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Dino Days-Crocs Rule | Crocodile Smiles | Smart Reptiles | The Gharial and the Monkey | A Crocodile Hunter | Cinderella Crocodile | Croc Speak



Cinderella Crocodile
"From the book "An Encyclopedia of Myth and Legend,
Pacific Mythology" by Jan Knappert."

This story is well known in Indonesia, usually as the tale of the two (step) sisters. In Halmahera, Cinderella is called Damura. Her stepmother tells her to go and wash clothes in the river. She loses one garment, so she has to go and find it. She meets a mother crocodile whom she greets politely, so the crocodile vows not eat her, but agrees to look for the lost garment on the river bed. Meanwhile, Damura has to look after the baby crocodile. She does so, singing a nice song to the young reptile. The crocodile finds her garment and comes back with it, then says to Damura, "Open your mouth!"

She does and the crocodile puts something in her mouth saying, "Speak to nobody on the road!"

When Damura comes home and says, "Hello, Daddy!" Two golden coins fall out of her mouth. Of course then her stepsister has to visit the same crocodile. She "loses" a garment and finds the crocodile, but when she has to hold its baby, she sings a wicked little song: "Little reptile, you stink!"

When she comes home only stones fall out of her mouth. After this the king invites everyone to a feast, but Damura has to stay home. She then goes to the crocodile, who gives her a sarong and jacket of golden silk, and golden sandals. At the feast the prince falls in love with her and when she has to run away at cockcrow, he catches hold of one of her sandals. The prince identifies Damura as the girl whom the sandal fits and marries her, but the stepmother throws her into the river. Fortunately the crocodile brings her to the surface and gives her back to the prince.


In Indonesia, some men are said to possess the formula called tiang maleh rupa which, if intoned under the right conditions, will change them into crocodiles. Sometimes they will wait for bathers to arrive at the riverside and devour them. The usual motive is, however, to take revenge for humiliation, or to satisfy jealousy and grudges.


Dino Days-Crocs Rule | Crocodile Smiles | Smart Reptiles | The Gharial and the Monkey | A Crocodile Hunter | Cinderella Crocodile | Croc Speak

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Pacific Mythology Excerpts © 1992 Jan Knappert - All Rights Reserved
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