USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Boy’
Childhood
general
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Boy Who Cried Wolf- Children Story

Main piece: 

“There was a boy who was a shepherd. The boy would get very bored watching the sheep all day, so he decided to yell out that there was a wolf amongst the sheep one day. All the villagers came in a hurry to find out that there was no wolf. The next day the shepherd boy did it again. And the villagers came running, only to find that once again there was no wolf. On the third day, the shepherd boy was watching the sheep, and a wolf came. The boy yelled out to the villagers, ‘there is a wolf! Help! there is a wolf!’ but this time no one believed him, and the wolf ate all of his sheep.”

Context and Analysis:

My informant is a 21-year-old female. I asked her to narrate to me a commonly known story she is familiar with. The informant narrated to me the story of the “Boy Who Cried, Wolf.” She claims this was a bedtime story told to her when she was a child. My informant believes the message of this story is that “if you lie people will catch on to it and then they will not believe anything you say ever, even if it is true.”

I agree with my informant’s interpretation of the story. The story of The Boy Who Cried wolf is often used to teach children about the dangers of lying. The story follows the plot of a boy playing around with the kindness of the village and the sense of community that made them reach out to help when the boy was in danger. Because of this when the boy was actually in danger, the villagers no longer believed him and did not come out to help. I think this story also emphasizes the fragility of community awareness and support. Most communities are known for caring for one another and wanting to help other members of that community, however, this bond takes work on both sides. Each member of the community must participate in making it strong. By tricking the village, the boy broke this bond and therefore he was excluded from the community. I think many times people take these communities for granted and do not put in what they are getting from it. This story does not just warn about the dangers of lying, but also about preserving the trust within a community.

I think the use of three is also important to note as it is a prominent number in storytelling. The boy cries out to the villagers three times. Having a trio creates a pattern making the story more memorable and emphasizes an idea. 

Childhood
general
Life cycle
Narrative
Tales /märchen

Space Traveling Boy

I asked my informant if he could provide me with a piece of Folklore, and he suggested this story. According to the informant, his parents would tell it to him as a child, and he believes it is of Swiss origin, although he is not sure.

“It’s about this little boy, who lives in space, and he kinda has a really unique perspective on the world based on his naivete,  and, in space all the planets are governed by adults and on each planet this adult has like a certain characteristic or trait the boy goes about kind of negating or belying. Like, certain events that happen, like there’s this one where he shows the adult a picture of, like a hat but he asks him “what do you see in this picture?” and the adult says “oh it’s a hat it’s simple” and he goes no its not a hat it’s a elephant and a snake underneath a blanket, just because of the shape of the hat.”

Although this story seems to be missing parts, from what is available, we see that it is about a boy who gets in arguments with adults, and wins them since he does not posses the same hardened stereotypes. Seeing the boy use his imagination and think outside the box, this story may also serve as a reminder to adults not to become trapped in social dogma, and to preserve some of the innocence of childhood.

Childhood
Customs
Folk Beliefs
general
Life cycle

Blue For Boys, Pink For Girls

This piece of folklore is something that is widely known across the country, if not the entire world. My informant is a pregnant woman, and works and lives in the Los Angeles area. When asking her about folk practices that she takes part in regarding her baby during pregnancy, she said that she is waiting to find out whether it is a boy or a girl so she can find out whether to paint the baby’s room pink or blue, get it pink or blue blankets, or get it pink or blue clothing.

When I asked my informant where she got this notion of baby boys being ‘blue’ and baby girls being ‘pink’, she simply said “it’s everywhere”. We all have grown up in a society where that’s just how it is. Popular culture, magazines, movies, and more all exhibit that this is just how it is and how it’s always been.

“The other day”, she said “I was watching the sequel to Father of the Bride”, and they were creating the baby’s room. She was going to be a girl, and they showed the room and it was “all pink, pink walls, pink furniture, pink stuffed animals, pink everything!” she said. It got her thinking about it, and solidified the fact that she would have to do this for her child if she wanted it to have a ‘normal upbringing’.

When I asked her how she believed that this notion and tradition started, she just said that it’s probably in human nature. Blue looks like a more masculine color, and obviously, pink is feminine she said. When I asked her why blue and pink rather than any other colors, she said that she wasn’t sure. “Maybe they’re just the most inherently masculine and feminine colors” she said.

I believe that this tradition started because, like my informant said, blue and pink are the most inherently masculine and feminine colors there are. I remember reading of a study saying that men are more naturally attracted to blue, while women are more attracted to pink. I believe that this tradition stuck on, and is now a big part of our popular culture and traditions of a baby.

Annotation: Father of The Bride Part II (1995), Movie.

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