Oscar Wilde

“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go” Oscar Wilde last words

Mandei esse post no tempo em que estava lendo Oscar Wilde, gosto do estilo dele. Já li algumas vezes “O Retrato de Dorian Gray”. Interessante ele citar coisas amazônicas em seu livro. Mas não é de se espantar, afinal Manaus esteve cheia de ingleses no tempo áureo da borracha e eles deixaram vários vestígios aqui, inclusive um dos poucos sistemas de esgoto que realmente funcionam e outras tantos monumentos, que só não estão de pé porque o poder público não investe em patrimônio histórico.

Maranhao state legends

The Culture Broadcasting presented an interesting program about Maranhão state. The poet Ferreira Gullar (http://portalliteral.terra.com.br/ferreira_gullar/index.htm) showed his opinions about the state. According to him, the term Maranhão came from “maranha”, which means wires entirely entangled. Seems also means “malandragem” (to be not so honest…). According with a popular saying.

São Luís city (Maranhão capital) has some interesting legends. They have their own version to amazon boto legend. People says Dom Sebastião wander around the city and outskirts seducing women… (Do you remmember any legend?) Hence, when the young, married women appear pregnant “without reason” they blame the poor ghost. Good excuse isn’t it?

Another story tells of the great serpent which lives under São Luís city, and according locals, its head can be seen in the well at a local church… Well, SãoLuís is an island, and if the serpent decide to move someday, the city can be destroyed by an earthquake. There I remember me of a look alike legend: the legend of Parintins city , which is a island (that amazon people say goes to sink someday) and of Cobra Grande legend too.

Ah. They have the “cuxá” ricé, which remind of “manissoba…” To make the dish – cuxá – you shal the little plant (I forgot the name), shrimp, smelling peppers, salt, and so on…

According to poet, Maranhão has much French influence, the cook is more delicate than the Bahian cook. What means they have all the bahian dishes but they food is a light (or French) version… But Bahia doesn´t have the cuxá rice… Below links to Maranhão images:

Church of the Deportation:



Church of the Rosary:


Presbiterian church:


SãoLuís houses:


Curupira – about the legend

Curupira, from “curu”, abbreviation of “curumi” and “pora”, boy body. In some cases the Curupira is said to be a woman. She is the “Mother of the Weeds”, the Guardian of the Forest. He or she, protect the forest and the animals. You, that dare walk in the woods, be good to it and its inhabitants, or you will know the Curupira´s fury. Respect and be respected.

Curupira is described as a small boy, red fire hair and feet with heels in the front which confuse the hunters. Moreover, it´s said Curupira likes to seat under the shades of hoses to eat fruits, but if feel is being watched or threatened soon run in a so great speed that human eyes cannot follow him. Curupiras cast speels on children and then takes them to the forest, for some time, but after he send them back to their parents, with the age of seven-years-old. He do that because he like kids…But the children never are the same, because they never forget the wonder that they saw in the forest.

To protect the animals, Curupira always uses a thousand cunnings, looking for to mess up with the hunter´s perception, using shouts, moans, making with that the hunter thinks he is in the trail of a wild animal, but he is chasing the Curupira, and when he realize, he is lost in the forest. When a storm is coming, the Curupira runs through the forest, beating at the trunks of the trees, to verify if they strong to support the storm. If he notice that some tree could be knocked down by the wind, he warn the animals to avoid be near from the trees.

He can cast speel on adults. In many counted cases, he “mundia” (cast spells) on the hunters who are in the forest, they try to leave the woods, but they can´t. They always noticed that they are crossing the same places and walking in circles. Near, the Curupira is watching, many times laughing. He has an alternative: stop walking, get a liana piece and make a small ball. The liana must itself be weaved well hiding the tip very, of form that is very difficult to uncurl the hank. After this, he has to trow away the person must row away the ball and shout: “I can´t bet you can´t find out the tip!”. The “mundiada” (enchanted) person shall waits and do it again and again. Then, so curious is the Curupira, that he appear and get the ball. He seats, he sit and try to uncurl the ball, to find the tip and well, he forget the mundiada person. The enchantment is broken and the hunter find his way to home.

The Curupira has several looks: a boy of red hair, hairy, turned feet stops backwards (in Negro river region); without sexual identification (Pará); with long, blue or green teeth ( Solimões river). Under his protection is the hunting and he is angry with the hunter who kills without need. And he is furious with the ones with kill pregnant females or lyounglings. They turn himself, through spell, into a human, a hunter and disguise the hunters, leaving them in the middle of the woods. This entity is able to imitate the voice human to attract the hunters, and so they lose in the forest.

