June 1938, In Mucajó territory on the Mucajai River in northern Brazil
Two men sat in the shade at the edge of a clearing in the middle of nowhere. Sitting in their canvas chairs, they might have looked like a pair of Hollywood movie directors except for the fact that they were never more than an arm's length from a firearm. They had not much in common other than that they were the only Europeans for miles around. Rudolf Ortner was a fortyish man, athletic looking but underweight due to his unwillingness to eat what food was common to the Indians in the area. He was a geologist sent by the Third Reich to find and secure rights to tin ore known to exist in the upper Amazon. The other man, younger by a few years, was Jan Van der Bilt, a Dutch anthropologist sent by his government to contact and assess the Indian tribes in Dutch Guiana. Having wandered, sometimes aimlessly, for ten years in the forests of Dutch then British and finally Brazilian territory, he felt quite at home and had no thought of ever going back to the Netherlands.
They had met in Boa Vista, more marketplace than town, upstream on the Rio Branco from where the Mucajai flowed into it. Both were there in search of those things that made life more bearable in this country.
By this time Rudi had given up hope of the Brazilians ever letting him mine the ore he had found. He was ready to return to Germany when Jan told him that he could make a good profit by trading steel for gold or, once finding the source of the gold, panning for it himself. It was his success in this that kept him from leaving this miserable place, but after ten months, success did not seem to be enough. Jan, after three years among the Tirió tribe had never sent a report back to Paramaribo. Dutch officials made futile attempts to find him but he had already disappeared into the forest, still taking notes. After another year with the Tarumás, he wandered into Mucajó territory and realized that he was the first European they had ever seen.
After a year with them, he traded a pocketknife and a steel pot for Sima, a sixteen-year-old Yanomami girl who was taken captive while foraging alone. She would have been the second wife of the headman except for his first wife's long and loud complaints. Jan had one child by her, Willem, now five years old. At Sima's urging he built a small lodge, an open sided hut similar to those her people lived in, near the banks of the Apiaú, about where the territory of the Yanomami met that of the Mucajó. The thirty-mile trip upstream from the Mucajai was a half-day by canoe from Rudi's camp where the two Europeans now sat. Rudi had set up his camp here because the river was deep enough for the large trade boat from Manaus, the only large city in this part of Brazil.
In the sun the heat was close to body temperature, the shade gave but little relief. They watched as a small group of Brazilians, mostly half-breed Caboclos, and a few Indians of the near extinct Manao tribe, unloaded and reloaded goods. Cookware, machetes, sugar, salt, trinkets and cloth coming upriver, latex, gold, rosewood oil and birds going downriver.
Many locals coming on foot wandered about the clearing carrying items to be offered for trade. The owner of the large boat from Manaus directed most of the trading even though it was Rudi's camp. He would come here on his way to Boa Vista because Rudi and Jan paid in gold for all their goods. Anything that was available in Brazil was available here for a price.
In the middle of the clearing a shout went up as a wicker cage of birds came apart and the Indian who brought them here and a Caboclo tried to contain them. The endeavor was unsuccessful and the Indian suffered a painful bite in the attempt. He blamed the Caboclo for mishandling the cage, who blamed the Indian for the poor quality of it. As the argument grew louder the Captain came up on deck to see what was causing the ruckus.
Rudi had become impatient waiting for a promised case of Steinhager and when he saw the Captain, he indicated that he was still waiting, all the while thinking that the man promised more than he could deliver. Presently a young Indian girl wearing no more than a piece of coarse cloth over her loins approached them. She was holding a crock of the promised gin, examining it as though she had never seen a bottle before, which was probably so.
As she stood before the two Europeans, silently offering this curiosity, Rudi noticed how beautiful and innocent she looked. Short straight black hair cut in bangs, high cheekbones and soft features that gave her face a look unlike women he had seen in other parts of Amazonia. She was tattooed front and back with swirls and circles and linear patterns. He guessed her age to be fourteen or fifteen.
