Residence: Los Angeles, California
Date of Performance/Collection: 2022
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): N/A
(Notes-The informant will be referred to as JV and the interviewer as K)
Background info: JV is a student who was born in Britain and moved to the United States 2 years ago for college. He told me this story as we walked down the road due to a band playing drums nearby.
K: Lemme ask you a few questions before you get into it, dude! What’s the title, how do you know it, and whats the context of the performance?
JV: *laughter* yea, right, sorry, it’s called uh, I guess Sir Francis Drake’s drum, and you just kinda hear about it everywhere, from your mum to even like a history class or what have you. It’s kind of like uh…national pride? Like the cherry tree thing you blokes have going on. *laughter*
K: George Washington cutting down the cherry tree??
JV: Mmhm! *laughter*]
K: *laughter* Ok, ok tell the story already
JV: There honestly isn’t much to tell uh…Sir Francis Drake was this dude who was uh who had magic and could turn into a dragon, ergo the “drake” part of his name. He raided a bunch of Spanish ports and ya know, good ol English racism makes that a good thing. Anyways, he had this drum that he always brought with him on his like adventures I guess, and when he died the drum became like…a legend. Like, you you hit the drum SIr Francis Drake would come to England when it was in peril. Or sometimes the drum will hit itself when England is in danger *laughter*. There’s always tales about how during like war or something people have heard the drum being struck, and I guess we’ve always won.
K: Except during the American Revolution, how do they explain that
JV: *laughter* People conveniently ignore that
I loved the way this was told to me. I thought it was interesting how much humor the informant was able to bring to something with apparent national pride, which h showed me that the newer generation of British citizens possibly doesn’t take this tale as seriously;y as previous ones. The idea of a magic dragon coming to aid Britain when needed also speaks volumes about what the English adhere to most. Dragons are a motif in most of the UK, especially wales, where one is on their flag. Magic is also a feature in most of their folklore so it makes sense that it would make an appearance in something like this. I wonder in what regions it is told in still, as JV is from a smaller town in the countryside and didn’t know all the details.