ZEZENGORRI ‘red bull’

The Basque name Zezengorri means “red bull” because, in fact, that is the appearance of this spirit. Sometimes, he throws fire through his nostrils and mouth, burning his enemies; some other times, on the contrary, Zezengorri remains in the darkness of his cave, shining, as horns and tail were on fire.

He usually lives in caves because ha has always been the protector of such places. He gets angry if someone enters his cave or violates the peace and silence of the cave; then, he becomes really evil and frightening. That’s why, in some place, he is called Etsai (“ … “ in Basque). If we throw stones to his cave, Zezengorri will come out full of anger and attacking us. Sometimes, he takes on the appearance of a man, goes to the village and punishes those who offended him.

According to a legend from Orozko (Biscay), a a thief lived in the Atxulaur Cave in Mount Itzina. That thief had accumulated a huge quantity of gold in that cave, thanks to many years of thefts. On one occasion, he went to steal to another land and he passed away. No one knew where his treasure was. One day, some foreigners went to the Atxulaur Cave determined to take the treasure for them; nevertheless, when they approached, a red bull come out of the cave, threatening them and throwing them fire from his mouth and nostrils; it was the thief’s spirit. Another day, those foreigners brought the dead thief’s bones to the cave and left them there. Then, they were allowed to take the treasure from the cave because the thief’s body was already at peace.