Prior to the arrival of
the Spanish, the land around Iguazú Falls belonged to the Guarani Indians.
Every year the Guarani tribe would sacrifice a beautiful virgin to the
Serpent God who lived in the Iguazu River. Usually these women were
bred to be sacrificed, and no one protested as the girls were thrown
into the river. Naipi, however, was not one of these condemned girls.
She was to be married to Taruba, a great warrior from a neighboring tribe.
A few weeks before the marriage ceremony Naipi was walking near the river
and M’Boi saw her reflection in the water. The Serpent God thought
she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and demanded that the
Guarani tribe give her to him. The elders of the tribe were too
afraid to upset M’Boi because his father was Tupa, the Supreme God of All;
so, they made arrangements to sacrifice Naipi a day before she was to be
united with Taruba.
Naipi was devastate, as she and Taruba were madly in love. Taruba
was furious and believed he could rescue Naipi from her grim fate.
The lovers made arrangements to meet at the Iguazu River and runaway.
Unfortunately M’Boi saw Naipi climbing into the canoe and raced to catch
up with them.
Taruba rowed as hard as he could and was able to keep a few feet of space
between them and the serpent. This made M’Boi so mad that his body
expanded to the size of the river. He slithered and squirmed causing
the river to form new curves and the little canoe to rock back in forth.
When Taruba wouldn’t give up, M’Boi became absolutely furious, and he forced the
earth to split.
The river spilled over the cracked earth, sending the canoe into spirals.
Taruba was knocked out and tossed onto the embankment. Naipi was
trapped inside and about to smash into the land below when M’Boi changed
her into a large rock, so she wouldn’t be able to run away. Taruba
saw the transformation and tried to rush down to her, but his hands were
pulled into the earth by M’Boi. His fingers were stretched so deep
into the embankment that they turned into roots and Taruba grew into a
palm tree - forever rooted to the earth above the falls.
This was M’Boi’s way of revenge, separating the two lovers by an enormous
waterfall, so they could see each other but never touch. M’Boi is
said to lurk deep in the water’s of Devil’s Throat, watching the palm tree
and the rock, making sure that they never unite. Although Naipi and
Taruba can never be together, they still manage to show their love by forming a rainbow
which starts at a palm tree on the Brazilian side of the falls and reaches
over to the rock of Naipi in Argentina.