Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Puerto Rican Folktales

by
Doris M. Vazquez


Contents of Curriculum Unit 93.02.12:

To Guide Entry


The folktales of Puerto Rico reflect the culture of the people who have lived or influenced the lifestyle of those people living there, the Tainos, the Spaniards, and the Africans. The historical reality of Puerto Rico is that it became part of the modern world as we know it today after Cristobal Colon encountered the island on November 19, 1493. Taino stories, which would be the only authentic and pure expression of pre-Columbian natives of Puerto Rico, are non-existent. It is believed that the Tainos were Arawaks who migrated northward from South America and had been living in Boriquen for nearly 1,000 years when the Spaniards arrived.

There had been other cultures in Puerto Rico before the Tainos, but they were nomads and left little evidence of their time and life on the island. The Tainos were fishermen, who eventually became farmers or hunters and established villages in different points of the island they called Boriquen. They did not have a written language and there are no written accounts of their culture or history passed on by them to future generations. Archaeologists are still trying to piece together what their lifestyle must have been like before their rapid and almost total extinction in the early sixteenth century due to illnesses and inhuman treatment given to them by the first colonists, the Spaniards.

There are, however, records written from oral tradition by the early Spanish settlers, especially by religious order members. Following orders given to him by Admiral Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) Friar Ramon Pane wrote in 1505 a series of detailed descriptions of the Tainos that lived on Hispaniola, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These natives had the same customs and beliefs as those of Boriquen (Puerto Rico). In his lengthy report, Friar Ramon wrote of Taino myths, such as; where the Tainos came from, how the sea came to be, the origin of the Sun and the Moon, and where the dead go and what they look like. There are descriptions of the Taino medicine man and many of the religious beliefs of the Tainos.

With the rapid extinction of the Tainos and as the Spanish colonization of Puerto Rico continued, black and white slaves were brought to Puerto Rico in the late sixteenth century to provide brute labor in the new colony being set up by Spain in Puerto Rico. They were needed to work in the sugar plantations, the mainstay of Puerto Rico for many years. Their legacy can be found in their music and dances. Like the Tainos before them, they have added some words to the Spanish vocabulary but did not make a strong impact in the developing culture of the colony. In general, with the passing of time, the black population of Puerto Rico assimilated into the Spanish culture. Stories from this group of people reflected their struggles and often futile attempts to be free.

The culture of the Puerto Rico of today is predominantly Spanish with traces of Taino Indian and Black influences. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “culture” is defined as “the arts, beliefs, customs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought created by a people or group at a particular time.” The Spanish acculturation process of Puerto Rico began almost five hundred years ago; three cultures (possibly multiple cultures) came together in Puerto Rico soon after that fateful day of November 19, 1493. The folk tales that are told in Puerto Rico today reflect basically Spanish themes with island adaptations and very little Taino or African participation. The tales, in general, have undergone changes in numbers, names, or settings which are more tropical or similar to Puerto Rico.

Among some of the other products of human work or thought are stories in different forms, such as myths, legends, folk tales, and fairy tales. A folk tale is simply defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as “a story, usually of anonymous authorship and containing legendary elements, made and handed down orally among common people. “

In the early twentieth century, an extensive survey and collection of Puerto Rican folklore was carried out by J. Alden Mason and Aurelio M. Espinosa. In Volume 29 of “The Journal of American Folklore” (October-December 1916), the first of several articles was published. In this collection of Puerto Rican folklore, there are riddles, rhymes, games, folktales, tales of enchantment, animal stokes, songs, and other types of oral expression. According to J. Mason;

“Many of those folktales are evidently versions of the European riddle-tales, but a large number are new creations, with traditional elements confused and mingled. In a special cycle, the Juan Booboo, or John the Simple, tales, the traditional riddle-tales have been especially utilized.”1

Professor Aurelio M. Espinosa spent seven months in Spain (June 1920-January 1921) researching the roots of the tales told in Spanish America. He concludes that:

“. . . I have verified fully some of the theories which I have always held relative to the sources of some of the important folk-lore material found in New Mexico and other parts of Spanish America . . . After our material is published, I am sure that some of our Negro and Indian folklorists will have to revise some of their theories as to the sources of many folk-tales found among the Negroes and Indians.

