The Great Snake Legend
Arte de Paulo Felipe M. Olimpo
Ticuna - O Livro das Árvores. 1997
This legend is well known by our population. It has been a theme for Amazonian songs, poems and folklore. Years ago, children wondered where in their world, among the many growing buildings, the Great Snake could be...
A long time ago, a very perverse woman lived in an Amazonian tribe; she even ate children. To put an end to the pain she caused, the tribe decided to throw her in the river, thinking that she would drown and never return to hurt anybody else. However, Anhangá, the evil genius, decided not to let her die and married her, giving her a son. The father transformed the boy into a snake, so that it could live in the river. However, soon the snake started to grow and grow, becoming bigger and bigger...
The river became too small to shelter it and the fish were disappearing, eaten by the snake. During the night, its eyes illuminated the river like two phosphorescent headlights and the snake wandered along the rivers and beaches, stalking animals and humans in order to eat them. The terrorized tribes gave it the name Great Snake.
One day the mother of Great Snake died. Its pain showed itself as such a mortal hatred that its eyes shot arrows of fire against the sky and into the darkness like sparks. After this day, the Great Snake withdrew and it is said that it lives sleeping underneath the big cities. It is also said that it only awakens to announce the summer in the sky in the shape of a Snake Eagle, or during great storms with bright lightnings to terrify the tribes.