Legend/Story – Belize

The Story of Tata Duende

“It’s a spirit I think, it has something to do with the jungle. It’s a boogeyman character. I was told this story by my father, as a bedtime type story. It was kind of creepy. He was a scary looking little man. I remember that to end the story each time, my father would say, ‘If the pen never bend, then the story never end.’”

Subject’s Analysis:

My friend Suzanne heard the story of Tata Duende several times throughout her childhood. She also mentioned that almost every story that her father told them somehow ended up working in the scary little man-creature into the thread. She said that it was a story used to discourage kids from getting into trouble. In the stories Tata Duende would always do harm to troublesome children. Her father heard the story growing up in Belize, and told it in Belizean Creole each time tweaking it slightly.

Collector’s Analysis:

I think that the story of Tata Duende is a perfect example of a boogeyman character that shows up in almost every culture. As we learned in class these characters exist mainly for the purpose of scaring children into good behavior. So I would say that this story definitely exists as a cautionary tale as well. I have had similar stories told to me before bed, and I feel that this experience is on that happens in almost every culture.