An Introduction to Mythology

Page: 81

As if grown out of the earth Guarani suddenly appeared between them. The game of hide-and-seek came to an end, the rivals measured each other with glances of hatred, fell upon and grappled with one another. Like a squirrel the lovely Maricá climbed up a palm and seated herself beside the fugitive magic bird Maitá. Both desired to witness this unworthy fight between the twin brothers.

The day-star set, the moon arose, but the brothers did not move from the spot. They gripped each other fast, bloody sweat dripped from their brows, and their fiercely sparkling eyes declared that one of them must have no place on earth. The parrot screeched, and Maricá wept, for Guarani's strength seemed to be leaving him.

"Be gracious, mighty Tupan!" pleaded the daughter of Fate to the father of mankind. Tupan, the almighty, heard the maiden's prayer and ordered the bride of the Wind to separate the brothers. Forthwith the Flood (Pororoca) rose in storm amidst peals of thunder; uncanny crashings and rumblings broke the stillness of the primeval forest, the earth shook, and all the elements seemed to have broken loose. Trees and palms were overthrown, and fell into the foam-covered waves of the giant river. The parrot was lost in the skies, while Maricá was carried off by the wind and came to herself in her mother's hut. The terrified wrestlers ceased their struggle and looked in surprise at each other.

In the hope of catching Maricá, Tupi sprang upon a floating tree-trunk and entrusted his fate to the will of the waters, finally anchoring his ship of life to the opposite bank. There he settled down and became the ancestor of numerous Indian peoples, the Pitiguaras, Tupinambas, Tabajaras, Cahetes, Tupiniquias, and many others.

Guarani returned southward and founded the Guayanas, Carijos, Tapes, and many other generations of warlike Indian races.

[Pg 187]


We have now summarized the chief creation myths, and the question arises, How far have these influenced each other? The further question, Can they be traced to a common original account or accounts? we do not put, as it appears to us quite as futile as those 'researches' into the 'original language' of mankind.

Although not in any way denying the circulation of myth and its dissemination, we do not think that the theory of complete and wholesale borrowing from advanced races by savage peoples is confirmed by actual research. There are, it is admitted, well-authenticated examples of the colouring of savage myth by civilized cosmogonies; but these examples are easily distinguished by the practised student of myth, as they lack the fundamentals of barbarian myth—simplicity, 'savagery,' in short, that aboriginal artlessness and primitiveness which mark all early and unsophisticated religious thought. Unlike primitive myths, they possess the idea of the creation of something from nothing (that is, they do not describe re-creation instead of creation). Of creation myths exhibiting cultured influence there are very few, and when one creation tale resembles another a great deal of proof should be forthcoming before it is inferred that one has sophisticated the other or that both proceed from a common story.[8]