Greater and more important, may be the question of the relation of many of these Spanish folk-tales to the actual material from which they certainly come;namely, the Celtic, Germanic, Arabic, . . . and ultimately the greatest and most important fountain of European tradition, India. “2

J. Alden Mason and Professor Espinosa see Spain as the source of the vast majority of tales in Spanish-America with little Indian or African contribution. Espinosa even doubted the origin of the Tar Baby tale as African but believed it to be Spanish.

In their monumental collection of Puerto Rican folklore, Mason and Espinosa printed several versions of the same tale. Juan Booboo, a popular character in Puerto Rican tales, can be traced to the Spanish picaresque tales of “Pedro de Urdemales”. In another Spanish colony, the Philippines, there is another Juan, who is just as silly and dumb as Juan Booboo and many of their tales are exactly the same or very similar to the Puerto Rican versions. In the Philippines, however, the tales are traced to Indonesia, India, and Ceylon. Could it be possible that the Juan Booboo tales have come around full circle and reached their point of origin?

After many years of collecting and classifying folktales from Spanish-America, Aurelio M. Espinosa concludes:

“We use the term Spanish-American to denote folk tales collected from regions where the native languages are extinct or on the way to extinction. But we also call Spanish-American folk tales those collected from regions for the most part racially Indian, where the people or most of them speak Spanish, but have not absorbed completely what we might call European Spanish culture or even colonial Spanish culture.”3

Dr. Ricardo Alegria, the Director of the Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and a renowned authority on Puerto Rican culture, especially Puerto Rican folk tales, who I interviewed on April 20, 1993, expressed his concern about the lack of interest on behalf of Puerto Rican students and educators on the island and on the mainland in their rich cultural roots. At the same time, he was very happy to hear that the Yale-New Haven Teachers’ Institute was holding this seminar and specifically the interest in Puerto Rican tales. In the interview, he pointed out the recent change of political power in favor of statehood, the powerful influence of American businesses, television, and educational practices in Puerto Rico as some of the factors involved in the decline in the interest and protection of the Puerto Rican cultural heritage.

Children need to hear folktales, fairy tales, myths, and legends told by their ancestors. They receive their cultural legacy through these stories. By integrating Puerto Rican tales into the classroom, the Puerto Rican students will be exposed to cultural and historical aspects of their heritage. Folktales are stories that transmit culture and values, if children are deprived of these stories, a very important and crucial element of their growth and development has been left out.

Many of these children are unaware of or have never heard fables, legends, or folktales from Puerto Rico. This may be due to lack of time to tell stories, interest in, or knowledge of these stories on behalf of their parents or relatives. Another possibility may be total immersion into the North American mainstream lifestyle and assimilation into it, which excludes any learning: of native roots and culture. Besides learning English and the ways of the people of the United States, however, these children also need to fill a native culture void in their lives.

The regular students will also benefit because these stories are from the island where many of their friends and classmates come from and[ they will be enriched with the stories because they show a different way of seeing things, life, love, etc. or give another viewpoint on an historical event.

to top


OBJECTIVES

This curriculum unit will contain several tales from the oral tradition from Puerto Rico. In each case, a short summary will be given for each tale with a brief historical background and if possible the location of the tale will be included. Stories for which I have not found a translation, I will translate and illustrate. Many stories have been retold and printed as collections of stories by one editor. Dr. Alegria published “Three Wishes”, a collection of Puerto Rican tales translated into English and beautifully illustrated by Puerto Rican graphic artist Lorenzo Homar. Marigloria Palma edited “El Folklore de Puerto Rico,” which is a collection of songs, games, traditions, and tales in Spanish that she heard as a little girl. I recommend these books as part of the classroom or school library.

