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Sebriano and The Dragon

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Cenote Ik Kil is 150 feet deep, or so they say. It is one of the thousands of entrances to the vast underwater cave system that covers the Yucatan Peninsula. Its waters, though crystal clear, are dark as night because of its depth. This past week, I chose not to swim in its cool waters. I have been swimming there before, but I admit with some fear. Now, I may have my answer as to why I am afraid.

My friend, Maria, and I ventured deep into the Yucatan to go story hunting. There are legends of elemental beings all through the jungles and the best way to find first-hand accounts of encounters with these creatures of earth, air, fire, and water is to visit the remote villages and talk to the Maya people there. So, we drove four hours into the heart of the territory and stayed in an unassuming hotel across the street from Ik Kil, the fabulous and mystical cenote.

Early the next morning, after our visit to the sacred waters and Maria's swim (and my observation of her swim), we went to check out of the hotel. We paid for our room and chatted a bit with the man behind the desk. He had lived in the area all his life and had a few stories to tell. I asked him if he had any stories about the cenotes and he told me only this;

"There is a cenote not far from here that the tourists never visit. I was working near there for a while and sometimes, late a night, we could hear water rushing inside the cave. We would run and look down into the cenote, but the water was completely still."

He had no more information than that. But he did have information about an encounter a man in a nearby village had with the evil goddess Xtabay. So, we thanked him and went to see if we could find the man.

An hour later, we were sitting in plastic chairs on a broad porch with an almost blind, older gentleman named Sebriano. He was uncle to the man we were looking for. He said his nephew was working, but he had stories of his own to share with us. He talked of Xtabay and the aluxob (plural for alux--a small, childlike and unpredictable leprechaun). And then he told us a story he said he'd never told anyone. He even questioned why he was telling us. For forty years he'd held it's secret.

Sebriano leaned forward in his seat, his