Author Archives: Cesar Valladares

Proverb – El Salvador

“Machete estate en tu vaina y que nadie te desenvaine”

“Machete stay in your sheath and that nobody draws you out”

“Machete stay in you sheath and don’t let anyone provoke you out”

My mom told me that she learned this proverb when she was about 9 years old, while she was living in Cuscatancingo, El Salvador. She says that this proverb is mostly used to tell someone that they should relax, stay put and not intervene in someone else’s situation because they could end up making the situation worst. She told me that she probably first heard the proverb when one of her cousins was having relationship problems and her parents did not wanted her to intervene. The cousin was a lot older and my mom’s parents thought that any of her comments could make my cousin feel worst as the situation was very stressful. She believes that it means that sometimes it is better to not intervene, because that when one does, they might do more damage. My mom told me that some usual situations to use the proverb is when a married couple is having issues or when people are at a very fragile state with their feeling, others should try to stay away as bad comments could damage the other person.

I agree with my mom with the meaning of this proverb. The fact that is comparing a person to a machete indicates that the person could do a lot of damage if it is let loose. A machete is a common tool in the country side of El Salvador, and it is usually maintain really sharp so it can cut through anything. In order to maintain the surrounding safe from accidents, the machete should be kept inside its sheath; and that is exactly what the proverb is saying. In order to not make any damages to anybody who is weak, others should keep their blade (bad comments) away. This proverb is great advices to people that do not know what do to in some stressful situations. Ands this is true, many times I have been ready to comment on someone that is dealing through a lot of problem, but I have been stopped by a friend because they know that sometimes is better to stay put and just let the person know that you are there for them if they need you.

Legend – El Salvador

La leyenda dice que cerca de los rios, aparecia una mujer con un pelo muy largo y grandes pechos. Bien chichuda. Esta mujer se tiraba carcajadas, se reia constantemente. El proposito de ella es asustar a los hombres y las mujeres. Pero lo mas importante de ella es que atraia los hombres, solteros y casados, porque se miraba muy

hermosa. La persona que se la acercaba y la tocaba, se volvia loca. La gente salia corriendo cuando oian la risa.

Legend says that near the rivers, a woman would appear with long hair and big breast. She had huge boobs. This woman would laugh constantly. Her main purpose was to scare men and women. But, the most important trait of hers was that she attracted men, single and married, by her beauty. The person that would get close to her and touch her would become crazy. People would run away when they heard the laughter

My mom told me that she learned this legend from his parents when she was about 8 years old. She told me that this legend is very common and that most kids learn it from their parents. Parents would tell them the legend because they really believe she exists and also they did not wanted their kids becoming insane because they went near La Siguanaba. She used to live in a town in El Salvador called Cuscatancingo and there is a river near the town. She told me that she also believes that La Siguanaba exist although she has never witness her in person. She has heard stories of her friends or relatives that have seen her. One of her friend’s uncles was mentally ill and they blamed la Siguanaba. She told me that before, the uncle was a normal guy and one day he became insane when he was by the river. She is certain that La Siguanaba exist.

I believe that this is just a made up character and she does not actually exist. She is made to be very beautiful in order to attract the male sex mostly. I think that there is a lesson here although not many people noticed they are applying it. The legend says that she attracts males and that if they come close to her, they become insane. The lesson portrayed here is that men tend to be attracted to beautiful woman but they should beware and not get close just because she is pretty, she can turn out to be harm in life. Also, if the person is married, that would assume that he could be a potential cheater and that is bad to cheat. I believe that she is laughing constantly to portrayed that cheating first seem to be a happy and exciting life, but it could in fact lead to disaster. I have heard other versions of the story and she appears to always be wearing white or light colors. I believe wearing the light colors make more impact as she is assumed to be by the river and is bathing and men could see through her dress, attracting them more to get close to her. I think this legend is told for many reasons. First of all, it is very interesting. Secondly, it was a method for protecting children from danger by telling them no to be careful when they are buy the river. And Lastly, I believe it is told to scare men out of cheating. Although it is a very interesting legend I still believe that she does not exists.

Proverb – El Salvador

“Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres”

“Tell who you are with and I will tell you who you are”

“Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are”

My dad told me that he learned this proverb when he was about eleven years old. He said that this proverb is mostly used to tell people that they get associated with the people they are around. This proverb is used to teach kids that they need to careful when choosing their friends and stay away from bad people because they might get confused as being bad. My dad told me that it is usually told to kids when they are hanging around bad people. Parents and other adults say the proverb to indicate that they could easily be mistaken of being bad. He first heard the proverb when he was spending time with older kids who liked to cause some trouble around the neighborhood. They would be loud and play jokes on other people. His parents told him to watch out and to become a better person. He also told me that it is a great proverb as it teaches you to become more careful with your decisions.

