For the next 12 weeks, we will be following folktales all around South America.
Yolando Pino Saavedra
Editorial Universitaria, 1973.
(For non-Spanish-speakers, tales from the same collection have been published in English in Folktales of Chile)
It's a small little volume. The 25 tales have been selected from a much larger, three-volume folktale collection by the same author. This "first anthology" contains Chilean versions of fairy tale (or, rather, magic tale) types that are well-known to European readers; the local flavor mostly comes from the small details, and the language itself. The book has a list of Chilean words at the end, and also a folktale type index. If you are interested in the less Westernized, indigenous tales, I recommend reading Saavedra's other book, Cuentos Mapuches de Chile.
My favorite was probably the Chilean take on the Twelve dancing princesses - titled The princess who went to play with a Moorish prince at the end of the world. It only had one princess, who shredded seven pairs of shoes every night on her journey. I especially liked that the tale was combined with The man in search of his luck - on her nighttime trip, the princess encountered various people who asked her questions, and she had to deliver the answers on the way back.
I also liked the take on the "hidden heart" in Body without a Soul. Here, the evil giant's soul was hidden in an egg; the egg was in a dove, the dove was in a fox, the fox was in a lion, and the lion was in a tiger that lived in a lagoon. Bonus on top of that was that the boy did not need helpful animals to get the egg - he himself turned into various creatures during the chase. Also, he rescued his own sister from the giant, and the siblings ended up ruling over the giant's wealth side by side.
|Picture from here|
In the tale of The bull with the golden horns (a.k.a. Beauty and the Beast), the girl searching for her husband stopped in the houses of various winds (and their mothers) to ask for directions. I had to look up the names, because they were typical Chilean concepts. In most European folktales, you only visit The Wind - I liked the variety.
Another intriguing moment happened in the story of The three kidnapped princesses. Unlike other tales, where a prince finds oranges/apples/other fruit, and cuts them open to release the princesses inside, this one began with a king who wanted to keep his daughters safe so badly, he made an old woman turn them into oranges. Of course, the oranges were still stolen...
Technically, all twenty-five tales were versions of well-known types. I especially liked their take on Catskins, in which the girl fleeing from her evil father disguised herself by crawling inside a moving doll made of wood.
|By the way, there are small deer in Chile|
as well. They are called pudu.
Where to next?