USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘family’
Customs
Folk Beliefs
general
Initiations
Rituals, festivals, holidays
Signs

Dreams Mean…

The informant was born and raised into the American culture and way of life. Her mother’s side of the family is in touch with their Jamaican culture and heritage and as the informant grew older she was able to become more into with the beliefs and customs of Jamaica.

Jamaican Dreams

Informant…

“In the my culture deaths and marriages are often predicted by ones close family members. It is believed that if a family member dreams about someone in their family’s wedding the person being dreamt about will die soon. I think we believe in being able to predict deaths because life and death is a big deal in our culture. Marriage is also an important aspect in my culture as well and is ritualized. When a person dreams about a family member’s death that is consider a prediction of that family member’s wedding.”

I asked the informant if she had ever had a dream like this or known someone who did and it became true. She told me that she didn’t know anyone who had ha a dream like this and she personally  has never had one. I asked where she learned this belief from snd she said that she remembers her grandma telling her about it when she was younger before she passed away.

Analysis…

Being able to predict someones death could be a blessing and a curse. Knowing that someone you love is going to die soon has to be difficult to handle. However on the other hand being able to predict a wedding is exciting. Death and Marriage are two major stepping stones in most cultures and they are ritualized because of that. Marriage you are become one with someone else and you are able to start a family, but death is the end of your life and the start of your after life whatever you believe that may be. I think that is why they are both made such such a big deal out of and ritualized with customs and rituals and why cultures have so many beliefs centered around these two major life events.

Earth cycle
Foodways
Material
Myths
Narrative

The Story Of Pili and Sina

The informant’s family originated in Samoa, his parents were born and raised there before traveling and moving into the United States. He takes many visits to Samoa and is very in touch with his Samoan heritage and culture. He shared some common folklore with me that he could think of off of the top of his head. 

Informant…

“Loa of Fagaloa was the husband of an Afagaloa woman named Sinaletigae, a town that isn’t a town anymore in between Taga and Salailua in Savai’i. The couple made their home at Afagaloa and had four children there. The children were named Sinasamoa the only girl and three boys Pili, Fuialaeo and Maomao . Pili took on the form of a lizard and as he grew older he grew until he filled the house, causing his other siblings and parents to go find another house  to live in. Loa and his wife became so afraid at the size of their son Pili that they fled, and took their other three children with them. They went to Fagaloa where Loa was from. Sinasamoa brought the water bottle in which she always carried water to her brother Pili with her. It had been her job to give Pili water and the two brothers gave him food. They all still loved Pili and whenever they sat down to eat in remembrance of him they first threw a small portion of food and poured out some water from the water bottle of Pili. Pili missed his parents and brothers and sister and knowing that Fagaloa was the home of his father he took on the form of a human being again and looked for the District of Fagaloa, or the land of plenty. He got to Fagaloa and Pili asked about where his family was in the village and was told that they were out working on their plantation. He found his sister sitting alone on the family’s plantation. She did not recognize Pili’s human form. He begged his sister to go and tell the rest of the family that a visitor had arrived but Sina refused to go. Pili then asked her for a drink of water from the bottle she had with her. She again refused stating that the bottle was only for her brother Pili. Pili said “very well, this place will now be known as Vaitu’u” and the place is called by this name which means “water reserved or kept here.” The place was then looked upon as the ruling town of Fagaloa. Pili asked Sina to say why they had run away from Pili. Sina told him that Pili had gotten so big that they were afraid of him and Loa had made them to run away and go to his old home. They knew that Pili would follow them once he had taken on a human form. Pili told her, “I am Pili and I have come to you.” The rest of the family who were hiding in the bush came out and happiness reigned.

