LATIN AMERICAN INDIAN LITERATURES JOURNAL. Pennsylvania State University, Pittsburgh. Vols. 8 to 10


Vol. 8 (1992)

pp. 9-37 Denise Y. Arnold & Juan de Dios Yapita Moya : "Fox Talk". [Aymara of Qaqac^aka in Avaroa {cf. Maori /AWAROA/} province in Oruro department; and Aymaya in north of Potosi`]

pp. 19 & 20 as recited by a woman : sequence of songs to the animal-deities














deer (together with parrot & hummingbird)







p. 25 as recited by a man : including 1st to 17th (also pp. 24 with 26-27 including further) sequence of animal-deities




meaning / description



muntu malku (‘world condor’)

"is dressed with a gleaning golden collar, and has silver feet." (p. 24)


2nd & 3rd

qulu malku (‘hill condor’)

"the male is piebald, or allqa, in color and bears a crest, while the female is grey (uqi) and without a crest." (p. 24)























luli hamac^>i
















another kind of sparrow








[other felines]







us qulu



[18th ]



[19th ]















p. 32 animal-deity’s human guise

In the tale of the snake, "the young heroine follows a thread to find that her lover is nothing more than a snake snoring in his lair.

In the tale of the beetle, the maiden pierces the ugly beetle that she finds in the hills with her distaff, only to discover that she has wounded the shoulder of her loved one, the young man who comes to her house by night."


pp. 115-142 Graciela Beatriz Herna`ndez : "Southern Tehuelche Mythology".

[pp. 131-139 are from a MS written in the 1920s by Jose` C. Wolf de Bluher]




"While still unborn, Elal escaped the claws of his father, who sought to devour him. {cf. Zeus’s escape from being devoured by his own father Kronos} His rescuer was his grandmother (mouse or tucu-tucu [Ctenomys magallanicus Bennet – p. 141, n. 17]) ... . ...

In order to wed he traveled to so remote a place as the dwelling of the Sun ... . Elal achieved his purpose to wed the daughter of the Sun and the Moon after surmounting a series of tests imposed by his prospective parents-in-law."


"the first human couple came into being near the Senguer River."

"Elal had been born near a waterfall and ... he was of Mech>arnuwe: origin ... Mech>arnuwu: (properly Mech>ar o ch>oonku: or "people of the molle-tree resin")". {cf. the race of humanity exterminated by dripping of resin from the sky, according to the Popol Vuh}

After creating the 1st race of humanity, "the high god ... punished the ancestors for not leading a peaceful life, by means of a flood ... . In this watery disaster there perished the ancestors".


"the high ... deity’s Tehuelche name : K>a:nu:k>on ... means "moon" ... since the ending –on pertains to the feminine gender and not the masculine in Southern Tehuelche." {unless, mayhap, the sun-deity were originally regarded as feminine} ... "among the neighboring Northern Tehuelches Sun and moon were denoted by the same word; the Moon was simply "the Sun that shines by night." ... Apie`hoc, "sun"; Tremen, "night"; Tremen apie`hoc, "moon (night sun)" (Claraz 1988:149)."


"the moon wrestled the sun ... . ... The wrestling match ... for three rounds ... . ... [To] Sun ... Moon replied : "... You have scratched so many scars in my face.""


"they identified with the guts of Elal’s father – the pod of the carob tree".

"the name of Elal’s father ... that killed his wife in order to devour the unborn child (that is, Elal himself). ... Lista wrote it Nosjethej, while Llaras Samitier has No`shtex. Wolf ... calls Elal’s father Mamuta:ta: ."

"when Elal pursued his father, he arranged the latter’s being caught in his flight by the thorns of ... the carob".


"Wolf noted that the Sun-God had two wives, while Hughes noted instead he had two daughters, but their names ... are the same."


According to Wolf, "the Sun-God had two wives, one Tehuelche and one Fuegian (Ona), the latter’s name being Aira:-un."

"One of the daughters [of the Sun-God] wed a hero ... named Helal ... . The other daughter, Airaa (Eira?) wed another hero ..., and their descendants are the Onas" (Hughes 1967:64)." "According to ... Casamiquela, Airaa refers to the Airra ..., Southwestern natives who are of mixed Tehuelche and Alacaluf descent".


"The elephant seal was ... Elal’s wife, daughter of the Sun and the moon."


"Helal rides ... swan". {cf. Brahma the swan-rider}


"Helal succeeded in riding it, destroying thereby one eye of the animal by the stroke of his rebenque [whip]." {Oksulos came "riding by on a one-eyed horse." (GM 146.k)}


"Helal ... was born at ... Xe`ndrun, a region situated south of Buenos Aires Lake, at a place where a big cascade of hot water comes out of the rock."