In order to work with these folk tales, the students will be asked to analyze the story through identification of its characters, the problem or problems in the tale, the setting, sequence of events, and the solution of the problem(s). Other elements that will also have to be identified are: the lesson or moral, magic, evil vs. good, good conquers evil, talking animals, ordinary people, magic numbers, punishment/reward, trickery, greed, exaggeration. Not all the elements will or can be found in a single folk tale, but students need to know which ones are present in the tale that they are reading. Student opinions on the tales are also important; these stories teach a lesson and should be entertaining at the same time.

to top


MYTH

The following tale was recorded by Friar Ramon referring to the Taino origin of the sea and I have translated for classroom use:

There was a man named Yaya who had a son Yayael, whose name means son of Yaya. Yayael wanted to kill his father. When Yaya found out that his son wanted to kill him, he had him exiled for four months and then killed him himself. Yaya put his son’s bones in a gourd which he hung from the ceiling of his house, and here it hung for some time. One day, Yaya wanted to see his son and said to his wife,” I want to see our son Yayael.” His wife felt great joy, brought the gourd to her husband, and turned it over to empty out the son’s bones. Large and small fish came out of the gourd, and they realized that their son’s bones had turned into fish and decided to eat them.

Later, one day when Yaya was out in his conucos, which means possessions or lands, the four children of a woman named Itiba Tahuvava came to his house. Their mother had died giving birth to the four and the first one to be born was Caracaracol, whose name means scabby or leprous . . . , the others did not have names.

Itiba Tahuvava’s four identical sons went together to steal Yayals gourd where the bones of his son Yayael were kept. Of the four brothers only Dimivan Caracaracol dared to bring the gourd down from its place but all four ate the fish they found inside it. While they were eating, they heard Yaya returning from his conucos, and in the confusion that followed, when they tried to put the gourd back in its place, it fell and broke. People say that so much water came out of the gourd that it covered the whole earth and along with the water fish of all sizes came out too. This, according to Taino myth is the origin of the sea. This and other fascinating myths and descriptions are found in the work of Friar Ramon in his report to Admiral Cristobal Colon, which can be read in its totality in Crónicas de Puerto Rico by Eugenio Ferndandez Mendez.

to top


LEGEND

One of the first legends retold in Puerto Rico is that of Guanina by Dr. Cayetano Coll y Toste. Once the Taino Indians had proven that the Spaniards were not immortal through the death of Diego Salcedo, they rebelled. The legend of Guanina tells of that rebellion.

to top


GUANINA

Guanina was a Taino Indian princess in love with Don Cristobal de Sotomayor, a Spanish officer who had come to Boriquen to conquer and colonize. Her brother, Guaybana, was the principal chief of the Tainos who hated the Spaniards because of the way they had mistreated and betrayed the Tainos. He swore revenge against the Spaniards. Juan Gonzalez, Sotomayor’s aide, found out about the plan to kill his captain and tried to warn him. Sotomayor would not hear of the planned uprising. He sent for Guaybana and for some of his men to carry his baggage, since he was going to Caparra, the capital.

Guanina begged him not to go because she knew that he was going to die and that it would be her own brother who would kill him. Sotomayor did not change his plans, and the next morning set out with Guaybana and his men to the city. On the way, he and five other Spaniards were attacked by the Tainos, and Sotomayor was killed. When Guanina was given the news of her lover’s death, she tried to bring him back to life through her kisses and caresses.

The Taino elders considered Guanina a traitor, and decided to offer her as a sacrifice to the gods as a sign of their gratitude in succeeding in their attack. When they went to get Guanina, they found her dead with her head resting on Sotomayor’s bloody chest. The two were buried together near a giant ceiba tree and on their tomb red hibiscus and white lilies appeared as if by magic. These flowers represent the true and passionate love these two souls felt for each other. The legend has it that on occasion, the huge ceiba tree casts a shadow over the land, a soft breeze gently moves the leaves and whispering sounds are heard, then Guanina and Sotomayor come out of the tomb to look at the evening star and kiss each other under the light of the moon.

Sotomayor’s actual death took place in the year 1511. The original retelling by Cayetano Coll y Toste was written in the style of the early nineteenth century with words which would be difficult to understand today by many adults and children. Jose Ramirez Rivera has translated twelve of these legends into English and rewritten the Spanish versions so that students may be able to read and understand these stories easier. His Leyendas Puertorriquenas (Puerto Rican Tales) are modern versions of tales from the colonial times.

