The Legend of The Lupuna Tree


The lupuna tree is found throughout the Amazon. It is one of the giants of the rainforest, it is big, it is imposing, and it is well rooted in the jungle floor. It has a trunk that can be up to 33 feet across. The lupuna tree has a most unusual distinguishing mark which sets it apart from other forest trees. On the trunk, at its widest part there is a part that sticks out which resembles the shape of a human stomach. The legend says the tree has a spirit which is regarded as the guardian of the rainforest. However, the wood from this tree is very valuable and the lupuna finds itself pushed to protect itself against loggers. Some lumberjacks claim that only a certain type of lupuna tree has a spirit and they know if they make a mistake and cut the wrong one down the tree will take revenge.

The lupuna also takes revenge when local people insult the tree as this story tells.
A native woman was walking through the jungle when she felt the urge to urinate. Not thinking of the legend she squatted down by a tree and relieved herself, she was insulting the lupuna. The woman returned to her village like everything was normal, but not so. Soon afterwards she had severe stomach pains accompanied by her abdomen swelling. The pain and swelling got worse that night and the following day. Her husband called for the village shaman to attend to his wife who was now in agony. The shaman asked the woman what she had been doing before the pain and swelling started. "Nothing unusual", she replied. The shaman asked her if she had urinated by a lupuna tree. The woman told the shaman that she had, and he confirmed that her pain was caused by the tree for her lack of respect. The shaman told her the only chance of saving her life was for him to return to the lupuna tree and ask the tree for forgiveness on behalf of the woman. The shaman went into the rainforest trying to find a bad tempered lupuna tree which was not an easy task. He came upon a tree similar to the description given by the woman. Believing this to be the correct tree the shaman set out his things at its base and prepared for a night of rituals asking the tree for forgiveness. In the morning the shaman, with a special knife removed a piece of bark from the tree's "stomach" from which sap oozed. The shaman collected the sap and returned to the village and his patient. He told the woman to drink the sap and at that very moment the swelling subsided and the pain slowly eased. Later that day the woman was fully recovered. The woman, her neighbours and friends had learned a very important lesson, the rainforest and especially the lupuna tree demanded respect .
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