The following tale was recorded by Friar Ramon referring to the Taino origin of the sea and I have translated for classroom use:
There was a man named Yaya who had a son Yayael, whose name means son of Yaya. Yayael wanted to kill his father. When Yaya found out that his son wanted to kill him, he had him exiled for four months and then killed him himself. Yaya put his son’s bones in a gourd which he hung from the ceiling of his house, and here it hung for some time. One day, Yaya wanted to see his son and said to his wife,” I want to see our son Yayael.” His wife felt great joy, brought the gourd to her husband, and turned it over to empty out the son’s bones. Large and small fish came out of the gourd, and they realized that their son’s bones had turned into fish and decided to eat them.
Later, one day when Yaya was out in his
, which means possessions or lands, the four children of a woman named Itiba Tahuvava came to his house. Their mother had died giving birth to the four and the first one to be born was Caracaracol, whose name means scabby or leprous . . . , the others did not have names.
Itiba Tahuvava’s four identical sons went together to steal Yayals gourd where the bones of his son Yayael were kept. Of the four brothers only Dimivan Caracaracol dared to bring the gourd down from its place but all four ate the fish they found inside it. While they were eating, they heard Yaya returning from his conucos, and in the confusion that followed, when they tried to put the gourd back in its place, it fell and broke. People say that so much water came out of the gourd that it covered the whole earth and along with the water fish of all sizes came out too. This, according to Taino myth is the origin of the sea. This and other fascinating myths and descriptions are found in the work of Friar Ramon in his report to Admiral Cristobal Colon, which can be read in its totality in
Crónicas de Puerto Rico
by Eugenio Ferndandez Mendez.