Page:Amazonian Tortoise Myths.djvu/39

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ping upon him, buried him deep in the mud, where the tortoise remained two years before he could extricate himself. When, at last, he succeeded, he said to himself: "Now I will take my revenge on the tapir!" So off he started in search of that beast. Pretty soon he found a mass of the droppings of the tapir covered with grass, and inquired of it:—"O Teputi![1] Where is your master?" The Teputi answered, "My master left me here a long while ago. I know nothing of him, but, when he left me, he went off in this direction. Go after him!" The tortoise followed in the direction indicated, and presently found another heap, of which he asked as before: "O Teputi! Where is your master?" receiving the answer:—"My master left me here about a year ago. Follow in his track, you will come up with him." The tortoise continued his journey, and, before long, met with another heap, which, on being interrogated as before, answered: "My master is not far away. If you will walk rapidly you will come up with him to-morrow!"

The next day he found a perfectly fresh mass which said, "My master has just left me here, I can hear the breaking of the branches as he goes through the

  1. When the ox was introduced, the Indian applied the same name to it, and the tapir came to be called tapyíra-kaauara, or the forest-dwelling tapir.

  2. Dung.