The Legend of The Alligator man ( El Hombre Caiman) is a legend from the north coast of Colombia.
The legend tells the story of an alligator man, who was a storekeeper. It is said that he fell in love with a young woman called Roque Lina, the daughter of a rice seller. The father of the young woman didn’t agree with their love, and he forbade the storekeeper to approach his daughter.
But he still wanted to see her, so he found a wizard to make a potion that will turn him into alligator so he could swim up and see her as she bathed in the river. The wizard gladly accepted and made two potions, a red one that will turn him into an alligator and a white one that will turn him back to human. He asked his best friend to change him into an alligator.
El Hombre Caiman
The two men did this every day. They used the red and white potions to turn him into an alligator so that he would swim into the water and see Rosque Lina without being noticed, then he would come back and be turned back to a human. But one day his friend got sick and couldn't help him.
"Se va el caimán"
So he got another friend (a known drunk in the village) to help him. But as he came back his drunken friend got scared at seeing the big alligator that used to be his friend that he dropped the white potion. As the potion broke drops of the liquid fell into the alligator that was once a fisherman changing only his head back into a human.
As time went on, his friends brought him food and drink and danced to some vallenato (A popular Colombian genre of music) to help his friend not to be bored. Surprisingly the man still went to see the Rosque Lina, human head and all. Eventually, the time came to tell the fisherman's mom that her only son had turned into the alligator man.
His mom was heart-broken, so she went to search for the wizard to make more white potion. She traveled long and far to look for the wizard, but when her trip finally came to an end she found out that the wizard had died of old age taking his secrets to the grave with him, She died from sadness on the trip back.
Afraid that the men of the village would kill him, he decided to escape to Barranquilla (A city in the Caribbean region of Colombia). Not much has been heard from this alligator man in years, but it is saidthat he has been seen in the Magdalena River. If this is true or just some fairytale it depends on you.
It is believed that the story is based on a real Colombian legend. There are many versions of this story but this one is by far my favorite. This legend has grown so big that it has its own place on the Barranquilla Carnival (which is a really big deal there), two statues, and many songs in his honor.
The Festival of the Cayman Man is held annually in Plato. There is also a square and a monument in his honor that is the cultural heritage of the population. The legend of the Caiman Man was immortalized in the song "Se va el caimán" by the barranquillero José María Peñaranda.