The Reflecting Pool
The most recognizable of the loa, Baron Samedi is well-known for his boisterous nature. Despite being a god of death and the journey to the underworld, he is far more likely to be found drinking, smoking or carousing with women, all of which he does with constant abandon. He is a god of health and the human body, especially in a sexual manner, and is known to hold the power of resurrection in his bony hands. Along with his wife, Maman Brigitte, he is the caretaker of the dead and the paths that lead to them, particularly of graveyards and crossroads near them; he is the grave-digger, the guide, and the outrageous entertainer on the way to the lightless realms.
Baron Samedi and the Cow Thief
It happened one day that the Baron was watching over his brother’s cow as a favor when a cow thief came along and stole it from under his nose. The cow thief was very large, very ugly, and very frightening; not wanting to confront him directly, the Baron instead went to his brother and told him of what had happened. He embellished the story until it was a tale of grand deeds, in which he had nearly been killed in the cow’s defense and the thief had been a marauding monster of unfathomable size and brutality. Incensed by the thief’s audacity in stealing the cow and threatening the Baron, his brother immediately set out to seduce the thief’s daughter, which he did, setting in motion a chain of events that eventually led to a massive war erupting all across the countryside, involving all the gods and sending many of them to their dooms. The Baron himself, with no interest whatsoever in being part of the war he had started, departed for lands unknown and remained there henceforth.