Crocodile Legend

East Timor Travel Blog

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This is a local legend that helps explain why the Timorese will not destroy any of the crocs that attack them around the island nation.  They infest the waters in many places and croc attacks are a regular occurrence.  The story was taken from a security broadcast after a spate of attacks on people in 2008.


Many years ago a small crocodile lived in a swamp in a far away place. He dreamed of becoming a big crocodile but as food was scarce, he became weak and grew sadder and sadder.

He left for the open sea, to find food and realize his dream, but the day became increasingly hot and he was still far from the seashore. The little crocodile - rapidly drying out and now in desperation - lay down to die.

A small boy took pity on the stranded crocodile and carried him to the sea. The crocodile, instantly revived, was grateful. “Little boy”, he said, “You have saved my life. If I can ever help you in any way, please call me. I will be at your command…”

A few years later, the boy called the crocodile that was now big and strong. “Brother Crocodile”, he said, “I too have a dream. I want to see the world”.

“Climb on my back,” said the crocodile, “and tell me, which way do you want to go?”

“Follow the sun”, said the boy.

The crocodile set off for the east, and they traveled the oceans for years, until one day the crocodile said to the boy, “Brother, we have been traveling for a long time. But now the time has come for me to die. In memory of your kindness, I will turn myself into a beautiful island, where you and your children can live until the sun sinks in the sea.”

As the crocodile died, he grew and grew, and his ridged back became the mountains and his scales the hills of Timor.

Now when the people of East Timor swim in the ocean, they enter the water saying “Don’t eat me crocodile, I am your relative”.

goezi says:
Beautiful, yes. Ours is award-winning though!
Posted on: Nov 29, 2009
Vandra says:
Ha, and I thought this was going to be the legend we devised around the monster croc on Dili beach ... this story is much more beautiful!
Posted on: Nov 28, 2009
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Dili sunset
Dili sunset