In analyzing this tale, some research needs to be done in preparation for the actual reading. Information on the Tainos as recorded by the Spaniards; the reasons for further explorations by Colon; how the Tainos felt about the Spaniards when they first arrived on Boriquen; and, why the Indians rebelled against the invaders.

to top


TALE OF ENCHANTMENT/FAIRY TALE

Stokes of ghosts and the devil abound in Puerto Rican folktales. In the southern part of the island, it is said that most of these stories or events have happened, because many people say they are true. The following is one such story.

The Arrogant Princess

Once upon a time, there was a young lady who was very pretty but very conceited. She was as proud as a peacock. She put on heavy make-up, wore expensive dresses, and turned down all the suitors that came her way because none of them was rich or handsome enough. In just a few years, she had broken the hearts of many an honest man who wanted to marry her. She insisted that she deserved no less than a prince.

The years passed by and her beauty was fading when a very handsome suitor swept her off her feet. She knew her prince had finally come. She fell madly in love with him. The man asked her parents for her hand in marriage and they were engaged. Rosamada, that was her name, was the happiest woman in the world. They were married in a fabulous wedding, the groom was more handsome than ever in his high hat and tuxedo. A reception followed with plenty to eat and drink. She looked beautiful in her lace wedding gown, her veil, and flower crown. After the reception, the newlyweds went on their honeymoon.

When they arrived at a castle in the forest that the groom had chosen, she embraced and smiled at her husband lovingly. lie returned the smile and she noticed that his teeth were very long, sharp, and shone like gold. Rosamada was quite surprised; she had not noticed that his teeth were like this before. Her husband then took off his coat and then she saw that he had a two-pointed tail. She started to tremble with horror. What was happening? She had married a very handsome young man, who was this person?

Her husband very abruptly took off Ids hat and the new wife almost fainted. The man had two horns and two very big and pointed ears. He then took off his shirt and she saw that his chest was covered with long black hairs. When he started taking off his gloves, Rosamada tried to escape from his sight but he caught her with his hairy arms and very long claws. He held her while he took off his shoes and she was able to see that his feet were hoofs. She started to scream for help but no one could hear her. She understood at once that she had married the devil himself, and that she was being punished for her arrogance.

They say that the devil and the castle disappeared all at once. By pure luck, a hunter found Rosamada lying on the ground and took her back to the city. She ems sick six months with hot and cold chills and then she died, which always happens.

to top


FOLKTALE

J. Alden Mason and Aurelio M. Espinosa found three versions of the El Medio Pollito story that were being told in Puerto Rico in the beginning of this century. These versions were European and probably were brought to the island from Castile. R. S. Boggs in his article “The Halfchick Tale in Spain and France” summarizes the story as it was basically being told in Puerto Rico, but also found a literary version that was being used in schools in the United States. The story is retold in The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang from Fernan Caballero. The version that I have translated seems to be closer to this version than to the original Castilian story. Apparently this version was introduced in Puerto Rico after the island became a possession of the United States in 1898. Marigloria Palma in her book Muestras del Folklore Puertorriqueno (in Spanish) tells the story as she heard it as a child. I have translated her version of the story and illustrated the story as I see it.

Summary

Half-a-chick decides to travel to the capital to find a doctor to repair or add his missing half. He has one leg, one eye, and one wing but believes he is better than everyone in the chicken coop and cannot stand being there anymore. Before leaving, his mother gives him advice which he does not follow. On his way to the capital he refuses to help river, wind, and fire. When he finally arrives to the big city, he confuses the king and queen with the cooks of the palace. He is overcooked and thrown out of the kitchen window. The wind picks him and takes him high in the air and puts him on top of the cathedral where he becomes a weathercock at the mercy of the rain, the wind, and the hot sun.

The story focuses on the punishment of arrogance and conceit. Half-a-chick pays dearly for his attitude and treatment of those in need. The full translation of this tale is found in the following pages.

