Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Erebato River Part 2

How it came to be called 'Erebato River', or in the Ye'kwana,' Dede Watö River' according the the legends of the Ye'kwana tribe.


The bat is much represented in the hand work of the Ye'kwana of this area
but not often seen in the work among the same tribe living in another river region.


In Southern Venezuela, about 150 km (100) miles from the Brazilian border, the Yek'wana have a story of a giant man-eating bat. This story has been with them for several centuries.


The legend is told that a few generations ago there was a large bat, perhaps more, that lived at the headwaters of the river in a cave on a large mountain. Periodically it would attack canoes and carry off people as its prey and was seen to eat grown men. After quite a few deaths and several years, men were chosen to go to the animal's lair and kill it, which they did. I asked them which mountain it was but there is no consensus, even though I would love to know where that was!


Because it was seen to defecate in the river after carrying off humans, the Indians still will not drink from the Erebato River ( translates as' Bat Poop'), they will cross a river 100 yards wide just to get to a small stream that feeds into the river for their drinking water. If anyone, unaware of the significance, does drink from the river, it would upset them greatly and be considered gross beyond all imagination. Unthinkable!


Once, the Indians noticed pictures of pterodactyls and such in a book, and they became very animate and said, "that has to be the giant bat that once devoured our ancestors!" For them it is not a myth or legend, but a true story of their past that has been handed down orally through the years.

12 comments:

Gringo said...

Makes you wonder if this legend is based on actual events in eons past. Saber...

Brooke said...

Wow. Makes one wonder what is in the deep jungle, both now and in the past!

Kathy said...

Very interesting. Did you find that after they went to school, that their belief in some of the legends lessened? Just wondering. Our computer has been in the shop for days, so I'm way behind in reading your blog. I hope I can catch up in the next few days! (I'm sure I'll have more questions!)

GutsyWriter said...

I assume the kids also believe this today? How primitive is this tribe, and can you actually go visit them? Sorry if this sounds naive, but the people on the photo look primitive. I loved this interesting post.

Sarah Joy said...

Fascinating!

Thursday's Child said...

Yep, I was right. A bat pooped in it. Neat story!

Although I probably wouldn't want to drink from the river anyway because of all the other animals that have used it as bathroom facilities.

Tammy said...

I've heard similar stories from different people groups. It is interesting how these people living in isolated areas recognize modern drawings of dinosaurs and other "prehistoric" animals, and they've never been to a museum. Could it be that man (their ancestors, and ours) cohabited the earth with dinosaurs? But of course that would imply that the earth is young, and not billions of years old.

Hmmmmm....

Gayle said...

I really never know what to expect when I visit you, Rita! One thing I do know though, is that everytime I do visit you I usually learn something I never knew. It's a good thing!

Perhaps they are safer drinking from the stream than from the river anyway, even if the reason they do it may be misguided. After all, the bat poop should be long gone by now. :)

redneck preacher said...

Sounds a little Doyleish. Very interesting and educational post. It does make you wonder about how long those things have been gone.

Millions or years, I don't think so.

HTOITA

G said...

I looked at it this mourning after I posted.

Joy said...

Very interesting. Definitely learned something new today.


joy

Jungle Mom said...

Gutsy Writer,
Some believe, I tend to believe this one myself. With the historical landmark named for the event and the tradition of not drinking the water, something happened there.
These black and white photos were taken years ago and developed by a missionary friend. The tribe is more advanced now.
It is a 2 hour flight in a Cessna to reach this village or about 10 days on canoe involving a portage and climb at the fall on my header.
The government has locked this area down and no one is allowed in any longer since we were forced to leave. Except for some Cubans.