Tales and legends

Amazonian culture has been based essentially on the oral transmission of knowledge for thousands of years

This transmission takes place notably through tales and legends. The animist conception of the world governs the relationships between living beings, plants, visible and invisible matter. The vastness of the jungle is conducive to imagination and an ultra-sensory perception of the environment.

The hundreds of Amazonian tales, myths and legends have a great influence on local populations. These stories are told at dusk or to interpret the inexplicable. Their narration opens to the listeners an initiatory path towards wisdom and humility, virtues necessary in the face of a powerful but fragile nature.

Discover the tales

Thousands of full moons ago, an aging Mawé Indian couple who had never been able to have children asked Tupã, a forest benefactor divinity, for help. A few months later, a son was born. His parents called him Aguary. The child grows up happy and healthy. Generous, creative and always in a good mood, he was cherished by the whole tribe. Aguary ate only juicy and tasty fruits that he picked in the forest.

His reputation reached Jurupari, an evil spirit who had the power to metamorphose into different animals. Jealous, he approached the village Mawé in the form of a bat to observe him. Jurupari waited patiently one day for Aguary to go out alone to get some fruit to transform himself into a poisonous snake and bite the child who died before his parents found him.

The tribe lamented with Tupã, who during the night sent the following message to the shamans of the tribe and to the child's parents: "remove the eyes from your child's body and bury them in the earth that you will wet for four moons with your tears. A plant will emerge you will call it "Guarana - plant of life", its fruit will possess the qualities of Aguary."

The eyes were planted and the earth wet by the tears of the tribe for four moons. A vine shaped plant appeared from the ground, its fruits resembled the eyes of the child and moved. Those who ate them were invigorated and more resistant. Since then, the Indians of the Mawé tribe have been taking Guarana, so that the young when they go into the forest are enduring and agile, the oldest more dynamic.

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A few thousand full moons ago, in the Macuxi tribe on the right bank of the Amazon River, lived a strong, courageous and cunning warrior. He fell in love with a young woman from his region whom he married. Never, from memory, had the tribe seen a couple so passionate and caring for each other. The seasons passed, flooding them with happiness, until the day when a mysterious evil seized the wife and made her paralytic.

The Indian Macuxi, unable to imagine her loved one alone, braided a net to carry her on her back. She accompanied him wherever he went.

The years passed. One day, on his way to the forest to pick fruit, he met a group of Indians who asked him:
- Why are you wearing that woman on your back?
- It is because I love her and cannot live without her," he replied.
But she looks dead, he said.

She hadn't said anything for an hour. He thought she was sleeping. His last word had been "I love you". When he filed it, he found that his wife was no longer.

He dug a grave and buried it in the forest, near a swamp. He shed every tear of his body on the freshly turned earth. And this for days and nights. In the early morning after the first full moon, a small stem germinated above the grave, then a large heart-shaped leaf appeared. It was a plant totally unknown to the Macuxi tribe and all the others.

Called Tamba-Taja, which means "Big Leaf" in the Tupi Guarani language, this plant has since become widespread in the Amazon. Symbolizing eternal love, it frequently adorns the homes of happy couples.