The Dirty Boy

Context: This is a story that the informant’s grandmother would tell them all the time. The informant grew up in Myanmar.


Collector: “Do you have any stories that were passed down to you like maybe a bedtime story, tales, legends, anything?”

Informant: “My grandmother told me this story quite often like when I was younger it’s more a bit of like a lesson kind of thing so it’s a bit long. It’s about a boy; he was really really lazy and his grandfather told him to brush his teeth and he wouldn’t brush his teeth and instead of brushing his teeth he went and ate like a really powdery snack and he was really dirty. The grandfather told him to shower and he didn’t shower. He like went into the river and just played in the mud and he just got even dirtier and really nasty and then the grandfather was like “get out of my house like you’re so nasty you’re so lazy and nothing can fix you.” So, the boy left and he was like “oh my God I don’t know where to live” and he was just wondering around and he found a hole in which — oh wait, sorry. So, the grandfather was like “come back when you’re clean” and he was like f*** you Grandpa like I’m not going to come back; he’s just going to be dirty. The boy went around and he found a hole where a ghost, like the local Town Village ghost, was living and he was like “oh I’ll just go live with the ghost” and he went in and the ghost like kind of (thinking) yeah the ghost lives in a tunnel and it kind of eats boys or eats children and the boy went into the tunnel and knocks on the door and is like ‘Oh my God ghost just eat me I don’t want live anymore” and the ghost opens the door and the ghost is like “oh my god you’re so stinky i don’t want to eat you” and so the boy took a shower brushed his teeth and went back to his grandfather. I’m not really sure what the point of that story was but my grandmother told me that story like a million times.”


The lessons of this story I would say are definitely catered to children. As the grandmother told it a lot to the informant, I’m assuming it must have been passed down to the grandmother and she heard it a lot growing up to and maybe even used it on her own children. I think this story reveals that a child should listen to their parents/grandparents because they know what’s best for them. Also, more importantly, that every kid should not be lazy and take care of their appearance and personal hygiene or else nobody may want or like them. I’m not sure on whether this is a family specific story but there is a high value of hygiene and health.