Tag Archives: traveler

Saint Christopher Medallion

Content:
Informant – “When I was being raised, Saint Christopher was an important saint. All of us, the kids, got medals, little medallions that we wore, that were Saint Christopher medals. Saint Christopher was the patron saint of travelers.
Now Christopher means Christ carrier. And the legend is that he was a big person, almost a giant, and he came upon a little boy on the bank of a stream and the little boy asked him to please carry him over to the other side. And so Christopher said sure and proceeded to carry him on his shoulders across the river, and as he went further and the water got deeper the boy got heavier and heavier, and it took all his strength, and when he finally reached the shore, exhausted, he asked the child ‘My gosh how could you weigh so much?’ And the child revealed that he was really Christ and that he was carrying the weight of the world. And then he disappeared.”

Context:
Informant – “I grew up with it. And while I was growing up, Christopher was touted as being a real person, but more recent research has found that there is no real record of his existence. The first mention of him was like 3 centuries after he supposedly existed. So they say he’s pretty much a legend.

JK – “What were the medallions for?”

Informant – “It was really a religious good luck charm. It was supposed to protect us from the travails of travels and journeys and all that.”

Analysis:
There is an interesting connection between the medallion and the story. One wears a medallion around one’s neck. You feel the weight at the back of the neck – the same place where you would feel the most weight if you were carrying someone on your shoulders.

The Arkansas Traveler

The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials JK, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted through initials MB.

 

 

MB: The Arkansas Traveler is a story that we always knew growing up, and they have a song about it, I think it’s the state song….. And it’s about a traveler going through Arkansas and he comes upon a cabin and there’s an old squatter, they called him, that’s what they called him, a squatter, like an old hillbilly type, hayseed, and he’s fiddling on his porch and um.. So the traveler, the Arkansas traveler is tired and hungry, and he asks the guy “Can ya spear some water?”, and the guy says, Oh I ain’t got none.” And he keeps fiddling and fiddling all through the whole thing.  And he says, “Well do you have any food?” and the squatter says, “No, nothing in this cabin.”  But he keeps fiddling this whole time, just playing this little tune over and over again.  And then the guy says “Do you know if there’s an inn up ahead?”  and the squatter says, “Might be, I don’t know, never been there.”  You know, he’s a real hayseed.  The traveler says, “Well, do you think maybe I could spend the night with you?”  And the squatter’s like “Well there ain’t no room”  Oh, and it was raining this whole time, I forgot to mention, that’s a big point in the story haha.  So the squatter says, “There’s only one dry spot in the house and my wife and kid and me sleep there.”  And the traveler says, “Well why don’t you mend the roof?”  The the squatter goes “I’m not gonna mend the roof on a rainy day.” And all this time he’s fiddling, fiddling, fiddling.  Then the traveler says, “Well why don’t you mend it on a sunny day?  Go out on a nice pretty day and mend it.”  And the Fiddler says “The roof don’t leak on a pretty day”  So the traveler is just like exasperated and he goes “Why do you keep fiddling that same tune over and over again?”  And the fiddler is like, “I can’t figure out how to finish it.”  The traveler says “Well give me the fiddle” and takes the fiddle and he puts an end to it, you know, he fiddles it up, and he puts an end to it.  Then the squatter looks at him with just this huge smile, like thank you you’ve rescued me from this torture, he’s so happy that this guy has finished his song for him and now he’s let loose from this fiddle and he says, “Oh come on in!! You can have the dry spot!!”  He calls to his wife and says, “Make up some dinner!!” and calls to his son, “Grab some whiskey, we got us a visitor”  In other words, the last word is like, “You can have the dry spot”  cause remember it’s raining.  

 

JK: So the song the traveler completed for the Fiddler is the state song of Arkansas?

 

MB: I think it is the state song, its called “Arkansas Traveler” and that’s why the baseball team is called the “Travelers” (the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals– The Arkansas Travelers).

 

Conclusion:

I found this to be a very interesting story.  My mom is originally from Arkansas– the informant is one of her childhood friends– so I’ve visited the state every couple of years since I was born.  For me, it was especially interesting to hear how the Arkansas Travelers baseball team got their name.  I’ve been to a fair amount of their games and I’ve always wondered why they’re called the Travelers– I was just too lazy to look it up.