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Q: most famous children's literature characters in Mexico ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: most famous children's literature characters in Mexico
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: lit_fan-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 21 Mar 2005 12:16 PST
Expires: 20 Apr 2005 13:16 PDT
Question ID: 498162
What are the most famous folk, fantasy or fairy tale characters from
native children's literature in Mexico?

i.e. Asking random people on the street in Mexico, what Mexican
fictional characters would be mentioned again and again?

I don't mean currently popular, like Harry Potter in the United States
or the hero of the current children's best seller in Mexico. By
famous, I mean characters that truly span generations, will be
recognized by 60 year olds and 20 year olds alike. Characters with
long lasting fame equivalent to fictional characters "The Scarecrow
from the Wizard of Oz", "Peter Pan", or "Superman" in the United
Subject: Re: most famous children's literature characters in Mexico
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Mar 2005 14:53 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again, lit_fan!

I've found some info for you about Mexican folktales.


"No one remembers when Cuca came to town riding on a mule. All they
know is that it didn't stop raining all that day and the river grew
bigger than ever until it overflowed and flooded in several places.

A little while after she came, Cuca built a hut by the river and soon
became famous for her remedies that cured all ills, in addition to her
skill in predicting the future and making powders to prevent evil
spells or attract love. Everyone treated her with respect because they
were afraid of that woman who also knew another kind of witchcraft;
and those who did not consult her or denied her a favor had very
strange things happen to them: their beans went sour, milk curdled, or
they fell sick and did not get well until they went to see her."



"Many years ago, a man and his son went from Aramberri to Tamulipas to
look for work. They came back with twenty burros loaded with corn. On
the way, night fell. They unloaded the burros, and tied the twenty
bushels of corn, all together, to a big tree trunk. Later, they
started a fire to make dinner and, after that, they went to bed behind
where they had left the twenty bushels of corn.

The next morning, they got up before dawn, had breakfast and went to
get their burros to feed them. Then they looked for the corn to load
it onto the burros, but they couldn't find it. All they found was a
very big trail.

The man and his son gathered the burros and followed the trail the
bushels left. After several hours on the road, they found a very large
snake carrying all of the corn. Then they realized that they had tied
the corn not to a tree trunk, but to the snake. At night, when the
beast was hungry, it went looking for food and dragged the twenty
bushels of corn after it.

Twenty Bushels of Corn


"An old man and his wife lived in a little house made of straw. They
were very poor and all they owned were a rabbit and a young jaguar.
When the old couple used up their last ear of corn, they decided to
eat the rabbit and started heating water to cook him. When he saw
that, the jaguar said to the rabbit:

-You won't get out of this one. The old people are going to eat you
and they will give me a piece.

-No, my jaguar friend, -said the rabbit- the old folk are heating
water to make hot chocolate for breakfast.

-That's not true. They are heating the water to cook you.

-Not at all. What's more, I can prove it. Get into my cage and you'll
see; they'll give you the first chocolate.

The trusting jaguar went into the cage, the rabbit closed it and ran
off. A long time went by and the jaguar tired of waiting for the old
people to bring him his chocolate. When he realized that the rabbit
had tricked him, he broke the cage and went after him."

The Smiling Rabbit


"Nahuales... are people that turn into animals, like pigs and burros
and chickens, so they can take other animals.

He told me that one day a man was walking down the road to deliver
some wood when he ran into a burro that was carrying a pig, and he
said to his partner:

-Look, man, I'm going to take that burro.

But when they got close to the animal, they saw that he had no tail
and that the pig was not tied on, but just laid across him. The man
whipped him three times and the burro started to talk."

The Nahuales


"One day, the God of Water was wandering around the mountains looking
at the works of mother nature, when he ran into his son, Leubio, who
was crying at the foot of a hill.

Very upset, the God asked him:

What's the matter? What have they done to you? Tell me if I can help
ease your pain.

Forgive me, father, but I have fallen in love with a beautiful
princess from the castle of the mortals and I want to get married, but
I know that my mother and you will deny me that right. How can this
be?, asked Luha, A son of mine and a mortal?

And, saying no more, the God left feeling sad and pensive. He really
wanted to let his son marry whomever he pleased, but he thought that,
if he consented, his wife, Leubio's mother, would die of sadness."

The Punishment of Leubio and Flor


"This is a story of Uncle Rabbit and the coyote. The rabbit came to a
big rock, and there he deceived the coyote. He was leaning on the rock
when the coyote came by.

'What are you doing, brother?' the coyote asked the rabbit. 

