyva majaue = Like sarcal and tiririca (2).
(2) Tiririca = belongs to the group of cyperaceae of leaves with sharp edges. There are popular verses: "Tiririca and knife to cut, Do not me the brat of Sinhi." N. T., Rev., Inst. G. and H. Amazonas, Year VI, Vol. VI. (Nata da rev., Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras.).
Very remarkable, in this rude poetry, and the repetition of the word of the end in the third line, that the motto (*).
(*) From the German translation, a Portuguese version, verbum ad verbum, was made by Eduardo Laemmert, which served Joaquim Noberto de Sousa Silva for the following two
pag. 95, Vol. I, of the excellent "History of Brazilian Literature", of
Silvio Romero: "I do not want a woman who has / The legs are very thin / So that in me they twist / Like viperous beasts / I also do not want that I have / the hair very long.... “

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