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Thousands years ago, the ancient prehistoric nomads arrived on the continent, that in the future was given the name of America. They settled themselves along the coast and there they formed communities.
In the course of time, these nomads established civilizations. Some of them went to south spreading themselves around there, and one of the families went to a distant land still not inhabited, now called Acre, in the northern part of Brazil. There were born eleven children, these eleven children grew up and married each other, and from them were born more eleven children, from these eleven, eleven more came, and so one. They continued to have children, the families grew wider, and there was a time that no one knew who was the kid of who anymore, and some of them were grandchildren of their own mothers.
As time goes by, strange and different children were born, some colored ones, some with four legs and four arms, a boy was born with feet backwards, another one-legged black boy was born, and also girls with fish tail. Some mothers died giving birth to giants children, others died because they were eaten by their cannibals babies. Those little different children were rejected by their own parents. Some of them, with aquatic forms, were thrown into the Blue River spreading themselves across the world, others fled to the north, burrowing themselves through the Amazon Jungle.
Among those different children there was an evil girl, named Cuca¹, she has an alligator head, large claws of hawk and sharp teeth, disheveled hair and challenging eyes. She fed herself on other children and little creatures of the forest, ripping their guts. Every time she went to attack, she used to sing:
“Sleep child, sleep now…Or else the Cuca will come and eat you…”¹
She lived together with a myriad of small and malignant beings in a dark cave. She grew up and became the feared witch Cuca, the most perverse creature of the forest, anyone who crossed her path could be tore up and thrown into her cauldron. But something worse was about to happen that would change the life of the dwellers that lived near the Amazon Jungle. Something was about to be born…
Some years later, a beautiful girl with dark skin and green eyes fell in love with her grandfather, a furry man with big ears. They ran away to the Amazon Jungle to live their love. But there was something that they didn’t know…there was a thing inside the beautiful girl’s belly.
[...Her mother got pregnant of twins, but just one embryo developed itself, the beautiful girl, and when the mother was 5 months pregnant, the girl swallowed the other embryo, that was a little seed. This little seed stayed for all these years in the beautiful girl's stomach, as a twin son living inside her. Growing day by day, little by little, feeding itself on the girl's blood as a parasite...]
The more the thing grew, the more the girl diminish. Alarmed by the abnormal and weak physical condition of his beloved, the furry man took a knife to open the girl’s belly in an attempted to save her, because the thing was moving inside her, but he had no time. At the exact moment that the man began to tear the skin of the young, a red formless being with sharp teeth and big black eyes, emerged from the girl’s belly eating pieces of her, killing his twin mother. The freak red creature was covered with a black goo, making noises and staring at the furry man.
A demon was born……
With his mouth open wide, he attacked the man, jumped on his neck and took off his head. That thing ripped the man and ran to the forest. The little demon was found by Cuca, the old witch, eating the head of the man, she took him and raised him as her child. And he became the Cuca’s Demon.
*And the story begins…at a small city in Amazon…
Every night, an old man visits a little boy to tell him stories about the brazilian folklore and legends of that beautiful green land. This little boy calls him Vovô Nêgo. Yesterday, Vovô Nêgo visited the little boy to tell him a new story…
- Good evening little boy, ready for a story before bedtime?
- Vovô Nêgo! You came!
- Yes boy, I’m always here with you.
- So Vovô, which tale are you going to tell me tonight?
- Once upon a time there was a beautiful and friendly girl who lived with her parents in the Green Land, at the border between Brazil and Colombia. They were a very happy and harmonious family. Said Vovô Nêgo.
The boy not at all satisfied, replies:
- Oh, Vovô, I thought you would tell me a creepy and dark legend, I don’t want a fairy tale …
- Hey, didn’t you know that all fairy tales are dark stories?
- No Vovô, fairy tales always have happy endings with princesses and princes, my mother used to tell me when I went to sleep.
- And didn’t you have nightmares my boy?
- So, fairy tales are scary. They are not what they seem to be, in their fanciful and caricatured way, these stories camouflage the humanity of the evil and the darkness of the good guys. Now I’m going to tell you how all of this happened…
In Green Land there were two tribes, Pirapora and Unidú Nitê. These tribes were separated by the Sleepwalker Forest. It was the bridge between dreams and reality. Every night the Sleepwalker Forest moves itself from place to place. There live fairies, goblins, the boy with feet backwards, the one-legged black boy and their friends caboclos, that are the protectors of the forest, they are always hidden among the green foliage, those who have a good heart feel their energy and protection. There we can see dolphins and mermaids too, swimming in the waters of the Blue River.
That girl that lived in Pirapora was called Iarú. She spent her childhood in a home with much love. She grew up and became a beautiful woman. One day walking through the jungle she met Malô Nitê, a great warrior of the tribe Unidú Nitê. They fell in love.
