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Formosa’s Fantastic Beings

Perhaps the reason the streets of Formosan villages are so deserted during the siesta is not because everyone is seeking refuge from the highest heat of the day, but rather hiding from the fantastic beings said to wander at those hours.

Curupí, who has backward-turned feet, has his eye on the women. This creature captures Formoseñas with his meters-long penis and carries them off. Children are the target of Yasí Yateré, who has long, blond hair. With his golden wand, he enchants young folk and takes them off to the wilds, where he then drives them mad.

Formosan women also have to take care at night, when Pombero wanders about. This Señor de la Noche (Lord of the Night) kidnaps them and leaves them pregnant. Pombero, though, also helps people. To befriend him, leave a bottle of caña (cane liquor) and tobacco in the mud oven of your courtyard.

Cara’i Octubre, the duende de la miseria (goblin of misery) appears on October 1, the beginning of the “dead” month when food is scarce. Formoseños prepare a pot of corn, meat and other ingredients. If Cara’i doesn’t find the stew, he cracks his whip and bestows hunger on the household in revenge.

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