U is for Uaica

Published April 25, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros


Uaica contains nearly all the vowels in his name.  No, wait, that’s irrelevant and inaccurate.

Okay, I must be tired.  Let me go get some caffeine.

Right, so hopefully that’ll kick in soon.  Meantime, I’ll get on with the post.

Uaica was a healer of the Juruña people of the Xingu River.  His power of healing had come to him from the creator, Sinaa, but only on the condition that he abstain from sex.  And at first that’s just what he did.  So long as he refrained, he could heal any injury or illness, and his people never knew the touch of death.

But then his grateful people decided that it was wrong for him to be alone, and they gave him a wife.  They meant well, so Uaica accepted the wife, telling himself that he could avoid her bed and live on as before.

Uaica was very naive.

After he found himself unable to fully resist the temptation of a beautiful wife, Uaica’s powers of healing began to decline.  Realizing that he was being punished for breaking the god’s command, Uaica decided he would not share his wife’s bed again.

That didn’t sit too well with his wife, and she tried to tempt him back.  But Uaica was adamant this time, and refused her entirely.

At first that annoyed his wife, then it enraged her.

To get back at her husband, she took a lover.

Much to Uaica’s surprise, his powers of healing faded further, as if Sinaa was punishing him for his wife’s adultery.

Eventually, the lover tried to kill Uaica — wanting to make Uaica’s wife his own wife — and when that happened, Uaica was swallowed up by the earth.

Some time later, his voice echoed up from the ground, telling the Juruña that it was the will of Sinaa that they follow him.  But the people didn’t listen, and didn’t follow him.  And so from that day forth, they had to follow him the long way, by suffering from disease and death.

On reading that story, I was put in mind of Samson, and the dictum that he must never cut his hair if he wanted to retain his tremendous strength, only to lose both after succumbing to a temptress.

I know there are other tales of a supernatural being (whether a god or something else, like a faerie) giving a command that must never be violated, followed by (naturally) the violation of the command and the person suffering the predicted result.  I know that some of them surely also feature the loss of some amazing power.

But honestly I lost my incentive when — having gotten into this post all the way to Uaica being attacked by his wife’s lover — I looked up the story in another source and it was almost entirely different.

I’m not sure which to believe, and I still have almost twenty pages to read before I can write my paper.

So I think I’ll leave this one as “please take it with a grain of salt in that my source may have been wrong,” and go about my business.

I realize this leaves me with two pretty underwhelming posts in a row, but tomorrow’s should be better.  It’s a less obscure myth, so it my sources should be right about it this time.  I’ll make sure to double check before I start writing, though.  Just to be on the safe side.

(Honestly, the only reason I didn’t just abandon this post is that I couldn’t find another subject at the last minute, and I didn’t want to get all the way to “U” only to fail the challenge.)


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