Abad Alfau and the Skull

Abad Alfau y la Calavera/ Abad Alfau and the Skull

Interpretation of Abad Alfau y la calavera by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu
Interpretation of Abad Alfau y la calavera by Artist-Illustrator Ray Wu

This legend starts at the Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo / Church and Convent of Santo Domingo. Here there was located a wall that long ago was torn down.

In this wall in the year 1905, when it was still standing, there was a little niche. Inside this niche was a human skull. Written below this skull was this saying.

“Oh tú que pasando vas
Fija los ojos en mí
Cual tú te ves yo me ví
cual yo me veo tu te veras”

Roughly translated to mean
“Oh you who are passing by,
fix your eyes on me,
the way you look I used to look,
the way I look, is the way you will.”

I have no idea why this skull was there or who it belonged to but it was there and it had been for quite some time. This eyeless white skull with its lifeless grin smiled at all who passed. No one paid it much attention until one evening. After the street lamplighters passed, lighting the lamps in the streets, this lifeless skull came to life!

A neighbor was walking by, as he did every night going to his home, when he heard a noise. He turned and there was the skull. IT WAS MOVING! The skull was nodding. Moving its body-less head to and fro. While it was grinning and making diabolical sounds.

As is common here in Dominican Republic, the news passed rapidly between all the neighbors. People would see the skull moving at night. Soon not even the bravest military personal would use that street after dark. All were terrified of this chattering skull.

After too many of the men ran in fear to the Fortaleza speaking of this frightful skull the 19 year old battalion sergeant Alfau Abad had enough. He was so disappointed and fed up with the actions of his military friends that he decided to take matters into his own hands.

The next night he had the men get a ladder and he went to the wall. These cowardly men held their distance while watching their friend in horror. Abad approached the nitch where the skull was moving and chattering. He bravely put the ladder against the wall and ascended. Alfau drew his trusty sword and whapped that nasty thing! The skull broke and fell to the ground. When it hit a group of mice scurried from the shards, running in all directions.

The next day the street sweeper cleaned up the broken skull. No one ever spoke of this skull again. The wall was torn down years later but the embarrassment of the people who ran in fear from a mice filled skull always remained.

Antonio Alfau Abad Baralt was Vice-President of Dominican Republic under President Pedro Santana from 1858-1861. (A little history of the real Alfau Abad).

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