The legend of Seriokai and the avocados

Apr 14, 2023 | written by:

An ancient legend of pre-Columbian civilizations tells the story of two runaway lovers and the avocados they sowed.

The constellation Orion is one of the most visible constellations from our planet. This is due both to its position and to the brightness of the stars that compose it. It is therefore no coincidence that stories and legends are dedicated to it in many cultures and traditions. One of the most original is undoubtedly the legend widespread among the pre-Columbian civilizations of Central America, which features Seriokai, his wife, a tapir and avocados.

Seriokai, the legend goes, was a man who loved avocados and spent much time picking and eating them. It was a serene life, that of Seriokai, who enjoyed nature's rich bounty and especially these fruits. But this serenity was not destined to last. Seriokai lived with his wife in a village in the middle of the forest, and one day, while Seriokai was out picking avocados, a tapir entered their home. Don't ask how, but the tapir seduced Seriokai's wife.

Seriokai was unaware of what had happened. The day after the meeting between his wife and the tapir, he returned as he did every day to the forest in search of avocados, but this time his wife offered to accompany him. She went ahead of him pretending to look for firewood, and as Seriokai came down from a tree he had climbed to pick the fruit, she threw a stone at him, injuring his leg. As Seriokai fell wounded, she ran off with the tapir, also stealing the basket full of avocados. Not exactly commendable behaviour.

Fortunately for him, Seriokai was found and rescued by one of his neighbours. After he recovered, understandably irritated by the incident, he set out in search of the lovers – with less-than-friendly intentions. Returning to the place where his wife had injured him, he found a trail of avocado trees growing in the forest and followed it. Those were in fact the trees born from the avocados that had fallen from the stolen basket. 

Tree by tree he reached the ends of the world, where he found the fugitives. Blinded by anger he shot an arrow, striking the tapir, which, wounded, fell beyond the ends of the world. As he saw him fall, the woman, who evidently had deep and sincere feelings for the animal, jumped together and him. And Seriokai? Legend has it that he is still chasing them today. Seriokai, in fact, is represented by the very constellation that for us is Orion; his wife, on the other hand, is the cluster of stars we call the Pleiades. Finally, the tapir corresponds to another cluster of stars, now called the Hyades.

On closer inspection, in this dramatic story, the silver lining is the trees born from the fallen avocados. An interesting planting method, although we still prefer the more traditional ones we use in our projects. And if you want to plant one yourself, you can click here.

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