El medio pollito

“Half-a-chick”

Once upon a time and two more makes three, a beautiful hen hatched many chicks but among them there was one that was different from the others, with only one eye, one leg, and one wing. Mother Hen loved him just a little more because she felt sorry for him. So it happened that with all this extra attention Half-a-chick became very arrogant and conceited; he would look down upon his brothers and sisters with dislike. If the others made fun of him, he thought it was because they were jealous of him. If the pretty chicks looked at him with disgust or anger, he thought it was because lie did not pay attention to any of them.

(figure available in print form)
One day Half-a-chick told his mother that the chicken coop where he lived was too small and not good enough for him and that he was going to go to the big city where he could be with really important people. Mother Hen started to tremble when she heard this because she knew that everyone would make fun of him and that he would be very unhappy there.

“My son,” she said, “where did you get such a silly idea?” Your father has never left this chicken coop and we have been very happy here. Where are you going to find more love than here with us?”

Half-a-chick answered, “I sent to go where the king and queen live, I want to meet them! Everyone here is very stupid and inferior to me.”

Mother Hen could not stand to hear him any longer and said,” Son, haven’t you seen your reflection in the pond? You have only one wing, one leg, and one eye! That is your disgrace because your father was very handsome.”

“Don’t talk to me about my father’s good looks!” grumbled Half-a-chick, “It’s your fault that I look like this! It was your egg . . .”

Mother Hen sadly lowered her head until her until her beak touched the ground. She felt helpless; she couldn’t give Half-a-chick his missing half. She whispered, “Forgive me, my son, even though it is not my fault. Yours was the last egg I laid, maybe that’s the reason . . .”

Half-a-chick interrupted her and said coldly, “In the big city I will find a doctor who will operate on me and add the parts that I’m missing. I’m leaving as soon as I can!”

Since it was useless to change Half-a-chick’s mind, Mother Hen decided to give him some advice.

“Listen to me, my dear son, never walk in front of a church: Saint Peter and the saint there do not like roosters. Stay away from cooks: those are your worst enemies, they are experts at wringing chicken’s necks.” She then gave him her blessing and prayed to Saint Raphael to protect him. Finally she told him to get his father’s blessing even if they did not get along very well.

Half-a-chick went to see his father, kissed his foot, and asked for his blessing. His father, who also loved him out of pity, was very kind in his farewell. Mother Hen hid and cried. She did not want her son to see her crying. Half-a-chick flapped his only wing, crowed three times, and hopped out of the chicken coop to conquer the world.

After following the road for a while he came upon a river that was almost dry. Down the center he could see a thin trickle of water.

The trickle of water said faintly to Half-a-chick, “Friend, I feel so weak that I cannot push those branches out of my way, and I’m too tired to go around them. Can you move them out of the way for me? You can use your beak. I beg you! Help Me!”

(figure available in print form)
Looking down on the trickle, Half-a-chick responded showing no real interest, “I could get those branches out of your way, but I don’t feel like it. You are a miserable little stream.” Once he said this, he went on his way.

The trickle screamed, “You will need me someday, you fool!”

Further down the road, he found a dying breeze lying on the ground.

“Oh good Half-a-chick, “ said the weak breeze, “I am lying here and cannot get up. I, that am really a powerful, strong wind. I would like to go and push some waves and get tangled in the high branches of the trees. Can you lift me up with your beak? If you gave me a little shove with your wing, I could get going. The heat is killing me down here!

“Look, you dumb wind, you are getting what you deserve. You’re staying right where you are! You have bothered me enough already. You have spread my feathers apart and since I only have one leg, you have pushed me against the wall. I have gotten a lot of bumps and bruises because of you, mean bad wind.” Half-a-chick yelled furiously and turned to go on his way. The wind that could not get up off the ground screamed, “Every chicken gets cooked! You are a fool!”

(figure available in print form)
A little while later, Half-a-chick came across a field on fire. Smoke rose high in the sky and fire was everywhere. He came closer to the flames and heard a tiny voice that said, “Half-a- chick, friend, I am a little spark that does not want to go out. I want to go up to the top of the mountain. If I go out, I will never be able to look at the sky from up high. Put some dry grass on me so that I can be a flame again. Have pity on me, Half-a-chick!”

(figure available in print form)
“I am not a farmhand to gather hay for you. Snuff out!” replied Half-a-chick.

