Saturday, February 28, 2009

Taino Creation Myths

The Cave of the Jagua

The Island has a section called Caonao
in which there is a mountain called Cauta
and it has two caves,
Cacibajagua, Cave of the Jagua,
and Amayuana, Without Importance
From Cacibajagua came most of the people who inhabit the island.
While still in the caves, these people kept watch at night
and they put in charge someone called Macocael
He of The Eyes Which Do Not Blink,
who was carried off by the sun
because he returned to the door late one day
Since the sun had carried him off on account of his poor
vigilance, they shut the door
Thus he was turned into stone near the door.
The reason that Macocael stayed awake and kept watch
was to see whence he would send away and divide the people
and it seems his delay was a great mistake.
Afterward others went out to fish
and they were made prisoners by the sun
and they were turned into trees called jobos
It came to pass that one man named Guahayona, Our Pride,
said to another named Cahubaba, The Ancient One,
that they said go harvest digo
Cahubaba went out before daybreak
and the sun set over him on the road
and he was turned into the bird that sings in the morning,
and he is called Cahubabael, Son of The Ancient One,
When he saw that the one sent to gather digo did not return,
Guahayona decided to leave the cave called Cacibajagua.

The Flight of the Gueyo Women

He Said to the woman, "leave behind your husbands and let us go
to other lands and carry off much gueyo.
Leave your children and let us take only the herb with us and
later on we shall return for them."
Guahayona, Our Pride, Left with all the women and he went
searching for lands
He came to Matinino, No Fathers,
where he soon left the women behind,
and he went off to another region called Guanin.
He had left the small children near a brook.
Later, when they began to suffer from hunger pains,
they wept and cried out for their mothers who had gone off.
The fathers were not able to help their children who cried out in
hunger for their mothers, saying "mama", trying to speak but
really asking for the breast
Thus they cried out, saying "toa, toa" asking to be nursed,
and while they behaved as someone asking for things with deep
desire and in great voice, they were transformed into
small, frog like animals called "tona" becuase they had
cried out for nursing.
The children were turned into frogs,
and from that time on the frog was held to be
the voice of springtime.
In this way all the men were left without women.

The Betrayal of Anacacuya

When Guahayona departed, he took with him all the women,
In the same way,he took the women of his cacique, named
Anacacuya, Light of the Center, fooling him
just as he fooled the others.
Moreover, Anacacuya was the brother-in-law of Guahayona,
and he went with him, setting upon the sea.
Guahayona said to his brother-in-law when they were in the canoe:
"Look at that beautiful cobo that is in the water."
And when Anacacuya looked down at the water to see the cobo,
his brother-in-law Guahayona took him by the feet and threw
him into the sea.
And thus he took all the women for himself and left them in
Matinino, where there is today nothing but women.
And he himself went to another island named Guanin,
so named on account of
what he took from there upon leaving.

The Healing by Guabonito

While Guahayona was in the land to which he had
gone, he saw that he had left a woman in the sea.
He went down to fetch this beautiful woman he saw at the
bottom of the sea.
He then returned to Cauta the mountain from
which he had taken the women.
He was greatly please with her and immediately sought the
purification to wash himself, for he was full of sores,
She put him in a guanara, a place apart.
Thus while he was there, he was cured of his sores.
Afterward she asked him for permission to continue her journey
and he granted it to her.
This woman is named Guabonito.
Guahayona changed his name, calling himself from thence forward,
"Albeborael Guahayona."
The woman Guabonito gave Albeborael Guahayona
many guanines and many cibas,
so that he might wear them attached to his arms.
In these lands, the cibas are rocks, which are very much
like marble and they were them attached to the arms and neck. The
guanines they wear on the ears, making openings when they are young
with tiny needles made of metal like florin.
It is said that the origins of these guanines was Guabonito,
Albeborael Guahayona and his father Albeborael.
Guahayona stayed in that land with his father, Hiauna, He Who Was Made Brilliant.
His son by his father was named Hiaunael Guanin, "Son of Hiauna."
Ever since, he was called Guanin, and so named today.

