The Chagrin is a monster of Gypsy folklore, also known as the Cagrino. They are said to be yellow, hedgehog-like creatures a meter long and half a foot wide. It may be a variation on a creature from the Indian subcontinent known as the Harginn, and has a similar function to a Chilean demon known as Guecubu.
Horses are the usual victims of the Chagrin, especially mares who have recently given birth. The monsters are said to climb on the horses' bodies while they sleep and urinate on them, causing physical and emotional distress and tangled manes the next morning. Additionally, the urine may cause boils or sores to appear. However, the tangled or missing horse manes are cited as an especially typical calling card of the Chagrin.
Finding distressed, exhausted horses at dawn was commonly blamed by superstitious societies, such as the Gypsies, on supernatural entities. Supposedly, if in the morning the horse was found to be in worse condition than it was the previous night, the only explanation was that it was commandeered in the darkness by a witch, who then returned the battered animal back to its stable before daybreak. Because of the similarities of symptoms, the Chagrin are also said to partake of these moonlight joyrides.
Countering a Chagrin
The Gypsies would use spells and incantations to cure their horses and ward off further Chagrin attacks. After the affected horse is tied to a stake rubbed in garlic
juice, a red thread is placed away from the animal in the shape of a cross. Both the garlic and red thread are attributed magical properties by the Gypsies. Once both are in place, the following is spoken: "All evil stay here / Stay in the long thread / In the next brook. / Give thy water, / Jump in Chagrin! / Therein perish quickly!"
Other anti-Chagrin methods include mixing the cursed horse's hair, bat's blood, and salt into a bread batter and baking it in a pipkin, a type of pot. The resulting product is smeared on the foot of the horse and the pipkin placed into a tree trunk while incanting: "Tarry, pipkin, in this tree, till such time as full ye be!"
The mother mares so commonly assailed by the Chagrin can also be protected by placing hot coals and pieces of metal into their drinking water while speaking: "Drink, and do not be sleepy!" Sores suffered from Chagrin urine are also said to be curable. First, a red cloth must be placed during the night into the open cavity of a tree and sealed with a cork while incanting: "Remain thou here / till the rag become an animal / till the animal, a tree / till the tree, a man, / who will destroy thee!" The red cloth can then be draped over the horse's affected areas by day.