The good and the bad Cadejo
Most of you would have heard about the twins that were transformed into the Cadejos because of their bad behaviour and uncountable mischief, but these Cadejos are mostly seen in the rural areas while the good and the bad one are from the urban side and their story comes from the pre-colonial era. Do you want to hear it? Are you sure? Because it’s a scary story, are you sure? So, let’s go deep into it …
It was the year 400 BCE when the first inhabitants of Quelepa a settlement of the Lenca People were moving to a new land, a place that was beautiful and relatively close to a volcano and an impressive river full of fresh water. In this settlement a couple had a difficult birth of fraternal twins, the first ones in centuries the town was happy and excited because a new pair of twins had come and there were massive celebrations even the Shaman and their King came and blessed them.
Some years passed and these twins grew up, one had a beautiful red hair, yellow eyes and his skin was lighter while his brother was darker skin, black eyes and curly and dark brown hair.
The first brother was called “the Blonde” because his lighter skin and calm voice. On the other hand, his brother was the well-known “the Black” he was extremely proud of being the Black one. He was arrogant, fort, highly-intelligent, fast and extremely skillful in everything that he wanted to achieve. The Blond was calmer and submissive he tended to follow his big Bro in all his misadventures.
These twins were really respected in their town because of their knowledge and skills, most people praised them and his family was really proud of them. No one suspected that one of them was the evil Cadejo that was scaring the farmers at every night.
The Black loved to frighten his neighbours because they were very religious and they constantly prayed to their gods because they were afraid of El Niño or La Niña, two climatic phenomena, which had killed thousands of people in the past, also, the main reason why they moved to Quelepa, (recall in those days there were not millions of people all over the world, their place was almost empty).
Every night he wore a custom made from eucalyptus leaves, which were painted by ashes and looked like a massive black pooch, he hid in scrubland of the mountains nearby the town. People tended to go there at night to collect sugarcane, cocoa and other herbs because the weather was cooler.
As a mischievous guy the Black waited for a new countryman to pass near his place and he jumped and he pretended he was a spirit from the beyond who came back to the Earth to take him to the underworld. Meanwhile, he was doing his show his brother was whistling from a not so far place because his big Bro had dominated his soul and was afraid of failing him, even though he was against his wishes.
The Black laughed every night “ha ha ha ha ha, what a bunch of ignorant people, if they knew I was the Cadejo, they would know that there are nothing like spirits” said the Black. He felt powerful and realized because of his knowledge and skills. He was the Black, the only and real Cadejo. His town started to believe that some spirits were coming from the San Miguel Volcano that was not so far from it, but no one was brave enough to go there at night and investigate what, was happening. However, you know something right, you shouldn’t play with these things, right? Because spirits are spirits and they must be left in peace.
Years passed and his hometown and the nearest ones were really afraid of the Black spirit of the Volcano. All people were frightened of going out after 6:00pm because the spirit was going to catch them. That reason pushed the Black to search for new regions close by. One night, when the Black and the Blonde were in a new location to frighten new inhabitants, the Black heard that someone was coming and he told his Bro: “Blonde when I do this, you should start whist …” And at that moment someone was next to them and said:
“Good evening, guys”.
“Good evening” they replied, they were perplexed because none of them noticed how he knew they were there? Or how did he arrive so fast?
“Could you tell us why you are so late?” Asked the Black, I think I’ve never seen you before in our place.
“I’m coming from a faraway place, maybe I’ve been walking for a couple of days and I think I’m lost. However, I’d like to collect some herbs for a special work that I need to do when I come back.” He replied. “How about you?” He asked them.
“We are collecting some eucalyptus leaves for a potion for our sick Grandma” lied the Blonde who was shaking and very nervous.
“It seems that you have collected a lot of them, right? Because I can appreciate that your brother has a package of them” the old man replied.
“Kind of” Said the Black, we would like to get more.
At that moment a thunder strike a tree near them and it split in two, the Blonde said: “Black, let’s go back home it seems it’s going to rain”.