Sina grew into a very beautiful girl and the word of her beauty traveled around the world and was talked about. The King of Fiji head about Sina and he went to Samoa to see her. Loa told his daughter to become the wife of the King of Fiji but she would’t unless her brother Pili gave her permission. Pili told Sina to marry him because he believed that if children were born as the from the marriage power would come to Fagaloa. The wedding happened and the Fijians thought their King had found a beautiful wife. As they prepared to leave for Fiji, Pili heard of the plans and asked Sina to take him with her. He thought that if anything bad happened on the trip he would help. Sina didn’t want to tell her husband so she decided to hide Pili. She made a small basket and put Pili in his small lizard form in the basket to hide. The trip took longer than normal and all the food was gone. The Fijiians blamed it on Sina and said she was possessed by a Devil. When Sina heard what the Fijiians were saying about her she told Pili who told her not to worry about it and tell her husband to stop on a small Island. stopped at the island and the King was surprised. They would found plenty of food like taro, yams, bananas, pigs, fowls etc. They replenished their food supplies the canoes continued on the journey but day after day passed and Fiji wasn’t appearing. The food supply was low again and the people again became anxious. Pili who was the cause of all this trouble tapped with his tail on the basket in he was hiding in to get Sina’s attention. He told her to ask the King to again stop at an island. They found a small island and again found a lot of food. The Fijiians got more suspicious that Sina possessed a Devil because how else would she know to stop at the island and knew that they had an abundance of food on them. When Sina heard all this she was scared and when the King wanted to search her to find where the Devil was hiding she dropped the basket with Pili in it into the sea and this gave started to the saying “Pili a’au” which means swimming Pili in english. Back in Samoa Loa had a dream which showed that his son Pili had been treated badly, so he made his other two sons to launch their canoe and proceed to Fiji to search for Pili. The two brothers left on their trip and after a time came across Pili swimming in the sea. Pili asked them to take him to the Island named Pu’agagana leave him there and they could go back to Samoa. Tagaloalagi, Loa’s brother, predicted what would happen to Pili when he left with Sina. A some point later Tagaloalagi told two of his sons to go to Fiji to watch the group. The sons did as they were told and on their way stopped at the Island of Pu’agagana. As Tagaloalagi predicted, they found Pili sitting on a Pua tree. When Pili heard that they were going to Fiji he asked if they would take him to the King’s house. The oldest brother told him that there was not enough room in the canoe for another person and their father had forbidden them to take a third person. Pili said that he didn’t need a seat and he could be put in the bilge of the canoe and he could become very small. The brothers agreed and they got to one end of the town of Tuifiti. Pili immediately went into the forest and planted different foods with the help of the two brothers. Other than Sina, the King of Fiji had a wife from Fiji and this wife loved by her people. When famine was in the country the people brought food for the King by giving it to his Fijian wife hoping that love only her and hate his Samoan wife couldn’t present him with food. This worried Sina that it caused her to cry hysterically. Pili heard that Sina was sad and crawled into the town where the King lived and this started to the expression “Pili totolo” which in english means crawling Pili. He asked Sina to go inland with him and he would show her ways to keep her husband’s love. He told her not to worry because she had brothers who would assist her. Pili told her that all her troubles were because she was weak and threw him into the sea. Pili’s words hurt her heart and caused the tears to flow faster than ever and when he husband noticed her sadness he asked why? She said that her tears were only for her brother Pili in Samoa. She then went with Pili and saw the plantation Pili and the two brothers created for her  the whole plantation was full of food fit for the King. Pili told Sina that he would create a spring of hot water and also one of cold water so that she could cook and clean her food. A yam would also grow down to her doorstep so that she could reach out and break off pieces to cook. He also told her that she should always visit him by herself when she wanted anything and she must never tell her husband of Phili’s plansation. Sina was filled with joy and went back to the village where she found the springs both hot and cold. These springs still exist in Fiji today. Sina also found the yam and this yam was the origin of the saying used by Orators “O le Tuli matagau nei le ufi a Sina” which means in english “searching after the broken end of Sina’s yam.” The King continued to love Sina and he not his Fijian wife. Pili and his two friends returned to Samoa after his sister had given birth to two children; a daughter named Sinavaituu and a son named Latu-Tuifiti.”

Analysis…

The Informant told me that this story was passed down to him by his mother and his mother’s mother probably told her. He had heard parts of it from his aunts or his friend’s mothers as well. In his culture this is an important myth and they will refer to it by the phrases that were derived from it like “Pili a’au” or swimming Pili. He wasn’t sure where it had originated but he figure “a really really really long time ago in Samoa.”

This myth kind of captures the traditional Samoan family. It shows how the family structure works and usually how the siblings would interact. It is just following one family, but it shows the closeness and the connection that the entire family might have including aunts uncles cousins; they are all a closely nit family. This myth gives its audience an inside look on a traditional Samoan family. The informant told me that in Samoa family is very important and those relationships are the relationships that they invest most of their time and energy into.

