Tag Archives: Narrative

Taily Poe Colorado Cryptid

Text:

“This guy is living in a cabin and he has two dogs, and he lives in the middle of nowhere. There’s no cars, no grocery stores, it’s old times, so he goes hunting in the dead of winter. He’s walking for hours and sees nothing, no animals, and he thinks it’s so strange. The woods are eerily quiet. He comes back and he goes to bed hungry and so do his dogs. Next day he goes out and looks for food again, and it’s eerily quiet, not even wind in the trees, just nothing, it doesn’t feel real. No food, no rabbits, no deer, no plants. Just snow and white and quiet. His dogs and him go to bed hungry. Next day he goes out, he’s exhausted, he hasn’t had food in him, his dogs are exhausted, he’s been walking for miles and miles. He’s lost and worn out. He sees a flash of black, and he’s like “what was that?” He sees the flash of black again and he shoots it. All he gets is this little tuft of meat that fell off, it seemed like it was cut off from the creature he shot. It seems like his tail, so he takes the tail and carries it back to his cabin. It’s not a lot of meat but it’s all he has, so he fixes it up, cleans off the skin and cooks it up, and he gives the leftovers to his dogs. He goes to bed full, wakes up in the morning, and goes hunting again. Suddenly it seems like the woods are alive again, he’s finding food, he’s finding rabbits, there’s some spring green poking through the snow, so he comes back with a good collection of food. He goes home, but as it gets dark it starts to get cold and eerie again. He starts to hear this voice from outside and some creaking on the roof. It goes “Tailyyyyyy poooooe. Taaaaaaaily poe.” He’s like “is this the wind? What noise am I hearing?” He hears it again. “Taaaaaaily poe, taaaaaaaaily poe.” He looks outside and sees nothing, it’s not windy out, so he closes the door and locks it cause he’s getting freaked out. He gets under the covers and he hears the voice all night but he tries to sleep. He wakes up in the morning, goes hunting again and gets a good amount of food. He’s got plenty of rabbits, he shot a buck. He goes home, cooks up his dinner. When it gets dark out again, he hears the voice again. “Taaaaaaaaily poe.” He checks outside, there are no branches scratching against his window, there’s nothing on the roof even though there’s incessant creaking. He closes and locks the door, but then he looks back at it and the door is cracked open. He hears it again “taaaaaaaily poe, taaaaaily poe.” He goes to bed even though he hears it all through the night. Next morning he takes his dogs out on a walk, goes fishing, he comes home and he cooks up the fish and feeds it to his dogs. Then he notices his dogs start barking at the door. Woof woof. So he lets them out, thinks maybe they have to pee, and the dogs start running. He calls them back, and they’re very well trained dogs, but only one comes back. He wonders what happened to the other, but he knows his dogs don’t run away so he figures the other dog will be back in the morning. So he closes the door, brings the one dog inside. It’s too dark and cold to look for the other one even though he’s very worried. He starts to hear it again. “Taaaaaaailey poe. Taaaaaailey poe. I know you have my tailey poe.” Now this part is new. He hears the creaking on the roof, wakes up in the morning, spends the whole day looking for his dog “Boy come here, come here!” He comes back to his cabin after looking for his dog, and sees his dog’s tail on the ground outside his cabin. He goes back inside, and the other dog starts barking at the door again. He lets his dog out, and the dog runs away. He’s now alone, he’s lost his two best hunting dogs. He closes the door, locks it, he’s freaked out and staring at the wall. The door slowly opens and he sees a black figure run towards him. He feels this pressure on his chest. He hears “Taily poe, taily poe, I’ll finally have my taily poe.” And then he dies. The end. So when you’re camping and you hear the wind saying “taaaaaily poe,” that means that Taily Poe is still looking for his tail and he might get you.” 

Context:

M is a 19-year-old college student from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She often goes camp and hiking in the woods, and her town has a lot of different cryptids and legendary monsters that people look for and talk about when in the woods. She says this particular story is a campfire story, and that Taily Poe is a cryptid that might come after you in the woods when you’re sleeping. She says that the story is meant to be ever longer, and that you’re supposed to add more to the story to make it as long as possible, she says the point is to add suspense. 

