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The Manioc Legend


The manioc is a thick starchy root used to make a special kind of flour (see picture below). Manioc flour is the staple food among natives of Amazonia, used instead of or in addition to rice or potato or corn, or as a side dish with fish or meat or beans. This root has a strong poison, cyanide, that needs to be eliminated during the preparation of the flour. This is done by cooking or fermenting the root. After it is ground, it is toasted and is ready for storage or use.


The Legend

A long time ago, the daughter of an indian tuxaua (chief) was expulsed from her longhouse and went to live in an isolated old hut, because she became pregnant in a mysterious way. Some distant relatives came to help her and bring her food. The indian girl lived this way until she gave birth to a boy, a very white and pretty child, whom she called Mani.

The news of the birth spread among the indian villages and caused the great tuxaua to forget his pain and forgive his daughter. He came across the rivers to visit her. The new grandfather surrendered himself to the grace of his grandchild, who became loved by all.

When Mani turned three years old, he died in a mysterious way, without suffering any disease. His mother was desolated and buried her son close to the house where she lived, letting fall her tears for a long time. Despite her tired eyes, she noticed that all of a sudden a little plant sprouted and grew rapidly. Everyone came to see the miracle of the new plant, whose strong white roots were shaped like a horn. Everyone wanted to taste it in order to honor the departed child. Since then, this root has become a very welcome food and received the name mandioca. Today, the mandioca is the most important food in the region.

Mandioca is the indian name for manioc. This indian name is derived from:

Mandi = Mani, name of the white indian child;

oca = aca, similar to a horn.

Legends: a page of Rosa Clement´s site