The spark gathered together its last energy and yelled, “I’ll remember you! Someday you might need me, you fool!” Half-a-chick got so angry at the spark that he stomped on it with his only leg until it became ashes.

When Half-a-chick finally arrived at the big city, the first thing he did was to disobey his mother’s advice. He went straight to the cathedral door and started to crow loudly so that Saint Peter would get angry. He then set out for the palace.

In front of the palace, where the king and queen lived, the guards told him to stop. For the first time in his life, he was afraid. The guards had guns! Instead of stopping, he turned around and sneaked in through a side door. Once inside the palace, Half-a-chick kept hopping and walked into a huge kitchen where the men were wearing tall white hats. He thought that they were the king and queen. He walked straight up to them. One of the cooks grabbed him and wrung his neck. The cook yelled at his helper, “Get me some hot water to feather this sneak!”

“Oh Water, dear friend, don’t scald me too much, have pity on me! begged Half-a-chick.

“Did you have pity on me when I asked you to push the branches that were in my way? Do you remember me?” Water asked.

After the cook had feathered Half-a-chick, he put him in the oven. Half-a-chick screamed at the fire, “Fire, dear friend, you are so powerful and destructive, have pity on me. Don’t burn me, please!”

“You fool! Now you come with that. Don’t you remember me? I was that little spark that begged you for help and to not let me die,” said the fire and roasted Half-a-chick until it burned him to a crisp. Now when the cook saw the burned chick, he cursed and threw it out the window. Then the Wind swept it up.

“Dear Wind, I want to lie down on the earth, drop me anywhere, under a tree, don’t take me up high, don’t drop me . . . I have already suffered so much,” Half-a-chick sobbed.

“What are you saying?” roared the furious Wind, while rolling Half a-chick around and around. You have a terrible memory . . . Don’t you remember when I pleaded with you to give me just a little shove, to lift me off the ground? Did you help me? No! You insulted me!”

Then the Wind started to go higher and higher in the sky, over the houses, over the buildings, until it got up to the top of the cathedral. Saint Peter grabbed Half-a-chick and put him on top of the steeple and changed him into a weathercock. And now, for the rest of his days, Half-a-chick will pay for his conceit and meanness at the mercy of the wind, the sun, and the rain; going around, and around, and around . . .

(figure available in print form)

to top


LESSON PLANS

Lesson Plan #1

Topic:
Culture and its different forms of expression.

Grade Level:
7-12

Objectives:

1. Students will improve research skills.
2. Students will understand the different components found within CULTURE.
3. Students will define myth, legend, folktale and fairy tale.

Procedure:

1. Introduce the concept of culture by presenting several videos, musical samples, artistic expressions through painting, drawings, artifacts, and stories from different countries and times. If possible, a professional storyteller is recommended for this portion of the activity.
2. Using the makeup of your classroom, work with the different ethnic groups that it may have. Have these students break up into groups of three or four. The students will define culture as they see have experienced it through the presentations. Each group will report their definition to the rest of the class.
3. Each group will come together again to list different kinds of stories, oral or written, that they have heard either through the storyteller or someone that they know.
4. The students will separate their stories into groups. The stories will then need to be categorized into fairy tales, myths, legends, or folktales. At this time, they may need to do further research to define each of the terms and/or to look for stories to fit the category.
5. After the students have listed stories under the fairy tale category, they will choose one that they remember/liked best and write it down in their own words. They may add drawings and decorations to their story.
6 . The group will put together a storybook which they will present to the rest of the class in a storytelling session.

Lesson Plan #2

This next lesson may last several days. In the preceding lesson, the students came together to work on stories that they had heard, read, or seen on film. Now they will focus on their ethnic roots.

Topic:
Stories from My Ancestors

Grade Level:
7-12

Objectives:

1. Students will become familiar or reacquaint themselves with stories from their parents, grandparents, and other relatives.
2. Students will record stories told to them in journals.
3. Students will group stories into the different categories studied in the previous lesson. They need to have at least one story of each type.
4 . Each group will share their stories with its members and other members in the class.

