Informant: RS

Ethnicity: Indian

Primary Language: Konkani

Age: 53

Text: [RS] Ghongo is an infamous Konkani demon who has dark skin, bulging eyes, sharp teeth, a big potbelly, and a sack on his shoulder. He comes to take away children who do not listen to their elders by luring them away with sweets, then knocking them unconscious and carrying them off in his sack. After he abducts children, he makes them do his household chores, starves them, then finally turns them into mango pickle!

Context: [RS] Whenever I played pranks or was too mischievous as a child, my parents would tell me that Ghongo was going to come take me away unless I helped out with our household chores. I remember thinking that helping my parents do the chores sounded like a better deal than doing Ghongo’s! In fact, I was so terrified of seeing such a scary figure, that I rarely misbehaved.

Analysis: There are several parallels between the Torbalan and Ghongo, down to the sack they use to kidnap misbehaving children. At their core, the underlying lesson is essentially the same: listen to your parents, or face the consequences. Ghongo is yet another folk tale meant to scare children into behaving and respecting their elders. Many cultures have similar demonic figures that kidnap or punish disobedient kids, such as Krampus or the Bogeyman. Many folk tales meant for children are meant to teach them some sort of moral, lesson, or warning rather than serve purely as entertainment value. The tales from this collection are an example that this not only extends across multiple cultures, but also evidences the cross-cultural impacts of similar folk figures.