Güio, the big snake

Annie had a great Australian aboriginal story yesterday on her blog, about the Rainbow Serpent  ( see Dreamtime -monday). My husband told me that from the indians from Amazonia he heard also a story about a big serpent.  We looked for the story in a book, “Vaupes, Myth and reality”, by Milciades Borrero and Marleny Pérez.

In the Amazon forest there are many dispersed groups of indigenous people, living isolated from each other, with infrequent contacts between them. In the Colombian part of the Amazon, in the department of Vaupes lives the Cubeo tribe. One of their elders told the story of creation of mankind by Güio, the big snake, as follows:

“In the beginning of earth there was a big lake, all surrounded, where could live only Güio, YEPAMASE, the God, the Creator. The Güio-God started thinking that he had to distribute the tribes, give all of them their place on earth, and thus populate the earth.  He decided to start going with all the tribes (the integrants of the tribes were insects, little animals, fishes) in his belly. When his belly was filled up, the tribes that could not get into his belly held on to him on the outsides, on his tail, all over his body. Those who had a place in his mouth were the piratapuyos. The main tribes came in his belly, as follows:

  1. the tatuyos, with all their divisions
  2. the wananos and their divisions
  3. the cubeos and their divisions
  4. the tukanos and their divisions

Thus they went sitting in the Güio which they saw as a big boat, from the large to the small tribes, up to the end of the tail. The place from where Güio started was beyond Manaus, near the
Amazon River. From there Güio went upstream with all the tribes. He went up and up…
He passed Manaus and went up
Rio Negro. When he arrived at Ipanore, he set all of them loose and they started to jump out: first the piratapuyos, then the wananos, and after that the cubeos. These three tribes did not jump well and were not transformed into humans, they remained like little animals. After that the tukanos jumped hard and they did transform into people. The tukanos jumped with the sirianos. That is why at the beginning the tukanos hunted only with the sirianos, because they regarded each other as relatives.
All the tribes came back and settled in the Güio and went on to Yavaraté. There stayed the tukanos. The Güio went on upstream, all into
Vaupes, looking for a place where to let the other tribes. The wananos stayed from the big rapids of Carurú up to Santa Cruz de Waracapurí.
Güio kept going up and arrived up to Santa Cruz de Waracapurí. Here all went out and all the tribes were already transformed into real people. The cubeos stayed at Waracapurí and the near canyons. The other tribes, each of their divisions, started to walk, to find their home lands, which they all found. Waracapurí is the place where the tribes split up to populate the earth. The Güio-God returned from Waracapurí without any single tribe. At
San Gabriel there is an immense stone with the shape of a Güio and it is said that this is the place where he died.
These lands that each tribe selected or where they stayed are there ancestral lands which they defend and they have to fight about with the others, like it was in the old times”Up to here the story according to an old story-teller from the cubeo tribe in
Below is a recent drawing made by a cubeo Indian of Güio and the way he traveled



5 răspunsuri la „Güio, the big snake

  1. Thanks Corina, I enjoyed this story. It’s wonderful to read these indigenous tales and interesting too that snakes and serpents are seen as the good guys in many cultures.


  2. Tag! You have been invited to post 8 random things about yourself and tag 8 other bloggers to do the same.

    I find these a little time consuming, but I do love to learn little tidbits about the friends I find online.

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review « PatchScrap·

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