Page:Amazonian Tortoise Myths.djvu/15

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— 7 —

especial pains to inquire for this myth, being rewarded by hearing it related by the Indians wherever I went. My friend Dr. Joaquim Xavier de Oliveira Pimentel, Captain of Engineers in the Brazilian army, has sent me a variant of the same story from Tabatínga, and Dr. Couto de Magalhães has recently found the same myth in Pará, so that it appears to be current wherever the Lingua Geral is spoken. I was told in Santarem in 1870 that the myth was of Mundurucú origin, but this I now doubt, as it appears to be inseparably connected with the Lingua Geral.

The story runs as follows:—


HOW THE TORTOISE OUT-RAN THE DEER

A Jabutí met a deer and asked: "Oh deer! what are you seeking?" The deer answered: "I am out for a walk, to see if I cannot find something to eat; and, pray, where are you going, tortoise."

"I am also out walking; I am looking for water to drink?"

"And when do you expect to reach the water?" demanded the deer.

"Why do you ask that question?" returned the tortoise.

"Because your legs are so short."

"Well!" answered the tortoise, "I can run