Myths for Monday -- Hojarasquín del Monte
Woodcutters Beware! The HOJARASQUÍN DEL MONTE is on the loose! This forest dweller is the famous protector of the forests in the Eje Cafetero (Coffee Growing Region) in Colombia which includes the department of CALDAS the Department for today.
The Hojarsquín del Monte is a man whose skin is of moss and lichens, whose hair is of fern fronds or leaves, and whose arms are branches. Some campesinos that report to have seen him say that he seems like a TREE MAN. Others say he is more like a giant monkey covered with moss and dried leaves.
When people cut trees or destroy the forest, the Hojarasquín will appear as an old tree -- a perfect one for cutting. When the woodcutter prepares to swing the ax, the Hojarasquín jumps up and growls. Of course, this terrifies the woodcutting culprit who will get lost in the forest as they attempt to run away from the horrifying scene -- never to be heard from again. (In an alternate version, the Hojarasquín eats the woodcutter.)
The Hojarasquín will also serve as a guide to those who get lost while exploring the forest (not doing any damage). He will guide them to safety.
The Hojarasquín's third mission is to help the native fauna -- deer, tapirs, birds, etc -- escape from hunters. It will leave false trails or make false sounds in order to confuse hunters, making their hunting trips unsuccessful.