Myths are created by cultures around the world to explain how things of the world have come to be. The one that I am most familiar with is the story of Adam and Eve although the Bible isn’t considered a form of folklore, it is still a believe that many people have. This Samoan Myth has a man who takes on the form of a lizard that the people on the Fijian canoe think is an evil spirit, in the Bible the evil one or devil takes on the form of a serpent and I draw a connection here. Also the myth says that Pili made a plantation that was full of food and made a spring for his sister Sina which reminds me of the Garden of Eden. The point of making this connection shows that there are many similarities through the stories of how the world or whatever else has come to be. Usually there is an animal involved and that is interesting to me. This Myth also explores the closeness of family particularly the relationships that siblings have. I know for me I have the mentality that I can do and say whatever I want to my siblings no matter how mean but if anyone else were to do those exact same things I would go to war with that individual over my siblings. The relationship of siblings is really expressed and explored in this myth and shows just how far siblings will go for each other.

 

Customs
general
Legends
Narrative
Proverbs

Abuelo Antonio

The informant’s family originated in Cuba. Her mother was born and raised in Cuba but her father was born and raised in America. Her Cuban culture and background comes from her mother’s side and folklore that her mom picked up over the years and shared with her. The folklore from this informant comes from family stories that are shared amongst the family as lessons or as advice. 

“Live Like Abuelo Antonio” 

Informant…

“My Abuelo Antonio was an early member in my family who grew up in Spain but eventually moved to Cuba. While he was living in Cuba he was extremely poor and he and his wife were going through some rough times. They had no money for food and all they could afford were scraps of bread. Every morning, Abuelo Antonio would put out scraps of bread on the ledge of their house porch and would wait for the pigeons and doves to come take the scraps of bread. When the birds would arrive he would trap them and kill them so he and his wife could have food to eat. Abuelo Antonio was an extremely caring, loving and a giving person who was seen as a saint and it hurt him so much that he had to kill the birds. When he and his wife were able to have enough money to live more comfortably and actually buy food, he swore that for the rest of his life he would feed the birds every single day until the day he finally did die.

When I was a child, my mother would tell me that story which had been told to her by her mother and told to her by her mother and so on, as a reminder to always I guess give back in life, and to put out good vibes and oras into the world. Another lesson that comes from this story is to live how Abuelo Antonio would have lived. That became sort of a thing in my family, everyone wanted to live like Abuelo Antonio, it is sort of a life goal to be like him and we really look up to him, and people use it as a from of advice to others in the family. They would say Live like Abuelo Antonio. Yeah its pretty neat I guess that my family has sort of our own legends and myths that make proverbs.”

Analysis…

When I thought about folklore before, I didn’t realize that folklore could be held within and amongst family members. The specific informant gave me folklore that isn’t necessarily known widely by lots of people but rather held in her family and it is significant to her and important to the family because it actually means something to them. It is a story that advises them on how they should or shouldn’t do things.

Abuelo Antonio sounds like an incredible man and saint. His struggles and the way that he approached them shows to me that he is someone to look up to. The informant expressed to me that he was a saint and I could tell by the way she spoke about him. Having a figure like him to look up to and try to live like is probably beneficial in a family. If they all look up to the same person and base their life after the same person there are probably a lot of similarities within the family.

 

 

Customs
general
Legends
Narrative

“It’s A Promesa”

The informant’s family originated in Cuba. Her mother was born and raised in Cuba but her father was born and raised in America. Her Cuban culture and background comes from her mother’s side and folklore that her mom picked up over the years and shared with her. The folklore from this informant comes from family stories that are shared amongst the family as lessons or as advice. 

Its a Promesa” 

The informant…

“My Abuela Nina had strange rituals that she would perform. Abuela Nina was involved with the Santeras who have beliefs that if they do different promesas then they would be given something by the Gods. Abuela Nina bagan to pull her eyelashes out at some point in her life and wouldn’t give an explanation to anyone as to why she was doing it except for “it’s a promesa”. She finally revealed that the Santeras taught her that if she never let her eyelashes grow back the Gods would do something in her favor. Abuela Nina also practiced other Santera traditions referred to as promesas as well. As her sons grew, she kept all of their hair, nail clippings, and teeth in jars. She would only give the answer “its a promesa” when asked why, but it is believed among the santeras that is someone were to get a hold of those things they could create voodoo on that person, so it was safer to keep them hidden in a jar.”