Analysis: 

Taley Poe is a legendary cryptid who is supposed to be wandering the woods. He’s one of the many legendary creatures that cryptozoologists search for in deeply forested areas like Colorado. Cryptids like him arise from people’s fear of the wild and the unknown, both the certain knowledge that there are frightening uncontrollable beasts in the woods, and from the idea that the wild is the land of the devil. This particular story is also similar to a tale though because oftentimes the teller of the story doesn’t actually believe it happened, they’re just trying to frighten people while camping. The story is told in a very particular structure, and the informant said herself that you can add things to make it longer to add more suspense. This is an example of the Oral Formulaic Theory at work, earlier known as the Perry-Lord Hypothesis. This is the idea that folk story tellers are able to remember really long stories and are able to draw them out to engage the audience by adding certain formulaic speech into the story. We see examples of this formulaic speech in this rendition of the story, with the descriptions of which animals the  man was or wasn’t able to find while hunting, with the added description to detail his plight (ex:  “He’s exhausted, he hasn’t had food in him, his dogs are exhausted, he’s been walking for miles and miles. He’s lost and worn out.”) The phrase “taily poe” can be drawn out to as long as the speaker wants and can be repeated as many times as they want. We also see the importance of performance in the way the speaker sometimes speaks as the character, seen in the dog bark sounds she makes and the “here boy, here boy.” All of these aspects draw the listener in and add to the ambiance of fear. People love to hear ghost stories and cryptid stories by the campfire, perhaps for a similar reason to why people love horror movies. They’re able to dabble in a bit of the emotion of fear while they’re actually in a safe, controlled environment surrounded by people they know and trust.

Judgement Day (Yawm Al-Qiyaama)

Original Text:

“يَوْم القِيامةِ”

Transliteration:

Yawm Al-Qiyaama

Translation:

Day of Judgement (Rising)

My informant has been raised in an Islamic pillared family in Lebanon that has not entirely followed all the beliefs that are enforced but has been taught the knowledge about the religion and the information regarding faith and the afterlife.

Narrative:

Judgement Day is known to be one of the most feared moments in Islam as it is also referred to as “The Day of the Rising”, “The Day of Regret” and “The Striking of Calamity.” My informant has stated that this is “the end of all life in our world when the living is stopped, the deceased come back from the dead state they resided in and are put on trial for their time on earth to decide whether they should be sent to the heavens or hell. Some signs of the day of judgement coming are when events such as “phenomena in the Qur’an, the book of Islam, coming to fruition and if satanic entities or ‘the jin’ were to appear on earth.” This allows Muslims to prepare to be judged for their sins and determine whether they are faithfully good. ‘Allah’, otherwise known as their god, will decide if those who are dead will live in everlasting torment and “if those who have performed his tasks may live freely to fulfil their own duties without punishment” for their sins. It is a day that they “fear, but must accept as it the way that god had intended for the world to progress and end” This is depicted as the beginning of the end in Islam and is the moment that all Muslims stay faithful for as it plays a role in whether they will continue to be blessed for their efforts or punished for their sins.

Context:

It is believed that Judgement Day within Islamic culture and religion is a pivotal part of their upbringing. Although it is “one of the most important parts of our religion and is an extremely important and heavy topic, [they] usually tell the children of the family when they reach a certain age to begin to teach them about Allah and how to be a devoted Muslim” They have also described that this topic is not brought up amongst other adults much unless “it is in a religious setting or during prayer, to remind [themselves] what [they] are performing good tasks for” as it is seen as a religious conversation that exists within every individual’s mind but is not spoken. They must remember that they are living to be a good person and will be punished otherwise, therefore, the children are taught at a young age to understand the complexity of the event and the importance that is tied to being a good person. 

Analysis:

Although the day of judgment is a religious sacrament and piece of information that exists in texts centuries old, it plays a pivotal role in not only children but adults’ thinking and actions. It allows each individual to perform in a morally good and generous manner that benefits their culture and the way they interact with the rest of society as a whole. The manner in which it is presented may be harsh and present divine and satanic work, but it gives humanity the chance to present themselves in a moral manner to live out the rest of their lives in prosperity and hope that they gain the judgment of a good being by staying faithful to their god and the entirety of society. The idea of those rising from the dead appearing as well brings the concept of ‘nobody is safe’ as it is a state of vulnerability that they are placed in on the day that wreaks havoc, crushing any hope for those whose sins have outweighed their good. It presents the idea of gratitude and allowing those who are fortunate to be grateful for their privileges, which can also be seen in other Islamic holidays such as the month of fasting of Ramadan when they do not eat to be more empathetic to those that are less fortunate and do not have the privilege of eating comfortably.

