Saciperere, Brazilian Trickster


M: Oh we have the umm sasi, saciperere.

Me: sasipere?

M: yes, he’s a guy with only one leg

Me: okay

M: he has a a red cap. Well like kinda, kinda like a beanie, kinda like a cap. And he would like [coughs] sorry, umm, im kinda sick

M: don’t worry about it

M: he would like walk around, and he was more of a prankster. So he would like, if you were building stuff he would like– if you had like a plant, he would steal some of it, so he could eat. Like for him to eat, he would steal some of the crops. Anf he would like, I dunno, let’s say he would like tangle the horses like hair. He would like tangle it so you’d have to like brush it. He would like, if you left, let’s say you baked a cake and left it on the, he would steal the cake. Just liek stuff like that. He was more of a prankster. And then there was a thing that if you stole his cap he had to do whatever you make him do. And there was a whole thing that you could capture him. That if like you pick a bottle with a cork, and then you draw a cross on it, and then– uh I don’t remember the whole process– but I know you had to do that so could capture him, put him in the bottle. So if you want like him to go away.

Me: wait, whats his deal? Like, why is he like that?

M:its just a prankster

Me: just a prankster!

M: like you know harry potter, you know how there was like the poltergeist, that was just like pranking everyone in the hallways. 

Me: just like a mischievous spirit or somethin’

M: yeah, a mischievous spirit

Me: cool

M: yeah, and he was jumping on one leg so he.. And he, that’s the thing, he did, when he was walking around like long distances, he would create a small tornado thing. So I think that’s how people explained like those, those, sometimes we have those small vortexes. I think that’s how people explained it. It was him.

M: cool


The informant, M, is a 19-year-old USC international student from Brazil. She delivered this piece in the workroom of a campus center before class alongside other pieces in order to share some personal and Brazilian folklore. She learned about this legend growing up in Brazil.


Trickster figures are very common worldwide. Saiperere fits this trickster model quite well, being a bit odd and performing traditional trickster activities: stealing cakes, and tangling horses’ manes. A specific of his unusualness, his single leg, indicates to me that limb differences are seen as funny or associated with untrustworthiness and trickery.

the idea that you might be able to trap Saiperere with a bottle bearing a cross is also interesting. the cross being relevant demonstrates the relevance of Christianity in this culture. And also the belief that the Christian god can control and contain malevolent spirits. Because of the cross being able to control him, Saiperere might also be thought of as a demon or devil.