Page:Amazonian Tortoise Myths.djvu/9

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AMAZONIAN TORTOISE MYTHS




The Geologist on the Amazonas who is not interested in some other branch of science, must lose much time, because geological localities are so widely separated, that he must often travel, for days together, without being able to make an observation of importance.

In 1870, I found myself on the great River, reviewing the work of Professor Agassiz, and occupied in a search for evidence to establish or disprove his hypothesis of the glacial origin of the Amazonian valley.

Brought into very intimate contact with the Indian population of the country, I became interested in the Lingua Geral, or modern Tupí, as spoken at Ereré, Santarem, and on the Tapajos River, and I employed my leisure time in its acquirement, making fair progress in collecting material to illustrate its structure.

Mr. Henry Walter Bates, in his charming sketch of his life on the Amazonas, and Madame Agassiz, in her "Journey in Brazil," had called attention to the number of myths existing among the Amazonian Indians. These myths had never been studied, and, being aware