"Close your mouth, Rudi," Jan said in German, amused that his friend should be so taken by this young girl. "You act like you've been in the forest too long."
Rudi knew that the women who came on the supply boat from Manaus were all prostitutes, but it was hard for him to imagine that this young girl was one also.
"Jan, can you find out what her name is," he asked, "and something about her?"
"Those tattoos look like she's Mucajó." Using his sparse vocabulary he asked, "Zu Mucajó?"
"Kai azu poa zu?" Jan continued.
"Máyapo," she replied, softly.
Jan waved to his son who was looking through the things that he had purchased. Willem was truly a child of two cultures; his skin tone was between those of his parents but you could see both mother and father in his face. His hair was dark brown, unlike the Indians and long with a slight curl like his father. He spoke the languages of both parents even though Jan could offer no possible benefit of knowing Dutch in Brazil.
"What, Papa?" He asked in Dutch as he approached.
Rudi had to smile as he heard this child of the tropics speak a language so close to his own German. It pleased him, not for any supposed superiority of European languages, but because a boy should naturally speak the language of his father.
"Ask this girl where she came from."
Willem stepped alongside the girl and taking her free hand, turned her away from the two men, speaking in a low voice because his father told him that he did not want to hear him speak in Mucajó. He then walked the few steps to tell his father who relayed the answer to Rudi.
"She came from a place that had lots of boats, probably Boa Vista. What else do you want to know, Rudi?" Jan asked.
"I want to know if she is willing to stay here with me."
"You can't be serious, Rudi. These women drop like flies from measles or tuberculosis, or worse for you, she probably has gonorrhea."
"Ask her, Jan," Rudi insisted, "and ask how long she's been on the boat."
Jan repeated the questions in Dutch to Willem and he repeated them to Máyapo. Rudi knew what Jan said was so but he knew that he needed to make life in this place enjoyable; the gold was not enough. He strained his ears just to hear what the girl's voice sounded like and to glean from her tone if his proposal was foolishness to her. He felt better as he saw her extend her hand holding out three fingers. He took that to mean three days but suddenly thought it might mean three months, or years. While he wondered if these people even knew what years were, Willem was translating to Jan.
"Well my friend, this may be a day to remember for you. She says she will stay. She has been on the boat three days."
Rudi was delighted, almost embarrassed that his anticipation might show. After all, a man his age should not be lusting after a child. The Mucajó had no privacy in their lodges neither had they any shame for doing what any man and woman do naturally, but since Jan and his party were not leaving until the next morning, he determined to be very casual about what they all expected would happen later. He motioned to Máyapo to come to him and took the bottle from her hand. Putting it down he took hold of her forearms when he saw the skin on her wrists was rubbed raw.
"What's this?" he asked.
Máyapo knew what he was asking and removed a leather thong from around her neck. She put Rudi's hands together and wrapped the thong around his wrists. A brief comment was translated 'You do not do this.'
He looked into her eyes and saw nothing, no fear, no delight. She was just taking advantage of a better deal.
Without taking his eyes off her he said, "Jan, tell her that I am giving my most valuable possession for her and that she must not run away."
"And what would that be?" asked Jan.
Jan thought that was a very high price to pay but decided to keep his opinion to himself. He passed along the message to Willem who told Máyapo. The four of them being so close, Willem spoke very softly so that she had to bend her ear to his mouth to hear. Willem didn't know how to say rifle so he walked over to Rudi's weapon and pointed to it. Her eyes suddenly widened and a smile appeared on her face. She spoke excitedly directly to Rudi and looked to Jan and Willem for the translations.
When Willem finished, Jan said, "She evidently has no idea of the value of a rifle because she thinks that you made a fair trade. Rudi, you could buy a woman like this from her tribesmen for a machete. She asks if she will be your woman. I think she means wife and she wants to know why our hair is yellow."
'Wife?' Rudi had not so noble a thought as that in mind. He fully intended to leave her behind when he returned to Germany. ' Well the deal is not done yet', he thought, 'until the Captain agrees.'
