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Giant Animal Worship

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A mostly adventure story trope, where a primitive tribe worships a giant animal as a god or otherworldly entity, leaving it sacrifices of food (and occasionally humans). The animal itself is rarely sapient, only learning that food regularly appears in a specific part of its territory if it leaves the humans alone.

Compare Appease the Volcano God and Fed to the Beast.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: Happens during the Skypeia arc in a flashback to 400 years prior, with a giant snake called Kashigami who was offered the most beautiful woman on the island of Shandia to stop a curse (which was actually a disease called tree fever). The woman was saved by the pirate captain Norland, who killed the snake and wiped the infected trees to stop the infection.
  • In Spice and Wolf Holo is a gigantic wolf who was worshiped by a village until the Church converted most of the people and she left with a traveling merchant. Of course she might actually be a god what with her shapeshifting into a Little Bit Beastly human form and influence over wheat harvests.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, The Four Gods switch between beast and human forms, and their beast forms are (fittingly) at least Kaijuu sized. Additionally, the Priestess is technically a Virgin Sacrifice to be Fed to the Beast, although if she is strong-willed enough, she may escape this fate and go on to live a more-or-less normal life in her own world.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side parodies this by showing a tribe of insects leaving a butterfly tied up to be taken away by a giant (to them) entomologist.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • King Kong (1933): Possibly the Trope Codifier where the natives of Skull Island leave a sacrifice (the "bride of Kong") behind a wall so the giant gorilla leaves their village alone.
  • King Kong (2005): In this one, the villagers seem to view Kong as a guardian deity who protects them against the dinosaurs on the island.

    Literature 
  • Discworld: Parodied in Small Gods, where an extremely backwards swamp-dwelling tribe worships a giant newt and has no concept of fire or war. The newt shows up on Cori Celesti (because of how belief works on the Disc) and is just as ignorant as its worshipers, conceptualizing war as "like the time Pacha Mog hit his uncle with big rock, only more worse".
  • Redwall:
    • Taggerung has a tribe of pygmy shrews who feed on schools of tiny eels that migrate every year. In order to ensure that this happens, they choose a tribe member by lottery (they walk under a dripping stalactite and whoever gets splashed is chosen) to be fed to Yo Karr, an enormous eel they believe is responsible for bringing its tiny brethren. Tagg is having none of this and kills Yo Karr himself.
    • In Doomwyte, Korvus Skurr's tribe of crows, carrion birds and reptiles lives in a cave where a wels (a giant catfish) lives. They believe the wels is an oracle that only Skurr's snake advisor Sicariss can understand, and throw reptiles into its pool to attract it and interpret its wisdom. In fact it's just a giant fish, the "speech" is actually the wels opening and closing its mouth with Sicariss pretending to understand it. It ends up in an underwater fight with Baliss, a blind adder whose face is full of infected hedgehog spikes... and still loses to the snake.
  • In Thuvia, Maiden of Mars, the Lotharians worship Komal, who is supposedly a great beast god, but is in fact merely an unusually large banth (the Barsoomian equivalent of a lion.)
  • Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle features a rare sapient example in the form of the pterosaur-like Lethrblaka worshipped in a Town with a Dark Secret called Dras-Leona. Juvenile specimens (called Ra'zac) are closer to humans in size and general body shape, but they share a lair with the grown Lethrblaka and accept human sacrifices from Dras-Leona too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who serial "The Power Of Kroll": a giant alien squid is worshiped as a god by the indigenous people. It's so big its intestinal gas is collected as fuel by the colonialists. The size is because it swallowed a segment of the Key to Time.
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    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Stormwrack splatbook mentions the natives of an undersea village seeing a giant shark as a kind of protector, because it scares off other predators.
  • Pathfinder: Krakens are sometimes worshiped by coastal communities, either as avatars of nature or as divine figures themselves. In a variant, krakens are highly intelligent and malevolent and tend to think that Humans Are Insects, so they might accept the reverence — or demand it.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Great Maw is a gigantic, tooth-lined hole in the ground worshiped by the ogres, who regularly bring it sacrifices of food and in return are granted Gut magic, which has different effects based on what the caster ate.

    Video Games 
  • Portal 2: One of the hypothesized apocalypse scenarios is "Animal King" where such a being rules over mankind (represented by a giant leopard-print turret).
  • Primal Rage features giant gods who take the form of apes and dinosaurs, and features cultists and followers for both gods during the fight. You can pick them up and eat them for a small health bonus.
  • Live A Live: The final boss of the Prehistoric chapter is a giant Tyrannosaurus worshipped by the enemy tribe.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, some individuals could worship the megabeasts who attacked their settlements.

    Western Animation 
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: In "Zipper Come Home", Zipper becomes king of a tribe of insects, who try to sacrifice him to a frog called The Great Ribbit.

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