In the era of Helal "their only weapon was the boleadora." {cf. either the slingshot of Puraikhmos (CDCM, s.v. "Oxylus"); or else the lasso-god transformed by "Child of the Yellow Root" of the Schitsu>umsh of Idaho (LTC&C, p. 150) [In the latter case, note that among the Northern Tewelc^e, their aequivalent to Helal "was conceived on a root ... when an "old decrepit woman" urinated on it to pull it out" (p. 129), according to Claraz. {cf. the recent Tibetan tale of origin of tobacco from a urinated-upon maiden.}]

bibliography :-

Jorge Claraz : Diario del Viaje de Exploracio`n al Chubut. Buenos Aires : Marymar, 1988.

William Hughes : A orillas del ri`o Chubut en la Patagonia. Bahi`a Blanca : Imprenta Marti`nez Rodri`guez, 1967.

LTC&C = Rodney Frey : Landscape Traveled by Coyote and Crane. U of WA Pr.

p. 127 recorded by Lenz : myth of Latrapai [supposedly from (p. 126) "Azul ("Province of Buenos Aires)."]

"Old Man Latrapai had two daughters whom he wanted to give in marriage. There came his two maternal nephews ... . ... Co`nquel and Pedi`u, the two heroes, had to pass a series of tests imposed by Old Man Latrapai ... . One test was to hunt ... ostriches, and guanacos. ... The heroes met all conditions ..., but Old Man Latrapai ... killed his own daughters, now the heroes’ wives. ...

Faced with the death of their wives, the heroes decreed four years of darkness. They put the night into a cooking pot." {cf. Ares, whom the 2 Aloiadai "conquered and kept him imprisoned in a brazen vessel for thirteen months" (GM 19.b).}

Rodolfo Lenz : "Estudios Araucanos". ANALES DE LA UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE, Tomo XCIV. Santiago de Chile, 1896.


pp. 165-175 Jaime Pantigozo Montes : "Malika". [Kec^ua of Cusco & Canas provinces]




"the lady who owned the hut wasn’t really a woman. She was a skunk. Therefore, she said to Malika, "Listen, Woman, ... you’ve been sleeping with your brother, and he’s already dead. You’ve been going around with a spirit. ..."


[obstacle-pursuit of sister by her brother-husband ghost :]


object tossed behind her

it became __



"thicket of very spiny plants."






"mountain covered with spiny plants."


Vol. 9 (1993)

pp. 99-119 Victor Dionisio Montejo & Lyle Campbell : "The Origin of Corn : a Jacaltec Tale in Comparative Mayan Perspective".


Jacaltec tale


non-Jacaltec tales


"That large spot, which can be seen from the earth in the shining face of our mother, the moon, is a deer which many chiefs and archers have wanted to shoot with their poisoned arrows.



... the arrow which the simpleton had shot had managed to tear off one of the deer’s legs. ... the leg fell in the ocean. ... They wanted by any means possible to get that venison out of the ocean, but

112, n. 10

"The Pokomchi`, Kekchi`, and Mopan legends of the marriage of the sun and the moon ... begin with the Old Man carrying a deer; a girl (the moon goddess) put corn water on the path to make him fall".


they were not able to. The sea was still boiling. ...

113, n. 13

"The boiling sea is reminiscent of the Xinca tale of "El Gran Rey Catarral del mar" (the Great Catarrhal King of the Sea), who stands in the ocean with two comales (tortilla griddles), one in each hand, for the sun to hit upon them and heat up the ocean so that it will boil, steam, and thus not flood the land ever again ... . ... the origin of corn is seen in a Chamula Tzotzil tale wherein the first people had no maize or tortillas; Our Father became angry and destroyed them in a hot-water flood because they could not speak".


Suddenly a vulture ... saw the large leg of deer ... . ... The chiefs found some seeds of the miche and they put them on the vulture in place of his eyes, ... his eyes stayed red and

113, n. 14

"The miche tree (Erythrina corallodendron) is called ... mixe in the Mam area. The bright red beans of the palo pito tree are used for divination. (... Mam divination with mixe beans.) They are held to be from the broken necklace of the moon goddess." {cf. necklace of Cozca-quauhtli}


his head and neck remained without feathers for having been burned that day in the waters of the sea...

114, n. 16

"The Chamula Tzotzil version ... relates that the buzzard ... flew down to his wife; she didn’t recognize him and threw boiling water on him and burned his neck.".


[That deer-haunch’s bones were ground to powder by the simpleton’s mother.] The simpleton ... threw the powdered bone dust around his corral ... . From this animals sprouted, rabbits, deer, armadillos, squirrels, etc. ... .


"The Chuj story, "The Origin of Monkeys," tells of a youngest son whose older brothers gave him bones of animals they had eaten; ... the bones ... produced many deer".


The first deer had long ears and the first rabbit had horns; they exchanged these. {This exchange would seem more reasonable if the first deer were made from powdered rabbit-antlers.} ...


