El Cadejo

El Cadejo

This myth exists throughout Nicaragua. The white cadejo is a big, white dog that accompanies drunk men and people that walk late at night to their homes. Hence, people say that it is a good spirit because the white cadejo accompanies the person to his or her home and then leaves. With the first rays of the sunset the cadejo walks to the horizon and disappears until the next night to help someone else. However, there is also a bad spirit represented by a black dog with a white necklace that tries to kill night walkers. The black dog attacks but does not bites; if the person survives, people say that el cadejo lo jugo and left him or her as an idiot. Whenever the white and black dog  face each other, they start fighting until the white cadejo defeats the black. Therefore, the white cadejo represents goodness, while the black cadejo represents evil; just like good always wins over evil.

Other versions, interpretations

The cadejo is a character from Salvadoran, Belizean, Nicaraguan, Costa Rican, Honduran, Guatemalan and southern Mexican folklore. There is a good white cadejo and an evil black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travelers: the white to protect them from harm during their journey, the black (sometimes an incarnation of the devil), to kill them. The colors of the Cadejo are sometimes exchanged according to local tradition. In some places the black cadejo is seen as the good one and the white cadejo the evil one.

They usually appear in the form of a large (up to the size of a cow), shaggy dog with burning red eyes and a goat’s hooves, although in some areas they have more bull-like characteristics. According to the stories, many have tried to kill the black cadejo but have failed and perished. Also it is said that if a cadejo is killed, it will smell terrible for several days, and then its body will disappear. Some Guatemalan folklore also tells of a cadejo that guards drunks against anyone who tries to rob or hurt them. When the cadejo is near, it is said to bring about a strong goat-like smell. Most people say never to turn your back to the creature because otherwise you will go crazy.

In popular etymology, the name cadejo is thought to have derived from the Spanish word “cadena”, meaning “chain”; the cadejo is at times represented as dragging a chain behind him. There is a fairly large member of the weasel family, the tayra, which in common speech is called a cadejo and is cited as a possible source of the legend.

It ranges in many sizes according to different tales in various regions. It lurks in graveyards and dark alleys, waiting to attack a passing victim. It has a distinctive smell of concentrated urine and burning sulphur. It rattles with a jerking motion contracting its pharynx. Its gaze freezes anyone who makes eye contact. It glitters in the pitch dark with skin and short hair, similar to that of a pig.

There are three types of black cadejos:

The first is the devil himself in the form of a large, wounded dog with hoofed feet that are bound with red-hot chains. It is said that not even the white cadejo is able to completely stop him. Unlike the regular black cadejo it is not likely to pursue and attack a passing human, as it is a scout – the eyes of evil. Instead, anyone who spots him will have a sad event. In the short story “Leyenda del Cadejo” (“Legend of the Cadejo”) by Nobel Prize laureate Miguel Ángel Asturias, this variety of cadejo terrorizes a young abbess and robs her of her braid.

The second type of cadejo is the regular cadejo, the mysterious evil dog. It kills and savagely tears through its victim. First it demoralizes him with a series of sounds and other signs that it is nearby. Then, after the victim is scared, it leaps forward, and will kill him if the white cadejo is not near.

The final, and least powerful type of black cadejo is the offspring of a normal dog and the “regular” cadejo. It is a mortal hybrid and can (with difficulty) be killed by a strong man (bearing in mind that most men in those regions only carry a machete for protection). Once dead, it will completely rot in a matter of seconds, leaving behind a stain of evil, on which grass and moss will never grow again. This cadejo will never bite its victim. Instead, he kicks and pecks them with his snout. After this happens, people say “Lo jugó el cadejo” which means “he\she was handled by the cadejo”. The victim goes mad. This term is sometimes applied to people that are born with a mental illness.

A fairly popular version of the legend in El Salvador talks about two brothers who walk into the house of a black magician. During a storm, he asks the boys to help him with some logs for a fire. Both boys slack on the job but eat the man’s food. Once he finds out the little bit of food he had is missing and that there is not enough wood for his fire, he puts a curse on the road that leads to the boys’ village. Voices bother the boys and when they turn their backs on the voices they get turned into creatures: a white Cadejo and a black one. After going back to their village in their cursed form they get kicked out and have no choice but to wander.

Another Version

The cadejo. There is a good, white cadejo and an evil, black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travellers: the white to protect them from harm during their journey, the black (sometimes an incarnation of the devil), to kill them.

They usually appear in the form of a large (up to the size of a cow), shaggy dog with burning red eyes and a goat’s hooves, although in some areas they have more bull-like characteristics. According to the stories, many have tried to kill the black cadejo but have failed and perished.

Also it is said that if a cadejo is killed, it will smell terrible for several days, and then its body will disappear. The folklore also tells of a cadejo that guards drunks against anyone who tries to rob or hurt them. When the cadejo is near, it is said to bring about a strong goat-like smell. Most people say never to turn your back to the creature because otherwise you will go crazy.

In popular etymology, the name cadejo is thought to have derived from the Spanish word “cadena,” meaning “chain”; the cadejo is at times represented as dragging a chain behind him.

There is a fairly large member of the weasel family, the tayra, which in common speech is called a cadejo and is cited as a possible source of the legend.

Remember, this is just a legend.

Written by Mendoza, via 192 countries.

 

3 Comments

  1. Gris G

    March 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Legends are told for a reason. Many of the legends exist. The cadejo exist because i’ve seen it and i know others who have seen it too. when I was a kid, I saw the black cadejo inside my house here in California going up the stairs when I was about to go down. The dog was a huge wolf like dog with long sharp teeth drooling, and bright red eyes looking at me. I immediately ran back up and told my parents that there was a dog inside the house, but as soon as I returned, it mysteriously disappeared. An ex boyfriend also seen the cadejo. He sow the white one in Nicargua. There are other legends in my Salvadorian culture such as “La carreta” and my mom tells me that she has seen it when she was a kid. Thank you for sharing the story of El Cadejo.

    • Gris H

      May 18, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Legends are told for a reason, to scare children into being good kids. That is why they are called LEGENDS. Meaning a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical

  2. Victoria

    July 7, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Is it possible for the Black Cadejo to be good, cause I saw it one time as a kid and it protected me from being raped when I was walking home cause I saw it following me and then the next thing I saw was it attacking a man who almost grabbed me.