Procedure:
Each group will then rearrange its members so that there will be new people in it. To do this, one original member remains seated and the others move to other empty seats in other parts of the room. The basic rule to follow is that there should not be two or more members from one previous group in the new group. Each new member is to tell a story from his original group.

Lesson Plan #3

Topic:
Our Own Folktales

Grade Level:
7-12

In this lesson plan, the students will write a folktale of their own. In the first activity, the students researched the different kinds of tales. Then they told each other tales and have read many others. Before they can actually start the writing process, the students need to develop a list of essential elements needed to write a good folktale. This list will be used as the framework of their story. Basically, the list should include the following elements:

1. Characters; who is(are) in the tale?
2. Setting; where and when does the tale take place?
3 Problem(s)
4. Goal; what does the hero/ine want to accomplish?
5. Events; what important things happen(ed)?
6. Moral or outcome.
The list needs to be expanded to include characteristics found only in folktales, such as the use of trickery or enchantment, animal as helpers or doers, the use of numbers, the use of exaggeration and fantasy, many of the characters are regular people who do incredible feats, good overcomes/tricks evil, the hero or heroine is usually young, and in the end there is punishment or reward for an action.

Procedure:

1. The students will decide which type of tale he or she will write. Once this decision has been made, the student will take the basic elements list and fill it in with the names, places, etc. from their proposed tale. This will serve as an outline or framework from which they will work and will facilitate the organization of their tale.
2. The students will work individually on their first draft in the classroom and finish writing it for homework.
3. In class, the students will break up into groups that are working in the same type of tale. They will read their tales to each other or silently, adding notes on the margins with suggestions or comments from other members of their group. There should be at least three people in the group. After this session of group interaction, the students will once again revise/rewrite their tale.
4. The second draft is presented to the teacher for additional comments or suggestions. At this time, if the student wishes to illustrate his/her tale, he should include where these drawings or pictures will be and give a brief description of the illustration.
5 . The third and final draft will form part of a book of folktales that will be on display or read to other students in the school library. The students are encouraged to share their stories with other students in their school.

to top


Notes

1. Page 424, Journal of American Folk-lore, Volume XXIX, 1916.
2. Page 141, Journal of American Folk-lore, Volume 34, 1921.
3. Aurelio M. Espinosa, “Spanish and Spanish-American Folk Tales,” Journal of American Folklore, Volume 64, 1951, pages 151-162.

to top


ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Alegria, Ricardo E. seleccion y adaptacion. Cuentos Folkloricos de Puerto Rico. Buenos Aires: Editorial El Ateneo, 1967.

2. ———. The three wishes; a Collection of Puerto Rican Folk Tales. Translation of Cuentos folkloricos de Puerto Rico. Culbert, Elizabeth, translator. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969.

3. Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment. Vintage Books Edition, New York, 1974.

4. Bushnaq, Inea. Translator and Editor. Arab Folktales. The American University in Cairo Press, Egypt. 1986.

The stories in this book give insight into the tales that came to Puerto Rico from Andalucia, Spain, which had been under Arab influence for over 800 years.

5. Cabrera, Francisco, M. Historia de la Literatura Puertorriquena. Editorial Cultural, Rio Piedras, P.R. 1965.

Professor Cabrera is an authority on Puerto Rican literature and the first chapter of his book deals with literary efforts of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In Spanish.

6. Cadilla de Martinez, Maria. Adapted by Jose Ramirez Rivera Los Cuentos de Juan Bobo. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico:Ediciones libero, 1979.

All the books by Maria Cadilla have to do with folklore from Puerto Rico from songs and games to traditions.

7. ———. Cantos y juegos infantiles de Puerto Rico. San Juan: Imprenta Baldrich, 1940.

8. ———. Costumbres y tradicionalismos de mi tierra. San Juan: Imprenta Venezuela, 1938.

9.—-. Raices de mi tierra. (A collection of folktales and traditional stories). Arecibo, Puerto Rico: Tipografia Herndndez. 1941.

10. Canino Salgado, Marcelino J.; Chiesa de Perez, Carmen. Leyendas puertorriguenas para ninos. Hato Rey: Editorial Juvenda, 1983.

This is a collection of legends in Spanish selected for children.

