Encounters on the Enchanted Road: My Journey with Duendes (Los Fresnos, TX)
September 14, 2023
“I’m originally from Indiana but I met and married my Hispanic husband, and we moved down here to be closer to his family. We built a house on the same road as two of his siblings, and ours was the last one before it turned into a dirt road for many miles. One morning, I decided to take my young sons for a walk down the seldom-used dirt road. On that particular morning, I noticed a strange word carved into the mud: “CHENTA.” As I was looking, my oldest son, who was 13, yelled for me to “Look at the tiny people!” What I saw still blows my mind. About 25 feet away, there were five very tiny people, about 1.4-2 feet tall.
They wore all white and had pointy white hats on. Even though it was daylight, their faces were so inked out that it made no sense. I got closer to take a better look, and one, about 4 feet tall, wearing all black, walked out of the grass and stood in front of them. When it looked at me, I froze, not out of fear, but more like I was unable to move, and a sense of fear overwhelmed me that wasn’t my own. Without a word, the little ones in white got in a line and began to walk into the tall grass until I could no longer see the tip of their hats. The one in black looked away from me and walked after them.
Suddenly, I could move again, so I grabbed my younger son, and we ran home, which was less than half a block away. I told my sister-in-law, and she laughed at me. So, I begged her to come and look, but of course, all that remained were small, wide bare footprints in the mud. She told me that in Mexico, they talk about these tiny people and call them Duendes. I, being a white woman from Indiana, had never heard of anything like it before. However, soon, we began to get tormented and pranked daily. We would open the fridge, and food would fall out because it was placed on the very edge. We would find tiny footprints on our tan tile floor that led to a wall and disappeared.
One morning, I woke to find my sugar bowl dumped over with small finger drag marks in it. We took our shoes off outside, and we began missing one shoe, usually our left, and my brooms were constantly missing. One night, I woke up and chased bare feet running into my son’s room. As I got to the closet right behind it, there was nothing inside, only hangers swaying as if they were hit by a strong wind. We sold the house and built another one about half a mile down the road on the opposite street.
Since then, I’ve only had three strange occurrences, but I try to blame them on natural things because I’m so terrified. The last thing that ever happened was the death of our tiny dog and bloody footprints that led to a window and disappeared. Our new neighbors claim the land is cursed because of the Palo Alto battlefield that was nearby and that the land had soaked up too much blood. I don’t know, but I never call people silly or superstitious when they talk about such things now. I just sit quietly and listen. Who am I to say they are not telling the truth?” -Jenny L