The Enchanted Priest

We just got back from two weeks in Peru and Ecuador (photos here, if you’re interested). Machu Picchu and the Galapagos! It was a wonderful trip. On the last day in Quito, we paid a short visit to the Mindalae (Museo Etnohistorico Del Artesanias Del Ecuador), a small but well-curated ethnographic museum, with an interesting selection of the artwork and craftwork of the various peoples of Ecuador.

In the gift shop, my sister-in-law spotted a collection of Ecuadorean ghost stories (cuentos de aparecidos), which she then waved under my nose. How could I resist?

The cuentos in the collection are all post-colonial, Catholic-oriented ghost stories; mildly disappointing, though not too surprising. The author, Mario Conde, presents them as occurring in specific towns and locales throughout Ecuador (mostly the highlands, and none in the Amazon regions), though most of the stories are found throughout the Christian areas of Ecuador. I should probably give you a story with a specific Ecuadorean beastie, like a duende or a huaca, but the story of the Enchanted Priest caught my eye. It feels just a little bit like something you might find in The Decameron, or The Canterbury Tales: a priest up to sexual mischief.

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