Tag Archives: Boy

Aunt’s Ghost Story about Sleeping Boy


  • collected on 03/23/2024
  • Genre: Memorate
  • Language: English
  • Nationality: Mexican-American
  • Relationship to Informant: Friend
  1. Text 
    1. Summary: 
      1. The Informant’s aunt grew up in rural Mexico with a big family. One night, she woke up because she felt someone in her bed. When she opened her eyes, she saw a little boy sleeping next to her and assumed it was her little brother. In the morning, she noticed her little brother sleeping in his own room and wearing different clothing. When she asked her brother why he slept in her bed, he told her that he hadn’t done that. 
    2. Direct transcription of folklore:
      1. “So, my aunt Liz (pretty sure this was Liz) was 15 and they were living in this old house in the middle of the country. One morning – actually the middle of the night – she woke up because she felt someone in her bed. So she woke up and turned around, and it was a little boy. At first, she was like ‘what the h***’ because my dad’s family has three boys and two girls. So, at first she was like, ‘Oh, George, what are you doing here?’ Then she really looked at him, and she was like ‘oh my God, that’s not George.’ I can’t remember if she like went back to sleep …. no, no, no … Okay, so what happened was she saw the boy and she was like ‘oh, it’s George’ because the little boy had his back turned to her. So then she fell asleep and woke up. Then she went and saw that George was sleeping in his own bed. He was also wearing something completely different than the boy she saw that night. So she was like ‘what happened last night? Why did you come sleep in my bed?’ and he was like ‘I didn’t, I was here the whole night.’”
  2. Context 
    1. Informant is a USC student in her early 20s who was born and raised in the Sacramento Valley. This ghost story was told to her by her aunt, and it has become an oral tradition in her family. 
  3. Analysis 
    1. The ghost in this story is a little boy who sleeps in a young girl’s bed. Since the boy is very peaceful and doesn’t intend to scare her, it can be seen as an innocent soul looking for a family connection. This suggests cultural values of family and community acceptance. It also suggests the perspective that ghosts can be non-harmful, which indicates an open mind to the spiritual world. 

“The Head Nod”


My informant, AW, is my 15-year-old brother. He is homeschooled, and participates heavily in gaming culture. He told me about “the head nod” during an informal interview at home. He says the head nod is universally known amongst all guys, and is the only way to greet each other. I refer to myself as SW in the text.


AW: “Have you ever heard of the head nod?”

SW: “I’ve heard of the head nod.”

AW: “You have? Do you understand any of what it means?”

SW: “Not really, please explain the head nod to me.”

AW: “Ok so the head nod is if you go something like… I don’t know how you put this on to paper but if you like *he does the very slight upwards head nod of greeting* – the head nod. If you’re walking by someone and you um… yeah if you’re walking near… if you’re passing a stranger in a hallway and it’s one on one you to do this. If you’re in a crowd and you accidentally lock eyes with people you have to do this. It’s just… it’s just law. But, if it’s someone you do not know or… yeah if it’s someone you do not know it’s generally just a sign of respect or I acknowledge your presence and I acknowledge I was staring at you or something. And it’s just a *he does the slight downwards head nod of respect* or something like. If it’s someone you know, or you’re trying to get attention from someone, it’s *he does the upwards head nod*.

SW: “So it’s like a… a downward head nod of respect with people you don’t know, and an upward head nod of like a ‘hey’ with the eyebrows if it’s someone you do know.”

AW: “If it’s someone you know and you’re about to talk to them it’s like ‘hey’ *he proceeds to do the upwards hey head nod* but if it’s someone you know and you don’t want to talk to them it’s just *he does the downwards respect nod*.”



Folk gestures are a very small thing, but arguably make up one of our most important ways of communicating with others. A known shared gesture helps link members of a group without anyone even needing to say anything. AW says that all guys know about head nod culture, and it is a way to show respect and communicate familiarity. It also is a way to differentiate who is “one of the boys” and on a peer level, versus someone you have a more formal relationship with.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf- Children Story

Main piece: 

“There was a boy who was a shepherd. The boy would get very bored watching the sheep all day, so he decided to yell out that there was a wolf amongst the sheep one day. All the villagers came in a hurry to find out that there was no wolf. The next day the shepherd boy did it again. And the villagers came running, only to find that once again there was no wolf. On the third day, the shepherd boy was watching the sheep, and a wolf came. The boy yelled out to the villagers, ‘there is a wolf! Help! there is a wolf!’ but this time no one believed him, and the wolf ate all of his sheep.”

