Tag Archives: mountain

The Oogli Boogli Man

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Zimbabwean-American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: United States
Date of Performance/Collection: April 10th
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece:

This is the transcription of a story told by the informant.

There is an old old woman and she lives all alone in the hills and every single night when she goes to be she takes her boots off and puts them on the ground and tries to go to sleep in the middle of the night the boots wedge themselves on her feet making her do chores all night long and then right as the sun starts to rise the walk her back to her bed and slip back off her feet. So she is becoming really really exhausted and doesn’t know what to do. So she finally takes a trip to the Oogli Boogli Man. He lives even deeper in the hills than the old woman. So when she has to go and walk over to him she takes her time and as she approaches his house a stench comes into the air. She stands far from the porch and screams “Oogli Boogli man” and there’s nothing. She screams again and then out comes the most stinky, farty, old crusty man that you have ever seen. He has icicle boogers coming from his nose and rat poop in his hair because the Oogli Boogli man does not like to clean himself. But he is magic. So the old lady says that her boots are exhausting her until the day breaks then she can go to sleep. The man says all right I will help you. Tonight when you go to sleep the boots won’t hurt you anymore. That night the boots jump back on her feet only this time the boots are taking her all over the town. She is absolutely exhausted and she knows a trick has been played on her. This next time the old lady decides she is going to take matters into her own hands. She makes jam for the Oogli Boogli man and puts some choice ingredients like cat turds, snot, whatever she can find. The concoction is a deep icky brown. She pours it into a jar and seals it shut. Then when she walks over to the man this time there is no reply, but she says all she wanted to do was thank him. That night when she is walking back to her house she hears a scream from the Oogli Boogli man’s house. “Damn you old lady, I’m gonna come get you” that night she is scared shitless, obviously. She hears a knock on her door and she does not know what to do so she stays nice and quiet. The man says “old lady I know you are in there, I just wanted to thank you for that jam that you gave me” and she stays nice and quiet. Then all of the sudden there is a creak and the door opens, so she is freaked out. Then the boots start walking towards the door that’s just opened and the Oogli Boogli man pops right into the boots and walks out the door cursing the old lady’s name. And that’s it, she gets to sleep after that. 

Background:

This story was told to the informant by their father and he learned it from his grandmother. The informant’s great-grandmother was from a tough-as-nails farming family that moved from Nebraska to the desert outside of Joshua Tree. The informant is very close with their family so stories are constantly shared as a way to feel close to their relatives.

Context:

The informant explained that this story was told to them by their father as a spooky tale before bed or around a campfire. When I asked the informant to share some of their family’s folklore, this was the first example that jumped to their mind. They were able to recite it completely from memory and with critical detail and description that showed how much this story had impacted them.

Thoughts:

This folktale is very representative of the blue-collar background of the informant’s great-grandmother. The isolation of the mountain town makes this story more scary for those who live in that environment. It also has magic involved but a very dark kind of magic that can control you in a painful way. This again shows the beliefs of people living in isolation. It could perhaps allude to the idea that outsiders could try to control communities they did not understand, just like the shoes control the old woman. Also the shoes never allowed for this woman to rest and in a farming community, rest is one of the few sacred things that you are given to survive. There aren’t luxuries that wealthier communities get access to, but rest is something guaranteed. The woman gets her rest back by standing up to the Oogli Boogli man which highlights the values of tough communities. You have to act for what you want and not expect things to get better without work.

The Mountain of el Espiritu Michoacan

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Occupation: Uber driver
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Date of Performance/Collection:
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

So where my dad lives, el Espiritu Michoacan, there’s a big mountain with a large cross that is visible to the naked eye at the top. I don’t know how long it’s been there, but they say that religious groups took it there on horseback. The wood used was so big that they needed a lot of people and lot of horses to move it or transport it. There’s a story that after it was built, many people were at the top of the mountain and I guess praying or worshipping… and because it’s at the top of the mountain, they got dizzy when they were staring at the cross. They thought that the cross was falling or that the sky was falling and they began to run, and some people maybe got hurt and fell down because it’s steep. They also say that the people might have been partying, so they could have been drunk or intoxicated or something. You know, your depth perception isn’t great under those circumstances. So they were being punished by God.

Context: The informant’s father is from Michoacan, and he has visited the state almost yearly since his childhood. He heard this story from his father.

