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Just a word of warning to the reader, if you didn't like how Romeo and Juliet ended, well . . . don't be surprised if you don't like what happens in this tale. The Guaraní of old, the indigenous people of Paraguay, must have had a very difficult life. I never came across any story that ended with the words "and they all lived happily ever after." Nobody ever did in any of the stories I located. Never. Not once. That included Romeo and Juliet, or in this case, Cavureí and Yeteí. Even though this tale is written with all the respect found in "The Princess Bride", you have been warned.
The old chief Aguará knew he was biased. Still, there was no changing his mind. Like every other father, he knew his daughter was the most beautiful girl ever born. Indeed, young men from many tribes sought the hand of the lovely Yeteí. Neighboring chiefs offered vast fortunes for the maiden. They were all turned away. None of them even had the chance to talk to the girl. But, the old chief had his reasons. When Yeteí was born, the sorcerer of the tribe predicted that love would bring about her downfall and her death. That was all that the chief needed to hear. His daughter dedicated her life to Tupá, the god of creation, while boys were completely out of the picture. End of story. Well, that's the way Chief Aguará would have written the story.
Try as he might, it wasn't possible to watch over his daughter every moment of every day. One fateful afternoon, as Yeteí walked in the jungle, a jaguar suddenly appeared on the path. Unlike the young men and chiefs who wanted to marry her, the jaguar only considered his next meal. Yeteí's scream rang through the jungle, but she was too far away for her father to hear. The jaguar slowly stepped closer but everything else happened so fast.
The jaguar sprang towards the maiden. The bushes along the path suddenly parted. A spear shot forward, killing the giant cat. And, Yeteí saw the most beautiful dark eyes that she had ever seen before. They belonged to Cavureí. Cavureí, a strong young warrior from another tribe, looked at the maiden and said the first thing that came to mind. "Don't be afraid. I'm not going to hurt you." Considering he just saved her life, it wasn't the best line he could have used, but Cavureí didn't speak to young women very often. For you see, just like Yeteí, when he was born, the tribal sorcerer told Chief Jurumí that love would bring about his son's downfall and death. So even though Cavureí was strong, brave, and a magnificent warrior, his father kept him away from the many women who wanted to marry him.
But, neither of the chiefs was around when their children met. As the two young people stared at each other, they both felt a strange feeling in their hearts. Of course, it was love at first sight. Absolute, knock your socks off, out of control, no two ways about it, love at first sight. The young man had never seen such beautiful hair and long lashes. The young maiden had never seen such muscles or black eyes. Yep, love at first sight and there was no way around it.
Yeteí recovering first said, "My father will reward you greatly for saving my life."
"Oh?" replied Cavureí. "Who is your father?"
"He's the great chief Aguará and he's going to love you," she said with a smile.
This time it wasn't his heart that felt strange. A chill went down Cavureí's spine. Before him was the daughter of his greatest enemy. "I cannot take you to your father. He will kill me because I am the son of Jurumí, his sworn enemy. Besides, I need no reward. Meeting you is enough, but I fear you have stolen my heart."
"If you cannot take me to my village, can you at least take me to the forest's edge?" asked the maiden. "I hurt my foot and cannot travel very fast."
"Let me carry you there," replied the warrior. And, with each step, he fell deeper and deeper in love.
When the couple reached the edge of the forest, Cavureí declared his love to Yeteí. "I will ask my father to put his anger aside so that we can be together. It is time to stop the fighting and live in peace. We can be the beginning that unites our people."
"Oh, yes!" agreed Yeteí.
Of course, the deal was sealed with a kiss.
For the young couple, that kiss rocked their world. However, in reality, the earth actually trembled beneath their feet. Life might have been sunshine and happiness for the two young people in love, but Tupá was not at all pleased. He knew all about the sorcerers' predictions. And, he knew what was about to happen. Death, gloom and destruction were never pretty. But, at that moment, the young couple saw none of this.
"Tomorrow I will ask my father to send a messenger to your father," said Cavureí. "He will announce the chance for peace and unity among our people."
Now you know about being a messenger. In the past, it hasn't always been the safest occupation. They don't say, "Don't kill the messenger," for no reason at all. Messengers got killed. Hey, I know they were just doing their job, but it happened. And, it happened again. That's right, Chief Aguará killed the messenger.
There would be no peace. There would be no unity. And, most of all, there would be no wedding! Nope, a killed messenger delivered the chief's feelings with no wiggle room for doubt. His daughter was not going to get married. Period!
Things did not look good in the land of the Guaraní. Look at how the situation was adding up. There were two chiefs with more than a healthy dose of pride (which is never healthy). Add two sorcerers who predicted nothing but doom, gloom, death and destruction. Toss in a couple of star-crossed young people so desperately in love. And finally, add one dead messenger. It was certain to get ugly. And remember, the sorcerers promised downfall, destruction and death. You seriously have been warned.
