Nationality: African American
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/17/17
Primary Language: English
The interviewer’s comments are denoted through initials GM, while the interviewee’s responses are denoted by a PO.
PO: “One time my Grandma told me this funny story. It’s this beaver that is a friend of a duck and this frog that’s a bully… it’s this poisonous frog that’s a bully. And then the frog says he’s more than the duck and beaver because the beaver has stick out teeth.”
GM: “Buck teeth?”
PO: “Yeah, like that. And then the frog says ‘Oh yeah, look at me I don’t have buck teeth like you.” And then the duck says, ‘Hey, stop being a bully.’ And then this day, the beaver was at school and he didn’t have any friends at school because his buck teeth keeps sticking out more and more and keeps growing every day and night. And so, it was all the way down and he could walk with his teeth.”
GM: “So was the beaver still friends with the duck?”
PO: “Yeah, because the duck doesn’t care about teeth. He just cares about friends, cause the duck doesn’t have friends like beaver. So, the frog was keep on making fun of the beaver’s teeth and then, um… how can I say this. There’s this pig that has a spirit… it’s like god that takes care of the children because the children don’t have a mom or dad because they come out of eggs. So, the poisonous frog then had teeth sticking out and the beaver had more normal size teeth.”
GM: “So who made the frog have big teeth?”
PO: “Um, the spirit pig. And so the frog had more teeth sticking out, so the frog turned into a beaver and the beaver turned into a frog. The duck saw the frog that turned into a beaver and thought that was his friend. And the beaver that turned into the frog was like, ‘No I’m your friend!’ And the duck said, ‘If you were my friend you would look like beaver.’ And he said ‘No but I turned into a frog!’
GM: “So how did the story end?”
PO: “So they were arguing and the frog was nice and the beaver was mean. So, they just changed.”
Conclusion, written by the interviewer:
This story was told by second grader, _____, who heard it from her grandmother. The story is not literal, but has an underlying meaning. The frog symbolizes a bully that a child may encounter in school, while the beaver has a physical feature which makes him insecure. The duck stands by the beaver even though the beaver isn’t popular, showing an act of goodwill. The story ends with oppressed beaver’s teeth becoming “normal,” while the frog inherits the beaver’s buck teeth. The lesson value here is directed for a child audience. It relates themes of kindness to success, while intimidation is linked with defeat.