British Guiana - Always Be Content
An expedition was arranged by a house-master for his relatives and friends, who were to come and join him on the coast and hunt sea-birds. Before starting, they all made quakes for collecting the birds' eggs, it being then the proper season, and eggs always good to eat. After they had gathered sufficient eggs to fill their baskets, they proceeded with their bows and arrows to shoot birds, and were very successful. The old house-master's son-in-law, however, went off by himself in quite another direction, where there was plenty of dry timber and shot only woodpeckers, of which he brought back plenty. When they got home again, the wives made cassiri for them. The old man and his friends gave to the son-in-law of their big stock of various sea-birds, and the latter gave them woodpeckers in exchange. In the course of conversation, they asked why he had shot only land-birds when he was supposed to have come out to shoot sea-birds. He replied that he did not mind whether they had come from land or sea, so long as they were birds, and that he was quite content to eat one or the other.
 I am well aware of the statement often made (for example, by Boddam-Whetham, ; im Thurn, ) about Indians not eating birds' eggs; this, however, applies only to eggs of domesticated birds, as noted by Schomburgk in his visit to the Takutu (Sc.T. 70): "Fowls are the only animals which the Indian of Guiana domesticates . . . ; but he raises them only for his diversion, as he makes neither use of their eggs nor of their flesh." Crévaux (164), in French Guiana, speaking of fowls and eggs, says that these are not eaten by the Oyambis, nor by the Roucouyennes. On his asking the chief for the reason, the latter told him that, in spite of his advanced age, he still wished to have children and that the eggs of all species of birds were preserved for the old people of both sexes. I am given to understand that the aboriginal Guiana receipt for cooking eggs is as follows: Break a number into a pot over the fire, stir with a wooden spoon, add salt, when procurable, to taste, and then serve.—W. E. R.
An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians, Walter E. Roth, from the Thirtieth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1908-1909, pp. 103-386, Washington D.C., 1915, and is now in the public domain.