Interpretation: This story has a cautionary element that warns audiences not to mix worship with intoxication for fear of punishment. It also seems reminiscent of Judgment Day, where worshippers are evaluated as the world appears to end (i.e. the sky is falling). It also suggests the power of religion, both in that it brought people together to build and transport the cross and that it is powerful enough to send a large group of people falling down a mountain. The fact that this story is widely spread in the area shows that the people of el Espiritu Michoacan value religion and are dedicated to spreading the word of Christianity (more specifically, Catholicism).

El Paso Trans-mountain Road

--Informant Info--
Nationality: United States/Mexico
Age: 21
Occupation: Research Assistant
Residence: El Paso,TX /Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/30/17
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

Main Piece:

The Participant is marked as BH. I am marked as LJ.

LJ: Can you tell me some history about El Paso?

BH: Oh, so…in El Paso there are a stretch of mountains called the Franklin Mountains. And these happen to be the end of the Rocky Mountains which stretch all through the united states. And what is interesting about these mountains it is said that you’re not supposed drive on this road on the Trans-mountain road–which literally cuts through the mountains. So you’re not supposed to drive on this road after midnight. One because there are a lot of accidents and two there is folklore of ghosts on the road. Either hitching for rides or a monk that walks around with a donkey–well he’s a friar, with a donkey haha. And he’s in search of the treasure that supposedly exists in the mountains.

Context:

I had visited the participant and her family in El Paso, Texas in March. This was recorded after.

Background:

The participant is a fourth year student at the University of Southern California. She is a firm believer in religion and likes “scary stories,” including television shows and hearing about hauntings. She grew up primarily in El Paso, Texas with her mom and two sisters.

Analysis:

This shows part of the great history that El Paso has. There is so much from Native American groups to the Mexican-American war to the waves of immigration that it sees coming in from Cuidad Juarez. It was obvious that there were more stories to these mountains, but I stuck with this one.

The monk/friar in search for treasure is actually a little funny. The ideals of a monk, as I understand them, are to denounce worldly possessions, so for the monk to be looking for treasure so long after his death is almost incredulous. However, perhaps this began as him looking for something else, or it could have been a result of period when the church was not trusted by the peoples of El Paso.

These stories open paths that need further exploration to make full sense of them.

Maria Makiling

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Filipino
Age: 49
Occupation: Secretary
Residence: Chicago, Illinois
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/15/2016
Primary Language: Tagalog
Other Language(s): English

Background: Y.G.M. is a 49-year-old Filipino woman who works at Nye Partners in Women’s Health as the office manager. She was born and raised in Quezon City in the Philippines, and lived there until she was 25 years old. Y.G.M. self-identifies as Filipino, and as a result of her upbringing, Filipino culture is very engrained into her personal beliefs. She attended college at Mirian College, and received a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. Y.G.M. then immigrated to Chicago, Illinois with her family in 1997, and got her first job working at Citibank in River Forest, Illinois. She now lives with her husband in a suburb of Chicago.

 

Main piece:

Y.G.M.: So Maria Makiling is uh, one of our mythological um, how do you call – creatures – or no no sorry – she’s one of the fairies, uh, that we believe in.  Fairies they call us diwata, usually they are beautiful women. Maria Makiling, she is associated with one of the mountain ranges in the Philippines up north called Mount Makiling. So she is supposed to be like really beautiful lady and in the Philippine mythology she is the one who actually protects the mountains and volcanos and the forests in the Philippines. She is like the guardian of the mountains and um, responsible for protecting the, you know, the mountain. Sorry. The mountain resembles like the body with two breasts and the face of uh, a woman’s face.

 

Q: Where did you learn this from?

 

Y.G.M.: Uh, my Grandma Cion used to tell me this story when I was little. Also, my teacher from 3rd grade told me this story, and… and it was in a lot of children’s books. You know, like books of Filipino legends.

 

Performance Context: This story would typically be told to Filipino children to teach them more about Filipino folklore and legends.

 

My Thoughts: I think it is interesting that mythical creatures are such a vital part of the culture, even in making up the landscape of the Philippines. This shows a close relationship between the pride Filipinos find in their landscape and the pride in their culture and folklore.

