Iae represents the Moon god for the Mamaiurans, an Amazon Indian
tribe living along the banks of the Xingu river in Brazil. According to a
Mamaiuran legend, at the beginning of time it was always night and the
Indian tribes were forced to live in perpetual fear of attack from wild
animals. The light could not reach the Mamaiurans because the wings of the
birds blocked the sky.
Iae and his brother, Kuat, decided to steal some light
from the vulture god Urubutsin, king of the birds. The two brothers hid
themselves in a corpse, and waited until the birds approached. As soon as
Urubutsin landed on the corpse to eat the maggots that it was supposed to
contain, Kuat grasped the Urubutsin's leg. Unable to get away and
deserted by his followers, Urubutsin was forced to compromise with the two
He agreed that he would share daylight with the Mamaiurans. To
make the light last for long time, it was established that day should
alternate with night. As a result, Kuat became associated with the Sun and
Iae with the Moon.
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