'Come here quickly, brother, the sky is falling down on top of us.
Lean against the rock and hold it up while I go for a stick. We'll
prop it up with that,' said the rabbit to the coyote.

'All right,' said the coyote and began holding it up with all his
might. Since the coyote was so stupid, he did exactly what the rabbit
told him to. The rabbit had said that he was going to get a stick, but
he went and left the coyote holding up the rock."

The Rabbit and The Coyote


"The origin of La Llorona is told with many variations. Many of them
involve a beautiful young woman in Mexico or New Mexico, who either
married, or was seduced by, a local man, by whom she had several
children. The woman is sometimes given a Christian name; Sofia, Laura,
and María are sometimes used. The man leaves her, sometimes for
another woman, sometimes for reasons of employment, sometimes just to
be away from La Llorona and her several children. At any rate, La
Llorona chooses to murder her children, almost always by drowning,
either to spare them a life of poverty, or for revenge against their
absent or stray father."

La Llorona


"The Legend about Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl comes from the ancient
Náhuas. As it comes from an oral tradition, there are many versions of
the same story. There are also poems and songs telling this beautiful

Many years before Cortés came to Mexico, the Aztecs lived in
Tenochtitlán, today's Mexico City. The chief of the Aztecs was a
famous Emperor, who was loved by all the Indians. The Emperor and his
wife, the Empress, were very worried because they had no children. One
day the Empress said to the Emperor that she was going to give birth
to a child. A baby girl was born and she was as beautiful as her
mother. They called her Iztaccíhuatl, which in Náhuatl means white

The Legend of the Volcanoes


Here's a book of Mexican folktales:

"This unique collection of fifteen folktales draws on the rich
storytelling tradition of Mexico's people and culture. Classic themes
and fairytale elements are blended with magic and transformation and
infused with Roman Catholic imagery to create a distinctly Mexican
flavor and flare. The Virgin Mary plays the role of fairy godmother,
devils gamble for souls, and witches make themselves known by dancing
at fiestas with horse hooves instead of feet. And as in other folk
traditions, cats, dogs, fools, soldiers, and princesses go on quests
and have magical adventures."

Horse Hooves and Chicken Feet : Mexican Folktales


A tip of my hat to the commenter indexturret-ga for the suggestion of
the character "Juan Bobo" (often called "Pepe" in Mexico). Indexturret
is not a Google Answers Researcher, and cannot post an official answer
nor receive payment. Thank you for the assistance, indexturret!

Here's a bit about Juan Bobo / Pepe:

"He?s the folk hero and he?s the one that everybody makes fun of, but
he turned out to be the smartest one.

Every country has their Juan Bobo. In Mexico they call him Pepe. John
Simpleton, in Europe and European folktales...

Juan Bobo [is] sent to get some honey, and the flies around him, and
he calls the flies 'Las Senoritas with Mantillas.'

He?s yelling about those little senoritas with the mantillas and then
they bring him up before the judge, and the judge says, 'What?s going
on?' And they say he?s out there yelling about senoritas mantillas,
and then the policeman tells them it was the flies and Juan Bobo keeps
calling them senoritas mantillas. The judge laughs at Juan Bobo and
says, 'Well look, I give you my permission, if you see the senoritas
of the mantillas, you can smack ?em.' And at that moment the fly lands
on the judge?s nose. And Juan Bobo jumps up and gives the judge a
smack on the nose."

Felix Pitre, Teller of Tales


My Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: mexico OR mexican folktales 


I hope this is useful. Please let me know if you need anything further.

Best regards,
lit_fan-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
pinkfreud has consistently given me the exact information I'm looking for.

Subject: Re: most famous children's literature characters in Mexico
From: indexturret-ga on 21 Mar 2005 13:20 PST
Juan Bobo (Foolish John) would definitely be one of these. He's a goodhearted fool.
Two books that might give other ideas are "Stories from Mexico" and
"Stories from Latin America", both members of the "Side-by-Side
Bilingual Books" series by Passport Books. ISBNs = 0-8442-0811-6 and
0-8442-0812-4, respectively. Spanish story (simple vocab) told on
recto with English translation on facing verso.
Subject: Re: most famous children's literature characters in Mexico
From: lit_fan-ga on 21 Mar 2005 13:26 PST
Thanks for the information and good leads. That definitely works for
me, post as an answer.
Subject: Re: most famous children's literature characters in Mexico
From: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Mar 2005 16:27 PST
Thanks for the kind words, the five stars, and the nice tip!


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