Donna Maria’s Enchanted Gardens (Sawfar)

My informant is a family member in Lebanon that has lived in the mountains for her entire life which plays a large role in this important narrative that has “become part of her identity forever.”

Narrative:

Wedding at Donna Maria Sursock Gardens

My informant states that they “lived in a village named Sawfar, far into the mountains of Lebanon. Although, it wasn’t different to many other villages, on top of our mountain stood a castle that belonged to our beloved Donna Maria.” The woman who was known to be “the most generous and beautiful of all” lived in a small castle built by her husband, Albert to live out her fairytale dreams. However, after the passing or disappearance of the family for some unknown reason, the castle was “torn apart by the militia in 1975 and left in ruins.” My informant describes her childhood on the open castle grounds as magical and “some of the best moments of [her] life” even in it’s fractured state. After many years, weddings had begun to take place in the castle gardens and some describe “seeing Donna peering from the balcony, sending her wishes to the newlyweds and then it became a tradition, blessing each couple that keeps her memory alive.” The music of the weddings “erupted through the valleys, filling the mountains with the magic of Donna’s castle” However, the informant describes playing in the grounds once as a child and revealing part of the house that had been covered, “it was a dungeon filled with unknown bones. Nobody had known until [she] found it and it became a horror, even Donna may have had a darkness to her and skeletons in her basement”. 

Context:

She states that this became known to the entire village but the weddings never stopped, because it would tamper the ‘magic’ that Donna had given them. Her story and castle history was passed on for generations as children were even brought to learn about Donna and her past as “she is a vital part of Sawfar history” It has become an integral part of her family history and her children’s lives as she says “even though I never met Donna, her descendants and their ground are a big part of my upbringing in making me the person I am today” The castle is not only grounds for the descendants of Donna Maria but the rest of the village to enjoy and pass the joy that the bricks and gardens brought to others.

Analysis:

The narrative that my informant presents seems to be a pivotal part of her upbringing in the village as she had lived through most of the experiences at the Donna Maria castle. The element of the fairytale castle on top of the mountain allowed Donna and her family to thrive and incorporated that into the village. When the story was described, the informant said she passed it on to her children and brought them to the castle grounds to experience it. This allows the children to gain a sense of what their heritage is and a glamorized version of a story such as a castle encourages the learning of their culture and gain a patriotic view of their country and specifically the village. Adults are able to have a stable grounding in their village, even in unfortunate circumstances such as wars and attacks on their homes, they are able to look to the withered castle, with so much mixed history, and see it still standing. The castle represents the hope of what their village was, what it still is and what it will continue to be as the beauty of the story and the gardens is presented to residents of the village, their descendants and tourists who hope to see the history of what brought this village together. The ‘ghost’ of Donna Maria symbolises the blessing of eternal life, especially for married couples and children that still have growth to come as they not only learn about her beauty but also the dungeons that lie beneath her gardens. At times when married women struggled with events in their lives, they regret not getting married at the blessed grounds and being led by Donna who seems to have been viewed not only as a privileged woman but a queen atop the village that was a guiding light in the darkness of wars in Lebanon. Even after all the trials and tribulations that the entire country experienced, Donna’s damaged castle stood as a landmark in the people’s hearts and identities.

Two Oxen

CONTEXT: DM is a current USC student who attended a North Carolina Christian sleep-away camp in the summer of 2011. This is a story that she heard from an elderly woman named Libby. Libby had been raised at the camp, was head of camp for a number of years, and taught Bible Study and Devotional at the camp. DM interprets this story as a warning to choose obedience over freedom. She does not agree with the moral and does not think this was a good story to tell the children at camp.

