30-Latin American Folklore: Unbreakable

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30-Latin American Folklore: Unbreakable

A story from Chilean folklore about the smartest woman in the world, her talking shoe, and a prince that deserved a slap on the face.

The creatures this week are the abatwa, from South Africa, and you'll learn why ants are the best roommates ever.


I said basically all the extra things I could say in the podcast, so there isn't a discussion post this week. If you have anything to add, let me know in the comments!


"Puzzle Pieces" by Lee Rosevere | "a long night" by boat | "Play Pelagic" by Little Glass Men |"Neon Hippies" by Fields Ohio | "Hedonic State" by Mike B. Fort | "Theme W" by Steve Combs & Delta Is | "Deep Cave (Dip and Cavern Remix)" by Jahzzar

By |2018-03-15T14:47:46+00:00April 19th, 2016|Categories: Articles, Episodes, Podcast|Tags: , , , |21 Comments


  1. themeforest.net January 25, 2019 at 6:47 am - Reply

    This is the right blog for everyone who hopes to find out
    about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost
    tough to argue with you (not that I personally would
    want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a
    topic that’s been written about for a long
    time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

  2. Cara December 10, 2018 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    LOVED this episode! I’ve been listening through and didn’t see the title card right away. Is the episode title a Kimmy Schmit reference?? She (for a time) lives under ground, he’s…horrible, seemed like a good fit!

    • Jason December 11, 2018 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Yep, it absolutely was! I was binging the show around the time I wrote this episode and it just seemed like too good of a fit.

  3. Radhika October 31, 2016 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I’ve been listening to every episode in order. This is my favorite episode yet!

    (Then again… Just a few episodes before, I thought the Grimm episode was my favorite.)

  4. Crystal June 23, 2016 at 12:18 am - Reply

    You should look into la llorona or “the crying woman” it’s one of the more popular Mexican legends

  5. Cyborgladiator May 10, 2016 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Could you tell me where you found this story? I’d love to read it myself. Thanks!

  6. MMcG April 29, 2016 at 5:56 am - Reply

    Re: the ‘aBatwa’ – this is also the term in Nguni languages (such as isiZulu and isiXhosa) for people who would in English be called ‘Bushmen’ (otherwise known as San) – hunter-gatherer groups [once] found throughout southern Africa, who utilised poisoned arrows in their pursuit of wild game.

    In the Maloti-Drakensberg mountains in the nineteenth century, a number of Bushman groups also took up mounted cattle-raiding (using the newly-introduced horse).

    The ‘abatwa’ in this episode essentially appear as ‘folklore-ised’ versions of Bushmen, of exaggeratedly small stature
    – poisoned spears
    – horse riding
    – connection with ‘ants’ (these are likely ‘white ants’ or termites, a rich and favoured food source for these hunter-gatherers)

    • Jason April 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Oh wow, thank you. I found some conflicting stuff on that when I was doing research for this creature. I didn’t know that was the meaning of aBatwa. I found in some places that the folklore version of the creature was incorrect, and in others that the folklore version was correct and incorrectly attributed to the modern name of a people group.

      The way you put it, it sounds like this creature could be vaguely offensive to the groups. I’ll definitely talk about this in the year-end episode.

      • MMcG May 1, 2016 at 2:11 am - Reply

        Well, “the aBatwa” don’t really exist anymore as a linguistically and culturally distinct group in the areas to which the folklore pertains, though they still have descendants in the region (through intermarriage with various Bantu-speaking communities, particularly in Lesotho and the Eastern Cape) who recognise them as ancestors. Such that rock painting sites in the Maloti-Drakensberg (once the focus of San religious life) continue to be used by some of these descendants for their own religious ceremonies. Some of these links are “real” (in the sense that they can be, and have been, traced genetically) while others may be partly fictive, inserting ‘aBatwa’ into clan lineages as parts of claims to primacy in land occupation (as there is also the idea of aBatwa as closely linked to the land and nature; actually pretty similar to European depictions of hunter-gatherers in many ways).

        The term ‘aBatwa’ (like Bushman, San, etc) is originally an exonym, applied by outsiders to a whole range of hunting and gathering groups who may well have considered themselves quite distinct from one another (and who certainly would have spoken many different languages).

        If you are interested in doing some more southern African folklore, might I suggest the story of ‘Eyes-on-his-feet’ (!gwe-!kweiten-tu, a Bushman folktale) or that of the ‘All-Devourer’ (this is very widespread, found in ‘hunter-gatherer’ and ‘farmer’ versions)?

  7. Utsav April 28, 2016 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed this episode, and wanted to learn more about Crystal. Where would I find more details about her story.

  8. SilverExl April 28, 2016 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Hi, i just found about your podcast about 2 weeks ago and you don’t know how entertaining you’ve made my commutes. I was wondering if you could do a Mexican Myth or legend? there are some pretty interesting ones out there, from prehispanic times to modern era.

    Well, keep on keeping on. Great job.

    • Jason April 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      I’m planning on it! And thanks, I’m glad you like the show 🙂

  9. morgan f April 27, 2016 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    I read this one just about two weeks before this podcast so I was excited to hear it. It’s a fantastic story. I was also hoping you had more information about the shoe that just sort of disappeared. Did it just decide she knew everything and take off one day? Did it offer her advice about how to escape and trick her husband and they just forgot to mention it? Did no one else ever notice this chick talking to her footwear? So many questions!

    • Jason April 28, 2016 at 9:36 am - Reply

      So. many. shoe questions. Haha, I honestly have no idea. I think it was just a way for her to become super-smart. There’s no mention of it after she left her father’s home, and I was so engrossed in the story that I forgot to mention that there wasn’t any mention.

  10. Kyra Richter April 21, 2016 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    It was glitch with my podcast. That last comment. I listened to the start of the episode here and caught on. How could I ever doubt the quality and talent behind these podcasts? Thank you.

    • Jason April 22, 2016 at 6:47 am - Reply

      Well thank you ? Still, I appreciate anyone letting me know about potential issues with the shows. I listen to it so many times to make sure something like that doesn’t happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something slipped through.

  11. Kyra Richter April 21, 2016 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    I had to restart the podcast because it felt like there was a piece missing. I was a little confused because since I discovered these podcasts I’ve been binging on episodes and usually they are very well “set up”.

  12. Amber April 21, 2016 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I have never heard this story before but I think it is now my favorite episode of yours. Crystal was amazing and knew how to take care of her “wonderful” husband.

  13. Grady April 20, 2016 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    I wish you talked more about the shoe

    • Jason April 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      I wish there was more to talk about with the shoe. The story just drops it and I have no idea what happened to it. I feel like it would get lonely just hanging out in her closet.

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