Page:Amazonian Tortoise Myths.djvu/46

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are indigenous, but I do not yet consider the case proven. Whether of native or foreign origin, they exist and are current among the Indian population, and they deserve careful collection and critical study.

Fortunately we are not without historical evidence as to the existence of celestial myths among the ancient Indians. Claude d'Abbeville[1] tells us that the Tupí Indians of Maranhão gave names to many of the stars and constellations. The evening star they called Pira-panem, the pilot of the morning. Among the constellations were Ouegnonmoin, the crab; Yassatin, called after a bird of the same name; Tuyaué, the old man; Conomy manipoére ouaré, the boy that eats manipoy; Yandoutín, the white ostrich that eats the ouyra-oupia or birds' eggs, two stars in the vicinity; tapity, the hare; Gnopouëon, the mandioca oven, etc. etc. What is, however, most interesting is the statement that the name iaouáre or dog, (more properly jaguar), was given to a large star that follows close to the moon, and which was supposed by the Indians to pursue her in order to devour her. After the rains, when the moon made her appearance, ruddy in color like blood, the Indians went out, and facing her, beat on the ground with sticks, saying:—"Eycobé chera moin goé goé;

  1. Histoire de la Mission des P.P. Capuchins en l'Isle de Maragnan. Fol. 317—319 verso.