The Carbunco

At a family dinner, I asked my mom if she could tell me any folklore. She told me the following:

“When my mother was a child, the closest market to their home was half a day’s walk away. My mother’s mother would walk on her own to buy food for my mother and her sisters. One day, as she walked through the forest she felt a great heat. She began to sweat and sweat, until finally she felt it no more. The heat had disappeared. She leaned against a tree trying to cool down. The tree she was leaning on began to dry. The tree began to break apart and out came a ball of fire. My grandmother didn’t know that the ball of fire was the ‘Carbunco’ and anyone who threw a rag over it could capture it and take it home. Once home, if you were to throw needles, spoons, and coins into it the next morning appeared a lot of money. Instead, my grandmother decided to try and warm her porridge on the fire. As my grandmother approached the Carbunco, it lit up even more and flew around in the sky before flying off. My grandmother never saw it again.”

Collectors Analysis:

My mother heard this legend from my grandmother (her mother). My grandmother was raised in a less fortunate household and my great-grandmother probably told this story as a way to help her kids cope with the poverty. However, my great-grandmother did not simply make this legend up. My mother and her siblings all remember this legend, and continue to tell it in family settings because according to my great grandmother, she really experienced the Carbunco.

What I find interesting about the Carbunco is that a large majority of the less fortunate families in El Salvador probably had a similar story to my great-grandmother’s. I expect that the legends probably based on the neighborhood it is being told in and the location within El Salvador. I enjoyed most about this legend was with which the passion my mother delivered it. Whether she believes it or not, I do not know. All I do know was that this legend was one of my grandmother’s favorites.