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amazônia antiga • 34 Amazonia 014.indd 34

9/9/09 9:14:40 AM


“I used to fish a lot, all kinds of fish – tracajá, curimatã, tambaqui. It was a lot – tucunaré, surubim… But I’ve never been able to harpoon a manatee in this lagoon; there are some manatees out there that can hear even if one spits into the water. […] On a trip, I was fishing for arapaima at Caju Hole when I saw a muzzle and that big mouth mooed at me, some three or four meters away. I screamed, and we harpooned it to skin it and get its pelt. In the early evening, we went out on the edge of the long lake, the buriti palms guiding us to the other side. ‘That fire out there is the Big Snake, the fiery one,’ I said to my boat mate. It came slowly downwards and passed near us over the water, gliding with fire or at least a beam of light. We didn’t see the actual snake – but we did see the fire!” Nelson Neris, Santa Rita do Lago da Valéria, Parintins, Amazonas

Amazonia 014.indd 35

ancient amazon • 35

“Eu pescava muito, tudo quanto era peixe – tracajá, curimatã, tambaqui. Era muito. Tucunaré, surubim… Mas, olhe, eu nunca arpoei um peixe-boi neste lago; tem uns aí que escuta até cuspe n’água. […] Numa viagem, eu estava pescando pirarucu no buraco do Caju, vi um focinho, e a bocarra boiô pra mim, de uns três ou quatro metros. Eu gritei, e arpoemos pra descourar e tirar a manta dele. Na boca da noite, saímos na beira do lago comprido, o buritizal nos agasalhando pra outra banda. ‘Aquele fogo ali é a Cobra Grande’, eu disse pro meu parceiro do casco. Ela vinha baixando, passou perto de nós por arriba d’água, deslizando com fogo ou ao menos no feixe. Não vimos a cobra de verdade – mas o fogo sim!” Nelson Neris, Santa Rita do Lago da Valéria, Parintins, Amazonas

9/9/09 9:14:42 AM

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