The Curupira is called the Mr. of the Trees, because he protect the animals and forest, among aboriginal myths, the Curupira is no doubt the oldest. If no, maybe a legacy from the primitive population that inhabited Brazil in the pre-Columbian period and that descended of the Asian invaders.

Under this hypothesis, it would begin with the Nauas, they gave it to Caraibas and then to Tupis and Guaranis. Anchieta priest, 1560), Fernão Cardim (1584), Laet (1640) and Acuña (1641) talk about the myth. Time and space change the way people see the curupira and what is told about. Thus, crossing ages and geographies, the Curupira was suffering inevitable influences, acquiring new “faces” and gaining new attributes. For belief in general, is the Mother, the Guardian of the Forests and the Hunting, that one who punishs everyone who destroys, giving “prizes” to who is good with the forest.

The Curupira, however is sometimes brutal, he is too delicate and compassionate, he dosn´t disrespect or disobedience, behaving as child. In each region I acquired a characteristic type, which varies. Armed with a hoof of jaboti (turtle), he beats at the trees to see if they are strong, but in High Amazon, however, it beats is jaboti´s heel. He can assume the form of a man, woman or even two sexs, is androgynous in appearance. His strange feet remind of a current belief in Asia in “Men with come back feet stops backwards”, as well as that they had “great ears” were common. Curupira has different names: the “Maguare”, in Venezuela; the “Selvaje”, in Colombia; the “Chudiachaque”, in Peru; the “Kaná”, in Bolivia.

When Curupira appear in Maranhão, he is there, sitting under Tucunzeiros trees, looking the edges of the river and asking for tobacco to the one that are crossing river. He turns the canoes they do not give it. He run through forest as he do in Amazon. Crossing for the Great River of the North and to Paraíba, he is called Caapora. He is enemy of the hunting dogs. He make the dogs chase him, then the hunters foloow the dogs and then of a sudden, he disappear, leaving the dogs and hunters lost. In these places it always ride a horse, a deer or a rabbit. In some occasions, he is described as an Indian, dark skinned, naked, agile, smoking tobacco and drinking “cachaça” (a kind of liquor).

The hunter must has some tobacco and finding the Caapora, if the Curupira ask for tobacoo, the hunter must give to him, then he (the hunter) will have success in the hunting. He hates garlic and pepper, which can make him furious. In Ceará he has too the name of Caapora, dumb again in aspect, there he had a long red hair and sharp teeth. In Pernambuco, he rides a jaw, has in his hand a twig of iapekanga or bow and arrow, with him a dog called of “Honey Eater”.

In a 1560 letter, the priest Jose de Anchieta includes this duende between the nocturnal appearances that use to scare the Indians. The Curupira, many times, attacked the indians in the forests, beating them, killing them. The indians use to give him birds feathers, arrows and other similar things, in some point of the forest, when they cross it. So the Curupira wouldn´t harm them. In Sergipe, funny he plays with the traveler or hunter so he laughs too much, till he dead. Then he is venerated as “comic spirit”. In Bahia, he become a woman under the name of “caiçara”, small woman indian, almost a dwarf, that rides a pig. The Curupira and the Caapora are the same thing,the Guardian of Forests.





Iurupari – The God of Dreamland

In the time of Amazon, one of the “Icamiabas” , one of the women fallen in love by a handsome warrior. There was a law in her Taba which, after a love night, the woman abandoned her loved , after offering to him the sacred rock – muiraquitã.

The two lovers had been obliged to separate and had suffered so much that Iurupari (God of the Dreamland), decided to consulate them. And then, during the night, when they dream they meet each other.

Iurupari made to them spiritual net with the most colourful feathers. But one day, the warrior, being more and more in love by the Icamiaba who he only meet in dreams, decided to go to the tribe of Amazonas warriors. So, wandering him looking for his loved one, the women catch him and took to the tribe as a prisioner. In the maloca, the Amazonas women decided to sacrifice him.

When came the night and the silence filled the Tabe, appeared his loved, to try save his life. She asked to him to run away. But he refused, becayse he was a brave warrior and prefer the death than the shame. So the woman saw that her tears were useless.

She summoned Iurupari, then colisng her eyes, she slept beside her warrior. At morning, the women found out the two lovers dead in the net.

