Mexican Folk Narrative from the Los Angeles Area

[ Latina/o Studies ]

Mexican Folk Narrative from the Los Angeles Area

Introduction, Notes, and Classification

By Elaine K. Miller

A collection of sixty-two legendary narratives and twenty traditional tales from Mexican Americans in urban Los Angeles.

1973

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Paperback

6 x 9 | 414 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-74143-0

Urban Los Angeles is the setting in which Elaine Miller has collected her narratives from Mexican-Americans. The Mexican folk tradition, varied and richly expressive of the inner life not only of a people but also of the individual as each lives it and personalizes it, is abundantly present in the United States. Since it is in the urban centers that most Mexican-Americans have lived, this collection represents an important contribution to the study of that tradition and to the study of the changes urban life effects on traditional folklore.

The collection includes sixty-two legendary narratives and twenty traditional tales. The legendary narratives deal with the virgins and saints as well as with such familiar characters as the vanishing hitchhiker, the headless horseman, and the llorona. Familiar characters appear in the traditional tales—Juan del Oso, Blancaflor, Pedro de Ordimalas, and others. Elaine Miller concludes that the traditional tales are dying out in the city because tale telling itself is not suited to the fast pace of modern urban life, and the situations and characters in the tales are not perceived by the people to be meaningfully related to the everyday challenges and concerns of that life. The legendary tales survive longer in an urban setting because, although containing fantastic elements, they are related to the beliefs and hopes of the narrator—even in the city one may be led to buried treasure on some dark night by a mysterious woman.

The penchant of the informants for the fantastic in many of their tales often reflects their hopes and fears, such as their dreams of suddenly acquiring wealth or their fears of being haunted by the dead. Miller closely observes the teller's relation to the stories—to the duendes, the ánimas, Death, God, the devil—and she notes the tension on the part of the informant in his relation to their religion.

The material is documented according to several standard tale and motif indices and is placed within the context of the larger body of Hispanic folk tradition by the citation of parallel versions throughout the Hispanic world. The tales, transcribed from taped interviews, are presented in colloquial Spanish accompanied by summaries in English.

Preface
Introduction

I. Legendary Narratives

Religious Narratives
1. El Señor del Encino
2. La Virgen de San Vicente
3. La Virgen de Talpa
4. La Virgen de Talpa
5. La Virgen del Rosario
6. Los Santos Reyes
7. La Virgen de Zapopan
8. El Santo Niño de Atocha
9. El Santo Niño de Plateros

Devil Narratives
10. El diablo y el preso
11. El diablo y el guitarrista
12. El diablo e Isabel Ramírez
13. El diablo en San José del Carmen
14. El diablo en forma de mujer
15. El jinete sin cabeza
16. El diablo que cantaba
17. El diablo jorobado
18. El diablo en la bodega

The Return of the Dead
19. El ánima y la manda
20. El ánima y la señorita que se enfermó
21. El ánima y los frijoles
22. El ánima y la manda
23. El ánima y las sobras
24. La muchacha que espiaba las ánimas
25. Los espíritus en la casa
26. Los espíritus maliciosos
27. La casa de los espíritus
28. La muerta en el baile
29. La muerta en el baile
30. La muerta y el chofer de taxi
31. Las tres muertas en el camino
32. La muerta en el baile
33. El jinete sin cabeza
34. La Xtabay
35. María la llorona
36. La llorona
37. La llorona, la Malinche, y la Infeliz María
38. La Infeliz María
39. La llorona y el susto
40. La llorona y sus tres hijos
41. La llorona y sus seis hijos
42. La llorona y el caballo

Buried Treasures
43. El tesoro encantado
44. El tesoro desaparecido
45. El jinete y el tesoro
46. El tesoro en la cupina de un caballo
47. El tesoro y el esqueleto
48. El ánima y el tesoro
49. El tesoro guardado por una ánima
50. El tesoro de la Cueva de la Fábrica, y el tesoro y las campanas

Duendes
51. Los duendes que tiraban piedras
52. Los duendes maliciosos
53. Los duendes en el rancho
54. Los duendes que se mudaron con la familia
55. Los duendes y el padre
56. Los duendes y el padre
57. Los duendes en el rancho

Miscellaneous Legendary Narratives
58. El nahual
59. Una bruja
60. La Condenada
61. La historia del anillo
62. El papá que quería novia

II. Traditional Tales

Animal Tales
63. El Ratoncito Pérez
64. Un bien con un mal se paga

Tales of Magic
65. La sierpe de siete cabezas
66. Juan del Oso
66a. El oso que se robó a una señora
66b. Juan el Oso
67. El buen pescador
68. El señor y la gallinita
69. El señor pobre y la Muerte
70. El señor y la gallina
71. La Reina Isabel
72. Antoñito Malverde
73. Blancaflor
74. La esposa infiel
75. Los dos compadres
76. El rancherito y las tres piedras
77. El hermano rico y el hermano pobre
78. El pájaro que habla

Religious Tales
79. El muchacho y la hostia

Romantic Tales
80. Como la sal y el agua

The Stupid Ogre
81. Juan Tonto
82. Pedro de Ordimalas y Juan de Buen Alma

III. Biographies of Informants

IV. Appendixes
1. Index of Tale Types Represented
2. Index of Motifs Represented
3. Vocabulary
Bibliography

Elaine K. Miller has taught at several universities and produces videos about political cartoons.