MEXICO's president has been mocked after sharing a photo of what he said appeared to be a mythological woodland spirit similar to an elf.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador did not appear to be joking as he posted a bizarre picture on social media suggesting it could be an "aluxe" – a mischievous woodland spirit in Mayan folklore.
Obrador shared the snap on Twitter, saying: "I share two photos of our supervision of the Mayan Train works.
"One, taken by an engineer three days ago, apparently from an aluxe; another, by Diego Prieto of a splendid pre-Hispanic sculpture in Ek Balam.
"Everything is mystical."
The photo – taken at night – shows a tree with a branch forming what looks like a halo of hair, and what may be stars forming the figure's eyes.
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Engineers and workers are in the Yucatan peninsula, constructing a tourist train that is the president's pet project.
But Obrador has been ridiculed on social media for sharing the bizarre snaps.
One user commented: "I thought it was a parody but it is the president's account."
A second said: "The Aluxes are as 'real' as your 'achievements'."
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The Mexican leader has expressed reverence for indigenous cultures and beliefs since he came to power in 2018.
According to traditional Mayan belief, aluxes are small, mischievous creatures that inhabit forests and fields and are prone to playing tricks on people, like hiding things.
Some people leave small offerings to appease them.
The ancient Mayan civilization reached its height from 300 AD to 900 AD on the Yucatan Peninsula and in adjacent parts of Central America, but the Mayas descendants continue to live on the peninsula.
Many continue speaking the Mayan language and wearing traditional clothing, while also conserving traditional foods, crops, religion and medicine practices, despite the conquest of the region by the Spanish between 1527 and 1546.
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