This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Saturday Rave: a literary hole.

Today, as I'm sure you'll know, is World Tapir Day.

I thought I'd celebrate this auspicious occasion by featuring a literary gem featuring tapirs...

...except that I couldn't find one.

Not one single masterpiece that gives the lovely tapir:

 so much as a mention.

But then at the last minute I came across this creation story from the Bribri people of central America.

It's strange and sad, but does give us yet another reason for loving and respecting tapirs.

Sibú, the Creator God, was thinking about how to create the earth. His sister Tapir had a daughter Iriria. Sibú thought he would send a vampire bat down to where the sun rises to bite Tapir's daughter and find out whether she could become the earth. So the vampire bat went down and bit Tapir's daughter. When the bat came back to where Sibú was resting in his hammock, and vines and bushes began to grow from Sibú's excrement, so Sibú saw that his idea would work. Now, Iriria's grandmother was Bikakra, who was in charge of the chocolate ceremony. Sibú needed Bikakra to come and bring the Tapir's daughter to him, so that he could change her into the earth.

Sibú went to Bikakra and invited her to celebrate a festival. He invited everyone, including the mother and grandmother of the tapir girl.

Sibú wanted to dance the Sorbón dance at this festival and so he invited all the devils, too.

Before the sun rose, Sibú prepared the banquet, the tables, and the festival, and called everyone to dance the Sorbón. When the Sorbón dance began, Tapir and her daughter got up to dance and her mother gave out chocolate. They danced one dance, two dances, three dances, but during the fourth dance young Iriria fell and her blood spilled across the floor. And all the devils who were dancing the Sorbón trampled Tapir's daughter until her body became pure earth.

Then Mother Tapir began to cry:

"How my brother has betrayed me! If you had told me what was going to happen I would never have come."

And from that day on, the Bribris consider the tapir a sacred animal and never consume its flesh except during a special ritual.

There we are. I am a complete perissodactylaphile, myself, and am thrilled to know that the whole world grows from the body of a tapir.

But I would never consume a tapir's flesh.

Happy World Tapir Day!

Word To Use Today: tapir.  This word comes from the Tupi tapiira.

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