Rising out of his chair he handed the bottle to Jan saying, "See if you can find something clean to drink out of while I settle with the Captain. You should be able to figure out how to explain blond hair without my help."
Picking up his rifle Rudi walked to the large boat and shouted a greeting. The Captain's head popped up from below and he waved Rudi aboard. Nobody boarded unbidden. As he turned to go below he nodded to the Manao woman who he knew would have a shotgun aimed at him until he went ashore. Captain Dos Santos bragged that he had never been robbed and that he never robbed anyone. Everyone knew that only half of that was true. Dos Santos indicated to him with a finger to leave his rifle with the woman. Rudi's Portuguese was not that good but he knew numbers well enough. He would have preferred to have Jan with him but Dos Santos would never have let the both of them aboard at the same time. The Captain was a slight man, coming up only to Rudi's shoulder. He had a bad habit of touching people for no reason and insisted on being addressed as Captain.
"Sit, Alemão, sit." Dos Santos never forgot a trade and never remembered a name. His hand immediately went to Rudi's upper arm, almost stroking it, disguising his intention by feeling the material of his sleeve. "You could use some new shirts, eh? New boots? Want a drink, eh?"
"Thank you, no." Rudi knew better than to drink anything the Captain offered. One of his crew was a shaman who had a bag full of herbs, any one of which could put you in a chaotic state of mind. "You bring me only one bottle of Steinhager?"
"A case. You asked me for a case, I brought you a case. It's already in your tent." The Captain was annoyed that his ability to deliver had been questioned. He produced a list of everything Rudi was sending downriver and all that had been unloaded for him, each item followed by a number, its value in Reals. "That little taste of home cost you, Alemão." He turned the list around and slid it across the table, putting his fingertips on the back of Rudi's hand while he verified the total.
"Looks right." The Captain let his fingernails grow long so that his hands looked like rat feet. Dos Santos had a monopoly on the Mucajai, so you put up with his odd habits, or made the trip to Boa Vista or Manaus yourself. The balance was small but Rudi did not intend to part with any of his hard-earned gold. "Add the new girl and ten shirts and a pair of boots and I'll give you my rifle."
Dos Santos didn't even blink. He motioned to the woman to bring the rifle to him. After a thorough inspection he declared, "Girl yes, boots no, two shirts."
Rudi countered, "Girl, boots, no shirts."
Dos Santos countered, "Boots, no girl, no shirts."
"You son of a bitch. You think I want the boots more than the girl," he said pleasantly in German, knowing Dos Santos did not speak a word of it. He smiled and looked directly in his eyes. "Girl, ten liters of gasoline."
"Deal," Dos Santos said quickly, reaching behind him. He handed Rudi a piece of rope. "The rope comes free with the girl. You want another girl next time too?"
Rudi could not understand how some people could put such a low value on human life. He thought it a bit hypocritical of himself since he planned to abandon Máyapo. Maybe he would arrange for Jan to bring her back to her tribe.
Jan had been watching the boat intently all the while. When he saw Rudi coming down the ramp without his rifle he held aloft the gin and two shot glasses, waving them as in victory. He interrupted Willem who was talking with Máyapo. "Tell the girl she is staying."
Willem told her excitedly. She was delighted. She spoke directly to Jan. "Will she be his woman?" Willem asked on her behalf.
"Yes. She will be his woman," he said, knowing that was what she wanted to hear. As he walked toward Rudi he added softly, "for a while."
"Hey, Alemão," Dos Santos shouted before Rudi had gotten too far. "Don't feel too bad about the boots. Here, I give you a present. The Holandês can read it to you."
One of the crewmen handed him a newspaper from Rio de Janeiro, probably months old from the looks of it. As it was close to noon the Captain wanted to get going in order to anchor at the market in Boa Vista by dark. He yelled to his crew to load whatever goods were not traded. "Well Alemão, anything special you want next month?'
"Yes. Bring me another newspaper, not so old. And see if you can find some mercury, maybe twenty-five kilos."
