A legend heard by the informant in Guatemala, El Viejito is an old man that abducts children.
EO: “In Latin America, um, they tell stories to scare children into behaving. So there’s this old man, they call him “El Viejito”, and he just always stealing kids. So if you’re misbehaving, he’s going to come and get you…steal you forever.
EO: El Viejito, “The Old Man”. My mother told me about it many times to keep me polite and well-behaved.
The informant also told of other legends that were used as precautionary tales in order to use fear to keep children behaving. Others include La Llorona and La Sihuanaba.
Although “El Viejito” is a legend of Latin America, it literally translates to “little old man”, so there is bound to be confusion between the folklore and basic application of language. For example, “El Viejito” is a nickname Latinos use for Senator Bernie Sanders.