Before humans began cutting down this vital forests of the Antigua Watershed, the land was also inhabited by countless, water spirits.
The Chaneques (also known as alushes, binivulashas, chaloques in other regions of the country) are the fairies that live in the water currents. The rivers, the lagoons, the wells, are all inhabited by the spirits that accompany the water and the growth of the region’s rivers.
These water spirits are often represented as playful children. The tales about the Chaneques take the form of horror stories, accompanied by hefty doses of suspense (here you can find a tale Alejandro actually experienced when lost in the forest). They also love to mislead people and make precious objects disappear (in this story Alejandro narrates how to protect yourself from the Chaneque’s playful whims). However, despite their trickster antics, the Chaneques play a vital role, and are the guardians of the region’s water.
The chaneques have been present throughout the history of Mexico. They are the children of Tlaloc (the god of the rain) and Chachichicue (she of the dress of raindrops). They are the beings that bring the rain. The clouds that form over the Earth are the home of Tlaloc, and their children. When you hear thunder, it is the chaneques playing ball, the ancient ball game that was played with the waist and elbows. What we hear in the sky before the rain is the bouncing of the ball and the footfalls of the children. And when the balls hit the giant pots where Tlaloc and Chachichicue keep their water, lightning is formed from the cracks of broken pottery. From these fissures the rain finally falls. Thus, the chaneques have always been part of our history.