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The papoose
Vol. I. No. 2. (January, 1903)

A Brazilian collection,   pp. 23-27


Page 24

call their magnificent stream, has tributaries as large as the
Hudson unknown to geography. In addition it has many
side lines called by the Indians "canoe paths" running
parallel to the river and intercepting its tributaries in such a
way that one may go by water from Santa Rem a thousand
miles by the Amazon River and never enter the main stream,
The river may be said to have tides of its own subject to the
sun instead of the moon, for every year regularly a succession
of freshets causes it to overflow an enormous extent of its
territory, first to the south and then to the north. The
ocean tide is fully 400 miles above its mouth. At certain
times the effect is that a large promontory of water 12 or 15
feet high rushes up the river with a noise that may be
heard five or six miles. It is followed by smaller waves which
uproot trees and sometimes sweep away whole tracts of land.
From this pre roca or bore, the Indian gets the name of
the river "Amazon " or " Boat Destroyer."
The forests of the Amazon abound with the most valuable
woods and are alive with innumerable varieties of animal
life-the tapir, red wolves, howling monkeys. Snakes and
alligators inhabit its jungles and pools while the trees are
brilliant with red, blue and green hues of the toucan, prized
by the Indian for its feathers of lemon and bright red, and
innumerable quantities of humming birds, one of which is
poetically called the "Winged Flower." Although so pro-
lific in other forms of animal life, the Amazon Valley is but
sparsely inhabited by man.  In the most settled region
between Para and Manaos there is but one man to every four
square miles of territory. The natives are of what is known
to ethnologists as the Tuppi-Guarini stock. Although they
are separated into innumerable tribes and speak a babel of
dialects they are very similar in characteristics. Their skin
is yellowish brown or sometimes mahogany color.  The
hair is thick, straight and black; the forehead is low but
broad, the face beardless, and the figure thick set and gen-
erally of medium height. They have small hands and feet
and are incurious, unambitious, undemonstrative and un-
imaginative. They have but little religion and hardly any
superstition. There is no definite belief in a god; few of
the savage tribes have a name for a god, though many have
one for the evil spirit, and in most instances the good spirit is
not worshipped on the theory that he is not to be feared, but
the evil spirit is worshipped upon the ground that it is
necessary to propitiate him. During their worship some of
the tribes wave blazing brands and shoot flaming arrows into
the air in order to appease the evil deity by intimidation.
Generally speaking, almost their only virtue is civility and
the semi civilized natives as usual are far worse than those in


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