Context and Analysis:

My informant is a 21-year-old female. I asked her to narrate to me a commonly known story she is familiar with. The informant narrated to me the story of the “Boy Who Cried, Wolf.” She claims this was a bedtime story told to her when she was a child. My informant believes the message of this story is that “if you lie people will catch on to it and then they will not believe anything you say ever, even if it is true.”

I agree with my informant’s interpretation of the story. The story of The Boy Who Cried wolf is often used to teach children about the dangers of lying. The story follows the plot of a boy playing around with the kindness of the village and the sense of community that made them reach out to help when the boy was in danger. Because of this when the boy was actually in danger, the villagers no longer believed him and did not come out to help. I think this story also emphasizes the fragility of community awareness and support. Most communities are known for caring for one another and wanting to help other members of that community, however, this bond takes work on both sides. Each member of the community must participate in making it strong. By tricking the village, the boy broke this bond and therefore he was excluded from the community. I think many times people take these communities for granted and do not put in what they are getting from it. This story does not just warn about the dangers of lying, but also about preserving the trust within a community.

I think the use of three is also important to note as it is a prominent number in storytelling. The boy cries out to the villagers three times. Having a trio creates a pattern making the story more memorable and emphasizes an idea. 

Space Traveling Boy

I asked my informant if he could provide me with a piece of Folklore, and he suggested this story. According to the informant, his parents would tell it to him as a child, and he believes it is of Swiss origin, although he is not sure.

“It’s about this little boy, who lives in space, and he kinda has a really unique perspective on the world based on his naivete,  and, in space all the planets are governed by adults and on each planet this adult has like a certain characteristic or trait the boy goes about kind of negating or belying. Like, certain events that happen, like there’s this one where he shows the adult a picture of, like a hat but he asks him “what do you see in this picture?” and the adult says “oh it’s a hat it’s simple” and he goes no its not a hat it’s a elephant and a snake underneath a blanket, just because of the shape of the hat.”

Although this story seems to be missing parts, from what is available, we see that it is about a boy who gets in arguments with adults, and wins them since he does not posses the same hardened stereotypes. Seeing the boy use his imagination and think outside the box, this story may also serve as a reminder to adults not to become trapped in social dogma, and to preserve some of the innocence of childhood.

Blue For Boys, Pink For Girls

This piece of folklore is something that is widely known across the country, if not the entire world. My informant is a pregnant woman, and works and lives in the Los Angeles area. When asking her about folk practices that she takes part in regarding her baby during pregnancy, she said that she is waiting to find out whether it is a boy or a girl so she can find out whether to paint the baby’s room pink or blue, get it pink or blue blankets, or get it pink or blue clothing.

When I asked my informant where she got this notion of baby boys being ‘blue’ and baby girls being ‘pink’, she simply said “it’s everywhere”. We all have grown up in a society where that’s just how it is. Popular culture, magazines, movies, and more all exhibit that this is just how it is and how it’s always been.

“The other day”, she said “I was watching the sequel to Father of the Bride”, and they were creating the baby’s room. She was going to be a girl, and they showed the room and it was “all pink, pink walls, pink furniture, pink stuffed animals, pink everything!” she said. It got her thinking about it, and solidified the fact that she would have to do this for her child if she wanted it to have a ‘normal upbringing’.

When I asked her how she believed that this notion and tradition started, she just said that it’s probably in human nature. Blue looks like a more masculine color, and obviously, pink is feminine she said. When I asked her why blue and pink rather than any other colors, she said that she wasn’t sure. “Maybe they’re just the most inherently masculine and feminine colors” she said.

I believe that this tradition started because, like my informant said, blue and pink are the most inherently masculine and feminine colors there are. I remember reading of a study saying that men are more naturally attracted to blue, while women are more attracted to pink. I believe that this tradition stuck on, and is now a big part of our popular culture and traditions of a baby.

Annotation: Father of The Bride Part II (1995), Movie.