Curupira

Little Peop le of South America.

Etymology: From the Guaraní (Tupí) curu-mim ("boy") + pira ("body"). Kuru in Aché means "short" or "small."

Variant names: Caá-porá ("mountain lord"), Cai^ara (for the female), Caipora, Cayporé, Coropira, Corubira (Bakairí/Carib), Kaaguerre, Kaapore, Korupira (Tupí/Guaraní), Kurupi (Guaraní), Kurú-piré (Guaraní), Yurupari (Tu-cano/Tucanoan).

Physical description: Height, 3-4 feet. Covered with hair. Red or yellow skin. Large head like a chimpanzee. Red head-hair. Shaggy mane around the neck. Flattened nose. Large mouth. Green or blue teeth. Large feet, said to point backwards. Crooked toes.

Behavior: Arboreal. Poor swimmer. Emits a birdlike whistle. Eats bananas. Said to smoke a pipe. Lives in hollow trees. Said to abduct children and rape women. Can shape-shift. Protects trees, forests, and game. Rides a pig or deer.

Tracks: Apelike prints.

Habitat: Forests, hills, ravines, mountains.

Distribution: Pará, Amazonas, and Pernam-buco States in northern Brazil; Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, and Goiás States in southern Brazil; Misiones Department in Paraguay; Chaco Province, Argentina.

Present status: Caipora has become a minor god in the Candomblé religion.

Possible explanation: Surviving Protopithecus, a Late Pleistocene spider monkey known from fossils in eastern Brazil.

Sources: Charles Carter Blake, "Note on Stone Celts, from Chiriqui," Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London, new ser., 2 (1863): 166-170; Herbert H. Smith, Brazil: The Amazons and the Coast (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879), pp. 560-569; Daniel G. Brinton, "The Dwarf Tribe of the

Upper Amazon," American Anthropologist 11 (1898): 277-279; Juan B. Ambrosetti, Supersticiones y leyendas (Buenos Aires: La Cultura Argentina, 1917), pp. 89-92; Luís da Cámara Cascudo, Dicionário do folclore Brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Nacional do Livro, 1962), vol. 1, pp. 166-168, 261-262; Napoleao Figueiredo and Anaíza Vergolino e Silva, Festas de santo e encantados (Belém, Brazil: Academia Paraense de Letras, 1972); Maria Thereza Cunha de Giacomo, Curupira: Lenda indigena (Sao Paulo, Brazil: Melhoramentos, 1975); Karl Shuker, "On the Trail of the Curupira," Fortean Times, no. 102 (September 1997): 17; John E. Roth, American Elves (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1997), pp. 50-54, 83-89, 94-95, 107.

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