The Tale of Inriri

One day the men went to bathe and while they
were in the water, it rained a great deal.
They were very, anxious to have women, and on many occasions while
it rained, they had sought to find traces of their women, but
they were not able to find any news of them.
But that day when they washed, they saw fall
from some tress, coming down through the branches a certain
kind of persons, who were neither men nor women, nor had the
sexual parts of either male or female.
When the men could not catch them, they called
two or three men under orders from their cacique, so that
they would see how many there were, and should seek for
each one a man who was caracaracol, because
they had rough hands and could thus hold them fast.
They told the cacique that there were four creatures, and so they
brought four men who were caracaracol.
After they had captured the creatures, they took counsel about
how they could make them women, since they did not have the
sexual parts of male or female.
They sought a song bird whose name is Inriri, and which in ancient
times was called Inriri Cahubabayael, The Son of the
Ancient One.
This bird bores holes in trees,
Likewise they took the women without sexual parts of male or
female and they tied their hand and feet.
Then they took this bird and tied it to the bodies.
Thinking that the creatures were logs, the bird began to do the
work to which it was accustomed, boring open and pecking away
at the place where the female's privates is usually found.
In this way, the Taino had women.

The Banishment of Yayael

There was a man called Yaya, Spirit of Spirit,
and no one knew his name.
His son was named Yayael, "Son of Yaya."
This Yayael was banished for wanting to kill his father.
Thus he was banished for four months.
Afterward his father killed him, put his bones in a gourd
and hung it from the roof of his house
where it hung for some time.
It came to pass that one day, desiring to see his son,
Yaya said to his wife, "I want to see our son Yayael."
This made her happy, and taking down the gourd, she turned
it over to see the bones of their son.
From it gushed many fish, big and small.
Seeing that these bones had been turned into fishes,
they decided to eat them.

Deminan and the Great Flood

One day, when Yaya had gone to his conucos,
"The Lands That Were His Inheritance",
four sons came forth from one woman,
who is named Itiba Cahubaba, The Bleeding Ancient One.
All came from the one womb and all were twins.
After dying in childbirth, the woman was cut open
and they took out these four children.
The first taken out was caracaracol,
"The Scabby One".
Caracaracol had "Deminan" for his name;
the others did not have a name.
And while they were eating, they sensed that Yaya
was returning from his lands.
While trying in their haste to hang up the gourd,
they did not put it up securely,
so that it fell to the ground and broke apart.
So much water came from the gourd that it
covered the whole earth and from it came many fish.
This is how the sea took its origin.

Conel, The Mute Listener

Later on they left there and came upon a man named Conel,
Son of The Listener,
who was mute.

Gifts of Bread and Herbs

As soon as they came to the door of Bayamanaco, The Old Man,
and saw that he carried cazabe,
they said "Ahiacabo guarocoel!",
which mean "We Know our Grandfather!"
In the same way, Deminan Caracaracol, seeing his brothers ahead
of him, entered in to see if he would be able
to get some cazabe.
Upon entering the house of Bayamanaco
Caracaracol asked for cazabe,
He put his hand to his nose
and threw upon Deminan's back a guanguayo, Spittle.
This guanguayo was filled with cohoba which had just been made
that day.
Thus were given the this guanguayo, Spittle, instead of the
bread they make.
Bayamanaco left there very indignant becuase they had asked for it.

The Wondrous Guanguayo-Made Female

After all this, Caracaracol returned to join his brothers
and he told them what had happened with Bayamanaco
and of the blow that had been delivered to him by the guanguayo
upon his back, which hurt terribly.
Then his brothers looked at his back and they saw it was
seriously swollen.
This swelling grew so much that he was at the point of dying.
They then sought to cut if off but were unable.
Taking a stone axe, they opened it
and out came a live female turtle.
Thus they built their house and took care of the turtle.
All of the brothers made with her in turn
and from there there sons and daughters were

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