Informant:TH; Interviewer’s Sister
“Okay okay, I have one more you can write about. I know that duendes are like a thing in Mexico, but did you hear that my grandma pissed off a duende?”
Interviewer shakes their head.
“So according to my aunt, when they were crossing the river to get here [the United States], they like, found little rocks in a circle with stuff in it. And at first my grandma thought it was a campfire, so she started piling on like leaves and shrub and stuff. And they used it as a fire for the night. In the morning, my aunt was missing her lucky bracelet and her glasses. And my uncle couldn’t find his cross necklace. And so our tios have a theory that a duende’s belongings were in the little rock circle. And when my grandma used it as a fire all their belongings burned up.”
Interviewer asks: “Can you elaborate as to what that means? What is a duende and why is it taking things?”
“Yeah, so. Um, a duende is like…” *they take a moment* “how do I explain it? They’re like um, little elves or like creatures rather. And they can either be very nice or very mean. Kinda like how the witches on TikTok are always like “don’t piss off the fae or they’ll like curse you or whatever’.They’re essentially little guys that can either reward you or curse you. And so in the context of the story, the duende whose things were allegedly burned started stealing their little trinkets as retaliation.”
My interpretation: I don’t think this happened completely. I do think my uncle and aunt were scatterbrained trying to cross into a whole new country and they may have lost a few things, but the idea of my grandmother angering a mystical little being is the funniest thing I’ve ever been told. I think My uncle and aunt started telling the kids in our family this story as a way to build lore to their journey. I don’t necessarily think there needs to be a lesson to be taught here, I think it was more for embellishment.