The story

John of Clay - Legends and Myths


The Indians tell us that this was how the crested john bird was born.

According to legend, a long time ago, in a tribe of southern Brazil, a young man fell in love with a girl of great beauty. Jaebé the boy went to propose to her.

Her father then asked:
"What proof can you give of your strength to seek the hand of the most beautiful girl in the tribe?"
- The evidence of my love! answered young Jaebe.
The old man liked the answer, but found the young man cheeky, then said:
“The last suitor in my line said he would be fasting five days and died on the fourth day.
"For I say I will fast for nine days and not die."

The whole tribe marveled at the courage of the young man in love. The old man ordered the test to begin. Then they wrapped the boy in heavy tapir leather and watched day and night so that he would not go out or be fed. The young woman in love cried and begged the goddess Moon to keep him alive. Time passed and one morning the daughter asked her father:
- It's been five days. Do not let him die.

And the old man answered:
- He is arrogant, spoke in the forces of love. Let's see what happens.

He then waited until the last hour of the new day, then ordered:
"Let's see what's left of the arrogant Jaebé."

When they opened the tapir's skin, Jaebé jumped slightly. His eyes flashed, his smile had a magical light. Her skin was clean and smelled of almond perfume. Everyone was amazed and even more amazed when the young man, upon seeing his beloved, began to sing like a bird while his body slowly became a bird's body!

And it was at that very moment that the rays of moonlight touched the young woman in love, who also found herself transformed into a bird. And then she flew after Jaebé, who was calling her to the forest where they disappeared forever.

We can see the proof of the great love that united these two young people in the care with which the clay john builds his house and protects the pups. Men admire the crimson bird because they remember the strength of Jaebé, a force born of love and greater than death.