With laughter and tears come horns

NR:My parents would always tell me that if you laugh after your cry you would grow horns on your butt. So, growing up this motivated me to try and not cry and be sad because I had a fear of growing horns.

Me: interesting I’ve never heard this story do you know where they heard it from?

NR: They heard it from their parents back home in Korea when they were kids.

  1. Background: The informant talked about how it’s comedic because as a child you really believe it’s possible because you believe anything your parents tell you. Now grown up you remember being told that and all you can do is laugh. The informant also said they first heard it from their parents when they were four and reminded of it throughout their childhood. It’s something the informant will always remember because it did make them scared of growing horns but it’s funny now that it’s something they would joke about with future children. 
  2. Context: The informant verbally performed the story to me at Leavey Library.

The informant was told this story by their Korean parents as a child. The informant was specifically told it when they cried. 

  1. This performance is a folk belief/superstition which acts as a way to teach a lesson or sway the audience’s behavior. This particular example is trying to promote not crying and in a sense not being sad by presenting a scary outcome of growing horns out of your body as the folklore belief and story. The informant is a part of the folk group of Korean children who tend to hear this story (Another person who is Korean was present during the performance and also remembered the story from childhood). This performance being remembered and now passed forward reflects the informant’s identity by highlighting the unique Korean folklore that came from their parents, which came from their parents and so on. Also, the lessons taught in the text reflects the cultural beliefs and values surrounding emotion as well as storytelling which exemplifies the informants identity in how they were raised and how they continue to remember what was taught to them. I think other people in the same folk group could have interpreted this text in different ways. For example this informant found it scary growing up but now looks back at it with a sense of comedy but someone else may have never believed it and so never felt fearful when originally told it. I think the meaning of the folklore is impacted by the age of the audience and who the informant is for example I did not feel fearful of the story when I first heard it likely because of my age but would see how if the informant were my parent and I was a child it could cause genuine fear and belief in the lesson being taught.