Cadejo – Friend or Foe?

As with many countries, there are legends and folklores that are retold by the adults to the next generation. Some countries share similar tales, with slight changes to the characters, and some just know the legends by different names. Generally, the outcome, meaning or moral of the story remains the same.

Here is the tale of a folklore that is shared by Nicaragua along with its Central America neighbors including Costa Rica, Salvadora, South Mexico and Guatemala.

In Nicaraguan folklore, the Cadejo consists of two spirits. It is the Black Cadejo and the White Cadejo. The Black Cadejo is an evil spirit that injures, kills and harms people. The White Cadejo, on the other hand, is the good spirit that protects people not only from the Black Cadejo, but from any form of danger.

The Black Cadejo can take on different forms, according to the Nicaraguan folklore. In all cases, it is the devil reincarnated, but its shape and appearance differs. In one instance, the Cadejo takes on the form of a large, shaggy wounded dog. He has hooves instead of paws and is bound by chains that glow red. Encounters with this Cadejo means that there is a sad or dangerous event in the future. This Black Cadejo it does not attack humans. Another Black Cadejo is the evil dog that tests the fear of humans and if fear is sensed, he will attack and kill the human. However, he is not able to kill if a White Cadejo is close by.

The third form of the Black Cadejo can be fended off by humans and even killed. If fatally wounded by a human, he will disintegrate within seconds, leaving behind a terrible smell and no grass or plants will ever grow where he has perished. Some say the Black Cadejo lurks in dark places waiting for a lonesome traveler. Others believe that he takes on the form of a bull or large cat with glowing eyes.

One thing is for certain, no matter what form the Black Cadejo takes, he is the foe. He is the Cadejo that you do not want to meet up with on a cold, dark and moonless night. It is the White Cadejo that you would want by your side, as he will protect you from harm, ward off the Black Cadejo and guide you safely to your destination.

But men beware, as Nicaraguan folklore also states: If a Cadejo appears at a man’s side, it is most certainly a Black Cadejo, whereas the White Cadejo appears most frequently to woman.