In the folk culture along the Rio Grande, one finds persistent tales of a fabled monster known as the basilisk, or in Spanish, el basilisco. The legend originated in North Africa, was carried to Spain by the Moors and later transferred to the colonies in America.
The basilisk is variously described as a large lizard, serpent or dragon. In all cases, its breath or its look, when falling upon a human, is said to be fatal.
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