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Urco

Artist's Rendering of the Urco

The Urco or Güercu is a huge dog from Galician and Asturian mythology, generally considered to be an omen of death.

Description

The Urco is appears as a dog, either black or white, with large horns and ears, as well as fiery eyes in some descriptions.

Accounts on size vary, ranging from simply "big" to outright "collosal", but a rather common saying claims that "it could eat in a single bite twenty bags of loose change, with as much ease as a donkey eats two barleycorns". There are also accounts of the Urco roaming with a pack of common dogs recruited from the area.

Alternate descriptions include a calf chased by a pack of dogs, or deceased relative in asturian mythology.

Myth

The Urco is said to raise from the sea on misty winter nights, dragging noisy chains howling loudly over the roaring. Depending on accounts, it will start roaming the town's or city's street, visiting the house of those soon to die and recruiting dogs to it's pack on the way, similar to the Wild Hunt myths or the more local Santa Compaña myth.

Location

The Urco is said to dwell on Borrón, a dark and misty world somewhere underwater, which depending on myth may be located on one of these places:

  • Ría de Arousa, between Cortegada island and Santiago de Carril, Galicia, Spain
  • River Lérez, Galicia, Spain
  • At the ocean's depth, hugging right next to Hell.

Names

Galicia

  • Urco
  • Can do Urco, "Urco dog"
  • Can do mar, "sea dog"

Asturias

  • Güercu, usually referring to the "deceased relative" form

Spain

  • Huerco

Media

  • In Pontevedra, Galicia, the Urco has featured at the city's carnival parade since 1876

Similar and related myths

  • The Santa Compaña, a spirit parade and wild hunt and omen of death, originating Galician, Asturian and Northern Portuguese mythology.
  • The Banshee, another bad omen and omen of death, originating from Irish mytholohy.

Gallery