Un blog de mitos, leyendas, costumbres y tradiciones de México

Entradas etiquetadas como ‘Mexican folk literature in English’

Mexican Folk Stories: The Rabbit and the Coyote

THE RABBIT AND THE COYOTE

Mexican folktale from Galeana, N. L.

There was once an old woman who had a small farm with lettuce, radishes and beets, and there was a bunny that came every night to find something to eat. Tired of it, the old lady put traps, but the bold rabbit was never caught. One day the old lady thought:

“Next time I will put as bait a glued scarecrow, to see if that scares the rabbit does not come anymore.”

The days passed and the rabbit kept coming to feast at the farm. When he saw the scarecrow, he began to mock it, but as this did not answer, the rabbit said, “Look, monkey, I will beat you up until you plead no more. And so he did, the rabbit started beating it up until he was stuck. That day the old lady was not around, so she did not realize that the rabbit had been caught. However, a hungry coyote was passing by and got him. But the bunny, very clever, said:

“Please do not eat me, coyote. Look, you see that herd over there? Tell me which goat you like and I’ll bring to you immediately.

Since this coyote was a bit silly, he believed the Dibujo de Jennifer Mengbunny. So it happened that when he helped the rabbit free, he ran away as fast as he could and only his ears moving were seen. The coyote waited for the goat, but only waited.

A couple days later the coyote happened to find the rabbit again and said:

“I caught again, bunny. The other day you cheated me and now I’m going to eat you”.

“No, Coyotito, let me explain”, said the rabbit. “I caught the goat as I said I would, but when I went looking for you I did not find you, so I decided to make this chicharrones, from that goat. So here you see me preparing. Hm … they’re just about ready. Would you like some?!

“All right, the coyote said, let’s eat”.

With his hand the coyote began to stir the pot where there were supposed to be the chicharrones, but were not such –it was a buzzing hive of bees, producing a noise as if something were frying. In the meantime, the rabbit ran away again as fast as he could, while the foolish coyote realized that he’d been tricked again.

The following night, the rabbit was eating a radish in the farm of the old lady when the coyote stalked from behind and caught him.

“Look, tricky rabbit, I’m really starving and there is no choice but to eat you. After all you’ve mocked me twice”.

When he was about to take a bite, the rabbit said:

“No, Coyote, don’t be silly. Do you really think you’ll have enough with a little bunny like me? Look, do you see that bag over there? Well, that’s a sheep that I caught for you, and if you eat it you’ll have plenty for two or three days. What do you think?”

The coyote got excited and ran to take the bag with the sheep inside, but when he took the first blow he just made a howl of pain. It was a cactus and had thorns! The rabbit had fooled him again.

Time passed and again the coyote found his enemy, this time on the shore of a lake.

“Look, wretched rabbit, now I’m going to eat, he said. You’ve tricked me three times and I will not leave without eating you this time”.

“But Coyotito my friend, before you eat me you should know that I’ve been looking for you because I found a really big cheese, but it fell into the lake and I can’t reach it with my little hand for it’s very short”, explained the rabbit. I was thinking about a solution to get the cheese out of the lake and I think that between the two of us can do it. What do you think, either you hold me until we can retrieve the cheese from the water or I hold you”.

They were discussing who clutched the hand of whom until he finally agreed. They agreed that the rabbit was going to hold the coyote because the coyote had longer arms and could reach the cheese easily. But what the coyote did not know is that the cheese was actually the full moon reflected in the water. Neither did he suspect the rabbit’s plans. When the coyote was already in the water, the rabbit let go and the poor coyote drowned.

 

In many Mexican indigenous stories as well as ethnic groups in the North American desert, there is a series of stories where the protagonists are a rabbit and a coyote, and the winner can be either. Usually, that kind of story has a moral implication, which is a conventional feature on this literary genre.

In the version we just read, narrated by Milton de la Peña, a student of Geology in Linares, who tells us that it is still popular in the mountainous region of Iturbide, the symbols are the same: a coyote, an animal trickster that usually gets what he wants, whose nature is in folklore dual, because apart from cheating is also a cultural hero, as it provides knowledge of the arts and he did not allowed fire to extinguish, thus protecting the human race. And a rabbit, also in the folklore of some people is a trickster and liar animal, but is equally benefactor, as he brought fire from across the sea for the benefit of mankind, thus demonstrating its dual nature, similar that of his opponent.

 

Libro de Homero AdameThis story was originally published in the book Myths, Tales And Legends of Nuevo Leon, by Editorial Font, 2005. Monterrey, Mexico.

The book, by Homero Adame, was edited by Deborah Chenillo Alazraki and designed by Beatriz Gaitan. The drawing was made by Jennifer Hennen.

