Author Archives: Daniela Silva

The Buddhist Shrine



-As told by of an immigrant from Hong Kong, China

 “This specific type of shrine is to make offerings to the god of the land. 
I was taught that if I accidentally kick it or in any way mess with it, it will be really bad for me. 
 A story I heard was, someone was peeing next to one, and he accidentally pissed a little onto the shrine and for months he couldn’t sleep,  his face becoming more pale by the day.
In the end, he had to go to that specific shrine on the street with a priest and apologize to be cured. 
I was told this by a teacher of mine when I was in 6th grade in Hong Kong.” 
-Ivan Tsang, in person, walking to class.

A Hong Kong Joke



“Once, there was a hill, and on that hill is a temple, and inside the temple, there is a monk that was dreaming about ‘once there was a hill, and on that hill is a temple, and inside the temple, there is a monk that was dreaming about, and so on and so on.”

-Ivan Tsang, international student at the University of Southern California.

Tsang first heard the absurdist story/joke hybrid in the halls of his elementary school in Hong Kong. Tsang performed this piece in a classroom at the University of Southern California.

I found this piece interesting because it exemplifies the cross-cultural similarities in elementary school lore. This is Tsang’s version of the never ending joke, with it’s own cultural context, that students in the United States have as well. There’s a certain charm to a joke without a punchline…or an end.



The Bunny Man Bridge-Virginia







“In 1970, there was a guy who was either in prison or in some kind of asylum. They’re being transported on a bus over the bridge, and one prisoner dressed in a bunny costume escaped, because the bus crashed. The bridge was covered in rabbit carcasses and strung up half-eaten bunnies, after the man escaped the crash. He would allegedly kill teenagers who went on the bridge , hacking them to death with a  hatchet. It’s a tradition to go onto the bridge to take pictures and find the bunny man. His hatchet is in a local museum.”

-Savannah Hemmig, performed during Screenwriting class.

Hemmig’s sister told her this story when she was a preteen. Hemmig feels connected to the story because it reminds her of home, a funny coming of age tradition not unlike children who pay Bloody Mary.


Leyenda de la Pata Sola



A Latin American Legend of the Single-Footed Woman as told by a Colombian Immigrant from the city of Bogotá. 

“La Pata Sola era una mujer hermosa que jugaba con los hombres y su esposo le corto una pierna.  Ella escapó a la selva y la mujer juro vengarse de los hombres. Aparece en las noches cantando una voz celestial  que cautiva a los hombres jóvenes y viejos.  A veces grita pidiendo ayuda para que vengar a salvarla y los atrapa. Les saca la sangre y se esconde en la selva. Atrapa a los hombres y los desaparecen.”


The Single Footed woman was beautiful and she cheated on her husband, so he cut her leg off. She escaped into the jungle and swore revenge against all men. She appears in the nighttime, singing with a celestial timbre that captivates men, old and young alike. Sometimes, she screams for help so they come to save her. That’s when she traps them. She sucks out their blood and then she heads back into the jungle too hide. She traps men and they disappear.

-told by Ines Elvira Ortiz, during a meal.

Ines grew up hearing stories about la Pata Sola in Colombia. The above story is the version she remembers most clearly.

My thoughts: I find it interesting that Latin American legends often involve scorned women with vengeful and succubus like tendencies. I guess it could be viewed as a misogynistic trope but I could be wrong and it could be out of reverence for the powerful alpha female.