Luis Fernando Arango and Kathryn Arango: Artful Dodge 38/39 Graphica
At Artful Dodge, we share tales that may be strange but beautiful, from Calcutta to Colombia, of men or beasts. Here is an excerpt of El Hombre Caiman de Plato from Las Legendas del Hombre Caiman, one of the short stories inspired from Colombian folklore and accompanying images written and created by the husband-wife Arango duo, published as Graphica in Issue 38/39:
….She fell in love with a man who was a curandero. His father was a curandero, so he was a curandero too. Curanderos were always traveling. They went from town to town, selling their medicine. Sometimes they disappeared for months, going into the jungle and other far away places, looking for plants to get medicine. So this girl fell in love with the son of a medicine man. But since he was not from the area, her family didn’t want them to marry. He always wanted to be close to her, however, so the story goes that sometime while he was traveling in the north part of Colombia, in the desert lands of the Guajira, he lived with some Indians who knew how to transform themselves into animals. He brought from there a potion which when rubbed on his body transformed into an alligator. He also had an antidote potion that could be rubbed on the skin to become a man again. So he brought the medicine back to Plato and rubbed it on his body and got into the water, and thus was able to be close to his beloved without his family noticing he was still around, because he looked just like an alligator. So that’s how they lived happily for a long time.
Then one day when he was rubbing the medicine on himself, the bottle spilled. It fell from his hands and broke and the potion spilled so he didn’t have enough medicine to transform himself back into a human. He was stuck in this half alligator, half human form. There are many versions of the tale. Some people say that his face still looks like an alligator but that he has human legs and feet. Other people say he has a human face. But most agree he has the tail of an alligator.
And it seems that he is still charming, because the woman who was in love with him kept loving him even though he had that shape.
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On behalf of the Artful Dodge team, as always,