“No one knew what that drink was. Not the fish, nor the animals, nor the forest. The only one who knew was the boa.”

Yube Inu was fishing when he stumbled upon a lake with a pile of uricuri seeds on its bank. Aware that they would attract animals, he built a leaf hut and hid there, waiting for them.
First came a jacamim, a black bird with metallic green wings. Yube Inu shot it and found colorful seeds adorning its nose. Then came a cutiara, a yellowish brown rodent no bigger than his foot, and he shot it too. He saw the seeds again, this time being used as earrings. Last came a juriti, a grayish brown dove, and it had a red string tied to its feet. 
Yube Inu found it all very strange. There was something different about that place. 
Suddenly he heard a thundering sound coming from the forest, it was a tapir running towards the lake. With arrows too short for the kill, he hid in his hut and watched as the animal took three jenipapo berries and tossed them into the lake. The water started frothing and from the foam came a beautiful woman.
She was the tapir’s wife and Yube Inu fell in love with her.
Yube Inu took the game back to his people, but he was not himself anymore. He could only think about the woman in the lake, and back there he went the following day.
He tossed three jenipapo berries into the water, as the tapir did, and from the foam came the enchanted woman again. But she didn’t find her husband waiting, she found Yube Inu there.
First she turned into a jaguar, so he would be scared, but he stayed. Then she turned into the thorny murumuru palm tree, so he wouldn’t touch her, but he did. Last, she revealed herself as a boa, and embraced him.
“What is your name?”, he asked. She looked at him and replied “I’m Yube Shanu”.
The snake woman went back to the water and took him with her. They lived at the bottom of the lake and had three children. From their time together, Yube Inu learned the ways and customs of her people, including their knowledge of a sacred brew. 
But his father-in-law was mad, for their brew was no longer a secret, and he decided to eat Yube Inu.
Yube Inu was sleeping after taking the sacred brew when a bogó woke him up. “They are coming to eat you,” said the fish, “you better run.”
He went back to the surface and hid amongst his people. But one day, near a river, Yube Inu was attacked by a boa. The snake was his daughter. She called her two brothers and they started devouring their father. Yube Inu screamed, but before help arrived, he struck a deal with his children.
“We will take your legs,” said his daughter, “but the rest of you will be intact, so you can teach our ways to your people before you die.”
When his relatives arrived, Yube Inu taught them about the sacred brew and how to prepare it: “Take leaves of the inãi kawa bush, water from the river and bark of the nixi pae vine. Boil them and drink it.”
Yube Inu died and from his corpse grew all the ingredients.
This was how the Huni Kuin learned to prepare their nixi pae brew. They use it to heal their bodies, souls and learn from the spirit of Yube Inu.
"The Tale of Yube Inu and the Secret of the Nixi Pae" tells the Huni Kuin myth of the snake-woman Yube Shanu and how Yube Inu learned from her people about sacred brew known worldwide as Ayahuasca.
This three part story was told in collaboration with the indigenous chief Ibã Huni Kuin, translated and edited by Douglas Lambert, with photos by Douglas Lambert. Each part represents one of the ingredients of the brew.
Part 1 - LEAVES 
The Enchanted Lake; photo: Inãi Kawa - The Chacrona Leaves.
Part 2 - WATER 
The Snake Woman; photo: Purus River - A tributary of the Amazon.
Part 3 - BARK 
The Sacred Brew; photo: Nixi Pae - The Ayahuasca Vine