Myths & Legends

 

MARUKA AND CIMANARI

At that time there lived in Salybia two brothers called Maruka and Cimanari, famous for the charms they made. They would go up to the house of the Tete Chien to find the master Tete Chien – the same who when the earth was soft, made the stairway of the Tete Chien at Sineku. He is giant and has a crest of diamond on his head, and crows just like a cock. Well, when they found him, they would take powdered tobacco and burn it before him on the blade of a paddle. Then after that the tête chien would vomit, and all that he vomited was ” l’envers caraibe”. After that the snake would disappear gradually, and in his place came a young man “sans cullote” (naked). The young man said nothing about he being the Tete Chien, but asked Maruka and Cimanari what they wanted, and when they told him, he instructed them how to use the envers caraibe to make their charms.

Maruka and Cimanari did not die in Salybia. When they felt old age approaching, they went away to the other country. When they reached the shores of the Orinoco River, they plunged into the stream, and when they came out on the opposite banks they became two young lads again, and on the water where they had been, there floated two turtle shells.

They never came back to Dominica, and at last one of them died; but the other is still living there.

 

THE SPIRIT OF THE ROCK

On the extremity of a narrow ridge opposite and beyond Bataka is perched a huge rock, itself some 60 feet in height, that overlooks the valley of Pagua, the ocean and the Reserve. It is composed of a blackish, crumbling rock and on its summit and from its precipitous sides grows vines and plants, a stunted scrub, and a kind of wild orchid. It is known as La Roche Pagua, and it’s the home of a benevolent spirit about whom many tales are told.

The people of Bataka used to go up the Pagua rock in search of charms. There are steps leading to the base of the rock, and, on its top, a crack that goes through the inside. That is where the Zombie lives, but if ever you see him it means someone is going to die soon.

On the top of the rock there grew all manner of charms, but in particular you may sometimes find there a white flower with so sweet a smell that people passing on the highway at the foot of the cliff may easily perceive it. When it is flowering, a new blossom comes on every hour of the day and every hour another fades and falls. If you are lucky enough to find one of these flowers, you may command with it whoever you wish to. You only have to rub on the palm of your hand then raise your hand in the direction of a person and call their name. However far they may be, they will have to obey and come to you. If you go in quest of the flower, it is wise to take with you a white cock, or at least some powdered tobacco, as a gift to the spirit of the rock.

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