For starters, I mean, starters after killing the messenger, Chief Aguará tossed his daughter into a guarded hut. He was in no mood to talk to her and there certainly was no way anyone else was going to have an opportunity. Yeteí screamed, and cried, and pounded her fists against the door. It did no good. If the guards heard her, they weren't about to risk angering the chief. Yeteí threw herself to the ground, begging Tupá for guidance. There was no guidance, but she felt the rumbling of the earth beneath her.
Meanwhile, a distance away in another village, Chief Jurumí was fit to be tied! Mutilated messengers did not put him in a good mood. This called for war, and there is always so much to do to prepare for war. Fortunately, when you are chief, you have to do so very little of it. Women lit bonfires. Young girls poisoned arrows. Men sharpened their knives, spears and axes. Young boys painted their faces with the colors of war and tried to look very busy so as not to get into any trouble.
As both sides prepared for war, the skys above them darkened. "Tupá does not like for his people to fight," declared one of the sorcerers. But, he didn't say it very loudly. When you have predicted death, blood, and gloom for years, it's kind of late to change your ways just before some real death, blood and gloom. Nope, it was time to light those fires, poison those arrows, sharpen anything that can be sharpened and then beat the living daylights out of the other side. Kill! Kill! Kill! and all that stuff you have been warned about.
When the two sides set off for battle, there were all kinds of signs that this was not going to be a good day. Maybe they should reconsider things? They didn't. When the earth moves under your feet, it is always a good idea to run for safety. That didn't happen. The sky, that had already darkened, turned black as if trying to get a point across to the angry mobs. They didn't get the point. Thunder clouds rumbled, but nobody listened to them. Tupá did everything in his power to change their minds. They didn't change.
Arrows flew in all directions. Poisoned tips did what poisoned tips are supposed to do. Spears speared while axes split. Through it all, Cavureí led the charge for his people. As he slaughtered things left and right (and by "things" I do mean anyone in his way), he had three simple goals. He wanted to avenge the death of his father's messenger, capture the love of his life, and eliminate any future father-in-law issues.
Meanwhile, back at the hut, Yeteí was not living her" happily ever after" moment. So, like so many fair maidens in stories throughout the ages, she crept out the back window in search of her true love. Unfortunately for her, that true love was in the midst of a battle with blood, gore, death and destruction on every side. Still, blinded by love as only a fair maiden can be, Yeteí headed straight into the middle of the battle.
You can imagine how pleased her father was about that!
Yeteí sat upon a boulder in the midst of the fighting. Naturally, it provided an excellent view of everything taking place. But, not even a fair maiden blinded by true love could handle that view. Spears speared. Arrows whizzed by. Axes split and shattered skulls and bones. Poison worked very effectively. People died on all side of her. And, Yeteí cried. It seemed like a good thing to do.
As her tears fell at her side, Tupá formed them into a magical stream. The more she cried, the larger the stream became. And, because this is a story just filled to the brim with gloom, despair and agony, Yeteí had a lot of things to cry about. For example, if you want specifics, off to her right, she saw her brave and dashing Cavureí, axe in hand, heading directly for her father. Splat! Cavureí was ever so good with an axe.
With father-in-law issues eliminated, Cavureí turned to his one true love. I'm not sure if he really expected her to be head over heels, hopelessly in love with the man who just killed her father. But, he never had the chance to find out. The chief might be gone, but there was still a whole host of archers. They let loose a whole host of arrows. They were very, very successful.
And so, Yeteí had more to cry about.
So, we know at least one of the sorcerers was correct. There was destruction, sadness and death. A broken hearted Chief Jurumí picked up the broken body of his son and laid it at the feet of Yeteí. She fell on top of it, embracing her beloved warrior and crying a whole lot more. Now, just when you thought it can't get any worse, remember there was the second sorcerer's prediction.
What? You need details? Well, let's just say that Chief Jurumí would never have made a very good father-in-law. When, Yeteí collapsed on top of her dear Cavureí, that nasty old Chief Jurumí pulled out a knife. Aaaaaaaaand, that is enough details.
The earth trembled and deafening thunder echoed throughout the jungle. Giant boulders split in two while huge trees were uprooted. Anyone healthy enough to make a quick retreat knew it was time to do just that. A mighty crash shook the ground. It was clear that Tupá had had enough. All this fighting was going to stop once and for all. And, when you are the god of creation, you can do anything you please. In this case the earth just opened up, forming a massive chasm, and swallowed any and every one involved in the mess. Yes, that included the sorcerers, who certainly deserved this more than anyone else.
As for Yeteí, well, you know what happened to her. But, her tears formed a stream that flowed over that chasm, forming an enchanted waterfall. And then, Tupá blessed that falls with a powerful love charm. From that day on, women have visited the falls to drink from its magical waters. Those who do, promise that it helps them get and keep their one true love.
You might think that is completely the end of the story, but it isn't quite the case. For you see, Tupá was not one to tie the story up in a lovely ribbon and say, "They all lived happily ever after." No, it didn't end that way. Remember all those people who fell into the abyss when the earth opened up? Well, they didn't die. They were condemned to wander that abyss for eternity, fighting, wounding, fleeing and suffering till the end of time. And, I for one, hope those two sorcerers have a particularly miserable time!
|Copyright 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.|