According to legend, Canimao was a great Indian warrior
who fell in love with a beautiful Indian woman named Cibayara,
the daughter of Cacique [or “Chief”] Baguanao.
One day, Cibayara was inexplicably unable to rise from
her hammock, her body burning with fever and delirium.
After three days, Cacique Baguanao sent Canimao to find
Macaori, a folk healer living on the banks of the Jibacabuya
River, to cure Cibayara.
Canimao arrived at Macaori’s hut, Macaori told him
that the beautiful Cibayara would be cured and would become
his wife, and that she would give him a son. In exchange,
the Bat God would exact a high price from Canimao. Canimao
swore before the clay image of the Bat God that he would
give his life for the health of his beloved. Macaori then
healed Cibayara by order of the Bat God. Canimao and Cibayara
were married and, three months later, Cibayara was pregnant
with the son of her beloved.
day, Canimao left his hut without saying goodbye, took
his canoe, and rowed to the center of the Jibacabuya River.
With his own untrembling hands, Canimao cut open his chest
with his dagger and fell into the river. Months later,
Cibayara bore a son. The two would take offerings together
to the Jibacabuya River, which became known as the Canimao.