A tasty Shuar story for after eating
Libro album ilustrado. Modo presentación click sobre la imagen / Illustrated book. Click con the first image to begin:
SHUAR._ are the largest population in the Amazon jungle, they live in a wide territory between Ecuador and Peru. Many are the mysteries that surround this culture that has flourished since thousands of years ago in the deepness of the jungle. Shuar people drink CHICHA on a daily basis, this is a beverage made of manioc. The chicha is served in a PILCHE that is the hard natural container made from the cover of the tsapa fruit, similar to a half of a pumpkin.
A Shuar man falls a giant tree… When it falls it crushes an anaconda that lived in the top. The Shuar man cooks it, and eats it.
The next morning the man wakes up very thirsty. He drinks water but is not enough, he drinks more and more…
Finally he asks that a hosepipe to be plugged in his mouth, letting the water to flow. He gets fat and inflates a lot until he blows. In his remains his relatives find a baby tadpole. One of his relatives says: “this is the only alive remain that is left from him” so they take care of the tadpole. When it grows it becomes into a serpent. Later on it transforms into a giant anaconda.
In every stage of the life of the anaconda she was moved to different places according to her size. First she was living in a fishbowl, then she was moved to a pond and finally to a well. She was always treated with love and caring, just as she would be their beloved relative that thirsty passed away some years ago. The children from the community played and swim with her everyday. They roll on her and she spins up with them. One day the parents go out to hunt and pick up fruits in the jungle and the naughty children decide to take her out of the well, when she notices that her situation has changed, she eats all the children.
The parents arrive and notice what happened, the father, very angry, goes out to revenge from the anaconda, he prepares himself by sharping a wood knife and wearing as a helmet a “pilche” or “mate”, a strong container to drink “chicha”. The anaconda finds him and immediately wraps, bites and breaks his head, and swallows him in one mouthful.
In reality, what the anaconda broke, was not his head, but the helmet or “pilche”. The man, alive, inside the anaconda, begins to puncture her with his knife. She cries of pain and wallows.
The man continues to inflict pain to the anaconda; the anaconda goes to the Shaman Bird who prescripts her to eat sticks to remove the intruder she carries inside, and the anaconda does so. But the Shuar man listens to the Shaman, and avoids the sticks in the stomach and continues to punctures the insides of the anaconda, the anaconda defecates sticks only. She travels to other Shamans in order to heal, the Shuar does not want to be so far away from home so he stops pricking. The anaconda thinks she is healed and comes back to her land, but as soon as she arrives the Shuar continues to puncture her until she dies of pain. Once his revenge has taken place, the Shuar man divides the anaconda in two with his knife and gets out of the anaconda.
But his skin is all red and he has no hair! He is kind of burned and intoxicated by the digestive juices of the anaconda, he looks like a newborn old man…
This story has two morals … “Never eat anaconda meat” this is the moral Shuar people share amongst them. And the second one: “When you eat and swallow your food, make sure your food is completely dead” And this is the moral that anacondas share amongst them.
This tasty Shuar story was told to me by Germán Petzain, after eating in Tiink, a community situated in Morona Santiago, in the south of the Ecuadorian amazon jungle. I illustrated it in this drawing booklet during a trip on the surrounding areas. Juan Carlos Astudillo edited the text in Cuenca. Although in appearance the village is becoming a city, we hope the core of this culture will always be alive. José Cardoso Shuar people are warriors that were never conquered, not by the Inkas either by the Spaniards, but today their lives and knowledge are under threat, globalization, and contamination are spreading everywhere. Part of the funds that this book would get in case of being published will be used to support the Ancestral School of Tiink.
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Título: Un sabroso cuento Shuar para después de comer. / Estado: En búsqueda de una publicación. / Autores: Realizado por José Cardoso, narración oral original de Germán Petsain Utitiaj, edición literaria por Juan Carlos Astudillo Sarmiento. / Realizado en: Pakints, Taisha, Cuenca, Ecuador, 2011. / Edición gráfica: México D.F. 2013. / Publicaciones: Publicado en 2016 por el Departamento de Cultura del Municipio de Cuenca.