Nicaragua.com: La Carretanagua is considered the embodiment of Nicaraguan folklore and mythology. The tale is a blend of past realities and imaginative oral culture. Apparently, the story of La Carretanagua is based on caravans of Spaniards who conquered the land during the 16th century. As the ox carts moved through the land the Spaniards would plunder the Indian settlements, taking their gold and supplies as well as capturing slaves. Slaves were chained and led along on these journeys as the Spanish carts left ruin and death in their wake. Legend states that La Carretanagua makes his way through towns from about 1:00 am, making a racket as his ancient oxen pull his cart along. Individuals who say they have heard him in the night have discovered that one of the town's citizens is dead the next day. Those have 'seen' this mysterious entourage of oxen and lost souls say that it moves quickly and is unable to turn corners due to is cross shape, simply disappearing as it reaches the end of a road. This tale may have been created to provide Nicaraguans with a tangible understanding of death.
The Nicaraguan folkloric legend of La Mocuana is believed to be based on genuine history and it is thought that La Mocuana was a living Indian princess. Her father was hospitable to the Spanish conquerers at first but then ordered them to leave. Soon the Spanish forces returned to take over the village and take their gold. The chief of the village had hidden the treasure and his daughter, La Mocuana, was the only other individual who knew its whereabouts. During a battle between the two groups the tribe gained victory. Some time later the son of one of the Spanish soldiers came to live near the village and soon fell in love with La Macuana. She too fell in love with him and they planned to run away together. She gave him her father's treasure so that they could have something for their lives together. The Spaniard preferred to keep the gold for himself and sealed La Macuana in a cave, running away with the treasure. La Mocuana escaped through the back of the cave. The heartbroken princess began to wander the woods and was driven mad by the thoughts of betrayal and feelings of guilt. Country people say that her sad figure can be seen on dark nights. She is also said to lure drunkards and philanderers to her cave where they disappear.
The Mombacho, whose crest is always enshrouded by mists of clouds, is the guardian of the city of Granada and all the villages around it. The old ones tell that since ancient times the peasants who live around its base have known that a natural fountain of crystal clear water exists within the volcano's crater.
Even though the people from the neighboring cities respect the enchanted fountain, there have been many who have disrespected it and have entered the "devil's cauldron," as the people often call the crater. But only those who know the secret of the enchantment can bear witness of the wonders which reside there. According to these testimonies, after climbing up the volcano's flank and smelling the fresh air which pervades everything, one must search for a secret path which leads down into the crater. Once you manage to reach the bottom, you will be surprised by a 200 square meter area where the most beautiful and exotic flowers and butterflies ever seen by human eyes grow. This place is called "the Pit" because it appears to be a hole in the middle of the crater. This garden is always perfectly clean as if tended by a superhuman hand, however, no one lives there. And there, from a rock in that garden, pours the pure waters of the enchanted fountain. All those who have ever drunk its water know that only a drop is required to quench even the thirst of a camel. People have been shocked to witness lions, tigers, monkeys, and all types of animals coming to drink at the same time without ever fighting or attacking each other. If someone tries to shoot these animals, they can fire as many bullets as they like at the animal and they will see it fall down and die. However, when they go to retrieve it, the animal will have disappeared leaving no trace that they were ever there. Similarly, the animals walk quite close to you so that they can be photographed, but when you put the camera to your eye they disappear.
The cadejo. There is a good, white cadejo and an evil, black cadejo. Both are spirits that appear at night to travellers: the white to protect them from harm during their journey, the black (sometimes an incarnation of the devil), to kill them.
They usually appear in the form of a large (up to the size of a cow), shaggy dog with burning red eyes and a goat's hooves, although in some areas they have more bull-like characteristics.
According to the stories, many have tried to kill the black cadejo but have failed and perished.
Also it is said that if a cadejo is killed, it will smell terrible for several days, and then its body will disappear. The folklore also tells of a cadejo that guards drunks against anyone who tries to rob or hurt them. When the cadejo is near, it is said to bring about a strong goat-like smell. Most people say never to turn your back to the creature because otherwise you will go crazy.
In popular etymology, the name cadejo is thought to have derived from the Spanish word "cadena," meaning "chain"; the cadejo is at times represented as dragging a chain behind him.
There is a fairly large member of the weasel family, the tayra, which in common speech is called a cadejo and is cited as a possible source of the legend.
Remember, this is just a legend.
Other sites with interesting Nicaraguan legends and other cultural expressions (English)