Kuartam Part 1

In the province of Morona-Santiago, around the city of Macas, a legend has always been told about the dangers of behaving disrespectfully towards nature. It is a legend that comes from the Shuar people, who live in the jungle in the eastern Ecuadorian Amazon. Generally speaking, they are brave and proud of their traditions and of the fact that they are one of a handful of indigenous groups who managed to resist both the colonising missions of the Inca and the Spanish.

The Joker
There was once a Shuar man who lived near Macas and was always laughing and joking about anything whatsoever. He was known for miles around for his humour and silliness. The children loved to come and listen to him telling jokes. And when no adults were watching, he would show them how to play pranks on their siblings and even on their elders. Sometimes he got into trouble for his own pranks. Whenever there was a fiesta and he got drunk, he was even worse- flirting with young women, tripping people over on purpose, and making fun of others very loudly without bothering to see whether the victim of the joke was within hearing range or not. Everyone felt very sorry for his wife, whose name was Yanua, meaning ‘star’.

One night, he went hunting with the other men, and since they were much more serious about the work than he was, they moved much more quickly through the forest whilst he ambled along, amusing himself with little ditties and laughing at strangely-shaped leaves and bizarre-looking roots. Rolling their eyes at him, they kept jogging on until they couldn’t put up with him anymore.

“We’re leaving you behind,” one of them said gruffly. “You’re scaring all the animals away and we’ll never catch anything at this rate!”

No sooner had he said these words the other hunters were gone, sprinting lightly on their feet to make as little noise as possible.

The joker wasn’t bothered, however. In fact, he had wanted to separate himself from the other men because he had a plan to carry out.

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Helen Pugh

Helen Pugh

#Inca history where #women take centre stage! Ebooks & paperbacks for kids + adults in English & español. She/her author.to/hpugh #womenshistory #SouthAmerica.