When I asked the informant what the Santeras specifically were she described them to me as witch doctors. They have strange voodoo, magic, are connected to the Gods in some way, and other traditions they practice they believe to work. I also asked her what a promesa is. She said that a promesa is translated as a promise, but to the Santeras it is a promise to the Gods or like a thing that you do for the gods. The informant also added that her Abuela Nina is said to be so weird or strange.

Analysis…

When the informant told me this stuff about her abuela Nina, I didn’t know how to respond. It was so different than anything I have heard before. The closest thing to a witch doctor that I have ever seen has been on the discovery channel so to hear about it face to face with someone who’s family knows a lot about it was interesting. Similarly to witch doctors, the closest form of voodoo magic I had ever heard about has been on movies. Hearing about Abuela Nina has expanded my cultural perspective and awareness. I think it is interesting that the informant has that in her culture and I was given the opportunity to be able to hear about it.

Customs
general
Legends
Narrative

Abuela Blanca

The informant’s family originated in Cuba. Her mother was born and raised in Cuba but her father was born and raised in America. Her Cuban culture and background comes from her mother’s side and folklore that her mom picked up over the years and shared with her. The folklore from this informant comes from family stories that are shared amongst the family as lessons or as advice. 

Magic Abuela Blanca

Informant…

“It is a wide spread belief through santeras (witch doctor) is that if you were to catch lice that it was most likely from a dead person. Having lice from a dead person meant that you would carry that dead person’s spirit with you or you were possessed by them leading so you would be shunned from your family and society. My great great great grandma Abuela Blanca was a saint in her community. She was an amazing woman who taught at an elementary school in the country side. For a few days in a row one student, a young girl, wasn’t showing up to school and Abuela Blanca was concerned. She went to the young girl’s house and asked the parents why she hadn’t been to class and they proceeded to tell her what happened. The young girl caught lice from a dead person and the family was in the process of pushing her out of the home so she would be shunned from society. Abuela Blanca cared for the girl and didn’t accept the situation. Being the saint she was Abuela Blanca took the girl home, cleaned her hair and got rid of all the lice and sent her home. From that point on Abuela Blanca was talked about in the community as being a miracle worker or being able to perform magic.”

Analysis…

When I thought about folklore before, I didn’t realize that folklore could be held within and amongst family members. The specific informant gave me folklore that isn’t necessarily known widely by lots of people but rather held in her family and it is significant to her and important to the family because it actually means something to them. It is a story that tells them about their ancestor and the way that she lived her life.

Abuela Blanca sounds like an incredible woman. The way that she saw other people and was caring in her community really is an expression of her character. The informant expressed to me that she was amazing and I could tell by the way she spoke about her. Having a figure like her to look up to and try to live like is probably beneficial in a family. If they all look up to the same person and base their life after the same person there are probably a lot of similarities within the family.

 

Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Christmas Tradition

Informant H is 19 years old and was born in Inglewood CA, and moved to a place near Valencia just outside of LA soon after she was born. After 5 years, her little sister was born, then her little brother, and then her youngest sister. The family then moved to Bakersfield. H homeschooled for many years and then transitioned into a public high school.

H: So in my family, I guess it started when we moved to Bakersfield, so we had to start over basically, so we had to get a new tree, and like new decorations. So we started this tradition where every Christmas we go and like as a family, my mom, my dad, me, my little sister, my little brother, and my youngest sister, so as a family we go and we find, in our city, a Christmas ornament and everyone gets to pick one Christmas ornament. And we do that every year and now our Christmas tree has so many ornaments on it because we’ve been there for about 10 years and so that is something we do every year.

Me: So do people pick the same type of ornament? Do you have like a style like ‘oh I pick the dancer ornaments…’

H: I guess my littlest sister…she always picks stuff like sparkly or pink so you know those are her ornaments. My brother picks like shiny cars and dinosaurs. So I guess we all sort of pick stuff that reflects our personality maybe what were interested in at the time. Like I have one that’s a cowboy boot from when I rode horses.

Me: So does it serve anything more practical than just oh we need to get ornaments for our tree?

H: Oh definitely it’s something we can depend on for Christmas time being together and we do this together as a family. And also it’s our tree in our house and all these ornaments aren’t random we hand selected each and every one, and they reflect us.

