Thursday, 12 March 2009

Who watches the El Bizco

While reading up on bits of info on Nerja and near by towns I came across an article on El Borge. I have friends that live in El Borge and it’s a very nice little village and amongst the view tiny streets they have a small zoo. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but if not I should do that soon.

One of the more interesting facts about El Borge is ‘El Bizco de El Borge.’ He was a bandit in the 19th Century that terrorised the area. Held people to ransom, often got in to confrontations with large groups of the Guardia Civil with his posse. He was celebrated in Andalucia by locals and many folk songs were written about him.

Quickly looking in to El Bizco de El Borge talks about how many different writers talked differently about him. Some called him a bully and cruel, others a hero and a rebellion.

One of my favourite pieces I’ve read is

The scene of his most famous deed was the village of Alfarnate, where he murdered a gallant young man known as El Chirrina, who had given El Bizco away when he was planning an attack.

This guy is just going around and killing people with cool sounding nicknames. That is pretty cruel and rebellious. Just like a Spanish Billy the Kid. That kind of awesome.

The one thing that stood out though is his name. After google translating it it came out as ‘the squint of El Borge.’

full translation

Other options for the translation were

bizco trans

Yes, you read that correctly. Cross-eyed! Or boss-eyed, cockeyed or, as they say from where I grew up, gossy. And it isn’t a mistake by me, a few articles I have read about him do translate his name to “The cross-eyed man of El Borge.”

It’s hard to imagine a infamous bandit, someone who strikes fear in to the hearts of anyone who faces him, as being cross-eyed.

I wonder if, when chasing after the Guardia Civil through mountains, did he ever fall in to bushes or of the side of cliff as he could see two scared Guardia Civil officers running from him rather then just actual one that was there?
Or when shooting did he often hit posts or birds behind his target?

Did his wanted poster look something like this?


*Must remember to install GIMP for future photo editing

It is very bizarre, no offence to other cross-eyed bandits out there, but if me and a friend confronted this guy and he pulled a gun I wouldn’t be able to tell who he was talking to when he demanded our farming goods and daughters.

In all honesty El Bizco de El Borge does sound like a great piece of folk lore. Something that I never really had growing up. Although he wouldn’t make a stand up role model for my hypothetical kids I’m sure he could come to use when trying to get children to sleep or to behave, or “El Bizco” will come get you.
Other stories I read about him were how, when surrounded by up to 20 Guardia Civil officers and the house he was held up in was set alight he still managed to escape and to fight another day.
And despite what his name suggests, apparently he was a very good marksman.
In fact the guy was so infamous that his death made it to the
New York Times, June 17 1889, click pdf to see actual news clipping.
Apparently his house still stands in El Borge and next time I am visiting friends there, which we are currently trying to arrange as they have recently opened a bar there, then I will ask to go see the house and see what folk lore tales I can get out of the residents at the bar.
I’d quite like to know more about him.

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