"Mercury? It will be very expensive, eh?
"Maybe, but if it is too expensive you will take it back downriver, eh?"
They nodded to each other and parted. Curiously the Captain never shook hands. As Rudi approached Jan he held out the newspaper with a picture of Hitler on the front page. "What's this all about?"
Jan took the paper and read silently for a few minutes. "Well," he finally said, "it appears that Germany and Austria are one nation. France and England are doing nothing and Mister Hitler is looking to expand into Czechoslovakia."
Jan was troubled more with the inaction of the French and English than with the Germans. "Let's have a drink." Offering Rudi a glass, he thought that sounded like an invitation to celebrate the news. To dispel that notion he added, "And no politics."
Rudi, although he never supported Hitler, was pleased that the man had broken every provision of the hated Treaty of Versailles and had gotten away with it. That was all so far from here and now. "Pour!"
Jan poured. They touched glasses. "Prosit," offered Rudi.
"Proost," replied Jan. Together they slugged down the gin and together they said "Ah," with a shake of the head. "Another?" Asked Jan. Rudi extended his empty glass and Jan refilled it and his alike. All the while Máyapo watched curiously.
"Proost." And they repeated the ritual.
No longer able to contain herself, Máyapo hesitatingly took the glass from Rudi and held it out to Jan. Jan looked to Rudi for guidance and Rudi nodded slightly. Máyapo did not fail to notice. As Jan filled the glass she stood there with her lips pursed.
"Pro-sit," prompted Rudi. She was unsure. "Prooo-sit," he repeated, more slowly.
"Posit ," she blurted out, unable to produce a trilled r and unwilling to try. Her arm came up, her head went back, her arm came down and the gin came back up as quickly as it had gone down. She spewed it out of her mouth and nostrils all over Jan's shirt. Both men broke out in roaring laughter.
"Hayamisi pada zu," she gasped. Rudi laughed harder. She stormed off toward the boat, turned and shouted, "Hayamisi pada zu."
Up the ramp she went and disappeared from view. Dos Santos' crew and women were getting aboard ready to depart.
"What did she say?" Rudi asked Jan.
"Hayamisi is her god and I'm sure she was not asking him to bless you."
The boat's engine started up and Rudi, suddenly very serious, feared he had just lost his investment. He wanted her. He had to do something. He headed toward the boat, about to go up the ramp when the Manao woman turned the shotgun toward him. Just at the point of desperation,Máyapo came back up on deck with her only possession, a leather and wood talisman. Down the ramp she came, right to Rudi, unleashing a torrent of words and shaking the talisman in his face. He had no idea what she was saying but noticed that every other word seemed to be Hayamisi.
"Enough," he shouted at her, grabbing her wrist. She became instantly quiet. They stared at each other. Rudi did not want her to hate him. He yelled over his shoulder for Willem who came running; Jan followed. "I want her to know I'm sorry," Rudi said.
Jan said, "Rudi, you don't need to apologize. She's an Indian, you own her. She won't leave; she doesn't know which way to go."
"Rudi you're making a mistake."
Jan began to tell Willem but Rudi thought he was telling him too much. "No bullshit Jan, just say 'He says he's sorry,' that's all."
Exasperated, Jan told Willem what to say, word for word. Rudi released the girl's wrist. She was still staring at him as Willem translated. She was amazed and pleased. He could have beaten her or sent her back with the Captain. She thought either he was afraid of Hayamisi or Hayamisihad put a spell on him. She liked Rudi. Taking his hand she turned her back to him and pulled his arm over her shoulder and down across her chest, standing very close to him, the top of her head barely reaching his chin.
"What does this mean?" Rudi asked Jan.
Jan had no idea. He sent Willem to fetch his mother. Sima did not know either. The Yanomami and Mucajó languages were very close, so much so that they were mutually intelligible but their customs varied widely. Sima inquired of Máyapo what it was that she was indicating, and told Jan.
