Not every creature in the Amazon rainforest is out to get you, so long as you have good intentions, that is …
According to legend, in the depths of Peru’s Amazon rainforest, lurks the Mayantu, a reptilian, goblin-like creature, with a scaly body and the face of a toad. It roams between two dimensions, the physical and the spiritual, with shape-shifting abilities that allow it to camouflage itself easily, whether it be by imitating the bark of a tree or taking the shape of an animal.
Many say the Mayantu lives high up in the rainforest canopy of giant trees such as the kapok, but most sightings have taken place in wetlands and territories irrigated by streams that flow into long shallow lakes.
Unlike many other mythical inhabitants of the Amazon jungle, the Mayantu is not an evil spirit, and in fact has been known to come to the aid of humans when they are in trouble and need assistance, so long as those humans pose no threat or harm to wildlife.
The Mayantu is said to possess the knowledge of the medicinal plants of the rainforest and can use these plants to cure those in need.
However, he will not help those who come to the rainforest to destroy it or harm its inhabitants, and instead will attempt to cause confusion to those with bad motives.
To the native Yagua Indians, many of whom live on Amazonian islands near Iquitos, the Mayantu is a deity still worshipped today, often referred to as the “God of Good” of the rainforest, a curandero (one who cures) who symbolizes the spiritual strength and harmony of the jungle and its ecosystems.
Be sure to ask your Amazon guide about the legend of El Mayantu on your Peruvian Amazon river cruise or jungle tour. And the next time you look up at a giant kapok tree or find yourself stranded in the Amazon rainforest, keep your eyes peeled for the Mayantu – he might just save your life!
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