Me: So in a way when you look at your tree you can see your family…that’s really cool do people ever comment on the ornaments?

H: Oh definitely people are like ‘oh that’s a cute ornament’. And were like ‘oh there’s a story behind that’.

Me: So do a lot of the ornaments have these individual stories with them?

H: Um a lot of them do I know a couple fights were started over a couple ornaments.

Me: Care to share any fun stories about any of them any of the fights…?

H: Okay well there is this one this chandelier ornament it’s silvery and it has crystals on it. So we were going to the place, I think it was World Market, and my little sister saw it and she was like ‘Oh that’s like a cool ornament’, and she keeps walking because she wants to keep her options open. And then my other sister sees it and she’s like ‘oh my gosh I want this ornament so much’ and then my youngest one obviously plays the whole, ‘I’m cute I’m the youngest I should get this ornament’. And then the older sister was like ‘I should get this ornament because you always get the sparkly ornaments’ and the littlest one said ‘No I should get this ornament because I always get the sparkly ornaments’. And just like so much chaos. And eventually my little sister broke into tears and we’re like ‘it’s Christmas time you can have the sparkly chandelier ornament’ so there’s always this like bitterness when it’s time to pull out the sparkly ornament. And they always fight about who gets to put it on the tree. It’s very ridiculous. I think it’s hilarious.

Me: That’s so funny, do you all put your own ornaments on the tree?

H: We do. Sometimes people will forget because there’s so many, people like forget which ornaments are theirs, so like fights ensue because of that.

Me: I’m sure it still brings all you together though.

H: It does it’s fun times.

Me: Is it sort of interesting being away at college now? Are you the oldest?

H: I’m the oldest.

Me: So does that change any of the dynamic? Do they have to go pick ornaments without you one day? Because I know I usually get home right before Christmas, is that ever a problem…?

H: Well sometimes they have to put up the tree without me but sometimes, I think last year, they left all my ornaments there. Or they wait for me to come home so we get all of our ornaments together. So yeah they definitely want to make it a whole family.

Me: So sweet. Do you guys go to the same place every year?

H: Yeah we usually go to World Market, but sometimes we go to other places but they always have awesome really cool individualized ornaments.

 

Analysis:

H’s family definitely emphasizes them being together to celebrate this holiday with their own special family tradition. Even though an argument might have come from it, this tradition serves to bring her family closer together, especially now that she is living away from home. The tree is a way to express themselves all individually while still celebrating their family as a whole.  This tradition might be even more important for their family as their children start moving away from home to go to college, so this tradition of coming home for Christmas and doing this tradition as a family might become more special over the years.

Humor
Legends

Hiding A Snake

Informant H is 19 years old and was born in Inglewood CA, and moved to a place near Valencia just outside of LA soon after she was born. After 5 years, her little sister was born, then her little brother, and then her youngest sister. The family then moved to Bakersfield. H homeschooled for many years and then transitioned into a public high school.

So this is my dad’s side of the family, and he’s the youngest and he had 2 older brothers and then their oldest was a sister. And his mom is basically a single mom raising them up in this like really sketch neighborhood. There was this one time where my dad’s brother who was closest to him, his name was D, and he wanted a snake really badly, and my grandmother was like ‘No you’re not going to have a snake’ but he found one and he kept it and he hid it in his bedroom for like a super long time and everyone except my grandmother was in on the snake. So they would have like little codes like ‘You have to watch the snake because Mom is coming in the room’. And then this one time the snake got out and they were all freaking out and my grandmother didn’t understand why they were so stressed and they had to tell her eventually that the snake was loose. They eventually found it and she let him keep it if he had like a specific aquarium. She was like ‘You didn’t need to go through all this stress for this snake’. It’s funny because now he still gets like snakes and tarantulas and other sort of weird creatures. All the siblings banned together over this snake.

And we tell this story when we all talk about this uncle or like whatever new creature he has or whenever we went into their bedroom because all the boys shared a room. And we’d be like, ‘Oh remember when that snake got out?’ About every year during the summer my aunt who lives with my grandmother, the oldest sister, she makes this huge vat of gumbo and invites the whole family to come and chill in the backyard and eat gumbo. So then is where we revisit all the old stories. I always wanted to have the same sort of relationship with my siblings, because I have the same number of siblings as my dad did, and it makes me think about what funny stories we have like when we banded together against our parents or against other people and what special relationship we have together.

