Myth – Hispanic

La Cigüeña

The Stork

When I was little my parents would always tell me that the cigüeña had brought me and if I was bad the cigüeña had the ability to come and take me back. They would say that the cigüeña brought good kids to the earth, but if they misbehaved they would take them back.

As Kevin recalled the tale of the stork that he so often heard when he was younger, he could not help but say a few times that his parents had been mean to tell him this. He did also say, however, that his grandmother had been the first one to tell him this story. Yet, as he said emphatically, it was his parents who would keep telling him over and over again as a warning to him of what the consequences of misbehaving could be.

This is a fairly common story similar to the myth that describes storks delivering babies to their prospective parents. Kevin’s story does more than provide an explanation of where babies come from though, and seems to have a twist because of its different emphasis. Kevin’s parents would emphasize the stork’s ability to return misbehaving children to whence they came, an entirely different emphasis and tone. This twist in the stork baby tale reveals and serves a more cautionary purpose for the young children who hear this tale. It is a reminder for very young children that they must behave well and listen to their parents if they still want to be with them, because otherwise, the consequences could be pretty drastic. In this way, the tale of la cigüeña, or the stork, told most often by parents or other caregivers, is meant to curb young children’s bad behavior and encourage them to be obedient “good” children that the stork will let stay at home.