The Curupira: Brazilian Folklore

This Article was written by Claudio Paes De Almeida Neto, Year 9


In the past we covered a lot of American myths, rumors and legends. From a monkey like creature that lurks in the woods to a volcano that can wipe out the whole continent. But now we are going to step away from (North) America a bit- and well, go to another America (the South one.) I Hope you’re ready to listen about the folklore and the myths of my county, and learn about the Curupira!

The Curupira is an interesting creature. It can be portrayed as either a man or a little dwarf. However, in either portrayals, his feet are turned backwards, so his toes would be where the back of your foot is! The curupira is also depicted with reddish hair and strange tribal clothing. He can also be shown riding a wild pig or a boar in stories or paintings. He is the protector of forests... however, he is not the only one represented in Brazilian folklore. Another protector, called Caipora, is also prevalent in the folklore (but we will talk about him in another article.)


Curupira has been known in the country’s folklore to protect the woods of the country from excessive hunting and poaching. He does so by using his backward feet to be able to trick hunters, and to make them think they’re following someone when they’re going in the opposite direction to where the Curupira goes. This can either make hunters get lost in the middle of the forest or he will make them come back to his starting point; sometimes making them walk circles. He will also prey on other hunters that are trying to hunt animals that have offspring with them. He also doesn’t only target hunters, but also woodcutters.


The curupira is a far more ancient tale than you may think, and it came to life in (approximately) 1560. The native people of Brazil were the ones who knew about the tale, and told the colonizers who came there.The Curupira is sometimes seen as a super-powered creature. Some of his harsher punishments is turning hunters into forest critters. It has been told that the Curupira is able to cast illusions and enchantments, speed and strength above average (why would he need that? - No clue…) as well as transmutation (Basically transforming himself and/or others into something else.)


What do you think of this tale? Share the most popular folklore of your home country with us!


Thank you for reading.