“It was Iurupari! It was Iurupari! …” – said everyone, scared. And, clapping and shaking maracás, in a infernal howl, they try not see the flaming vision of Iurupari, that ran away with the light of the dawn. 


When the first man arrived in Amazon found a great caititu, that said to him:

– I am the king of these Lands. Everything obey to me and I am strongest among the strongest creatures which lives here.

The tapuio, distrustful and envious, followed him. They walked, and walked, until the virgin forest… To an energetic gesture of caititu, the tapirs ran to open a way through the bushes, and the alligator, offered their backs to the pair to allow them cross the river..uticket in the backs as if they was ubás. Sucurijus had been risen, in rigid curves, and with their tail´s extremities harvest fruits to them. The leopards brushed against them as domesticaded cats… Then said caititu:

– Everything serve me, what more you want?

And with an angry face, the man answered:

– I am hungry… and I wanna hunt!!

And killed with a arrow the poor caitutu, his guide and server…. Caititu shouted, so strident that all the animals ran away… The tapuio then heard he wind´s voice among the trees, as laughter´s outbursts and they were repeating and repeating, as the echoes of waterfalls… “He is Curupira. He is Curupira” – everything repeated!

And the Curupira, the ruller of the great forests, sentenced the first man:

– Because of your wickedness the Realm of The Forest is locked to you. You will be eaten by the beasts and all the good animals will run away from you… Cursed you are! Forever!…

And the wild voice of the Curupira lost among the forest as a distant echo … Since this day, he is seen in forest, among the bushes, riding caititus.. The exotic figure of the Curupira…

Iara – the Amazon mermaid

An old “pajé” (wizard, that has the power of cure) feelling that he will die, called his son and said:

– Guanumbi, hear with attention, you´llbe the heir of my glory and my trophies and I don´t wanna hide nothing from you. Your mother, before die, ask me to never allow you swim in the big lagoon, for there lived, in the time of your grandparents, an old woman so old, so old that you couldn´t count down the moons of her age.
One day, your grandfather asked to her to talk with him and she foretold:

” You will have a grandson so strong and handsome as the leopard, and who will use the bow with the agility of a lightning.

The tribes will call him ‘ the sun and fire´s son ‘ . But your energy and prestige will disappear if he see, in the water, the Yara´s image.”

The old pajé closed his eyes and died. So the years goes by, Guanumbi was a teenager. He loved, and Iaci, your bride, was the virgin promised in his dreams and who fill his soul with affection.

One night, wandering them, in pleasant thoughts, when, far away, reflected by the moonlight, they saw the lagoon´s waters… Iaci asked to go there. And so in love was Guanumbi, that he disobeyed his father´s warning.

– Let´s go, I fear nothing, beside you my love!!!

They went and soon, they had in front of their eyes the vision of the dreadful lagoon. Holding each other hands and distracted by the magic of the moonlight, the lovers were looking the beauty of the silent and melancholic water, when Guanambi noticed in the bottom of the lagoon there was a face, that looks as Iaci, but, million of times more beautiful, with green hair, green as the “muiraquitãs” stones.

The face were approaching and reaching the surface of the water. Fascinated, squatted down, staring at the vision and saw that the dazzling image was submerging in the water and saw her hair reached the bottom of the water, where their roots.

Guanambi, hallucinated, strechted his arms out and fell on the abyss of the waters. It was the sinister aparition of the Iara, whose half bottom is a fish and the top half is a beautiful woman, who spell the young men that come to the rivers and lagoons,to fish or swim.

Muiraquitã – the sculpted stone given by the Amazon warriors to their lovers who gave daughters to them.


A Maués´indian couple was together many years without being blessing with a children. Then they prayed to Tupã., king of gods, to have a baby to their happiness. Tupã knew that they were very kind and decided to attend the wish, sending to them a pretty boy. As time goes by, the boy grew handosome, wise and generous.

However, Jurupari, the god of darkness, felt an great envy of the boy and the peace and happiness that he spread, and decided then to kill him. One day the boy was collecting fruits in the forest and Jurupari took advantage of the occasion to have his revenge. He turned himself into a poisonous serpent and bited the boy, killing him. The sad news spreaded quickly. At this moment, thunders had echoed into forest and were heard in village.