Minggan the Giant

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Filipino
Age: 49
Occupation: Secretary
Residence: Chicago, Illinois
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/15/2016
Primary Language: Tagalog
Other Language(s): English

Background: Y.G.M. is a 49-year-old Filipino woman who works at Nye Partners in Women’s Health as the office manager. She was born and raised in Quezon City in the Philippines, and lived there until she was 25 years old. Y.G.M. self-identifies as Filipino, and as a result of her upbringing, Filipino culture is very engrained into her personal beliefs. She attended college at Mirian College, and received a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. Y.G.M. then immigrated to Chicago, Illinois with her family in 1997, and got her first job working at Citibank in River Forest, Illinois. She now lives with her husband in a suburb of Chicago.

 

Main piece:

Y.G.M.: So Minggan is also like a mythological creature and he’s a giant that lived in the Sierra Madre mountains which is up north in the Philippines and it was believed that he was in love with um a mountain goddess called Mariang Sinukuan. From time to time he would be in the mountains and um, he Mariang Sinukuan, the goddess, wanted to put him to a test and he could only win her heart if he would pass that test. Um – she wanted him to stop the river from flowing so they can build a pond in the mountains but Minggan failed the test.

 

Q: How could he have completed this test?  What was he supposed to do?

 

Y.G.M.: He was supposed to, um, create.  He was supposed to stop the river from flowing and build a pond in the mountains so she can be with all the living things that live under water. He was supposed to complete it before evening.

 

Performance Context: This story would typically be told to Filipino children to teach them more about Filipino folklore and legends.

 

My Thoughts: There are many stories throughout all of world folklore where there is a plotline involving a series of trials that the protagonist must pass in order to succeed, as in this legend. This idea of trials is a common motif and plotline that can be found in many folktales and myths. This element can be noted in Propp’s 31 Functions as well as in the ATU.

 

For another version of this story, please see Page 34 of Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories: Filipino Folk Stories, written by Dianne de Las Casas and Zarah C. Gagatiga.

Casas, Dianne De Las, and Zarah C. Gagatiga. Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (Tales From the Seven Thousand Isles). N.p.: Libraries Unlimited Incorporated, 2011. Print.

La India Dormida – A Panamanian Legend

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Panamanian
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: U.S.A.
Date of Performance/Collection: 9/27/2016
Primary Language: Spanish
Other Language(s): English

“The youngest daughter of the chief of the native Guaymies tribe was a warrior girl. She was a simple girl who fought against the Spanish invaders. And then, she fell in love with one of the Spanish guys. So she left the tribe to visit him one day and one of the warriors of her tribe who loved her, knowing that his love was not going to be returned, killed himself by throwing himself from the top of a mountain. And then, the daughter of the chief tried not to betray her tribe, so she said no to the love of the Spanish soldier, and while crying, she got lost in the forest and laid down and died. Where she laid down and died became the mountain we know today. It is named after her and looks like her as well.”

According to the informant, the La India Dormida (translates to The Sleeping Native Woman) story is meant to explain how a famous mountain received its shape and name. It is intended to be a tragedy, as the young woman in the story was forced to abandon her true love and eventually ended up dying alone. The mountain is nearby an important highway in Panama, so many Panamanians see it often and are quite familiar with it.

The informant, Jonathan Castro, is a 21-year-old student from Panama. Because until recently, he had spent his entrie life in Panama, he believes that he is well informed in Panamanian folklore. Jonathan explains that because he drove by the mountain so many times as a child, his curiousity about it eventually compelled him to ask his mother about it during a car ride. It is then that she told him the story of the mountain and the tragedy behind it. To Jonathan, the story is a peek into what life was like for the native Panamanians during the Spanish invasion. It was clearly a difficult period for them, and this story only reflects their hardship.

In the United States, it is uncommon for the general public to hear tradtional creation stories about how our nation’s natural formations were made. This contrasts drastically from Panama, where stories like this are much more common. Although it is difficult to say why this difference exists, a likely explanation concerns the American emphasis on science and the reasoning derived from it. The average American would probably look at the mountain and try to find a scientific reason for why the mountain is shaped in such an interesting way. This doesn’t appear to be the case in Panama, however, as people seem to have the need to have an explanation for the shape that comes in narrative form.

Cart Proverb

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Chinese
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: march 17, 2012
Primary Language: Chinese
Other Language(s): English

The informant is recounting a Chinese proverb from home. He does not remember where he heard it.

The cart will find the way round the hill when it gets there.

He interprets to mean that you should not worry too much about the future.

 

This reminds me of the American saying: “You shouldn’t put the cart before the horse,” meaning you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself and think too far ahead. They have very similar meanings and both relate to carts. They could possibly be distant oicotypes of the same idea.