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Native Languages of the Americas:
Guarani Indian Legends, Stories, and Myths

This is our collection of links to Guarani legends and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American legends section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Guaranis, the traditional stories of other South American tribes like the Tupi are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Guarani legend for this page or think one of the ones on here should be removed, please let us know.

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Important Guarani Mythological Figures

Tupa (also known as Tupâ, Tupavé, Tenondete, and other names): The Guarani creator god. In some Guarani traditions, he is associated with the sun; in others, with thunder.

Arasy: Tupa's wife, associated with the moon. Sometimes she is known as the "Mother of Heaven."

Rupave and Sypave: The first man and woman, created by Tupa and Arasy.

Tume Arandu: Eldest son of Rupave and Sypave, he was the father of the Guarani people.

Japensa (also known as Japeusa): Tume Arandu's younger brother, he is the trickster character of Guarani Indian myth, who does everything backwards. He is identified with the crab.

Tau: An evil spirit also created by Tupa. He kidnapped one of Tume Arandu's kinswomen, Kerana, to be his wife, and together they gave birth to the terrible monsters of Guarani mythology.

Mbir, Zaguaguaya, Abaangui, and Tamoi: These legendary characters come from the Guarayu tribe, not the Guarani tribe. However, Guarani people who live near the Guarayus sometimes tell stories about these borrowed characters. Mbir is a mythical worm that created the earth, and Zaguagua and Abaangui are gods of the sun and moon, respectively, who created humans. Tamoi is a culture hero who taught people the arts of civilization.

Teyu-Yagua (also known as Teju-Jagua, Yaguarú, Jaguaru, Teyu-Yargua, Yaguaruich, Ñaguaru, etc.): A monster known as the water-tiger (or "jaguar-lizard.") In Guarani myths, this was one of the monstrous children of Tau, all of whom were killed by Tume Arandu's sister Porâsy. However, Guarani folktales still warn of such monsters (perhaps children of the original one,) usually known by the name Yaguaru or Jaguaru. They are said to lurk in lakes and rivers and drag unwary humans underwater to their deaths.

Kurupi (also known as Curupi, Corupira, Karai-pyharé, Cuarahy Jara, Kuarahy Jára, etc.): Another of Tau's monstrous offspring, Kurupi was an ugly, hairy dwarf who would catch and impregnate women. He was also killed by Porâsy, but similar dwarves are still told about in Guarani stories today, usually by the name Pombero. This Pombero is less evil than the original Kurupi-- he is more of a mischief-maker than a monster, and may even help humans who leave gifts for him-- but women and girls still need to be careful not to get impregnated when there is a Pombero around!

Guarani Indian Folklore

*Guarani Creation Story:
    Guarani myth about the origin of the world.
*Myths, Legends, And Monsters From Paraguay * More Guarani Mythology From Paraguay:
    Description of various monsters from Paraguayan Guarani folklore.
*The Guarani Legend of Iguazu Falls:
    Guarani story about the creation of a waterfall.
*Yerba Mate and the legend of the Guarani:
    Guarani legend about the origin of Mate tea.

Recommended Books on Guarani Mythology
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Tales of the Guarani Indians:
    Bilingual collection of Guarani legends and folktales.
Jabuti the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon:
    Colorful picture book telling the story of the trickster turtle Jabuti from the Tupi-Guarani tribes of Brazil.
Rain Forest Literatures: Amazonian Texts and Latin American Culture:
    An interesting comparison of traditional Arawak, Carib, and Guarani stories.

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Additional Resources

 Guaraní Mythology
 Books of Indian folklore
 Religions of Native Americans
 Guarani language
 Paraguayan Indians
 Amazonian people
 Native South Americans
 Activities for kids

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