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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.
  • Godzilla (1954): The inhabitants of Odo Island, an old Japanese fishing village, once worshipped a sea monster they call "Gojira", even sacrificing young virgins to sate the beast when fishing was poor. By 1954, most of these antiqued traditions have stopped, but unfortunately, it turns out the monster is all too real...

    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 through their lands 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.
  • John Carter of Mars: 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.)
  • 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 note  and accept human sacrifices from Dras-Leona too.
  • Garrett, P.I.: Garrett once consulted a priest of a minor TunFaire snake-cult about two even less-successful cults along the Street of the Gods. Attempting to impress Garrett, the priest told the investigator that his cult has a genuine, for-real god-snake big enough to swallow horses at its temple. Garrett was thrilled to hear it ... but only because he hates horses.
  • In The Dark Profit Saga lizardfolk are said to be wired to worship "something" due to being created as the dark gods' shock troops. Often they end up adopting some sort of monster as their "god". In the first book the party encounters a tribe worshiping a stone drake.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "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 colonists. 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.
    • The AD&D adventure Isle Of The Ape (essentially one long King Kong Shout-Out) has a 30-foot-tall ape believed to be a god by the natives who regularly leave sacrifices to it consisting of pigs, monitor lizards or the occasional ape or human along with mountains of fruit and vegetables. The apes aren't particularly hungry for meat, they consider it a bonus as they're mostly interested by the fruits.
  • 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: 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.

    Theater 
  • Firebringer: Subverted in that while the tribe do worship a duck as the creator of the universe, it's not particularly big, nor is it even the same duck (they keep flying off or dying). Fortunately, the tribespeople (including the shaman) are too stupid to notice.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

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