Monday, March 21, 2011
Myths for Monday -- El Silbón
The Silbón (or Whistler) is a common myth of the Llanos that connect Colombia and Venezuela, and it appears to date back to the 19th Century. It is the myth of choice for our department of the day -- Casanare.
The Silbón is an otherworldly, ghostly type man. He is very tall (over 6 feet) and very skinny. In a sack on his back, he carries his father's bones as a curse for having killed him. I have read various accounts and it seems that the reason he killed his father varies in each of them. Most explanations are rather gruesome, so I'll avoid the gory details here.
Now, here are some tips to help you avoid any problems with El Silbón.
The Silbón wanders about, but at night, he stops to count the bones he has in his sack. Typically, he will do this on the doorstep of a home on the Llano. If the occupants do not listen to the clanking of the bones as he counts, it will bring them bad luck, and perhaps even a death will occur in the family. So, while visiting the Llano, keep one ear open at night in case you hear those bones banging into each other as the are unloaded from the bag.
Additionally, people who like to party and get drunk -- BEWARE!! The Silbón will often attack them as they stumble home late at night. He will then uncover their bellybutton and suck until the alcohol in the drunkard's stomach comes out. (I am sure this excuse had been used more than once to explain a late night, "No really honey, I was attacked by the Silbón on the way home.")
He is called El Silbón (the Whistler) because as he roams the Llano, he whistles. His whistle can serve as a warning to those who might encounter him. Here are some hints: HIS WHISTLE IS DECEPTIVE. If it sounds far away, the Silbón is really nearby, and vice versa.
You are most likely to see the Silbón in the rainy months of May and June, as this is the time when he roams the Llano.
With these tips in mind, you should avoid any problems with El Silbón.
PS. I have a nephew that lives in Casanare and swears that he has heard the Silbón's whistle while walking home late at night. In the land of Macondo -- anything is possible.