Tribes from Papua

Buaya Ajaib / Magic Crocodile


A long time ago, there lived a man named Tami Towjatuwa on the banks of a river area of Papua. The man was upset, because his wife was heavily pregnant have difficulty giving birth to her baby. To help the birth of his son, he needed an operation that uses a sharp stone from the river.

While I was busy looking for sharp rocks, he heard strange noises behind him. Towjatuwa was surprised when he saw a large crocodile in front of him. He was very scared and almost fainted. The large crocodile slowly moving toward Towjatuwa. Unlike other crocodiles, this animal has feathers from the Kaswari bird on its back. So when the crocodile was moving, the beast looked very scary.

But when Towjatuwa want to escape, he was greeted with a friendly crocodile who asked what he was doing. Towjatuwapun told the crocodile about the state of his wife. Then the magic crocodile said: "Do not worry, I will come to your house tonight. I will help your wife give birth."Towjatuwa when home to his wife very happy, and he told her about his meeting with a magic crocodile.

That night, as promised, the magic crocodile entered Towjatuwa's house. With a power of magic the crocodile, named Watuwe, helped in the birth of a baby boy safely. He was named Narrowra. Watuwe predicted that someday the baby will grow into a reliable hunter.

Watuwe then instructed Towjatuwa and his descendants could not kill and eat crocodile meat. If the ban is violated then Towjatuwa and their children will die. Since then, Towjatuwa and its descendants promised to protect animals that were around the river Tami from the hunters.

(Adapted freely from Alice M. Terada, "The Magic Crocodile," The Magic Crocodile and Other Folktales from Indonesia, 

Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994, p. 135-42)


Was Papua the first people in the world to instigate and maintain for centuries a policy on animal protection?