Page:Amazonian Tortoise Myths.djvu/41

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the moon is more angry still, whereupon the elephant king begs pardon and retires, leaving the hares in peace.

According to Gubernatis,[1] the elephant is the sun who goes down to drink at the lake of the moon: "the hare warns the elephant that, if he does not retire, if he continues to crush the hares on the shores of the lake, the moon will take back his cold beams, and then the elephants will die of hunger."

In the African Kanurí tale, an elephant sits down upon a cock, and the latter, in revenge, picks out one of the elephant's eyes.

The Amazonian story seems susceptible of the following interpretation:—The tapir is the sun, the tortoise the moon. The rising sun extinguishes the old moon, and buries her, but after a time, the new moon appears and begins the pursuit of the sun. The fact that the race continues day after day, and that the scent grows constantly stronger suggests, however, that the pursuer may, after all, be the sun. May not the story, perhaps, have become confused through an interchange of characters?


A jabutí made a bet with a mukúra, or Amazonian

  1. Zoöl. Mythology. Vol. II. p. 76.