The informant, T, is 19 years old. He was born and raised on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. His parents were also born and raised on Oahu. His grandparents on his mom’s side came from Japan and from his dad’s side were raised on Oahu. He is majoring as an Industrial and Systems Engineer. He considers himself American and is full Japanese.
T- “Pele is the goddess of volcanoes so like currently the big island, which is the furthest right island in the Hawaii chain, is like active like a volcano erupting and it is said that Pele lives there. In the volcano in the big island. There’s many ghost stories about her like that. Like there is stories about an old lady asking for hitchhiking on like a highway and they ignore her and keep going, but after a few minutes the guy looks in his rearview mirror and he sees Pele sitting in his back seat and he freaked out. Yea there’s like a lot of stuff like that. “
Have you seen this ghost?
T-“No I haven’t but I have some friends that experienced some ghost or something during a 6 grade camp trip”
Do you tell this story?
T-“I only share it when I have in depth conversations about my culture, which isn’t often”
Analysis- The fact that the informant does not share the story to others proves that he does not really believe in it. He, however, understands and considers it as part of his culture. The story is also meant to show the power that the Hawaiian gods have, according to the local people. The driver is not able to escape from Pele even if she is alone in the middle of nowhere and appears to be helpless. It is a demonstration that people are nothing when it comes to the gods and that you should make them angry.
Informant Bio: Informant is a friend and fellow business major. He is a junior at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. His family is from Mexico but he has lived in Southern California for nearly all of his life.
Context: I was talking to Fabian about Mexican stories and folklore. He originally learned this story at age 13 from his mother when he went hiking in mountains in which the specific cave is supposed to be located. His uncle had previously gone exploring and looking for the gold in this area. The tale is well known in the informant’s state of Michocoan.
Item: “So there’s this famous bandit, and, um, he like stole a lot of gold, but the thing is, he disappeared all of a sudden along with all his gold. They never found his body or his gold. People think that he buried it in some tunnels in the mountains. The legend around the gold is that you can only find it if you are looking for it by unselfish means. People who have been looking to get rich have never found the gold, but, people who have explored the cave for fun have randomly stumbled upon gold coins. And then at night, sometimes you will the bandit’s spirit running on his horse”.
Informant Analysis: Ghost riders are an extremely common phenomena in Mexican legends and tales. Unlike in the U.S. where ghosts and dead spirits are seen to be creepy, dead spirits are common in Mexican tales.
Analysis: Many Mexican tales seem to have an emphasis on intentions and values. The bit about only the unselfish/non-evil searchers being able to find the gold out of virtue seems to be a common thread in other cultures across the world. Mexicans are highly religious in general and also place great importance on familial duty, honest work, and honor. If you perform honest work then no one criticizes you while you can be ostracized for doing dis-honorable, illegal or morally question deeds. This tale seems to celebrate the fact that if you have good intentions and live purely, that you will indeed sew good luck and receive benefits in the end.