Author Archives: joshuaef

Baba Yaga

Informant: The story of Baba Yaga is a rather famous one around the world. My informant said that most people have probably heard of it, which I had as well. Nonetheless my informant told me a small bit about the Baba Yaga story. The story goes of Baba Yaga was an ugly creature that would capture kids who were alone at night, especially ones in the forest and eat them. She would grind them up with a mortar and pastel and then eat them. She also had with her a broom.

Context: my Informant and his sister were told stories from a young age about the Baba Yaga from their father. They would go hiking in various trips around Slavic countries and their father would tell them the story of Baba Yaga when they were camping at night. And then their father would often run off into the woods and hide from my informant to play tricks on him and his sister. My informant remembers fondly of the memories associated with the Baba Yaga.

Analysis: The Baba Yaga story, although my informant said he thinks is Russian in origin and not Serbian like his home country, is one that carries good purpose in his life. It reminds him of his father and the times he and his sister used to spend with him. The Baba Yaga was certainly intended as a story in order to teach kids to be safe at night and to not be alone either.


Informant: The myth of the Karakondula started in the Eastern parts of Serbia. The myth is of a small ugly creature called the Karakondula. The creature would assault and attack men late at night after they came home from the bar. It would primarily seek out men late at night hop on their back and choke them, while also stealing their pocket money. It was a myth because the men from these eastern parts of Serbia were actually really drunk and trying to convince their wives as to why they were home so late. These men were passing out in the roads and coming home late late into the early morning.

Context: I had a short interview with my informant and his sister and they recounted the folklore that they learned from their serbian father. He would tell them these stories. Later in their life the Karakondula became a sort of inside joke with their father.

Analysis: This gave me some more insight not only into my friend’s relationship with his sister and his father but also a bit into the folklore of Serbian culture. The karakondula is a trickster just like many others in folklore all around the world. It was a story completely made up by men to try and trick people so their bad behaviors go unnoticed. In reality these men might actually be the real tricksters here.

Askeladden som stjal solvendene til trollet

Askelladen who stole the Troll’s Silver ducks

Informant: Askeladden is a folk hero who is the main character of a few different stories in Norwegian culture. This is the most famous story according to my Informant’s time growing up in Norway. The tale goes that there is a Troll with many riches and askeladden is ordered by his king to steal The troll’s silver ducks amongst various other riches. He also tricks the troll’s daughter to give him her knife which he uses to cut of her head. He feeds it to the troll who thinks he is eating askeladden and tricks him.

Context: My informant had the least to say about this story. He said he mostly just knew that askeladden is a hero in many stories this being one of them. He had a hard time remembering all of this story because he said it had been so long since he tried to remember them. I believe there is a chance that since he was growing up there was not a lof of significance at least with this story to himself and that is why he remembers the other stories better.

Analysis: It is hard to give a full analysis of this text using only information from my informant because of the amount of content relating to this story. Again this story is similar to tales we learn as kids in America with the hero tricking the main enemy and defeating him in order to gain riches or because of orders from the king etc… I guess that Askeladden is a hero type that does no wrong and that all Norwegian kids should strive to be more like him.

Ostenfor sol og vestenfor mane

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Informant: This is a tale that is commonly known amongst the people of Norway. My informant told me it is like a common tale that would be told in the United States. Kind of like Snow White mixed with Cinderella. The story goes that there is a poor family with many kids. There is a white bear comes to the house of the family and offers riches in return for the most beautiful and youngest daughter of the family. The youngest goes with the bear to the castle. The bear turns back into a human but is called to his stepmother’s castle that is East of the Sun and West of the moon but has to marry her ugly princess daughter. The rest of the story is the youngest beautiful daughter must embark on a quest to save the bear prince and find true love.

Context: My informant remembered this story being a popular one in his town where he grew up. It was just a common story to know, everyone knew it just like Cinderella in the United States. It was hard for my informant to exactly pin where he first learned the story, but said it gets referenced in schooling somewhat often especially at a young age. My informant guesses it was his mother or an early grade school teacher who first taught him the story.

Analysis: The moral of the story from what I understand is that from the poor family’s perspective, they helped the bear but in return for riches. The story is also about the young girl’s journey to save the bear prince because he is in “danger” and she finds him and it is true love after all. These Norwegian stories morals and values are a bit hard to define especially because my informant has to remember them from a long time ago, in his head which is in Norwegian, then translate it to English so I could write them here. There was almost certainly parts of the story lost because it had been so long and due to translation.

Carnaval Brazilian Festival

Informant: Carnaval, the most famous Brazilian Festival. You probably know it. Huge party every year. In Carnaval you play music in groups and do specific group dancing. its about celebrating your community and having fun with others around you.

Context: My informant was born in Brazil and spent the majority of his childhood there. Obviously he celebrated the Carnaval every single year. He would go with his family and dance all night and all day and listen to good music and eat good food. He hasn’t been back to Brazil in quite some time so he is looking forward to that.

Analysis: It is always interesting looking at the holidays of other cultures. You start to see the differences and similarities between what they celebrate it and why. Most American holidays are celebrated because of some holy person or because some tragedy that led us to being American. I quit like how this holiday according to my informant is just celebrating the community and having good times with everyone close by.