Monday, January 18, 2010

Day XLIX - Saci

Tricksy monopod,
Smoker with magic red cap,
Dust devil dancer.

A popular prankster from Brazilian folklore, the Saci is understood to be a youthful little one-legged imp with magic powers. Said to be a Mulatto boy with holes in his palms, the Saci smokes a pipe and is identified by the magic red cap that enables him to turn invisible. The nimble, naughty little bugger often appears in the middle of a dust devil and delights in playing tricks, juggling objects through his holey hands and generally just making mischief and mayhem. The creature can be controlled should you successfully trap him or nab his hat, though whether the wish-granting power the cap confers is worth the smell of sweat or farts is debatable. You can also thwart the Saci by crossing a stream or leaving a knotted rope that the creature will feel compelled to untie, or alternatively by appeasing him with a gift of tobacco. The diminutive fellow flying into view in a gust of dust has gone down as an iconic entity in Brazilian culture, coming to find himself as a popular cartoon and children's book character, a football mascot and the basis on which to build a national alternative to Halloween. What's more, the Saci Pererê cocktail cures the common cold. Even though he's a badly-behaved, stinky little bastard, you can't help but give credit to the one in the special red cap for his marvellous abilities and irrepressible energy. You can't begrudge the Saci - one-legged Brazilian wonder that he is - too much.

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