USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘kindness’
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.

general

The Heart

심청이 (Shim Chung-yi) – Heart-yi

The Story:

심청이는 여자의 이름이였다. 심청이의 아버지는 눈이 멀었다 – 안 보이셔. 그리고 가난했다. 어느날 심청이가 자기의 몸을 중국 선원들한테 팔았지. 옛날에는 선원들이 이직 시집을 못 간 여자의 몸을 바다에 빠트리면 가는길이 안전하게 된다는걸 믿었었지. 그래서 심청이는 집을 떠났고 받은 쌀은 아버지가 먹을수있게 저장에다가 넣었지. 중국 선원들이 가다가 심청이를 바다에 던졌어. 물에 빠지면서 거북이가 심청이를 받아서 용공으로 데려갔어. 용공에서 임금님이 심청이에게 물었지 “너 는 어떻게 여기까지 온거냐?” 심청이는 그래서 자기가 어떻게 온걸 설명해주었다. 임금님은 심청이의 예쁜 마음 보아서 다시 자기의 집으로 데려주었고 심청이에게 말 했다 “돌아가면 너의 아버지 눈이 보이것이다. 심청이는 돌아가서 아버지랑 행복하고 풍부하게 살았다. 

Shim Chung is the name of a girl. She lives with her father and he is blind. They are a poor family. One day, Shim Chung sold herself to a group of Chinese people for money. Back then, sailors believed that when a girl who is not yet married is thrown into the water, their voyage will be safe. Shim Chung received rice in payment and stored it in the storage for her father to eat. After she left, her father called out for her but there was no reply. Shim Chung was thrown into the sea and a turtle caught her as she fell, and brought her an underwater kingdom (dragon home). The king asks her how she ended up there and she explained her journey. He tells her she has a kind heart and when she returns her father’s eyes will open. She is returned home and calls out to her father, and he is able to open his eyes. They became rich and happy.

 The Analysis:

The ultimate moral of the story is that a kind daughter will bring wealth and happiness to a family. Shim Chung is the name of the girl in the story but it is also a play on words, which means heart. She has a kind and beautiful heart, selfless and caring only for others and not herself. Her beauty is not skin deep and resonates throughout her personality. The king of the underwater kingdom takes notice of this and sends her back to land. Kindness and goodness will never lead one astray, so everyone should live their live for others, not for themselves. 

general

A Rose to Remember

The informant (A) has been married to her husband (D) for 24 years. They got married in a non-religious outdoor ceremony when A was 24 and D was 29. Though I do not recollect them being overly romantic while their children were at home, this changed slightly after their youngest son left for college. I asked A if she remembered anything she wanted to share with me about her wedding and told me of a practice that the reverend suggested on their wedding day and they continued to do for a couple years after their wedding. The reverend was of no special importance to them other than that he could legally marry them. When the reverend was talking to them before the ceremony, he said that they should give each other a single red rose whenever they needed to remember that they loved each other enough to get married. This could be in response to an argument, a special day like an anniversary, or just because. A continued to say that she gave D a red rose on their anniversary, and they maybe did this a couple of other times in the first couple years of marriage, but as life went on they forgot about the practice when other things became more important. A did not seem upset that she and her husband had stopped the practice. It was just something to do.

The romantic nature of a red rose itself has little to do with this gesture other than being a pretty story. The red rose could be replaced with anything: a favorite candy bar, a stuffed animal, a card. The meaning to this gesture seems to be in the kindness of remembering to give the red rose rather than the red rose itself. Effectively, giving the red rose simply says “I remember that I love you, and I want to show you that I remember.” A and her husband stopped doing this a couple of years after they got married, which coincides with when they had their first child. This is the point at which I think that they ceased to be a “couple” and started being a “family,” which does not need special gestures to show that there is love between them. A rose pales in comparison to looking at a child that you created with another person. Being romantic and stereotypically sappy does not seem to be a part of A and D’s relationship.

Folk speech
general
Proverbs

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

My mom repeatedly told me this phrase throughout my young childhood. It was usually when my sister and I would be fighting or have an argument. Sometimes I would be so angry with her, for what ever petty reason, and we would just go back and forth yelling and calling each other names. To get the initial arguing stopped, and curb the name calling, my mom would often sternly exclaim, “ Stop it right now! You know you’re not supposed to talk like that! If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

When my mom would say that to us our arguments would quickly come to an end. It just made sense, when she would say that I would quickly think to myself of anything I could say to my sister at that moment that was not malicious. Many times I would have to remain silent, but occasionally I could come up with something nice to say, and after that fighting just seemed stupid.

Annotation: This phrase can be found in the movie Bambi, by Walt Disney Productions (Which makes me think that’s where she got it from).

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