I agree with my dad with the meaning of this proverb. I think that this is a great lesson to teach anyone. If you do not want to be mistaken as a bad influence, you should not be around bad people. In other words, surround yourself around winners and you will become a winner. The proverb indicates that I can tell you who you are, just by knowing who you friends are. I have also seen this proverb being used here in the United States. I remember when people would tell me that I should be around good influences and follow their example in order to succeed and to stay away from bad influences. This is a great lesson and so it is found in El Salvador, other Hispanic countries and the United States. I was able to find this proverb written in a Mexican proverb dictionary.

Annotation: Glazer, Mark. A Dictionary of Mexican American Proverbs. New York: Greenwood Press: 1987. Page xiv

Proverb – El Salvador

“En boca cerrada no entra mosca”

“In a close mouth a fly does not enter”

“A fly does not enter a close mouth”

My dad told me that he learned this proverb when he was about ten years old. He learned it from his parents while living in San Salvador, El Salvador. He told me that this proverb is used to tell people that in some situations is better to keep quiet than to say anything. He first heard the proverb when his mother was telling him that he should not backtalk to his teacher at school, and if he ever backtalk he would get in so much trouble. His mother wanted him to remember that it is impossible for a fly to enter a close mouth. My dad agrees and likes the proverb. He told me that because of this proverb, he learned to keep his mouth shut in some situations, and this helped him get into fewer problems with his elders. He told me that the proverb should be told to people that are very talkative or have a tendency to say what they are not supposed to.

Like the proverb says, if one does not open their mouth, flies will not be able to enter and one will prevent problems. I do agree with this proverb. It shows a valuable lesson that in order to keep peace and don’t get in trouble, one should keep their mouth shut as much as possible. I have seen many example of this problem in today’s society. Most teenagers get in so much trouble when they argue the punishment given by their parents or teachers; they basically give themselves a harder/longer punishment. I have also experience this; one day, when I was in High school, I got a detention for a stupid thing I did. I started to complain and the teacher ended up giving me 1 hour worth instead of only 30 minutes. I did not keep my mouth shut and I brought myself more problems. This proverb is a great lesson for today’s youth as I think they are back talking more and more to their elders. This proverb is to encourage people to realize that sometimes they are provoking problem themselves by opening their mouths. I have only heard this proverb from my dad, but I did some research and was able to find that this proverb can be even be found on then other side of the Atlantic. This is a good lesson and has travel around the world; the book where I found the proverb is called the Dictionary of European Proverbs.

Annotation: this proverb can also be found in a Dictionaty of Eurpoean Proverbs.

Strauss, Emanuel. Dictionary of European Proverbs. New York: Routledge 1994. Page 73

Legend – El Salvador

Me contaba mi madre, que cuando ella era una adolecente, vivia en un pueblo donde tambien vivia una persona llamada El Cipitio. El Cipitio es un joven que esta muy enamorado de todas las muchachas. A ella (tu abuela) le tiraba flores y la seguia. Pero no solo a ella, sino a todas las otra muchachas del pueblo.  A la joven que le hacia

caso, la combertia en una mujer muy rica. Pero cuando esa se enamorada de otro hombre, El Cipitio se enojaba y la dejaba en peor pobreza.

My mom would tell me that when she was a teenager, she lived in a town where there also lived a person called El Cipitio. He was a young man in love with all the ladies. He would throw flowers and would follow your grandma. But not only your grandma, he also followed all the teens from the town. To the girl that would pay attention to him, he would give riches, but when she would fall in love with another man, he would get mad and leave her in a worst financial situation.

My mom told me that her mother, my grandmother, first told her this legend when she was about nine or ten years old. At the time, they were living in Cuscatancingo, El Salvador. She told me that my grandma had told her that this really happen to her. She also told me that this is a common legend in the area where they were living. In other parts of El Salvador, people say that El Cipitio is the son of La Siguanaba, another Salvadoran legendary figure. She said that this legend is usually told to kids of her age because is an interesting story and to give the advice to girls to be aware and not to pay attention to strangers. She believes that he really exists and that he is the son of La Siguanaba.

I think I would have to agree with my mom with this legend. It is a very interesting story and I believe it is also telling an important lesson. The lesson that is being portrayed in this legend is that woman should be faithful to their partners and if they aren’t, bad things will happen. In this case, girls are being left in a worst financial situation than at the beginning. I think it is great that they are telling kids these stories early on, so whenever they start dating they can look back and make better decisions because they are going to remember what El Cipitio did to girls that betrayed him. The story can be used in today’s society; whenever a marriage fails, people now usually go to court and try to separate their financial property. If the wife cheated, we see men brining them to court and trying to get as much money and property as possible. This legend should still be told to kids as it is part of their culture and delivers an important message.