"She is announcing to all that she chooses you as her protector; she submits to you." After a short silence he added, "You just got married." More silence. "You may kiss the bride." Jan said with mock formality. He grinned, everyone grinned. "No don't, I'm just kidding. The Mucajó don't kiss."
Whooo , whoop, whoop . The boat whistle announced its imminent departure as it backed into midstream. Dos Santos waved; they all waved. Máyapo was inquiring of Sima. When it was told to Jan he said "She wants to know why we cannot understand one another, are we not one tribe?"
Rudi pointed to Máyapo. "Mucajó." She nodded. To Jan "Holandês," using Portuguese rather than Dutch. To himself, "Alemão."
Máyapo picked up a twig and drew a picture in the dirt of the boat with a stick figure on it, pointing to it and looking to Rudi for information. "Brasileiro," he said. She then drew below the boat. One figure with an object in its hand, two others connected by a line and another, a smaller figure, horizontal. She explained to Sima who knew too well the dangers of not having a warrior for protection. What she related was that two men had caught them at the river, tied her hands and beat her younger sister and left her there. They brought her downriver to the place of many boats where they gave her to the Captain.
Pointing to the two men Máyapo asked, "Bra-sil-eiro?"
Rudi nodded, either that or Caboclos. She used her fingertip to erase herself and her sister from the drawing. Then she moved over it, squatting above it and urinated. "Hayamisi pada Bra-sil-eiro."
For the rest of the afternoon Rudi and Jan enjoyed each other's company and most of the bottle of Steinhager. Their talk covered a multitude of topics; politics, Indian women, Brazil's future and most importantly - gold. Jan was puzzled when he saw one of Rudi's men go by with a basketful of bottles.
"Gasoline," said Rudi. "If I asked for much more he would have given me a drum. I need the bottles. He's bringing me some mercury. I'll show you how we can extract gold, and lots of it, from poor quality ore." Rudi went on to explain the process and the dangers involved. Rudi had twoManao men who spent most mornings crushing ore and picking out flecks of gold. His two other men were Wapishana who were neighbors of both the Yanomami and Mucajó tribes. They did his hunting and cooking. They were also his best traders, going upriver on the Mucajai to trade with those people. The four of them were busy planning their monthly trip to Boa Vista. Rudi allowed them a week off after the big boat left to have a good time in the market and brothels with a bit of that month's gold increase. This would leave Rudi time to pan a small stream where he often found pea size nuggets. He would get back to camp before the men to weigh and hide what gold he had accumulated.
Máyapo spent the entire afternoon with Willem and Sima, asking question after question. It wasn't until the evening meal that she returned to Rudi's side. He and Jan were not quite drunk when Jan teased him about ending his celibacy. Rudi felt a bit embarrassed but could think of no way to quiet him. When the Indians retired to their lodge, Jan asked Rudi, "Do you think you will need any translating later?"
"Go to bed, damn you. I'll see you in the morning." He got up and cautiously made his way up the ladder to his tent, which was on a platform to keep it dry when the river flooded. As the sun was nearly set he lit an oil lamp; Máyapo followed. He sat on his cot and removed his boots. She sat on a footlocker opposite, waiting for some sign from him. Rudi lay down, watching her in the dim light. 'How beautiful she is', he thought. ' This could not happen in Germany, they would lock me up.' He motioned to her to come to him. She sat on the matting by his cot, her face no more than a foot away from his. He looked into her eyes and studied her face but he could not keep his own eyes open and slipped into sleep. She sat by the cot for a while, examining his features, touching his hair.
Undoing the buttons on his shirt she was surprised to find no tattoos, only skin of a different color than his arms. 'Did he not have a God?' she thought. She laid her talisman on his chest and opened her heart to Hayamisi. When she felt that familiar stirring in her, she said, "Hayamisi, I was hasty. Keep this one safe for me." She gave thanks to Hayamisi for Rudi and for children. A long while later the lamp burned out, but Máyapo was already asleep on the matting, there being only room for one on the cot. Her last thought before sleep was to remedy this.