“Don’t be si …” before the Black finished his sentence a strong thunderstorm started.
The old man said: “Guys, I saw a cave not so far from here, let’s go and stay there for the night.”
They ran towards the cave and they didn’t think at all if that idea was a good or not, they just wanted to get rid of the rain.
As soon as they arrived the old man said: “guys we need to collect some firewood for a bonfire”, I have some food in my bag. Can you collect some?
The twins went out and the Blonde said: “Black did you notice something strange with this man?”
“What?” Said the Black in an unpleasant tone because it was wet and he hated to collect firewood at night.
“I don’t remember he had a bag with him when we met him for the first time”. Said the Blonde.
“Come on! You should have lost your mind, of course he had it.” Answered the Black in a bad way because he didn’t care if he had it or not.
The twins couldn’t collect enough firewood, but when they came back to the cave there was a huge bonfire.
“How did you do it so fast? Where did you get the firewood?” Asked the Black.
“Well, you know in front of the cave there was enough firewood” Said the old man.
The Blonde started to shake because he didn’t remember that there was any firewood or in fact any wood or sticks in front of the house. He whispered his brother: “Big Bro, I don’t recall I have seen any firewood in front of the cave, do you?”
“Do you lose your mind? We only went clueless” Said the Black.
The Blonde was sure that something was not right in this place and especially with this man. The old man invited them to eat cuajada and corn coffee that he has brought from where he was from.
While they were eating the Blonde couldn’t get rid of the ideas that he hadn’t seen any firewood or that bag, he glared the old man and later the fire and later the man … Until, the old man asked: “Am I handsome? Or what do you want?” because I’m feeling really annoyed that you don’t stop to glaring me.
The Blonde was more frightened than before because he thought the old man was only looking at the bonfire, but in fact somehow he noticed he was seeing him.
“Has the cat got your tongue?” Said the old man.
After several tries the Blonde said: “I have a question, what were you doing there? Where did we find you?”
“I already told you I came here from a faraway place to collect some herbs to do a job.” Said the old man.
“A job? What kind of work? Here you won’t be able to get any special herb, we have only common herbs like chichipince or cat’s claw and they are everywhere” Answered the Black who was hearing carefully their conversation.
“You are very curious guys, let me be honest with you I work with what people feel, but they cannot often see. You can say I’m a Shaman from the northern part of this land.” Said the old man.
The Blonde started to breathe quite fast in an abnormal way because he remembered that he hadn’t seen the bad before and it’s even worse the firewood.
“Black we must go back, we must go back” He started to say to his brother, his brother just pushed him and asked the Shaman: “So, are you a real Shaman? You can do magic tricks, right?”
“Well, yeah I am a Shaman”, but you know there are some things we are better off not knowing - he told them - and continued glaring the bonfire.
“What? What is so secret that we cannot know? Spill the beans, you brought us here at least we should know” Said the Black in a dominant position.
The Blonde tried to persuade his Bro that they should leave this place and move from there because this didn’t look right at all, but the pride of his Brother had been touched when the Shaman didn’t agree to say anything. For hours, they were discussing and arguing maybe it was midnight or later when finally, they went to sleep.
The next day, the Black woke up with a great energy and ideas as he had never had before because finally, he would be able to scare the entire town, but not only the town all the entire region, the old man revealed them how they could really transform into some beasts at night with the help of a special potion made from certain herbs and a bit of magic that they never heard before.
The Black hadn’t noticed that the old man left them alone, until his brother woke up and asked: “Where is the old man?” the Black said: “He must have left during the sunrise, but who cares Blonde now we would be invincible! Ha ha ha ha!”.
They walked back home and when they arrived their parents were agitated because they have disappeared for days or weeks, no one knows exactly. Her mom asked them: “Where have you been?”
