The legend of the boto

Hello, visitors!

How are you all? Well, I hope!

Here I am again, with a little post about Brazilian folklore. I have many more where this one came from!

Today, we are going to learn – well, you’re gonna learn, I already know it! – about the legend of the boto.

But Jay, what is a boto? 

A boto is a kind of dolphin, specifically, that lives in fresh waters (rivers). They used to be very common in the Amazonas river, but are now an endangered species. You can see a picture of them below.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

All right, there they are. Aren’t they lovely?

But wait – I can hear you saying in my head -, how are they part of the folklore? Aren’t they real?

Yes, helpful voice in my head, the boto is a real animal, indeed. And a part of our folklore, because there is a very interesting legend connected to it.

This legend is very common in the Northern Region of Brazil (near the Amazonas river, where the boto is still a somewhat common presence).

The legend says that the boto is a shape-shifter. It morphs into a very handsome man, and this man is usually seen in parties, flirting with single women. It is said he looks like an ordinary man, with the marked difference that he never removes his hat – to hide the blowhole, which would not disappear when the boto changes.

During these parties, the mystery man chooses a woman, seduces her and has intercourse with her, impregnating the unsuspecting woman and leaving – going back to the water – to never be seen again, leaving the woman as a single mother. These were called the “children of the boto”, as a way of saying they were fatherless children, and probably as a way of protecting the single mothers from retaliation.

This is a very interesting legend, in my opinion. Nowadays, it has become less frequent as an excuse, but it used to be very commonly used as a reason for a pregnancy without a known father years ago. The legend was actually so famous a movie was made about it in 1987 – you can read about it in English here on IMDb.

And with that, I finish the post for today! I hope you have found this legend interesting.

If there is anything you’d like me to talk about in the future, I’ll be happy to oblige! Share it with me in the comments, will you?

Many blessings, and see you on the next post!

2 thoughts on “The legend of the boto”

    1. Yes, there are several, this one is our local version. The movie wasn’t really good, but it was pretty interesting to give people a general idea of the legend. Thanks for the link, I’ll look at them all! :)

      Liked by 1 person

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