"In a Chamula Tzotzil tale, ... men hunted deer and rabbits; they cut off their feet". {cf. lucky charm of rabbit’s foot}


The simpleton ... set a louse on the fox ... . Later the man set a flea on the fox ... . ...


"In an Ixil tale, the girl’s father sends first a louse to investigate ..., then a flea, and finally a firefly".


The fox had entered through a hole" to be the first to discover maize.


"In a Kekchi` story, it is the fox who leads the other animals to the mountain of the first corn ... . The Pokomchi ... fox (a raccoon in the second version) finds the corn, ... and is followed by a lynx".


"Qich Mam ["q-, "our," -ich, "old," and mam, "father." (p. 115, n. 18)] followed the tracks of a zompopo (large ant) to find white corn. ... Qich Mam tied him up to ... restrain him. He escaped, but being tied ... is why these ants have narrow abdomens today.


"In the Cubulco Achi` (Quiche`) text, the leaf-cutter ants actually retrieved the corn ... shut up in a rocky cliff; for punishment he tied them in the middle, but they broke away, and that is how they got narrow abdomens".


A woodpecker came to help, ... and ... was given a red tuft as payment for his help.


"In the Pokomchi` tales, the smallest lightning ray calls the woodpecker to help him, whereupon he strikes the spot tapped by the woodpecker and the mountain splits open ... . ... In an Ixil tale ... the woodpecker knew where Oyew Achi’s wife was ...; he paid the woodpecker ..., which is how the woodpecker came to have a red head."


Qich Mam played the marimba, whose echo


"in the Mopan myth ... the sun god plays ... the marimba ... so he can recover his wife, the moon goddess".


revealed the weakest side of Stone Mountain. Qich Mam then called on lightning, which split the stone-mountain corn crib at this weak point; it was full of seeds, of ... beans, chile, gourds, squash, etc."


"In the ... Maya tale from Belize ..., the ... rain god told the woodpecker to tap the surface of the rock to determine its weakest spot ... . ... the chief rain god threw his mightiest thunderbolt and split the rock".

p. 106 "In an Uspantec myth ..., a salt seller is carried to the other side of the sea, ... is penned with a woman ...; but they escape and cross the sea on the back of a turtle".


Vol. 10 (1994)

pp. 22-45 Bartholomew Dean : "Urarina Cosmogony". [Chambira river basin, Loreto province, Peru`]

p. 26 transformations of members of family of man who survived the deluge

man’s __

became __


termites’ nest


ira`ru (white heron, Egretta alba)

other son

coro-coro bird

p. 27 stinging animals summoned by servant-woman in attempt to rescue her from man who survived the deluge, who wished her as his wife

ahlaic^o:n (pit-viper)

tihiya`na (spider)

ihkia`i (giant biting emmet)

woman’s urination {cf. the tribe-name /UraRINa/ with the word /URINe/}



p. 31 "the daughter of the master of Ayahuasca was transported from the celestial abode of the gods down to earth to attend a cassava beer festival. During the celebration, the woman’s suitor refused to let her go and urinate, insisting instead that she continue dancing with him. As a result, the woman’s urine drowned all the festival’s participants, giving rise to the chthonic world of spirits ... . ...

{the god To`rr was nearly drowned in the river Vimur, formed of urine of the goddess Gja`lp (‘yelp’), daughter of Geirro,d (according to the To`rs-dra`pa 9; Ska`ldsparnis-ma`l 18NMH, O-ThThTh)}

Ceremonial staves become electric eels,

wooden staves become turtles, and

fire-fans become fresh-water eels."

The caerimonial staff of giantess Gri`d was leaned upon by To`rr.


O-ThTh =


pp. 101-155 Peter T. Furst : "Myths of Maize from the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico".

myths about maize






goddess Takutsi (‘great-grandmother’) and the boy Huave (Wa`we ‘amaranth’) : "Takutsi ... gave him one of her daughters and ... told him that he must not make her daughter work. She must not grind maize". His mother, however, forced her to grind maize; so she vanished.



"Takutsi told Huave that he must help her find Nive`tsika. ... Huave, Takutsi, and her family ... walked far to a horizon of mountains where there were white barrancas in the form of eagles. The left a votive bowl in the barrranca of the eagles. The gourd bowl turned into a lake, Vazukuri, where they fished for the first time. ... When they arrived at Virikuta, Huave found only peyote. ... They ... went deer hunting. ... Nive`tsika was hidden inside the deer." There successively appeared maize of the colors : blue, white, yellow, red.



result of the mother-in-law’s forcing her daughter-in-law to grind and cook maize : "While she was screaming ..., a whirlwind came up and carried her away. Thus she vanished". {cf. Dorothy, carried off by a whirlwind in the Wizard of Oz} Her husband found her at her mother’s house. "After her mother had undressed her he took her away. She was naked when he led her away."