 

Analysis:

The informant tells with excitement and nostalgia about a legend in her family. This legend serves to bring the whole family together, especially she says over the summer, and they laugh about how the siblings kept a snake hidden from their mom. H’s family definitely emphasizes cohesion and support of each other. H also mentions how she would want to foster the same type of close and special relationship with her own siblings following in her dad’s example. Like her dad that grew up in a family that emphasizes support and closeness, H also believes that the family is important and wants to continue those kinds of close relationships.

Humor
Proverbs

Said the Blind Man to the Deaf Monkey

Informant H is 19 years old and was born in Inglewood CA, and moved to a place near Valencia just outside of LA soon after she was born. After 5 years, her little sister was born, then her little brother, and then her youngest sister. The family then moved to Bakersfield. H homeschooled for many years and then transitioned into a public high school.

So my Dad always says this thing, ‘Said the blind man to the deaf monkey’. And I don’t know where it comes from, he might have even made it up, but you can really use it in any case. He says that all the time and we have this running joke because I’m always like ‘that doesn’t make any sense, the man he blind…the monkey is deaf…’ You use it when you tell someone you like see, like you understand them. So you’re talking to someone and they’re like, ‘Oh I see’ and then you’d say ‘Said the blind man to the deaf monkey’. He uses it mostly to be facetious I think. I guess it’s supposed to be like when you understand but you don’t really. And he always says it with this wink and a smile. At this point he just says it to be funny, just him being himself.

 

Analysis:

This proverb is a family specific one that helps to bring the family together in a funny and lighthearted way. The informant H always laughs when she hears her Dad say it and thinks of him fondly when she tells of this proverb.   Although this proverb doesn’t teach much of a lesson, it helps to bring H and her Dad closer together through this unique and silly proverb.

Childhood
Life cycle
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Half Birthday Celebrations

Informant S is 21 years old from Boise Idaho. He is a Philosophy major who also plans on attending Medical School. He is half Columbian and half American.

Basically every March 1st, my dad would send me a card or message of some sort, um celebrating my half birthday, which for some reason he gave a lot more priority to than my main birthday. We would usually go out and get half a cake or a doughnut, something that is representationally less than a cake, sort of driving home that half part. Then depending on what age I was going to be he would give me like half as much money. So if I was going to be like 14 years old, he would give me 7 dollars for my half birthday. And he would just do a lot of stuff that involved halves like half a card. Or if I wanted to eat something like a chocolate bar, he would give me like half of it. It would always be really fun to see what half things he would give me.

 

Analysis:

This half birthday celebration is a parody of a normal holiday of a birthday. It is a way for the informant and his dad to bond and poke fun at the usual way that birthdays are celebrated. This creative way to celebrate birthdays made the informant feel special and excited for the fun things his dad would come up with.  This special tradition forms a unique bond together between both of them.

Proverbs

A Proverb for Lost Things

Informant S is 21 years old from Boise Idaho. He is a Philosophy major who also plans on attending Medical School. He is half Columbian and half American.

S: Oh God my dad would always say, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’. Any time I ever asked where something was or um I just found something after searching, he’d get all smug and say that.

Me: Have you ever said that yourself?

S: I’ve said it to my sister a couple times to be sort of a little shit, and interestingly when my dad loses his stuff, I almost always say it. I guess you could say he was sort of trying to teach me a lesson and it annoyed me so much I started using it to him. It started to annoy him as well so I sort of got my point across.

Me: Do you think it worked?

S: No I think that fact that it was so intrusive made it so I kind of went out my way not to do it sometimes and it didn’t really stick in my memory. What’s funny is that I think it’s a pretty good lesson, maybe he could have just taught it a little better.  It was annoying but I got it, you know?

 

Analysis:

Here the informant S shares how his father tried to teach him a lesson through a proverb. S found it annoying as if the wisdom of using a well known proverb allowed his dad to be smug about telling him he shouldn’t lose things. Although proverbs are often used to teach a lesson, the informant did not enjoy being taught through a proverb and actively avoided its teachings on occasion.  The proverb did come to his mind quickly though so in that way the proverb succeeded in getting into his memory, even if its message didn’t stick.

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