Indo Myths 5: When You Don’t Know Who’s the Father, say Genderuwo

How to explain a pregnancy out of wedlock in a country where unmarried lovers could be dragged by their hair into the centre of town and kicked and beaten?

genderuwo womanizer

An effigy of the much feared Genderuwo: the incubus of East Java.

Genderuwo lives in the woodlands along the stretch of highway between Surabaya and the apple-capital of Malang. He’s tall, brown, gondrong, and has tusks like a boar. With the honor of being Indonesia’s celebrity incubus (one who can impregnate women either by sleeping on top of them – or else with great ease), Genderuwo’s story is quite simple really:

Chomp chomp! Grrr! Genderuwo make you pregnant!

Other such scapegoats for ‘a little on the side’ include: green underpants – which can make you pregnant; shadow puppets – which can make you pregnant; and keris daggers that are paternally handed down – which can make you pregnant.

So powerful are the latter two objects that being in the same room with them might do the trick.

While most cultures have their own versions of the incubus or the succubus (female), Brazil and South Africa were particularly unoriginal – and even long before the Internet. Their convergent folklores feature a handsome man who emerges from the river wearing a hat to cover the blow hole in the top of his head. In Brazil, this incubus is a pink river-dolphin. In South Africa, he is an indistinct ‘water creature’. A ladies’ man, free to come and go – off down the river. Ah, players of the world – in whatever forms you may take, I can relate.

I tip my hat to you.

Genderuwo orang kanada

A European version of Genderuwo after an awkward Halloween party.

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