TEXT:
Okay, this is a story of two oxen. It starts out with two brothers, and they are two wild
oxen that live in the plains a long, long time ago. These two oxen were living happily.
They were brothers, and they lived with their mom, and they had plenty of free space to
roam, and places to explore, and water and food. And then one day, they started seeing
these creatures and objects they had never seen before, because the railroad had been
being built in their area. And these big heavy machines are coming in, and all these
workers and things. And these carriages were coming by and there was a sudden influx
of people and the land around them was being torn up. And one day while the brothers
are out grazing on the field, this carriage comes by, and they get snatched up by the
carriage and are kidnapped into a working ranch that had just been set up nearby. And
the two oxen were basically prisoners. They had to be worked, and whipped, and made
to wear really uncomfortable saddles and people were always trying to ride them or put
yokes on them. So, they’re being put to work, and they have to pull these heavy carts in
the hot sun and are supposed to be really well-behaved, like sharp, come when they’re
called kind of oxen. And one day, one of the brothers while they’re carrying a load, sees
a hole in the side of the fence. And he goes “oh my gosh, now’s our chance, let’s go
escape.” And the other brother goes “No, I want to stay. I’m really proud of all these
beautiful saddles I can wear now, and how strong I’ve gotten, and all these things I
would’ve never been able to do, but I can do now.” And the other brother is like, “You’re
crazy, I’m leaving. I’m out of here. I don’t want to be a prisoner anymore.” And so, he
leaves, and he goes back to the wild. And at first everything is really lovely, and
beautiful and he has plenty of food to eat and water to drink and everything. And then a
couple years down the line a drought comes across the entire land. Everything is
decimated in the wild. The only people who have water are humans ‘cause they knew
how to collect it, and the only people who have food are humans ‘cause the railroad is
bringing stuff through. And so that meant that the other brother who had stayed had
gotten all this food, while the other brother was thirsty and starving and couldn’t find anything. And one day as he was wallowing around in the dust, he looks up and sees
his other brother carrying a whole carriage with this beautiful saddle and bells and
whistles and tassels on him and everything. He’s looking really strong, and his coat is
gleaming, and he just looks at the other brother and then he just keeps on walking.
Because the other one left the path.

ANALYSIS: This story seems to serve as warning to be obedient or suffer the consequences. Since this story was told in the context of a bible study and devotional, it seems that the working ranch may have been meant to represent the challenges of keeping the laws of the religion and remaining faithful even in difficult times, or through trials and tribulations. The suffering of the ox that chose freedom is potentially meant to represent what may happen, or what someone may feel, when they stray from God, or from their religion. This story was told to ten-year-olds who were likely meant to draw a moral from the story, and be like the ox that chose to stay and gained benefits as a result.

El Cucuy-The monster: Legend

Text: 

Me: “Within your Mexican culture, did you grow up hearing any scary stories?”

EC: “um yeah, it’s pretty crazy how affected we were by it actually. My parents always used to tell us about El Cucuy. My parents used to use it to scare me and my siblings from going to unsupervised places. It’s supposed to be a monster that scares kids”.

Me: “Ok, so was it like a generalized monster? Like did it have a name?”

EC: “yeah, it’s super generalized, El Cucuy literally translates to monster so it didn’t have a name. My parents would just say “don’t go over there! The Cucuy will get you!”

Translation: “The monster”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-EC’s relationship to this piece stems from her Mexican culture within her childhood home considering this legend is said primarily in Mexico, Spain, and other Latin American countries. EC would hear this legend at home, at family gatherings, from her aunts, or from a random person that was attempting to warn her from going anywhere she wasn’t supposed to. EC interprets this legend as a scaring tactic that parents use to control the ways in which their kids behave. Not to mention, EC interprets this legend as a light-hearted joke that tells kids to ultimately listen to their parents. 

Analysis (what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

-The overall cultural value within this legend stems from the various origin stories that can be told considering it is a popular phenomenon among Mexico, Spain, and other Latin American households. Not to mention, the cultural value can be seen within how these Latin American cultures raise their kids within their similar lifestyle values. Not to mention, the personal values that can be expressed within this legend is the way parents raise their kids regarding their own personal beliefs and customs. I see this legend as an overall motive to control bad behavior in children and to scare them into following the commands of their parents. I interpret this legend as an idea of obedience as scary methods can be made considering this legend showcases a parent’s overall motive to scare their children from going anywhere alone. Considering that I have heard about this legend myself and grew up with it, I ultimately interpret El Cucuy as an embedded concept that is directed towards children in order for them to be scared of the unknown. Given the fact that this entity is nameless, leads me to think that this scary tactic allows children to interpret this monster in any way they choose which can determine how scary they make it seem in their own perceptual minds. One similar legend that has similar qualities to El Cucuy is the legend of La Chupacabra considering that they are creatures that are intended for behavioral motives. However, the main difference between El Cucuy and La Chupacabra is that there have been actual sighting reports on La Chupacabra while there hasn’t for El Cucuy. This leads El Cucuy to be represented as an imaginative creature in kids minds. The overall idea of El Cucuy can fall under the concept of an ostension considering actual kidnappers can be placed as the given ‘monster’ that can take you if you go wander around places unattended.