Context: This tale was performed in the apartment of the informant to an audience of 3 people.
Background: This tale was told to the informant by her father, who is Armenian.
“There is like this old dude in an Armenian village who calls himself, “Katch Nazar” Katch meaning Ferocious, or Strong. Nazar being his name. He says that he has killed 1000 beings. People are confused, and they ask how he, an old man, could have killed 1000 beings? He replies that he felt itchy in his sleep, and reveals that the 1000 beings which he killed were flies, not people.”
This joke shows uses wordplay to set up, and then defy the audience’s expectations by playing with the meaning of the word Katch.
Context: This legend was performed in an apartment to an audience of 3 people.
Background: The informant is from Hawaii, where this is a common legend.
“Menehune are mischievous little creatures who will go around and steal objects. If something goes missing in Hawaii, we’ll blame it on the Menehune. “
This legend probably is a convenient excuse for those who easily lose things.
Context: This riddle was told to an audience of one in a fraternity dining hall.
Background: The informant learned this riddle during a long car ride, when he was trying to pass the time.
Q: You’re stranded on a deserted island with nothing but two ropes, and a lighter. There is an unlimited amount of gas in the lighter. The ropes vary in thickness and material throughout the entire rope. The only thing you know for certain about the ropes is that they each take exactly one hour to burn. How do you measure 45 minutes?
A: Light the first rope from both ends at the same time, and light one end of the second rope. When the first rope has burned up completely, 30 minutes have passed, and there are still 30 minutes of burning time left on the second rope. If you light the other end of the second rope, it will burn for 15 more minutes, 45 minutes total.
This riddle requires abstract thinking, and has a very elegant solution.
Background: The Informant was backpacking in Yosemite with friends, and they heard this story from a member of the group they were traveling with.
Context:This ghost story was performed to an audience of one in a fraternity dining hall.
“In the early 1800s there was, like, a mining company that was out there in Yosemite. There was a big storm and one of the workers got left for dead there in the storm. And supposedly he became, like, a zombie named the ridge runner. If you’re walking in the valley you can see him and his fires. Apparently there used to be a lot of decapitated bodies in Yosemite. Like they would just be like ripped apart super weirdly, and people were like, “I don’t think animals could do that” so might have been like a serial killer, but they just blame it on the ridge runner.”
It can be very unnerving to go be exposed in nature, away from the comfort that four solid walls provide. This story seems to be playing off of these fears.
Context: This legend was told to an audience of one in a fraternity chapter room.
Background: This is a legend that is popularly told in the city of Los Gatos.
“So there’s an old road that goes in the woods near my house. It’s called Hick’s road its in Los Gatos. On this road there’s a lot of cars that go really fast at night, like they just tear up and down. But people don’t like to stop because it’s rumored that there’s a colony of Albinos that live on Hicks road. And so if you stop the Albinos, its like rumored that they’ll take offense and they’ll think that you’re trying to come after them, or be like the kids that are making fun of them, or driving up just to leer at them. So it’s rumored you could get shot by the Albinos, because they’re very protective of their community. ”
Car rides can be very boring, so it makes sense to come up with stories about your surroundings which make the trip more interesting.