The informant’s family originated in Samoa, his parents were born and raised there before traveling and moving into the United States. He takes many visits to Samoa and is very in touch with his Samoan heritage and culture. He shared some common folklore with me that he could think of off of the top of his head.
“Ole manu e muamua ala nate maua le anufe”
“Something my parents expressed to me when I was a kid goes:
Ole manu e muamua ala nate maua le anufe meaning: The early bird gets the worm.
I can apply this to most every aspect of my life, so it has really helped me mature as I’ve grown. To me, well you can have your own interpretation of it but to me, it means literally the one who rises early will have the most success. I translate this into meaning that if you work hard, and out work everyone and anyone you will be rewarded and be just fine in life. I use this with my school work, with football, with almost about anything. I believe that everything takes hard work and nothing good is going to be easy to get hence, Ole manu e muamua ala nate maua le anufe. ”
The statement “The early bird gets the worm” is nothing new for our culture. This statement I have heard by my parents, mentors, teachers, coaches, you name it almost anyone (old enough to know its meaning) has heard this proverb before. It essentially means to most people the person who arrives to any location, event, opportunity first has the best chance for success in that area. The informant meant in his translation that he makes she he works the hardest so he can essentially “arrive first” and have the best chance for success.
It is interesting that a very common proverb in America would be used in another culture as well. As phrases.org.uk says, “The early bird gets the worm” originates from the Latin phrase Carpe diem which means “seize the day”. Both of these proverbs are advice on how to attack our days and make the most of our lives by working hard.
The informant’s family originated in Cuba. Her mother was born and raised in Cuba but her father was born and raised in America. Her Cuban culture and background comes from her mother’s side and folklore that her mom picked up over the years and shared with her. The folklore from this informant comes from family stories that are shared amongst the family as lessons or as advice.
“Live Like Abuelo Antonio”
“My Abuelo Antonio was an early member in my family who grew up in Spain but eventually moved to Cuba. While he was living in Cuba he was extremely poor and he and his wife were going through some rough times. They had no money for food and all they could afford were scraps of bread. Every morning, Abuelo Antonio would put out scraps of bread on the ledge of their house porch and would wait for the pigeons and doves to come take the scraps of bread. When the birds would arrive he would trap them and kill them so he and his wife could have food to eat. Abuelo Antonio was an extremely caring, loving and a giving person who was seen as a saint and it hurt him so much that he had to kill the birds. When he and his wife were able to have enough money to live more comfortably and actually buy food, he swore that for the rest of his life he would feed the birds every single day until the day he finally did die.
When I was a child, my mother would tell me that story which had been told to her by her mother and told to her by her mother and so on, as a reminder to always I guess give back in life, and to put out good vibes and oras into the world. Another lesson that comes from this story is to live how Abuelo Antonio would have lived. That became sort of a thing in my family, everyone wanted to live like Abuelo Antonio, it is sort of a life goal to be like him and we really look up to him, and people use it as a from of advice to others in the family. They would say Live like Abuelo Antonio. Yeah its pretty neat I guess that my family has sort of our own legends and myths that make proverbs.”
When I thought about folklore before, I didn’t realize that folklore could be held within and amongst family members. The specific informant gave me folklore that isn’t necessarily known widely by lots of people but rather held in her family and it is significant to her and important to the family because it actually means something to them. It is a story that advises them on how they should or shouldn’t do things.
Abuelo Antonio sounds like an incredible man and saint. His struggles and the way that he approached them shows to me that he is someone to look up to. The informant expressed to me that he was a saint and I could tell by the way she spoke about him. Having a figure like him to look up to and try to live like is probably beneficial in a family. If they all look up to the same person and base their life after the same person there are probably a lot of similarities within the family.
The informant was born and raised in Colorado. She all her life has used proverbs that her grandmother taught her to develop relationships. Her grandmother helped in assisting her by giving her proverbs to live by that apply to any situation and any human.
“A dog that brings a bone takes a bone”
When I was a lot younger and still in my adolescent years, I would try and keep up with the latest drama and gossip. I was all in his business or her business and always had the latest gossip. So and so would tell me something about someone and I would talk to my grandma like oh so and so said that she’s been doing a,b,c and my grandma would respond with A dog that brings a bone, takes a bone. At first the didn’t really mean much to me, I had to experience it on my own to have a full understanding of what she meant. A dog that takes a bone brings a bone to me means that if someone is coming to you with gossip, they are going to leave with something about you and talk about you to other people the same way the were talking to you about so and so. I just always have kept this in the back of my mind when someone is gossiping about someone else to me. I realize that if i egg in that conversation, there might be something that I said that would give the person a bone to run off with. I guess what I get from this is be aware of conversations you engage in and how much you trust to tell people.”
A dog that brings a bone takes a bone. I haven’t heard this before, so it is new to me. When to informant was explaining it to me I think she could sense my confusion probably by my facial expression and thankfully she continued to elaborate until she thought I could make sense of it. I think this just goes along with the proverbs about being careful who you trust and spend your time around. Not everyone in this world has good intentions and I think that in informant’s grandmother kew that and she was wise enough to share them with her granddaughter to hopefully help her in life. A dong that brings a bone takes a bone puts an all new perception of people and relationships into my head. It makes sense that a gossip who gossips to you is most likely gossiping about you, so it is important to choose carefully who you also yourself to be around.