My mother has told me this story various times, especially since it’s one of my favorites. Not too long ago around 2-3 years ago my mother recieved a phone call late in the evening from a relative in mexico. I asked her what it was about and she told me she would tell me in the morning. The next day I asked her about it and she replied in spanish “If I tell you, you better not come to me at night saying you’re scared.” I immediately promised that I wouldn’t. But of course that was a lie and even as a grown adult I still seek her protection when I’m scared. She told me in that her niece who was an infant was staying at my grandma’s house for a while and one day in the middle of the night my grandma and my uncles and aunts awoke to the sound of small bells, laughter and the sound of feet running around her small adobe house. In mexico Duendes are known to make these sounds and are notorious for claiming the souls of children especially when the child had not been properly protected while having crossed a river with their parent(s). Earlier they had passed by the river near my grandma’s house without even bothering to protect the child from the duendes, they had forgotten the words of advice many elders have told them.
Adults are usually warned not to bring children in or around rivers since chanos (duendes goblins/elves/gnomes) are notorious for kidnapping children and often times infants souls. If a person were to cross the river with their child/infant without saying “Don’t stay in the river or the chanos will take you!” The infants soul is usually stuck in the river and the infant will cry throughout the night until the duendes/goblins/elves/chanos retrieve the infant from it’s home.
In order to prevent this from happening you must go back with the infant and speak those words at the river you crossed with the child in arms. There is also a plant called “Jaral” which grows along the rivers that protects the child’s soul from staying in the river. According to many elders the infant/child must be wearing it for the chant/words to work.
My aunts and uncles had ignored the sounds of the chanos and had fallen back asleep since they had thought nothing of it at the time. The next morning the had found her by the door. My grandma believes the chanos tried taking her back to the river since it was impossible for the newborn to crawl from her mother’s bed to the door that was near the other side of the house.
I honestly fear these creatures and knowing I will have to visit my grandma one day gives me the chills. Especially since aliens,duendes,demons,lechuza and pretty much anything you can think of are known inhabitants of that rural area in which they live in.