Sunday, November 11, 2018

Note on The Noble Savage

So someone was talking about "the noble savage" on FB and I told this story. I hope it does not bore you all.
Here is a comment on the "noble savage". In 1985, while out on a 30 day jungle survival course with Moises Torres Vienna, a young man, who turned out to be a Matses man, came into our clearing. He had a jaguar mouth tattoo, red achiote on his face, and bamboo whiskers coming from his nose. 
He looked like a human jaguar. He nodded toward our scopeta, shotgun, and Moises, after a brief moment of talking dialect, gave it to him, along with two shotgun shells. 
The young man walked off and in a few minutes we heard the gun retort. A minute later we heard a second retort. A few minutes later the young fellow came into our clearing bearing two hastily made leaf bags on tumplines from his forehead. 
In each was an adult mono negro, black monkey, weighing 15-18 pounds. On his head was a monkey infant. He put down the shotgun and took one of the bags from his head and put it next to the gun. 
Then he walked off. Moises said we should follow and in short order--I don't know if it was a mile or three--we came on a Matses camp that was being built by Papa Viejo, the most feared Matses of that era, a man with six wives and a lot of kids. T
he young man walked to two women who were overseeing a fire and gave them the bag with the adult mono negro in it. They opened the bag, grabbed its arms and legs, and stretched it out over their fire, where it burned to death, horribly, while they chatted. 
Then he went to a woman who was breastfeeding a baby and gave her the baby monkey, which she immediately put on her free breast to milk. 
In that single minute I had seen the cruelest and kindest thing I've ever seen. 
And I fell in love with the Matses.

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