Rudi awoke alone feeling some effects of the previous night. When he got his wits about him he pulled on his boots, unlocked the strongbox and removed four small packets of gold for his men. They were waiting, all packed and ready to leave. Speaking in German, which they all learned to some degree, he warned them what could happen to Indians in Boa Vista who were not careful about showing gold. They had heard all this before and nodded politely as they edged toward their canoes. It would take them the whole day to paddle the fifty miles to Boa Vista.
Jan's traders, one Mucajó and one Yanomami, had already left. Jan would catch up with them with his outboard. Willem came over to Jan to ask something then ran back to Máyapo who was busy in the lodge. They both came back to Jan, Máyapo spoke to him and he nodded. They returned to the lodge laughing.
"Good morning, Jan."
"Good morning, Rudi. How did it go last night?"
"I passed out," Rudi admitted.
"Ah, now something makes sense," Jan said wryly.
"What makes sense?"
"Well drinking all day certainly doesn't. My head is killing me."
"Another shot or two will fix you right up. Take a bottle with you."
"Thanks, Rudi but I really don't drink that often."
"Take one Jan, you'll need empty bottles when the mercury gets here."
He agreed. As Rudi went to fetch it, Jan called to Sima and Willem to get ready to go. With Máyapo, they came over to Jan still laughing about their secret. "Tell her to say it again, Willem," he said. She did. Jan was sorry that he would miss this. Rudi returned with the Steinhager. They made their good-byes and Jan and his family shoved off. Rudi and Máyapo watched silently until they were out of sight.
Rudi wanted to see what Máyapo was up to and would have gone to the lodge but she stopped him. He could see that she wanted to tell him something, which only reminded him of the immense problem that they faced with communications.
"Spielen wir heute? She had said in poor but understandable German, 'Will we play today?' emphasizing 'heute.'
Rudi was dumbstruck. Those scheming... He knew that all three of them had to be in on this. "Ja," he said. "Ja, heute." Did they teach her 'ja' too, he wondered.
They obviously did. She took his hand and hurriedly brought him to see what she had been doing. Grinning broadly she pointed to her work, a hammock for two. Rudi realized that he needed to modify his tent platform in order to hang the hammock. While Máyapo went back to her weaving, Rudi figured how he would make the changes.
Máyapo finished about noon and came to the tent to get Rudi who was busy cutting new posts. When he saw the finished product he could not believe that two people could make love in such a thing. She invited him to try it. He did so half expecting to fall out the other side, but it was remarkably steady. She pulled off his boots and motioned for him to put his feet up. She then unbuttoned his shirt.
Rudi knew where this was going and was not comfortable with it. Broad daylight in the open like this; no matter that there were no other people for miles around. As she took his shirt off she saw the tattoo that had been hidden under the sleeve. 'So he has a god after all', she thought. It would be months before Rudi could explain what an Iron Cross was.
Her hand gestures made it plain that she wanted his trousers next. As he came out of them he felt vulnerable and embarrassed. He began to tremble nervously; she pretended not to notice. She climbed in the hammock, barely moving it and sat astride him. Rudi was ready and Máyapoguided him into herself. What followed was neither tender nor measured, but was pure exuberance on her part while he was no more than a spectator. She giggled and shouted and moved her body with youthful ease. When Rudi tried to remove her loincloth she stopped him. 'Perhaps that is taboo,' he thought.
When she knew that he had finished she lay down on his chest, still moving slowly. Rudi took her head in his hands to see her face. What he saw, he saw for the first time in his life. In just two days a complete stranger had given herself to him totally, heart, soul and body. He was awed by his own feelings for her. He noticed two holes at the corners of her mouth and pointed to them. Máyapo got out of the hammock and picked up pieces of the thin vines she used for its framework. She put three short pieces into the two holes Rudi noticed plus another in a third hole he had missed in her lower lip, then a longer one through her nose. 'No wonder the Mucajó don't kiss,' he thought. In her own eyes she was more beautiful with her adornments. Rudi pulled them out slowly and gently kissed her lips. Máyapo did not know what to make of this. She climbed back into the hammock and the two of them lay side by side for a long time. It was a good day.
