Legends, fables and myths abound in Mexico. The country is filled with tales that have been passed down through the generations. The state of Jalisco is no exception – the region has its own creatures, devils and dragons.
These legends can convey important life lessons and tell us a great deal about how locals see their surroundings.
Although the three myths below tell very different tales, they all take place in a real location that you can see for yourself – if you dare.
The Devil’s Bridge
On the Zapotlanejo highway and above the Santiago River rises a great bridge, the Puente Grande. According to legend, a pact with the devil was needed to erect the construction.
The rushed builder was laying the stones of the bridge when he realized it was already the eve of the due date. The craftsman felt a surge of concern. Would he lose his money and reputation if the bridge was not built on time?
“I would sell my soul for this bridge to be built overnight!” he mumbled. His plea did not fall on deaf ears: an old man, said to be the devil, appeared at his side and said he could build the bridge before the first cockcrow, if the craftsman gave his soul. The builder agreed – building the whole bridge in one night was a truly impossible feat.
The devil summoned his demons and all set to laying stones under the man’s increasingly worried gaze. When he saw how fast they were progressing, he realized he had made a terrible mistake and woke his wife for help. The wife thought long and hard until an idea dawned on her. She hurried outside and crowed her best rooster call. Once, twice, three times she called. Then one rooster woke up, then two, then three. The birds all squawked at once just before the devil put the last stone on the bridge.
The devil and his demons ran away and were not seen again. To this day, there is still said to be one missing stone on the bridge. Can you find it?
Dragons & Blessings
Have you ever noticed a strong air current flowing through the church of Parroquia de Santiago Apóstol of Tequila? Rumor has it the breeze comes from a breathing dragon.
The dragon, who sleeps below the earth, is so immense that its tail became the volcano of Tequila. Its body is underneath the town and its head rests peacefully under the stones of the church. Villagers were afraid that one day the dragon might awake from its slumber. To indicate where the creature’s head lies, the church hung a cross made of stone on the main door.
Today, you can still feel the fresh wind in the Parroquia de Santiago Apóstol – they say the smell of agave becomes stronger in the evening. Perhaps the powerful smell keeps the dragon fast asleep?
Or maybe Tequila is still safe thanks to the priest’s daily blessing. The story goes that one day, a heavy storm struck the town. With the wind howling, the townspeople sought refuge in the church. As they were praying, the priest walked into the storm, taking the sacrament with him, and the rains miraculously ceased. Since then, every Monday to Friday at 9 p.m., the priest rings the church bell three times before giving the daily blessing.
Huge round rocks were left by giants, according to the locals of Ahualulco de Mercado. Slow and clumsy giants would hold, play and toss these almost-perfectly round balls on the slopes of a hill that took the toys’ name: Piedras Bola. These balls now lie as the last vestige of this playful past.
Some of the rocks are small and only reach two feet in diameter. Others stretch up to 10 feet and could only be handled by the very tallest creatures. The biggest boulder used to weigh 30 tons, before it was rolled over and destroyed by gold-diggers.
Indeed, because of the rocks’ mysterious origin, rumors spread across the region that gold nuggets were hidden inside the stones. Many others were blown up with dynamite.
There are other explanations for the curious rock formations. Some people believe they were left behind by aliens from outer space who would frequently visit the place. Only an intelligent and supernatural being could have created these heavy, round and polished stones. The only other place on earth these aliens visited was New Zealand.
Geologists came to analyze the stones in the late 1960s. The first rock – at ten feet high – was found near a silver mine, which abounded in the region. In 1969, renowned geologist Dr. Robert Smith led a National Geographic-Smithsonian expedition to Jalisco. After hiking for miles in the valley, they found the rocks and determined that they were made of crystallized volcano ash from 10 to 40 million years ago.
The scientists’ conclusion makes sense. But the explanation does not disprove the legends… Who is to say that giants did not play with these rocks millions of years ago?