 

You can read more Mexican folk stories and legends on this link:

Myths, legends and traditions of Mexico

The image of Christ that came by mule – legend of Saltillo, Coahuila

THE IMAGE OF CHRIST THAT CAME BY MULE

(Legend of Saltillo, Coahuila)

 

There are some religious figures that are very highly venerated, due to the long centuries of preceding history surrounding them. In many cases, there is a long line of miracles associated with them, and these, over the years, have become legends. Such is the case of the image of Our Lord (The Holy Christ) at The Chapel, Saltillo. WERLISA DIGITAL CAMERA PX4100AFThe events related here took place on August 6, 1607, according to some written testimonies of the time.

Legend has it that in the afternoon of that far-off day, a mule, bearing a heavy load on its back, suddenly arrived in town. The mule was quite alone, without a carrier, and it settled down to rest at a place not far from the church of Saint Esteban, exactly where the present-day Cathedral is located. Those who saw it arrive assumed that its owner would no doubt turn up a little later; but the rest of that day came and went, and, by the next morning, the mule was still resting, quietly and alone, at exactly the same spot.

Some people started to try to get the mule to move on; but try as they might, the animal stoutly refused to move. Then, the rumor started to spread throughout the village and, in just a few minutes, the entire population had gathered around the beast. No one had ever seen it before, and, therefore, they had no idea who its owner might be.

While they were deeply engaged in discussion about this phenomenon, the local priest appeared. After meditating a little on the situation, he finally ordered some of the men to unload the box from the beast’s back and to open it up, so they could find out what was inside. When the men had finished their task, the mule got up and ran away towards the South at top speed; it was never seen again and nobody ever found out where it had gone to.

When the villagers opened the box, they realized, to their utmost astonishment, that there, inside, was a beautiful image of Jesus Christ, apparently made of dried corn dough. At his feet, there was a small wooden box that contained a single splinter of wood. Because it was the rainy season, they tried to take the figure out of the box, intending to keep it safe in the temple of Saint Esteban, all the time expecting that, sooner or later, its unknown owner would appear to claim the statue.

However, not even the repeated efforts of several strong men, all hauling together, were enough to lift the image out of the box to take it inside the temple. After some serious thought, the priest ordered that a small shelter be built then and there, on that very spot; this was later replaced by a church – the future Saltillo Saltillo, Coah - catedral 2011 (4)Cathedral. Time passed by, and nobody ever came to claim the image as his own; the local people, however, took it to be a divine manifestation.

There was one other factor that conduced devotees to worship the image with so much fervor: the numerous miracles attributed to it by the sick and needy who make their pilgrimages to the figure, to beg for its aid. It is said that part of its divine and healing power comes from the wooden splinter inside the small wooden box, because, according to local beliefs, it was taken from the Holy Cross on the very day of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Mitos y leyendas de todo México - Libro de Homero AdameLegend taken from the book by Homero Adame, “Myths and legends from all over Mexico” (Mitos y leyendas de todo México). Editorial Trillas. 2011, and translated by Pat Grounds.

The picture of Jesus Christ was taken from regmurcia web page. Let the link be a thanking note to its creator.

Myths and legends from San Luis Potosi: The Ghost Wagon

THE GHOST WAGON

(Folk story from Vanegas, SLP)

The story I’m about to tell you is true; it often happens here, in Vanegas. And I have seen it myself!

On that side of the road ― “The Barrio”, as we call it ― a lot of people say that they often see an old wagon pass at midnight. Nothing else, just the mysterious shape of an old wagon, bumping slowly along the road, with a silent driver in a big, black cloak… Ghost Wagon - picture taken by Homero AdameWhat’s more, you can also hear the wagon, clattering and creaking, as it makes its way along the dusty, old, unpaved road. Homero Adame’s folk stories.

The strange thing is that whenever anybody sees or hears the old wagon go by, everyone knows that something awful is going to happen. As you very well know, people don’t generally drive these old wagons anymore; they’re almost obsolete. Only a few small farmers still use them now and again, to carry their alfalfa or other crops at harvest time. So, it’s rather unusual to see such an old wagon these days.

Now this is the good part of the story ― or maybe it’s the bad part, really! From time to time, feeling very brave as young people often do, some youth or other will start to follow the wagon. But guess what? When they see that the wagon drives straight to the cemetery, they all run away as fast as their legs can carry them. Then, the wagon drives straight through the locked gates and… disappears! Folk story taken from Homero Adame’s blog at: https://adameleyendas.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/myths-and-legends-from-san-luis-potosi-the-ghost-wagon/

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