The passion of Iarú and Malô was forbidden, because they were from different lands. The Sleepwalker Forest had a curse for those who were against the laws of its nature and the one who carries a descendant in the womb with the mixture of bloods would be responsible for the massacre of the people’s families. Iarú and Malô began to meet themselves without anyone knows, and surrended themselves to their love. They didn’t know that Iarú got pregnant, and without knowing she condemned all to a bloody death.
On the day that the people of Unidú celebrates the coming of spring, there are also rituals to ward off evil spirits and evil creatures that live in the Sleepwalker Forest. The warrior Malô prepared the rituals and reunited the families, and when everything was ready, at midnight,the Sleepwalker Forest strangely moved to west, the moon and the stars were gone, the waters of the Blue River became so red that looked like blood, the inhabitants of the forest went into it to hide themselves because she was there, accompanied by her demon.
- Run! Cuca is here, protect your children!
Something was wrong, but what was it? Nobody knew what was happening. The witch came to the warrior and said that Iarú was expecting a bastard with bad blood and that all the tribe would be decimated.
By hearing that all the men of the tribe turned against Malô, saying that he had betrayed his people, they begged Cuca for mercy. The witch’s demon attacked one of the men smashing his body and eating his heart, the blood were spread on the condemned land. Malô cried and implored not to do anything and that he himself would pay for the curse. Malô should deliver his soul to the devil and in exchange Cuca would leave the tribe. But she only agreed if she takes Iarú with her, because she wanted the bastard child.
They had no choice, the young Iarú went to the forest with the witch and never ever saw her love again. The warrior made his pact with the devil, asking for peace and wealth to the tribes, giving his soul in exchange. For the pact Malô should carry a little devil in a bottle², that in the future would charge for his soul.
[...To have a little devil of the bottle, a person need to get the devil himself (that could be the witch's) to impregnated a black chicken. After this chicken hatch the egg for 40 days, a little devil will born, and it have to be kept in a bottle under its owner's bed, and should be fed everyday with the owner's blood...]
And so did Malô. He took care of his little devil of the bottle over the years. The witch’s demon protected the people of the tribes Unidú Nitê and Pirapora, giving them much abundance and peace.
Nine months later, there in the witch’s cave, Iarú was about to give birth to her child. The old witch came to attend the young woman. She opened Iarú’s belly with her own claws, and took the baby. The body of Iarú had its blood drained which would serve to feed the baby during the first days of his life, and pieces of Iarú’s body were given for him to eat during 10 years. Malô never knew about them, and this baby became an evil human eater creature. When he died he transformed himself into a haunter, the Dry Corpse³.
Forty years have passed, the witch’s demon appeared to Malô to claim his part of the pact. The demon then released the bottle’s imp which immediately entered the body of Malô, that became unconscious. They took Malô’s body to the forest and there await the little devil of the bottle grows and be born again to eat Malô and takes his soul.
*- Vovô Nêgo, what happened to the little devil of the bottle after he left Malo’s body and ate him?
- He stayed with the old witch Cuca living in the Amazon Jungle, and with her he’d grow up and learn the laws of Nature. Cuca’s demon went to town to take advantage of the humans’ weakness and to make his pacts. The demon showed that when we change the natural balance of life, very bad things happen. And he took all these bad things with him to the town, the consequences of deforestation, pollution of rivers and killing of animals. In the following years, more imps grown up with the Old witch Cuca and went to other cities.
And that is it. You see how important is to respect nature?
- Yes Vovô, I respect nature and do not want to have a little devil of the bottle.
- That’s right, then I’m going to the Forest, tomorrow I might come back to tell you another story. Good night and be a good boy.
- Good night Vovô Nêgo.
The boy’s mother enters the room:
- Are you talking to yourself, son?
- No mommy, Vovô Nêgo was here telling me a story.
- Again with this boy, there is no one here. And what is this empty bottle under your bed?
- It’s My Bottle Imp, but Vovô Nêgo cannot know Mom.
- Okay my son, your invisible friend, cannot know about your invisible devil, now, time to sleep, and stop with this nonsense thing, good night.
- Good night, Mom.
If a legend has always been told, one day, it might become true … that’s why we have a Sleepwalking Forest deep inside our minds.
by- Gabriela C. Marra
This story has characters of the brazilian legends. The places and tribes are fictitious.
¹ is a mythical ghost-monster; equivalent to the boogeyman. Parents used to sing lullabies to their children warning them that if they don’t sleep, Cuca will catch them and eat them.
² This being is the result of a pact that people say they can do with the devil, this pact consists mostly of an exchange their soul for wealth.
³ When he died, he was rejected by God and the Devil. One day, he arose from his tomb, completely rotten, and it stuck in trees to dried them and haunt people.