Description (From Transcript): “It was the mention of a Christmas creature. Have you ever heard of the Krampus? Yes, okay, a Christmas legend. It was always since my childhood, like instead of the coal– You know the whole coal story? Like “Oh, if you act or your kid acts bad, you’ll get coal?– We’re told stories about the Krampus, and like there was a book, I remember,
when I was younger. But outside of that, my dad would tell us stories that I don’t remember specifically, because I was little but there were so many. I remember always knowing about the Krampus, and that being a scary part. If you acted out or something, instantly the Krampus would come and basically kidnap you. It was very dark. It reminds me of the Grim stories because it was very much dark fairy tales.Then, as an older kid one, there was this one scary movie that came out called Krampus that I was like, “Oh, I’ve been told about that since Iwas a little”. We’re Just seeing it now, more in popular culture. But when I was told that it was just like word of mouth. It would always come up every single year around Christmas. So I guess it was kind of a tradition, in a way, too, for my family. The purpose of the story is definitely to get kids to not act out, not be bad. If you disrespect your parents, or talk back, stuff like that. It was used to try and get your kids to act well behaved. I feel like it was usually always like older, or like adult or parental figures, like grandparent figures telling the little kids to scare them into being well behaved.”.
Context: T.M. is a second year student at USC. She is part Ecuadorian and part Native Alaskan. She is originally from Juno, Alaska. Even though she grew up hearing this story in Alaska, she believes it’s European because she once went to Chicago and saw a Christmas Krampus market during the holidays. At the market, vendors sold Krampus masks and other souvenirs. However, she is not sure exactly where in Europe the legend comes from. She doesn’t know how it ended up reaching people in cities like Chicago and Juno, she just recalls hearing it from her dad. His father passed down these stories to him, which she finds weird because she doesn’t think the story is a very “Alaskan thing”. She didn’t hear a lot of other Alaskan people talk about it, so she feels it’s sort of a unique thing.
My interpretation: Like other legends told specifically to children, this story uses fear tactics to ensure that younger people do as their elders say. I find it strange that a holiday usually associated with positive religious figures like God and Jesus, as well as positive fictional characters like Santa Clause, would have a scary legend associated with it. Additionally, it was interesting to hear that this was not a popular tale in Alaska, necessarily, but it was still well known in the informant’s family, as well as different parts of the country. This most likely means that these regions had migration from whatever European country the story comes from, or in this informant’s case, someone in her family encountered it through family or location associated with this country.