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New Meaning to I'm a Chocolate Person! A Traditional Amazon Tale

Here is a story I found, from in old book that I happily stumbled upon in a locked case at a library where I was researching old tales, stories that might not be told much anymore. I like to air such tales out, in the spirit of The Endangered Stories Act.

In the Before Time…The Great God Karu possessed many bags of seeds. Some were the seeds of plants, others were the seeds of animals, some were the seeds of a new humans- humans of a kind yet to be born. These last were seeds in Karu’s mind… waiting for the right time to plant.

One day Karu gave a basket of seeds to his friend, a man of the early race named Surá. He had seen that Surá had done well with the maize seeds that he had given him earlier.

But Jaburu, hiding in the forest jealously watched and waited.

When Surá, left to care for his maize field, Jaburu came to the place where Sura had left the new basket of seeds and ate every one of them. Surá came back and found him just as he was greedily stuffing he last of Karu’s gift into his twisted mouth.

There was a fierce battle between the two, but at the end, Surá lay dead

Then Jaburu buried Karu on the very spot where the basket had been.

The next day as Jaburu walked by that place he was astonished to see an unfamiliar tree growing on Surá’s grave. Wrapped around this new tree was a vine and on that vine there was a gourd.

Today we know that the tree was the first cacao tree. Cacao and gourds have been in the world since that day. Jabaru fogot all about the tree and the gourd, and slunk back into the forest.

Karu too came to that place, eager to see how Sura was faring with his new seeds. There, he saw, the fresh grave of Sura, the cacao tree and gourd.He was quick to understand what had happened.

“ Jaburu has destroyed the seeds and killed my friend!”

Karu went immediately to Jaburu’s house. There he found Jaburu’s wife.

“You will make me a drink of chocolate. You will make in NOW” , Karu thundered.

“Chocolate?” she replied. “This is something I have never heard of before.”

Karu smiled. His voice softened .

“ This is a new drink grandmother," he smile, "and I will show you how to prepare it.”

Karu instructed the wife of wicked Jaburu in the preparation of chocolate, and when the rich thick brew was ready, he commanded,

“When your husband returns use this gourd for a drinking cup and be sure that the first cup is served to me.”

Then with a voice that shook the forest, Karu summoned Jaburu to return to his home at once..

It was a summons that Jabaru tried to ignore. But the wind that carried Karu’s voice also carried a delicious odor, an aroma that he had never smelled before .

Karu called a second time.

“Jaburu!” Come to the feast! This was call that fell upon his delighted ears!

“ A Feast?” Jabaru raced home as fast as his legs would carry him.

As she was instructed, Jaburu’s wife offered the first gourd of steaming cocoa to Karu.

“ Ah so good, so very very good this is!”

Then Karu filled the gourd and presented it to Jaburu.

Jaburu drank greedily. He emptied the gourd cup in one sloppy gulp“

“Ahhh! he exclaimed.” That is the very best drink I have ever tasted in my life.

Tell me, what is the name of this drink and from what is it brewed?”

“ This is the drink which I have made from the plant which grows rom the grave of my friend, the good Surá,” replied the mighty one. You have drunk from Sura’s first fruit. But you will never drink again!”

Suddenly, Jaburu’s belly began to swell. His skin tightened like a drum. His belly swelled. The aroma of the chocolate, mixed with the sweat of fear as Jabaru felt himself as one ready to explode. And explode he did. His stomach burst open with the force of an erupting volcano. Seeds flew in every direction!

These were the seeds that were in the basket that Karu had given to Surá, the basket that contained the first seeds of cacao. In this basket were also the seeds of the new human race, the people of our own time.

And thus, it came to pass that by the miracle of chocolate which grew from the grave of the good Surá, the seeds of the human race were not lost from the world.


Doesn't this give a whole new meaning to the idea that "you are what you eat"or in this case, drink . Chocolate lovers, I am one of you, pleased to haver found this tale, and hopeful that you'll pass it on.

(adapted from Tales of the Amazon (1939) by Elsie Spicer Ells)

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