The Legend of El Tabudo

After we returned from Lake Coatepeque, I wondered if there were any interesting folk stories about the lake.  It felt like one of those special places - a little bit quiet, hidden in a caldera, deep blue water, lots of fish.  Thanks to Gloria and Guillermo, I learned this story...

The legend of El Tabudo has become very popular among fishermen, residents and visitors to Lake Coatepeque and has spread so much that people tell the same legend of all lakes and lagoons of El Salvador.

It seems that the owner of a beautiful mansion located on the shores of Lake Coatepeque went for a ride in a traditional hand-made canoe.  As he came near the island he was swept away by an underground stream and carried to the realm of the goddess of fresh water, never to be seen alive again. 

A few months later he appeared to the people who were looking after his property which they had inherited. They were astonished and confused when they saw him because his knees had widened so much that looked like a pair of soccer balls and the same with his lips so that he looked like a sea creature more than a human.

Those who saw him told of his appearance and his big “knee knuckles” gave him the name “El Tabudo”. The tabudo is a kind of underwater tycoon.  He will appear to you like a person pretending to be a humble fisherman to earn your trust.  Then he will take you to the depths of the lake, where he turns men into huge goldfish and women into freshwater mermaids.


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