Taino Tales: The Secret of the Hummingbird contains just one Taino Tale.
In the story, a Taino girl falls invoke with a Carib boy. The Taino and Carib, bit Caribbean indigenous peoples, were traditional rivals. Here’s background information on the two groups:
- What Became of the Taino?
- Taíno: Indigenous Caribbeans
- Taino Museum
- Teaching for Change’s Taino reading
- Khan Academy Taino Art
- Carib fact sheet for kids
- Florida Museum article on Carib movement
- Scientific American basics on the Carib
Here’s another Taino Tale:
A video about the Carib
The Secret of the Hummingbird
Alida, the daughter of a Taino chief, falls in love with Taroo, a Carib boy. Her father responds by commanding her to marry a Taino man of his choosing.
Discuss any similar stories your students know about — possibly Romeo and Juliet is one. Romeo and Juliet both die at the end of the play, and the Secret of the Hummingbird doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, either. Alida is turned into a flower and Taroo becomes a hummingbird, spending his days looking among the flowers for Alida.
When you see a hummingbird visiting flowers, it could be Taroo looking for Aida. How romantic is that?
Here are some questions for discussion or writing prompts:
- Well, just how romantic is that? Stories of love often have tragic endings. Why does that appeal to us? Have students discuss movies or books that follow this pattern. Ask students to defend the idea that these sad stories are romantic.
- Other love stories end with “happily ever after.” Challenge students to rewrite the Secret of the Hummingbird with “And they lived happily ever after” as the final sentence.
- This legend proposes an origin story for hummingbirds. Stories of this kind are found allover the world. Research this type of legend and find other stories that propose ways birds or animals came to be.
- Taroo has been left behind by a Carib war party. Alida meets him when she visits a quiet pool in response to the stress of the war. They meet secretly at this place for months as their friendship deepens and love blossoms. Study the geography of Puerto Rico, where the story takes place, and have students write a description of the secret pool. Challenge students to illustrate the description and use the illustrated descriptions to create a bulletin board.
Learn about hummingbirds
Put a hummingbird feeder on your window so you can observe hummingbirds.