In another thread, Nektarios mentioned the домовой, a folkloric house spirit in Russia.
Probably due to my RPG years, I am very interested in folkloric and mythological creatures - as culture of course, and maybe as monsters or characters for RPGs.
Anyway, since we have such a diverse group with different ethnic backgrounds here, I thought it could interesting if we shared some of the creatures popular imagination came up with in our cultures.
Since I'm suggesting it, I start. Here are some of the folkloric creatures of Brazil. Most are treated as just cultures characters and most people don't really believe them.
The most beloved of all is the Saci-Pererê
or just Saci, pronounced /sah-SEE peh-reh-REH/.
The Sacis are archetypical playful and mischiveous creatures. Black, one-legged, wearing red caps, always smoking a pipe, they like to play tricks on people and animals. They can turn into small windwhirls and are supernaturally agile and fast, always surprising those who understimate them for having just one leg. They can be caught if, when they are in windwhirl form, you throw on them a sieve with a cross shaped on it. Then you must put a bottle underneath it where the Saci will hide and must close it with a cork with a cross on it. Also, if you manage to grab his red cap, the Saci must serve you until you return the cap. Inveterate smokers, they use to ask for tobaco for their pipes and those who deny it will surely be victims of his tricks. The Saci is probably the "child" of European legends of monopodes, tales of runaway slaves and local indian legends of forest spirits.
Here is the Curupira
, direct from indian legends. Some of the indian nations believe in the concept of "mother" or "father" of each tree or animal. This is not the "spirit of the tree" but a spirit that protects the tree. This is the Curupira, protector of game animals and, nowadays in eco-correct times, elevated to "protector of the forest" status. The Curupira would punish those who were cruel to game animals or who hunted during improper times or improper animals. His main feature is that his feet are backward and he has the "power" of making the bad hunters get lost in the forest. When the punishment has to be tougher, the Curupira changes the bad hunter into the hunted animal.
is another well-known monster. According to legends in Brazil, a Roman-Catholic country, the woman who marries a priest or simply becomes his lover, will be punished by changing into the form of this monster. Then, the Headless-Mule will ride accross the region, visiting 7 churches each night and killing animals and humans alike in her path. The only way to "disenchant" the monster is to bleed it and only a drop of blood will do, saving the woman from the curse.
There are several others, but to finish this post, here is another very well-known one, the Boto
The Boto is an actual animal, a river dolphin, found particularly in the Amazon River. The legend says, though, that the Boto can change into a man, usually wearing a white suit and panama hat, who visits the parties of the river towns to seduce women. If the Boto falls in love or, for some reason, is endeared by one of its many bastard children, it may try to take the woman or the kid to its kingdom at the bottom of the river where there are palaces and abudant food. Like in European fae myths, one must not eat anything from the kingdom of the bottom of the river or they never come back. The Boto wears the hat because the only thing that does not change while in human form is that it keeps its blow hole at the top of the head, which allows humans to identify the seductive man at the party as the Boto.