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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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FOLK CUSTOM

ALTHOUGH THE PUERTO RICO PEASANT (JIBARO) WALKS INTO THE SEA
DURING FESTICAL (AT MIDNITE ON THE SAINT'S DAY), HE WILL NOT
GO IN ANY OTHER TIME. HE CANNOT SWIM. THIS IS A PURPOSEFUL
OMISSION. IN THE PAST, MANY OF THEM MADE A GOOD PART OF THEIR
LIVING FISHING IN WATERS WHICH WERE OCCASIONALLY KNOWN TO BE
SHARK-INFESTED. THE THEORY WAS THAT IF YOU COULDN'T SWIM,
YOU WOULD DROWN QUICKLY IF YOU FELL IN. THEN YOU WOULDN'T
FEEL IT WHEN THE SHARK GOT YOU.

Where learned: PUERTO RICO ; HATO REY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Custom

Date learned: 00-00-1961

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ALTHOUGH THE PUERTO RICAN PEASANT (JIBARO) WALKS INTO
THE SEA DURING FESTIVAL (AT MIDNIGHT ON THE SAINT'S DAY), HE WILL NOT GO IN ANY OTHER TIME. HE CANNOT SWIM.
THIS IS A PURPOSEFUL OMISSION. IN THE PAST, MANY OF
THEM MADE A GOOD PART OF THEIR LIVING FISHING IN WATERS
WHICH WERE OCCASIONALLY KNOWN TO BE SHARK INFESTED.
THE THEORY WAS THAT IF YOU COULDN'T SWIM, YOU WOULD
DROWN QUICKLY IF YOU FELL IN. THEN YOU WOULDN'T FEEL
IT WHEN THE SHARK GOT YOU.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: PUERTO RICO ; HATO REY

Keyword(s): Peasant ; Poor ; Puerto Rico ; SUPERSTITION ; Swim ; WATER

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Typical Elements of a Festive Pattern
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Measure of time Year

Date learned: 00-00-1961

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IN PUERTO RICO YOU NEVER USE THE EXPRESSION, "SU MADRE".
WHILE THIS MEANS "YOUR MOTHER" YOU MUST USE THE FORM,
"SU MAMA". YOU WOULD ASK, "?DONDE ESTA SU MAMA?" IF YOU
PUT IT THE OTHER WAY, YOU WILL BE GUILTY OF MAKING SOME
OBSCURE KIND OF ALLEGATION AGAINST THE PERSON'S MOTHER.

Submitter comment: I WAS UNABLE TO FIND OUT WHERE THIS CAME FROM. THE WORD, MADRE, IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO USE ANY OTHER WAY

Where learned: PUERTO RICO ; HATO REY

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 00001962 ca.

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LEGEND

THIS IS THE LEGEND OF LA GUARITA.
A LONG TIME AGO, JUAN WAS FORCED TO JOIN THE FORCES WHICH WERE
PROTECTING THE ISLAND FROM SIR WALTER RALEIGH. HE DIDN'T WANT TO
GO BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE HIS SWEETHEART. IT WAS VERY
WICKED OF HIM TO HAVE MADE SUCH A FUSS. HE WAS STATIONED IN A LITTLE
GUARDHOUSE (ONE OF THOSE PICTURESQUE SMALL PROTRUSIONS IN THE STONE
WALLS WHICH PROTECT THE OLD CITY ON THE NORTH SIDE--CALLED A
GUARITA).
ONE NIGHT JUAN TOOK UP HIS POST, AS USUAL, BUT WHEN THEY CAME TO
RELIEVE HIM IN THE MORNING, ALL THAT WAS FOUND WAS HIS GUN. HE HAD
OBVIOUSLY BEEN TAKEN AWAY BY DEMONS FOR NOT WANTING TO STAND GUARD.
SOME CLAIM THAT HE REALLY RAN AWAY WITH MARIA INTO THE HILLS.

Where learned: PUERTO RICO ; HATO REY

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Legend

Date learned: 00-00-1963

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showing 4 items

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