Friday, April 07, 2006

Heavenly Smile

I love mythologies. So far I have been around only complex elaborate polytheistical ones like those of Europe and India. I'm reading now "The StoryTeller"/ "El Hablador"/ "Povestasul" by Mario Vargas Llosa, who, without being a great writer or one with very recognizable features or literary personality, manages to approach here with great skill and on two different voices and viewpoints, the universe of an amazonian tribe, the machiguengas. One half of the book has an almost documentary approach, while the other voice speaking belongs to a story teller, a character very much appreciated and revered by the indians, as he was not only the news provider, bringing along stories of other tribes, he was the sage that told legends of the gods and the ways of nature and of life, and he was the depositary of the secrets of the machiguengas. A minstrel and a confessor equally, that bound together the sparse families in the jungle.

Most of the stories are about Kashiri, the Moon, the Sun's father, a somewhat demonical presence, whom the machiguengas honor even more than the sun. In the 20th century Peru they still travelled continuously so as not to spoil the fragil equilibrium of the world. Just as the sun and moon keep coming and going, so must they wander about, away from the Christian missionaries with their Bibles translated in machiguenga and the white men that bleed the rubber trees and the small planes that bring fully clothed men with cameras and films and microphones and teach them about money and jobs and Jesus and the modern world.

1 comment:

  1. for some reason Cresent became the symbol of Islam, maybe because of the lunar calendar we follow.
    i was surprised when a friend told me that he thought moon was same size of a small plate, i always thought it's a size of a coin.