The Chichiricú is a dwarfish mythological creature found in swamps and rivers on the island of Cuba. He's been described as Cuba's Big Foot. I remember my parents using the threat of the Chichiricú to get my siblings and me to behave. It worked every time.
Once upon a time, there was a young man who lived in a tropical paradise. Since birth, he had been spoiled by his parents and doting grandparents, who gave him everything he desired. The young man grew up to be selfish and cruel, only thinking of himself and satisfying his own needs. He was abusive and mean to everyone without any consequences.
One day the young man was at a party, and he met a beautiful young woman. He fell instantly in love with her, and since he always got what he wanted, he decided to take the young woman as his bride. The young woman did not share his affection because she saw he was hateful and mean-spirited.
The young lady refused his advances, but the young man didn't care. He grabbed her and shoved her on top of his horse. Then, they rode off in the night in the direction of his home. The woman screamed and fought, but the man was too strong for her. As they approached a river, the woman begged the man to let her go.
"There are Chichiricú in the murky waters of the river, and they will come out to eat us both," she begged. The young man had heard of the Chichiricú, but he never feared them because he was sure nothing could hurt him. He was the son of the most powerful man in the land.
"I don't believe in those old women's tales. Let them come, and I will slay them all with my machete!" the young man boasted.
As they approached the river, the horse slowed down to a trot, and refused to cross. The young man whipped the horse until it bled, but the horse would not move. The woman screamed, begging the man to stop hitting the horse and to let her go.
Suddenly, from the depths of the waters rose a grotesque creature, covered in grass and muck. Its bulging eyes and sharp teeth glowing in the dark. The young woman saw it first and screamed, but the young man didn’t believe her and continued hitting the poor defenseless horse. The ugly elf was less than two-feet tall, but he jumped and grabbed the young man by the hair with such strength that the young man fell backward. The Chichiricú then jumped on the young man's chest and crawled close to his head. The young man struggled to get away, revolted by the monster's foul breath and heinous features.
"Please let me go. My father will give you money," the young man cried.
"I don't need money. I am pleased with where I live and have all of nature at my disposal," the creature replied.
"What do you want? I will do anything."
"You will apologize to this young lady and tend to your horse's wounds."
"Apologize to a woman? Help that idiot beast who has caused me all this trouble? Never!"
"Very well. I will do it."
The miniature beast turned into a butterfly and flew over the horse's wounds, magically healing them instantly. He then took the form of a man and gently lifted the young woman onto the horse's back.
"I'm sorry this man has tried to harm you. Not all men are like him. Go back home and tell everyone a Chichiricú saved yours and the horse's lives."
"Thank you, sir. What will happen to him?"
The creature changed again and took the form of a crocodile.
"He will come with me into the depths of the river where he will live until he has the chance to save another being. When he does, he will return to his human form."
"And, if he doesn't?”
"He will remain forever a Chichiricú."