The informant told me that when she was younger, she heard of these evil leprechauns or elves called “Los Duendes”
An El Duende is an evil leprechaun or elf-like figure. Apparently, he would start off less mischievous. For example, if you left your shoes outside, he would come and clean them to feign generosity. As time would go on, he would become more mischievous and ruin your house and cause havoc.
The informant is Mexican and says that her Mother used to tell her about El Duende. The informant was not clear abou this part but I think that leaving shoes outside is what invites the El Duende to initially come; According to this narrative, he starts off by cleaning shoes that are left outside. If that’s the case, then maybe the story is promoting cleanliness and the informant’s mother was using it as a vehicle to tell her to clean up after herself. Not only that, but by not cleaning the El Duende comes unannounced and only gets worse. Maybe Los Duendes are symbols for bugs, because bugs like filth and will be continue to be a nuisance when garbage is around. The story of the Los Duendes gives children who hear the story from their parents reason to listen – no one wants an annoying elf to make an even bigger mess than they would.