Huli Tiame Myth

Translated by Stephen Frankel 1

Tiame would go to the forest and hunt possums (tia). She gathered many possums and cooked them with her own heat. She crouched over the mound of possums and cooked them. A young man would come, and she gave them to him, many cooked possums each time he came. The young man’s brother, an ibatiri (a dirty witless fellow), saw his brother’s possums, and wondered where he was getting so many. One day, when his brother was away, the ibatiri followed the tracks he had left, and he came to the place where the woman was. She said to him, ‘What have you come for?’ He said that he was looking for his brother. She said, ‘I have not seen him, but are you hungry?’ He said he was, so she said that she would go and catch possums. She came back with a huge quantity of possums. She started heaping them in an earth oven, and sent him off for water. She crouched over the mound, and the possums were cooked. He came back and wondered how they had been cooked as there was no fire.

She gave him some meat, and it was well cooked, falling off the bone. Then they went to sleep. In the night he saw a glowing fire in her arse. He went to her and copulated with her. And the fire went out. She said, ‘Truly, now you are going to have to work hard. You will have to use a friction cane to light fires, and when you cook pig you will have to scorch the hair and have all the trouble of cooking it.’

  1. Stephen Frankel. The Huli response to illness. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986., p. 96 []