Informant: The interviewee in question here is a 20 year old girl studying business at USC. She hails from Austin, Texas.
In my family we have a story about these creatures called the Cramatoadies. At my lakehouse, there’s this little island in the lake that you can always see from the house, a rocky crag. When I was little, the adults would tell this story to us. Even to this day, if there’s a little kid, we’ll tell them this story. So these Cramatoadies live on Cramatoadie Island. And their little quirk was that they could be as big as a house or as small as the tip of a needle at will. And if you’re a bad kid walking around at night, they can grab you and take you away to your island. And we grew up with that.
Who did you hear this from?
I got it from my parents, who got it from my dad’s dad and owned the lakehouse
Why did this story stick with you?
I really believed it when I was little. When I had friends there, I would tell them the story and we would try to kayak to the island and get scared and go back. And then the lake went down and we could just walk to it and it was just a bunch of rocks. And that kinda ruined the magic when that first happened. It never scared me though. I thought it was cool that there were little creatures living there.
This story serves, like many fairy tales from old Europe, as an entertaining way for parents to caution their children. When a parent wants to stop a certain action from occurring – in this case, running around in the dark at night – they create a story about fictional creatures who will punish them for it. Children respond more naturally and readily to flights of fancy such as these than they do to the more-realistic but less-engaging reasons of “falling and skinning your knees”. This story also possessed – like many family tales – an idiosyncrasy and specificity that made it more “real” to the listener – in this case, the particularly close location of Cramatoadie Island.