Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon

Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the AmazonJabutí the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon
by Gerald McDermott

Jabutí is a tortoise that makes beautiful music.  For some of the animals in the rainforest, it reminds them of the times they’ve been tricked by Jabutí.  But the birds love his song.  Well, all except for Vulture – he would rather eat Jabutí.  When all of the birds are called up to a gathering by the King of Heaven, Jabutí wants to go to play his song.  Vulture offers to carry him, but drops him on the jungle floor where he lands on a rock and cracks his shell.  The King of Heaven sends all the birds out to look for him.  When they find him, they put him back together again.

This book is a clear illustration of how trickster tales are never fully understood in just one story.  In this particular one, we hear about how other animals don’t really like Jabutí because of how he tricked them, but those stories aren’t elaborated on in this tale.  I would love to know how he tricked Tapir into a tug-of-war with Whale.  But that’s not what this story is about.  In this one, the trickster gets tricked, a lot like Coyote in yesterday’s post.  But it’s not quite the same.  Another colorful addition to the collection, although I’m not sure if the style is representative of Amazonian art, since I’m not familiar with it.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

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