alligator

General - A reptile found in China, the southern part of the US and elsewhere. (1) In Bolivia the Guarani envisage an underworld ferryman, akin to the Greek Charon, in the form of an alligator. (2) In Central America some tribes revere a deity depicted with the body of a man and the head of an alligator. (3) Some Indonesian tribes tell how the trickster mousedeer induced the alligator to line up his family nose to tail and used them as a bridge to cross a swamp. (4) A Japanese story has a monkey in place of the mousedeer of the Indonesian story. (5) One North American story tells how Rabbit lured the alligator into a field and then set fire to the grass; this accounts for the beast's scaly skin. The story of walking on the backs of alligators to cross a swamp appears again in the southern states and, in this case, the last alligator in the line bit off Rabbit's tail. The alligator's dented nose is said to be the result of a blow when he was playing a ball game with the birds. (6) In the Pacific Islands, the teeth of the alligator are worn as a charm to protect the wearer from illness and witches. At times, called alligator.

Nearby Myths