The Cadejos

My nanny/housekeeper of many years is originally from Costa Rica. Because the culture there is so different from ours, I thought it would be interesting to explore some aspects of their culture especially through the stories that they tell and the legends that they have. So, I sat down with her basically to wonder what kinds of stories were exchanged between the people of her country.

Collector: “What kinds of stories are Costa Ricans familiar with?”

Informant: “Hmmmm.. there are a lot of stories that we talk about to teach lessons to the kids. Some stories are fun and some are more scary.”

Collector: “What is an example of a scary story?”

Informant: “Have you heard of the Cadejo?”

Collector: “No I haven’t.”

Informant: “Oh well this is a very famous story in my home. There are two types of Cadejos, a white one and a black one. They appear at night time in front of people traveling The black one is a very evil spirit that tries to kill the travelers and the white one is the one that tries to save their lives. The white one sometimes walks night walkers home and tries to protect them from the black dog. People try to kill the black dog sometimes but they always die. It kind of represents the devil.”

This was very interesting to me because I have been around her my whole life but really knew nothing about her culture or the folklore that his passed around in her home. After doing a bit more research on the legend, I found that sometimes the colors of the dogs are reversed depending on where the story is being told, the black being the helper and the white being evil. There was also another telling of legend where a man who is the guardian of a house and every time he would return to his house he would see a white dog but it would always disappear. Then one day, he goes up to it and finally touches its paw and its eyes open. Then it says, “you do not need my help anymore”. It is interesting to see how these stories differ.