In the months that followed, Rudi taught her passable German. She learned to operate the outboard, fire a shotgun and pistol, sew and most importantly, she learned to kiss back. He persuaded her to give up her loincloth for a simple cotton jumper; Máyapo liked the floral patterns. Rudi liked the fact that only he would see her unclothed. Her curiosity was never satisfied; she wanted to know all about Rudi's world. She saw her first photograph and camera, razor, scissors and all the other ordinary treasures in his footlocker. Rudi learned to fish like an Indian; Máyapo was an excellent angler. She taught him the plants of the forest, for food and medicine. She showed him from which tree her people made an extract of the bark that they called epéna, a powerful hallucinogen. She blew some up his nose so that he could see God. It made him delusional for a day and he was sure that what Máyapo told him he was experiencing was his introduction to the world of the hakuís, the Mucajó pantheon.
On his next trip Dos Santos brought the mercury; much more than Rudi had requested, explaining that it came in that size only. Rudi took it. Jan and Rudi were now extracting three times the gold they had gleaned before. The news from Europe was unsettling, Rudi knew that Hitler would go too far and it might take another war to stop him.
When the rainy season came in November the river rose more than expected so Rudi had the whole camp pack up and go up the Apiaú to stay with Jan who was on higher ground away from the river. Sima and Máyapo respected each other but never became friends. Neither was very familiar with the other's tribe. The Yanomami were not naturally drawn together as a people. They were so preoccupied with their intra-tribal warfare that it resulted in their unusually good relations with their non-tribal neighbors. It was only because their tribes were different that they did not consider themselves enemies.
One day as Máyapo was gathering fruit in the forest with Sima, she noticed her pull up and chew on a yaga root. Sima evidently did not want to be pregnant. But Máyapo wanted many children. She had been unsuccessful for five months in her attempt to get pregnant. She was determined to try harder. The following August, Máyapo finally gave birth to a girl. Rudi promptly named her Annalise. Máyapo already had a name picked out but was content with Rudi's choice, it sounded so different and it was a link to his world.
When Dos Santos came again in mid September of 1939 he had bad news for Rudi. Britain and France had gone to war with Germany for invading Poland. It was sad for him but he could do nothing. He had put his life on the line in a war he thought was just but this was stupid. With each trip that Dos Santos made the news got worse. In the spring of 1942 before the flood abated completely Rudi did something Máyapo thought was very strange. He made impressions of her thumbs on a piece of paper, the same with Annalise. He said that he had business in Manaus that he could not entrust to Dos Santos. If he allowed himself to drift at night he could make the 600-mile trip in three and a half days. Coming back against the current would take much longer. He left the shotgun with Máyapo and took his pistol. All went well and he returned safely.
At the same time a year later when Dos Santos made his first trip after the rains, a boat from the Brazilian army followed him. It all happened very quickly and very formally; he was under arrest as persona non grata. Even Brazil was at war with Germany. In the 30's the government thought that there were too many Germans coming to Brazil and passed a law to stop their immigration, so he expected no sympathy. He was allowed a few minutes to say good-bye. He went to Máyapo accompanied by a soldier.
"Who are they?" She asked.
"These people are at war with my people and they don't want me in their land. I have to go with them."
"When will you be back?" Máyapo's eyes scanned the river and saw a man in uniform hand something to Dos Santos.
Rudi knew that he would be deported and that the war would have to be over before he could return. Given their present attitude toward Germans, that might be never. "I don't know, but if you are here I will find you." He took a key from around his neck and put it on hers. "There is a letter in the strongbox for Jan."
Annalise had walked over as they were talking and he picked her up and held her closely. Máyapo had not groomed her in the Mucajó style but let her dark brown wavy hair grow long; it was below her shoulders. Except for that she looked very like her mother and not a bit German. "How's it going my little darling?"
