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Legends and lore of Oaxaca: A man named Crecencio

Oscar Encines

The legend of Crecencio is often told by the people of Teotitlan del Valle.

Crecencio arrived there as a peon that helped raise cattle and domesticated animals in the community. The years went by and in those times people had to collect tree bark to cure leather. In those days the tanner's work was highly valued. Crecencio collect bark together with the owner of the house where he got a job and a place to stay.

One day Crecencio decided to go alone into the mountains to collect bark. Then something strange happened, because before he left he prepared a machete and a sort of wooden lance, as though he was getting ready to for a fight. Nobody understood why he was doing this.

He headed toward the mountains, and there he encountered a large jaguar that attacked hunted. This savage animal fought with Crecencio but with his ability was able to kill it. He cut off its legs and head with his machete and thrust the lance through the jaguar's heart. Incredibly, the man managed to defeat the beast.

At that moment a strange force descended upon Crecencio, giving him a supernatural power, authority and the might of the wind. He was then transformed into an eagle. Several other jaguars came to witness this strange occurrence, but they all looked at Crecencio with great respect, as he had just killed their king. Crecencio took the head of this jaguar and put it on his own head to show that he was now the new king of these animals.

After all this happened, he returned to Teotitlán, to the place where he worked, but he was no longer the same humble person as before. Crecencio came back with real authority and determination, and villagers no longer saw the Crecencio they had known. He then told his story about what happened in the mountains and everyone was surprised by the great battle against the fierce beast.

Shortly after that, Crecencio left the place where he lived to spend more time in the mountains. Back in those days, the Mexico City government sent money to the Oaxaca State Government. It was transported by mules and accompanied by soldiers to protect the money on its way to the City of Oaxaca.

When he saw the poverty of the people of Teotitlan, Crecencio decided to help them by stealing from the soldiers who carried the governmental funds. With his supernatural ability to transform himself into an eagle, he would watch to see where and when the caravan would pass through an area where it was less risky to rob them. One day when Crecencio and his friends saw the mules near them, they decided to attack. He then created a great whirlwind that filled the air with so that nothing could be seen. Then his friends went into action and siezed the mules to hide them and steal the money.

Once the whirlwind died down, the soldiers - covered with dust and with red eyes - didn't know what happened to them. Why weren't their mules there anymore? There was no one else around. Astonished at what had just happened, they kept asking themselves where the money they had to deliver to the Oaxaca Government was. And the most amazing thing is that they didn't have anyone to blame because it was all so quick and confusing.

Thanks to his supernatural powers, Crecencio was able to steal from these soldiers using magic and always took them by surprise. He left no clues either. In this way, he continued stealing and he gave the money he obtained to needy people in his community. And of course he shared it with his accomplices.

A curious fact is that when someone decided he no longer wanted to accompany Crecencio in this dirty work, the only way out was death. The dead thief was then buried in the mountains with a barrel full of silver money obtained from their many heists. The body was placed above the coins as a form of gratitude for his cooperation in the robberies. At the same time, the dead thief's soul was to watch over the loot from the next world. Nobody could take out the barrel full of money because it was additionally protected by strange herbs hidden inside so that anyone who tried to steal it would die from smelling or touching these plants.

Any one that belonged to Crecencio's thief group had to comply with this strict rule of death upon leaving the group and the promise to protect a part of the stolen money from beyond the grave.

Led by Crecencio and his supernatural powers, this group of thieves continued stealing for many years. Finally, one of them betrayed and assassinated Crecencio with the help of soldiers from Oaxaca and Mexico City in order to stop the theft of government money.

That was the end of this remarkable man named Crecencio who had the gift of supernatural powers. Today in several places of Teotitlan del Valle, barrels full of silver money have been found. And there are many that remain hidden somewhere in the community, awaiting discovery.

Published or Updated on: September 1, 2007 by Oscar Encines © 2009
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