11. Coll y Toste, Cayetano. Leyendas puertorriguenas. Collected and retold by Cayetano Coll Cuchi. Mexico: Editorial Orion, 1981.

12. Eugenio, Damiana L., Editor. Philippine Folk Literature. Volume IV. U.P. Folklorists, Inc. Quezon City, Philippines, 1989.

The Philippines became a Spanish colony during the sixteenth century and was under the influence of Spain for several hundred years. Many of the Juan Bobo tales told in Puerto Rico also appear as part of their folktales. This book is part of a series.

13. Ferndndez Mondez, Eugenio. Cronicas de Puerto Rico. Editorial U.P.R., Madrid, Spain. 1969.

The writings by early colonists are recorded in this book. It offers fascinating reading. In Spanish.

14. Hansen, Terrence Leslie. The Types of Folktale in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Spanish South America. University of California Press, Berkeley. 1957.

This book classifies the tales of Spanish-speaking America according to Stith Thompson’s types and motifs. There are summaries of each tale, and some are very funny.

15. Mason, J. Alden. Aurelio M. Espinosa, Editor. “Porto Rican Folk-lore”: The Journal of American Folk-lore” Volume XXIX, pages 423-425, 1916; Volume 34, pages 127-145, 1921; Volume 35, pages 1-58, 1922; Volume 37, pages 249-344, 1924; Volume 39, pages 359-362, 1926; Volume 40, pages 338-419, 1927; Volume 42, pages 85-97, 1929; Volume 64, pages 151062, 1951.

This is an incredible collection of folklore from Puerto Rico. It includes songs, games, rhymes, folktales, and many other forms of folk expression.

16. Opie, Peter & Iona. The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford University Press, New York, 1974.

17. Palma, Marigloria; Arce de Vazquez, Margot. Muestras del folklore puertorriqueno. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Editorial Edil, 1981.

18. Ramirez Rivera, Jose; Leyendas Puertorriquenas. Legends by Cayetano Coll y Toste. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Ediciones Libero, 1988.

19. ———. Puerto Rican Tales, Legends of Spanish Colonial Times. By Cayetano Coll y Toste, translated and adapted by the author. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Ediciones Libero, 1977.

to top


STUDENTS’ ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

1 . Alegria, Ricardo E. seleccion y adaptacion. Cuentos Folkloricos de Puerto Rico. Buenos Aires: Editorial El Ateneo, 1967.

This book contains folktales selected and retold in Spanish by Ricardo Alegria. There are wide variety of tales included from fairy tales to stories of Juan Bobo.

2. ———. The Three Wishes; a Collection of Puerto Rican Folk Tales. Culbert, Elizabeth, translator. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969.

All of the tales in Cuentos Folkloricos de Puerto Rico and several others have been translated into English with beautiful illustrations by Puerto Rican artist, Lorenzo Homar. The translations are excellent and the stories are identical in Spanish. This book should be part of the schoolls library collection.

3. Palma, Marigloria: Arce de Vazquez, Margot. Muestras del folklore puertorriqueno. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Editorial Edil, 1981.

This book is a collection or sampler of different types of folklorist expression as remembered by the author. She includes songs, games, stories, superstitions, tales, and others. In her introduction, the author states that she has written down what was handed to her orally by her mother, grandmother, and friends. The book is in Spanish.

4. Ramirez Rivera, Jose; Los cuentos de Juan Bobo. A collection of folktales by Maria Cadilla de Martinez, retold and translated into English by the author. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Ediciones Libero, 1979.

Stories of Juan Bobo abound in Puerto Rico, and this collection includes some of the better known stories. The stories are in English and true to the original Spanish version.

5. Ramirez Rivera, Jose; Puerto Rican Tales, Legends of Spanish Colonial Times. Legends by Cayetano Coll y Toste. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Ediciones Libero, 1977.

The legends as retold by Cayetano Coll y Toste were written in the early nineteenth century andt the vocabulary is difficult and somewhat archaic. Ramirez has retold the legends in Spanish and translated them into English in simple and modern language. The students will enjoy reading these stories.

to top

Contents of 1993 Volume II | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

© 2014 by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Terms of Use Contact YNHTI