Un blog de mitos, leyendas, costumbres y tradiciones de México


THE TURKEY

Folk story from Alfajayucan, State of Hidalgo

Don Evaristo’s apparently endless repertoire of stories from all over Mexico never ceases to surprise us! In a single evening he can choose any topic, such as animals, saints, or witches, or whatever, and then go on to tell us stories about that topic, from numerous different states, for hours!

The other night, for example, Don Evaristo started telling us some terrifying stories about sorcery, witches and wizards. For some reason, my pocket cassette recorder, which usually records everything, didn’t record a single thing that night! Maybe it was afraid too! However, I do recall one particular story, from a place called Alfajayucan, in the State of Hidalgo. And this is more or less the way that Don Evaristo told it: https://adameleyendas.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/myths-and-legends-from-the-state-of-hidalgo-the-turkey/

“Now, we all know that there are many animals of the night, which some people believe really to be witches or sorcerers, who know how to take on the shape of an animal. This practice is called ‘nagualism’, and it is a fairly common motif in Mexican mythology.”

“Yes. There are similar beliefs among some of our American Indian tribes, too.” I said.

“Of course there are!” Don Evaristo replied. “Don’t forget that most elements of mythology are universal. That’s why stories with similar content are told all over the world in different cultures. Anyway, the typical animals occurring in ‘nagualism’ are coyotes, crows, and owls.” He continued.” In Mexican mythology, there’s also the turkey – the ‘guajolote’, as we call it here. In many parts of the country, you can hear tales of ‘guajolotes’ who are really men or women who practice the art of ‘nagualism’.” Tale written by Homero Adame.

“Can you give us an example, please?” Emily asked.

“Well… there’s one place in the State of Hidalgo, Alfajayucan, where many people say they have seen a huge, strange light in the dark. For example, they may be just walking across a field at night, when suddenly this enormous light shines out from nowhere. And, according to some beliefs, those lights are used to disorient the person, who immediately feels lost, even if he knows the path perfectly well. As a result of his confusion, he gets really lost and can often walk all night without finding his way home. However, there is a magical way to break the spell.

The person has to embrace a tree and stay there with his eyes closed for as long as he can. The light turns into a ‘guajolote’ and starts to hit its victim really hard with its wings. Shortly after this, the ‘bird’ will go away and the person will finally find his way home.” Legend written by Homero Adame.

“What happens if that person opens his eyes and sees the turkey?” I asked.

“Well, according to some legends, if he sees the ‘guajolote’, he will also see the real face of the sorcerer or witch, but the sad thing is, he will not live long enough to tell anyone about it!”

“Is that true?” Emily asked.

“That I cannot say.” Don Evaristo replied. “But legends are legends, and many people say they know of people who were found dead, embracing a tree, their bodies bruised by some inexplicable blows – the blows of the ‘guajolote’s’ wings, perhaps?” Folk story found at https://adameleyendas.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/myths-and-legends-from-the-state-of-hidalgo-the-turkey/

  • Written by Homero Adame and translated by Pat Grounds. Originally published in Activate! 2, by Carol Lethaby, Homero Adame and Pat Grounds. Ediciones Castillo, S.A. de C.V. Monterrey, Mexico. 2003. P. 134.

If you wish to read more Mexican legends, just follow this link, surf and enjoy!

Comentarios en: "Myths and legends from the State of Hidalgo: The Turkey" (2)

  1. israel angeles aguilar dijo:

    Antes que nada un saludo para el autor de la web,sr. homero adame y mi mas sincero reconocimiento por la noble labor de dedicarse al rescate de la tradicion oral.he leido su libro de mitos y leyendas del altiplano potosino y me parecio muy excelente.ahora bien,soy originario de el bello municipio de Alfajayucan,asi que puedo darle la razon en cuanto a lo de las brujas,pues por lo menos he tenido conocimiento de casos en los cuales pierden a algunos conocidos y amigos cuando vienen caminando de noche,y al dia siguiente amanecen hasta en otro municipio.no recuerdan nada,solo que antes de perder el sentido vieron una pequeña luz en direccion hacia ellos.de eso hasta hace poco y en lo que no recuerdo haber oido lo de los golpes del guajolote,solo que en ocasiones se posan en esa forma en los techos de las casas con niños pequeños.lo que se dice que para que no se lo lleven es ponerse la ropa al reves,tambien funciona la sal,cuchillos y tijeras en cruz ,pero lo importante,tener mucha fe y rezar.se puede saber cuando andan cerca,ya que se percibe un penetrante olor a tortilla quemada.se dice que hay algunos pueblos del municipio en los cuales abundan,como cerro azul(cerca de chilcuatla)y la barranca de san antonio tezoquipan.esperamos que venga un dia a conocer y a investigar,ya que hay algo de acervo oral

    • Israel:
      Gracias por tu comentario y por lo que nos cuentas sobre este asunto de nagualismo. Existen similitudes en este tipo de creencias por doquier. Yo había oído lo de la sal y los cuchillos, etc., pero no eso de que a los niños hay que vestirlos con la ropa al revés para protegerlos. Ojalá nos sigas visitando y contando otras cosas sobre este tema tan enigmático. Saludos…

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