The village of Axpe, in the valley of Atxondo, sits in the shadow of 4,777-foot Monte Anboto—one of the highest peaks in the Basque Country outside the Pyrenees. According to local lore, the Basque nature goddess Mari lives in a cave close to the summit. Anboto, with its spectral gray rock face, is a sharp contrast to the soft green meadows running up to the very foot of the mountain. In his Mitología vasca (Basque Mythology), ethnologist José María de Barandiarán describes the goddess as "a beautiful woman, well constructed in all ways except for one foot, which was like that of a goat."
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