Explore El Salvador

For Tourists, By Travellers


The Man With Big Knees

The Man With Big KneesThis legend is very popular among the fishermen, residents and visitors to lakes and lagoons of El Salvador, particularly Lago de Coatepeque, located a short 45 minute drive (without traffic) from San Salvador.  It was there, according to legend, that the owner of a beautiful lake-side mansion went for a ride in a canoe.   Near the island, he was swept away by an underwater current and carried to the goddess of the freshwater’s domain.  He was never seen alive again. 

A few months later, he appeared to the people who were taking care of his property and gave the mansion to them.  Although they recognized him, they were astonished to see that his knees had widened to the size of soccer balls and his lips looked more like a sea creature than human. 

“Tabas” is a word used in El Salvador that means “knees”, so El Tabudo means “Man of Big Knees”.  El Tabudo appears to people as a humble fisherman in order to win their confidence and lure them into the middle of the lake, where he then transforms men into big colorful fish and women into freshwater sirens.