Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in September 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Why does the mosquito feed on blood?

The Story of God and the Food of the Mosquito.

AFTER God had made all the creatures, he called them together, to tell them what they would have to do so that they might live. They all came, and God gave every one its gift and the manner of its food. All had come and gone, but the mosquito did not come until very late. When asked why he had done so, he started telling tales, until God got angry and, turning to him, said:

               "I have no time to waste with thee, hurry up and tell me quickly, what kind of food dost thou wish?"

               The mosquito replied, "I wish to live by sucking."

               "So it shall be," replied God, "now go and suck the juice of trees and plants."

               What was he to do? He went and sucked the trees and plants. After a fortnight had passed he got weak and shrivelled from this kind of food. His wife, seeing the state into which he had fallen by his foolish demand, said to him:

               "See what has become of you! You are shrivelled up and weak, a few days more and you are sure to die. You had better go to God and beg him to give you another food."

               But he said, "I cannot go; if you have the impudence you had better go."

               "Very well, then, I will go," replied the female mosquito, and up she went to God.

               When he saw her he asked her, "What has brought you to me?"

               "The miserable food which my husband has got is killing us. We cannot live by it. We are getting shrivelled up."

               "If so," said God, "I will give you the right to suck also blood from man and beast, but as soon as you cannot get blood you must die. Your husband, however, he may live on the blood and juice of plants alike." And so it has remained, the female dies when she cannot find blood to suck.


According to some local tradition, the mosquito has been made out of the smoke of the devil's pipe, and for that reason he hates the smoke. According to another they are also the servants of the devil and the enemies of the angels, who cannot come into a room where there are many mosquitos.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why does the mosquito feed on blood?
Tale Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Romania
Classification: unclassified

Back to Top