Iguazú Falls © Marco Muscarà
According to Guaraní myth, the land was ruled by Mbói, a mighty snake who was one of the sons of the great god Tupã. The local cacique Igobí had a daughter called Naipí who was so beautiful that when she stopped to look at her reflection in the river, the waters would stop in their tracks in admiration of her. This girl was promised to Mbói, but she fell in love with a young man called Tarobá, and when the day of her consecration to the God came round, while the festivities were going on, the couple escaped downriver on a canoe.
When Mbói realised what had happened he was so angry that he slashed at the earth with his snake-body and caused a terrifying earthquake.
When Mbói realised what had happened he was so angry that he slashed at the earth with his snake-body and caused a terrifying earthquake, so that the waterfalls of Iguazú were created as the river rushed from one level to another, and the canoe and its occupants were swallowed up. Mbói turned Tarobá into a palm tree on the upper level of the falls, while Naipí was turned into a rock at the bottom, against which the terrifying waters of the falls would pound for perpetuity, while her lover leans helplessly towards her from an unbridgeable distance above. Mbói meanwhile lives in a cave beneath the tree and watches the torment continue through endless ages. No wonder the most fearsome drop in the falls is called the Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo).