Brazil: Saci

Informant: I really like myths and Brazilian myths were such a big part of my childhood that many of them have stuck with me throughout the years. This myth is  about Saci and the first time I looked into it was after watching the Disney movie “Aladdin,” which was one of my favorties growing up. Saci is basically a Brazilian figure that is a one-legged mulatto and smokes a pipe. He has a magical cap that lets him disappear and reappear and if you catch him or steal his hat he will grant you a wish. The reason why I was drawn to the myth of Saci after watching “Aladdin” was because of the genie that appears in the movie. Even though they are completely different magical creatures, both grant you a wish so Saci kind of reminded me of the genie. 

Collector: So you heard about Saci before or after watching “Aladdin”? 

Informant: Well I already had a vague idea of Saci before watching “Aladdin” but it wasn’t until I watched the movie that I started researching into the myth and became attracted to it. 

Collector: And from where had you heard about Saci before watching “Aladdin”? 

Informer: From other kids at school. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to speak about myths and a lot of times we would research them at school. However, I wasn’t really interested in the Saci myth until I was able to relate it to the movie. I guess this was because “Aladdin” was such a popular movie and seeing it made me realize the similarities that the myths used there had with the ones in Brazil. 


This interview was an interesting one. Saci and the genie in Aladdin are completely different, and the informer is aware of this. However, he claims that the reason why he was able to relate both figures was because both of them grant wishes. Aladdin is based on folklore so it was amazing to see how one piece of folklore can lead a person to be interested in another piece of folklore. In this case, the informant already had a vague idea about Saci but was never drawn to the mythological figure until he saw “Aladdin.” He claims it had something to do with Aladdin’s popularity and how it made him realize the similarities between folklore from one culture and folklore from another one. Another important thing to take note of is that Saci has a tendency to disappear and reappear. To me, this sounds like Saci is presented as a trickster. This imagery is not uncommon to encounter in myths and tales, which goes to further show the overlap that occurs between different pieces of folklore.

This is definitely not uncommon in folklore; there is often a lot of overlap between the myths, legends, and stories of one culture and another. The beauty of folklore is how one piece of folklore can lead to the interest in another. This was definitely the case with this informant. As for the myth itself, it manages to represent different aspects of Brazilian cultures. The informer claimed that Saci was mulatto, and this is something that might resonate with the population of Brazil since it is composed of people from many different places.