The açaí legend
Centuries ago, long before the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, a great tribe inhabited the estuary of the Amazon river. As they were facing a food shortage, the tribe’s chief Itaki ordered that every newborn child be sacrificed in order to stop population growth.
Sometime later, Iaça, one of Itaki’s daughters, gave birth to an exceptionally beautiful daughter. Iaça pleaded with her father to spare the child, but he insisted that the baby be sacrificed. Stricken with despair, Iaça locked herself in her hut and cried for many days. One night, she heard a baby crying in the forest. After following the sounds of the cries, she discovered her daughter under a palm tree, smiling and laughing. Yet just as Iaça ran towards her, the child suddenly disappeared. Iaça was so overcome with shock that she collapsed right on the spot. Her body was found several days later, embracing the trunk of the palm tree. She was smiling and looking at the top of the tree, which was full of bunches of purple berries.
Upon hearing the news, chief Itaki immediately sent for the berries that his grief-stricken daughter had inadvertently discovered, and used them to nourish the hungry people of his tribe. Reversing the letters of his daughter's name, Itaki called this magical fruit "açaí." From then on, his tribe lived in good health and welcomed new generations.