The mother, who was crying, noticed that thoses thunders were messages from Tupã, saying to her to plant the child´s eyes. The indians had obeyed the order of the mother and had planted the eyes. In the place grew up a plant, which fruits are white, with a black center who reminds of a human eyes. Guaraná or guaraná is a shrub or small tree whose seed is used a popular brazilian soda, which is called guarana too…

Interesting sites about: http://www.symmetrix.ch/Public/guarana/  http://www.rain-tree.com/guarana.htm  

Uirapuru Legends

The Uirapuru bird legend

An Young warrior fell in love for the tribe chief’s wife. How he can’t approach her, he asked to Tupä (Tupä is the main god of god of brazilian indigenous tries) to turn him into a bird. Tupä turned him into a bright red bird, which sing along the night to his loved one.

However was the husband who noticed his singing. He was so fascinated that pursued the bird to cage him. The Uirapuru flew way to forest and the chief lost himself. During the night, the Uirapuru came back and sung to woman. He always sing, waiting for the day she”ll notice his singing and his spell… And this is why he is considered a charm to obtain success in love ad business.  

Another version

 It’s said in south Brazil, there was a indigenous tribe, whose chief was loved by two beautiful girls. He didn’t know which girl he’ll choose, then the young man promised marry the one who had the best shot. Accepted the proof, the two girls trew their arrows, but only one got the aim. She married him.

The another named Oribici cried so much, so much that her tears formed a fountain and a stream. Se begged to Tupä to turn her into a little bird to visit the chief without be recognized. Tupä made this. However she realized that e love his wife and she flew away to north Brazil, reaching the Amazon woods.

 To consulate her, Tupä gave her a beautiful singing. So, she sings to forget her sorrow, and another birds meet the Uirapuru, they silence to hear his song. Then the only thing that you hear in forest, is the singing of Uirapuru.


Kings and queens covet a feather or a bit of Uirapuru nest, considered a precious charm, The man who own a feather, say the legend, will be irresistible to women and will be luck in business. A woman who has a bit of his nest will have a passsionate, loyal lover for all her life. The lucky person who hear the song shall make a wish and it will be came true 


About the legend of Uirapuru bird…

I forgot to say the meaning of tapiragem… Tapiragem: Indigenous from Amazon, Venezuela and Mato Grosso change the colours of plough and parrots´feathers to make handcrafts. To obtain this, them they take off the feathers from the wings and tail, they rub the skin with a vegetal oil and give to birds special meals as eggs of turtle, milky secretions from frog´s skin, fish, as “pirarucu” , and safflower´seeds and urucum. The result, known as tapiragem, is that the feathers lose the blue or green original and the the new ones become red or yellow-gold (this shade, rare, is the favourite to make the artcrafts).

Manioc Legend

The Gods.. At human´s dawn, the gods hid the colours inside the trees, animals and ground and kept to themselves the “tapiragem” speel inside the birds. And they waited.. Everything was dark, and of a sudden, was created the Sund (kuat) and the Moon (Iaê).
The wisdom gods showed Nature to humans to they respect and protect the Earth. Then painted the skin to give breathlife to life, colour to colours, to show joy and the reason for the human life. Through a spell, they turned the feathers and gave to birds the sky colours..
The dream of fly, never was realised by humans, but in theis spirits, they flew as far as God´s home.. And Gods smiled, because they believed in humans…

Manioc Legend

Manioc is a starch root, very bulky, used to make a kind of special flour. The manioc flour is the daily dish to amazon people. They eat fish,. meat, rice, beans with this flour. This root has a strong poision, which must be eliminated during its preparation, when the root is fermented, and after, boiled.

In a distant past, the daughter of a powerful indian chief (tuxuau) was sent off the village, because she became pregnant by a misterious way… She found out a old hut into forest, and lived there till the birth of a a child. The beautiful girl was very, very white.. Because of this her mother called her Mani.

The birth news spreaded through several villages and her father forget his anger, and cross rivers ad forest to see his beloved daughter.. When he saw the little child, he was so happy that he pray to gods…

Mani was so sweet that everyones loved her… However, when she was three-years-old, she died, of the same misterious was as she came to world.. Her mother buried the little girl and so sad was her mother that she cried for hours and hours. Even with her sore eyes, she saw a little plant growing on the tomb.

Everyone came to see the miracle. The plant has a thick, white root and was horned shape. Everyone wanted taste the root, in honour of the beloved child.

Meaning: Mani = Mani, the child´s name Oca = aca, silimilar to horns.