"It's going good, Daddy."
"I'm going away for a little while. Give me a kiss."
She hugged his neck and gave him many quick kisses. The soldier tapped his shoulder. Rudi gave Máyapo a long embrace and turned without a word. The big boat was already leaving; she could not see Dos Santos. "Hayamisi pada Dos Santos," she murmured. "I will see you again."
Within days Rudi was on a ship heading for Portugal, a neutral country. By May 1943, Captain Ortner was assigned to forces defending the coasts of France where he died on 11 June 1944. None of the many letters he wrote were ever delivered.
The Indians had deserted Máyapo by the time Jan showed up in April to trade. He felt terrible that the Brazilian government could be so cold. He could do nothing to comfort her. She gave him the strongbox, whatever mercury was left and Annalise. She told him she would see him tomorrow. As soon as he left she filled all the bottles she had with gasoline and headed to Boa Vista. The encampment had grown since she had last seen it and she wasn't quite sure she knew where she was but when she spotted Dos Santos' boat she knew this was it. She hid among the many small boats tied up along the makeshift pier. When it was dark she paddled alongside the big boat and opened a small packet of epéna and snorted it through a reed. It made her convulse severely for a minute and then left her calm as the spirit of vengeance took hold of her. Waiting in the dark she heard someone urinating off the deck. When it stopped she called out with a loud whisper, "Dos Santos."
Nothing. She called again, louder, "Dos Santos"
"Who is it?" came the reply. He came around to where she waited.
"Yes, I am Captain Dos Santos. Who is it?"
"I am Kulebeí."
"I don't know any Kulebeí."
"I have been sent by Hayamisi to repay you on behalf of one of his children."
Never one to refuse a payment, he asked, "Who is that?"
"Frau Ortner!" She said as she pulled back the hammer. Before he could react, she pulled the trigger. From only a few feet away the shotgun blast left little of his head on his neck. She pulled on the starter rope of the outboard and it purred softly. Máyapo traveled all night back to her camp. Kulebeí went back to the place of darkness, the Mucajó equivalent of hell, to await Hayamisi's next call to avenge one of his children.
The next day Máyapo refueled the boat. She loaded most everything that was left in the camp and headed up the Apiaú to Jan's lodge to wait for Rudi. It was more convenient for Jan to continue speaking German to Máyapo and Annalise than to teach them Dutch. Annalise did not learn Portuguese until years later when she no longer lived in the forest. She grew up like Willem, speaking two languages. Máyapo taught her all the things of the forest and all about the spirits who lived there. She knew she could call on Hayamisi anytime to protect and avenge her.
Máyapo never got over her separation from Rudi and was sad and bitter until the day she died in 1953 at thirty years of age. Annalise was the only joy in her life. Jan helped Annalise to cremate her mother's body according to Mucajó tradition. A small amount of her ashes were saved and a month later Annalise ate some of them so that Máyapo's noreshi, that part of her that communed with the spirit world, would not be lost. Jan asked Annalise to allow him to put the rest into the small leather pouch that made up part of the talisman. It was the only thing Máyapo had ever owned.
Sima died the following year, thirty-eight years of age.
Immediately after her death Jan and Willem went to visit the Mucajó tribe they had been trading with for twenty-two years. Jan asked the headman to allow Willem to live among them. The tribe gladly accepted him as someone who could contact the outside world on their behalf and offered him a wife. Willem protested, saying that Annalise was already his wife but Jan would not allow him to come back to his camp to get her. On Jan's return he informed Annalise that Willem had taken a wife from the Mucajó and would be living among them from now on. Within days he moved his camp downriver to where the Apiaú met the Mucajai, to the place where Annalise was born, her father's camp.
Jan took Annalise for his wife. He was fifty-three, she was fifteen. Four years later when Jan heard rumors of a major gold strike on the Tapajos River, he abandoned his camp and he and Annalise moved to Itaituba, the nearest town to the goldfields.
Within a year Annalise was pregnant.