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Mazama americana


Cervidae (deer)


Red brocket





Prochilodus nigricans_edited.jpg

Talkin About The Taruga

Talkin About The Taruga

Deer Papaya: A Deceased Grandfather Returns as a Deer.

I am going to tell you about this (deer) papaya. In former times the deer was a person. So one time when the children had been left at home alone (the deer) arrived in the form of person. "I'm your grandfather," he said. So when the adults returned the children said "Grandfather came, Mom!" "Oh! How could your grandfather have come? Your grandfather is dead." "No! Grandfather did come to (visit) us. He came to give us a papaya and left." "So what did that papaya he gave you look like?" their mother asked. So (they answered), "It was this fruit they said (showing her a small wild papaya called "deer papaya"). (It was) this! This papaya." It was this, his (wild deer) fruit that he had come to give his grandchildren. But when he gave them that papaya (it was not enough since) there were a lot of nephews (grandkids) in that house. So he said (to one of them), let's go harvest (more of them.) "There are lots of this kind of papaya at my place," he said. (Hearing that the kids said) "(Yes!) go (with grandfather) to gather some of those (fruits) that he was talking about to give us!" So he went. When he went (to the grandpa's place) he saw a fishtail palm standing and arriving there he saw that the brush was cleared around its base. "What's this?" the child wondered looking in all directions. "Grandfather, you brought me out here so you could pick papayas for me. Now where are they?" "Ohh... Son, they are over there in the garden. In the garden." (Looking for the garden he thought, "Where is it that he says the trees are cut down? There is no garden," he said. Wherever he looked, nothing! "But grandfather," he said, "there is no garden." "There is nothing there. Where is that papaya?" he asked. "Oh. OK. Just wait a little while. I am just going to take a nap first because I am sleepy." So he laid down and pun! (he fell asleep.) So then his grandchild went off, to look for the papaya probably. And when he came back to the base of the palm tree there was a deer lying there asleep. "Now I wonder where my grandfather went." he thought, "this is a deer." I wonder where grandpa went?" The child began to search (and cried) "Grandpaaa!" Then it ran! The deer. That deer ran away. When the deer ran away he thought "Now what?" "Grandpa! Grandpaaa!" the child cried like that in the forest. The child began to cry seeing that the grandfather had deceived him like that. (Then he heard his grandfather) say "Why are you crying?" "Grandfather," (the child) answered. "A deer just ran off that way!"

Why Deer Don't Have Masters

Bélgica Dagua, "Why Deer Don't Have Masters." Bélgica Dagua argues that deer are unique in not having masters because they are the ghost of humans. Most animals have an amu or spirit master analogous to a Hopi Kachina who protects them and causes them to flourish. To protect them these amus keep the species locked in corrals inside the mountains only letting out a few to be hunted. For this reason the animals are relatively scarce in the forest but believed to be plentiful inside the mountains. Unlike peccaries the deer do not have amus because deer are the transformed ghosts of people who have died. For this reason deer haunt the areas around their previous homes as well as their old manioc gardens. According to Bélgica there are many deer in her home community because the deer have no amu to lock them up. By contrast there are few peccary in the forest because the their amu keeps them protected inside local mountains. A western ecologist might attribute the relative abundance of deer to hunting practices. Because deer are believed to be ghosts they are not hunted for food and consequently multiply. Peccaries by contrast are heavily hunted.

Dance Like a Deer

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