LiTIIE Peop le of Madagascar.
Etymology: Betsileo and Sakalava Malagasy (Austronesian) word.
Variant names: Biby olona, Kimos, Koko-lampo, Kotokely.
Physical description: Height, 2-3 feet. Covered with hair. Head-hair falls to the waist. Fingers with hooked nails. Three toes. Has many other mythical attributes similar to those of European Fairies and Merbeings. Characteristics vary from region to region.
Behavior: Amphibious. Sometimes malevolent. Voice like a woman's. Eats fishes and likes milk. Said to abduct children.
Habitat: Lakes, lagoons, caves, and forests. Distribution: Lac Alaotra and Lac Kinkony; Ankazoabo District; Andoboara Cave; the central highlands, Madagascar. lossible explanations:
(1) Surviving giant lemur, possibly Archeolemur or Hadropithecus. These lemurs had short limbs, hands, and feet and were powerfully built. They probably represented the same ecological niche for Madagascar as Africa's baboons. Weight was 30-55 pounds. However, they apparently were not amphibious.
(2) The Malagasy equivalent of a MerBEING. Sources: Ch. Lamberton, "Les
Hadropithèques," Mémoires de l'Académie malgache 20 (1937): 127-170; Raymond Decary, La faune malgache, son rôle dans les croyances et les usages indigènes (Paris: Payot, 1950), pp. 207-208; Bernard Heuvelmans, "Annotated Checklist of Apparently Unknown Animals with Which Cryptozoology Is Concerned," Cryptozoology 5 (1986): 1-26; Loren Coleman, Mothman and Other Curious Encounters (New York: Paraview, 2002), pp.
MERBEING of Japan.
Etymology: Japanese, "river child." Variant names: Kawachi, Kyuusenbou, Ma-sunta, Mu jima, Ningyo.
Physical description: Said to be half human and half turtle or frog. Height, 3-4 feet. Weight, 20-50 pounds. Apelike face. Long hair. Dishlike hollow in the top of the head where water is kept. Scaly limbs. Webbed hands and feet.
Behavior: Active in summer. Changes color like a chameleon, according to surroundings. Can also transform into a human. Has superhuman strength. Favorite food is the cucumber. Cries pearls instead of tears. Often malicious. Tries to drown children and travelers. Likes sumo wrestling.
Habitat: Rivers, lakes, and ponds; seen less frequently in the ocean and mountains.
Distribution: Kyushu; the southern tip of Honshu; the Sarugaishi River, Honshu, Japan.
Significant sightings: A shrine in Kumamoto Prefecture is said to possess the mummified hand of a Kappa.
A Kappa mummy is on display in Imari, Saga Prefecture, at the Matsuura Brewery, where it was discovered inside a black box during some renovations in the 1950s.
Sources: Henri L. Joly, Legend in Japanese Art (New York: J. Lane, 1908); Donald Alexander Mackenzie, Myths ofChina and Japan (London: Gresham, 1923), pp. 350-351; Kunio Yanagita, Tono monogatari (Tokyo: Bungei Shunju
Shinsha, 1948); Catrien Ross, Supernatural and Mysterious Japan (Tokyo: Yenbooks, 1996), pp. 31, 99; Kyoichi Tsuzuki, Roadside Japan (Tokyo: Aspect, 1997), pp. 272-274; Oniko, Kappa Quest 2000, http://www.sonic.net/ ~anomaly/oniko/epaug99.htm.
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