The Black told them partially the truth because he didn’t want that anyone knows of his new powers and his brother had a weak soul that he only bowed his head down …
For days, the Black was planning a new show, but not anymore hidden in the forests, this time he would do it in a special event in the City centre and he would scare everyone as he had never done it before.
People were surprised that the Cadejo had stopped appearing in the mountains for weeks, no one knew what happened with it, but the town was really happy that it finally vanished or moved to another place.
When the day came the Black transformed into a massive pooch and was able to whistle like his brother used to do it for him without his help. In the midst of the celebration he showed up and started to scare people, people were freighted running around because a huge beast was there, the Cadejo was back, but this time he looked more powerful than ever, he had new hooves in each leg and his eyes were like red embers.
For hours and hours people were afraid until the Blonde took the courage and he drank the rest of the potion that his brother made and he transformed in a similar Cadejo, however he was white and had blue eyes. He went to the city centre and confronted his brother for the final showdown.
The Black didn’t know who was the newcomer, what, was that Cadejo that looked like him, but in a different colour and they started to fight and whistling for hours, somehow the Blonde was able to speak in a louder whistle that only his twin understood and said: “Black, what is happening with you? Let’s finish this once and for all.”
“Are you nuts?” Now, I have everything that I wanted and their fight continued. After many hours, both of them were too tired and tried to come back to their house, no one was out, it was the early morning maybe 3 or 5am. When they arrived they were not able to enter to their house, something was pulling them out of it.
So, they knocked the door and her mom started to yell: “Devils! Devils! What are these beasts? We need hot peppers to protect our house! Olin Olin make a bonfire!”
The Black and The Blonde thought the potion should have expired because they didn’t look each other as pooches anymore.
Her mom continued yelling: “They look like pooches, but they aren’t their paws are in fact hooves! And they become big and small, in a blink of an eye! Also, their eyes are shaped in embers and they cannot bark because they whistle like if they were faraway (figure 1), but we have them in front of the house. Call the Shaman!”
Figure 1. Both Cadejos at night. ¹
All the city was coming to their house because they figured out what, was going on in the house of the twins. All people were shocked when they saw the beasts in front of the house, but they were not moving only watching and whistling.
Both of them were frightened because they didn’t understand and for a brief the Black looked at someone in the other side of the house, it was the old man, the Shaman that they met some nights ago.
“What is going on guys?” He asked.
“Well, you know the potion should have expired a long time ago, we followed your advice, but it seems that our parents cannot see us or hear us.” Said the Black.
“Really?” Said The Shaman.
“Wait a moment! This was not a potion for just transforming us for a brief moment as you said! You tricked us!” Said the Black.
“Did never tell you your parents, the curiosity killed the cat? I told you many times why I was here, but you forced me to tell you my secrets, now you have your wish and you would be able to frighten as many people as you want forever! You look like what your parents said, a pair of pooches, which are not, but they have embers in their eyes …” Said the Shaman.
“Please help us, take this from us!” Said the Blonde, begging to the Shaman.
“Even if I wanted my dear friend, I cannot, this was a choice that you took and you were too weak to face your brother and as I said you many times: There are some things we are better off not knowing and you will never forget that you should not play with spirits.” Said the Shaman.
“This is all your fault Black!” Said the Blonde, the Black just ignored him and said: “You didn't stop me when you could!” And they started to argue.
“Stop” said the Shaman and later he continued: “From now on every night, you” he said to Black, “you are going to take care of all men or women who are on bad steps at night and you” he told Blonde “you are going to prevent the abuse from your brother and protect the good people.” And if you thought you would escape that is not going to happen because an unknown force is going to force you to frighten and accompany them for a while.
Finally, the Shaman vanished in front of them, but while he did it he laughed for the last time. And they never saw him again and because he was the only one who knew they had become these animals … What would they do? They stayed like that and their parents and their hometown who praised them never saw them again.
Nowadays, these two Cadejos are seen every night in the urban areas of El Salvador. Take care of your actions because if you go there alone, you could be the next one who will be chased by any of them!
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