“Creatures, Sprits and Monsters” from YOUR folklore is the theme for SMA14. But how do these mysterious creatures operate? What are their powers? What food do they eat?? Throughout the entry period, we will publish a series of “Yokai Case Files” on several mythical creatures from around the world to help inspire your manga.
This week’s SMA14 Yokai Case File is good example of when creatures evolve through cross-cultural influences. Mixing the beliefs of Brazil’s indigenous people with those introduced through the inexcusable African slave trade, the Saci is a transatlantic child with a dash of Arabian Nights thrown in for good measure!
Saci-pererê; Saci-trique; Saci-saçurá
Wherever something goes wrong!
A one-legged, pipe smoking boy with a red cap.
Not deadly, but an expert at making your life a misery, including hiding toys, freeing farm animals, annoying dogs and cursing chicken eggs! Can also turn invisible.
When invisible, the Saci performs a dance which causes dust-devils to flare up. When twirling in his column of dusty wind, throw in a rosary and squeeze him into a bottle. Stealing his red cap can also tie him to you, but be careful how you treat him after…
Believed to have his origins in the forest spirit Ŷaci-ŷaterê, found in the indigenous mythology of the Tupi-Guarani people, the Saci we know today is more of an 18th Century interpretation by African slaves when they arrived in the region.
With this reinterpretation came the addition of Christian imagery, such his aversion to rosary beads and crosses. Other element’s of Saci also share a close links to the Genie from the Aladdin story, such as trapping him in a bottle and enslaving him to receive wishes. This links may have come from Muslim moorish slaves who were well aquatinted with the story from the Arabian Nights.
With his origins in the dark forests of Brazil and reinterpreted with the beliefs from Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Saci is truly a spirit that spans continents!