USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘duck’
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Beaver, the Duck, and the Frog

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted by a PO.

PO: “One time my Grandma told me this funny story. It’s this beaver that is a friend of a duck and this frog that’s a bully… it’s this poisonous frog that’s a bully. And then the frog says he’s more than the duck and beaver because the beaver has stick out teeth.”

GM: “Buck teeth?”

PO: “Yeah, like that. And then the frog says ‘Oh yeah, look at me I don’t have buck teeth like you.” And then the duck says, ‘Hey, stop being a bully.’ And then this day, the beaver was at school and he didn’t have any friends at school because his buck teeth keeps sticking out more and more and keeps growing every day and night. And so, it was all the way down and he could walk with his teeth.”

GM: “So was the beaver still friends with the duck?”

PO: “Yeah, because the duck doesn’t care about teeth. He just cares about friends, cause the duck doesn’t have friends like beaver. So, the frog was keep on making fun of the beaver’s teeth and then, um… how can I say this. There’s this pig that has a spirit… it’s like god that takes care of the children because the children don’t have a mom or dad because they come out of eggs. So, the poisonous frog then had teeth sticking out and the beaver had more normal size teeth.”

GM: “So who made the frog have big teeth?”

PO: “Um, the spirit pig. And so the frog had more teeth sticking out, so the frog turned into a beaver and the beaver turned into a frog. The duck saw the frog that turned into a beaver and thought that was his friend. And the beaver that turned into the frog was like, ‘No I’m your friend!’ And the duck said, ‘If you were my friend you would look like beaver.’ And he said ‘No but I turned into a frog!’

GM: “So how did the story end?”

PO: “So they were arguing and the frog was nice and the beaver was mean. So, they just changed.”
Conclusion, written by the interviewer:

This story was told by second grader, _____, who heard it from her grandmother. The story is not literal, but has an underlying meaning. The frog symbolizes a bully that a child may encounter in school, while the beaver has a physical feature which makes him insecure. The duck stands by the beaver even though the beaver isn’t popular, showing an act of goodwill. The story ends with oppressed beaver’s teeth becoming “normal,” while the frog inherits the beaver’s buck teeth. The lesson value here is directed for a child audience. It relates themes of kindness to success, while intimidation is linked with defeat.

Musical

I Don’t Wanna Be a Chicken

Text:

“I don’t wanna be a chicken, I don’t wanna be a duck, so shake my butt”

Background:

My informant learned it from a couple girls in second grade who made fun of him and shook their butts at them. He said that it feels like it means an insult because you’re calling the other person a chicken/duck. He remembers being very offended.

Context:

This was a song that was sung from time to time among young kids.

Personal Thoughts:

This seems to be the start of young children learning about gender differences, and a way to cope with them. One could even argue that this was a way that girls started learning about their own sexuality since the butt is a fairly sexualized part on a female’s body. Perhaps this was just a way that kids could bond within their own gender.

general
Humor
Riddle

Two Twin Ducks

Lawson Franklin Echols-Richter

Houston, Texas

April 9, 2012

Folklore Type: Riddle

Informant Bio: Lawson is my youngest cousin. He is eleven years old. He is from Frisco, Texas and has lived there his whole life. Lawson is the younger of two boys, and both of his parents are Methodist Pastors. He enjoys video games and showing off his skills of dancing and flipping a fedora onto his head. I call him The Dude.

Context: I saw Lawson briefly with his father when my grandfather (not ours) passed away. I asked him what were some jokes he had been learning at school. He said he could not remember any jokes, but he knew a few riddles.

Item: So the two twin ducks sitting in a movie theater next to each other they’re both twins, but they are not born on the same day how is this possible? The answer is they are two twins not from the same family.

Informant Analysis: He said it’s just funny.

Analysis: This riddle is pretty intellectual in regards to the answer. It is also pretty intellectual humor that is simply derived from people attempting to figure out the riddle and enjoying the answer. It is not vulgar which could indicate that Lawson is not quite yet at that age of figuring out usual boy topics such as bathroom humor, or his cousin and father were not the ideal people to tell a vulgar joke too. The ducks do however denote a slight sense of innocence because of how much children love animals. Either way the joke demonstrates young boys attempting to play with and twist different scenarios in the world around them.

Alex Williams

Los Angeles, California

University of Southern California

ANTH 333m   Spring 2012

 

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