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
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This is still one of my absolute favorite episodes! What a refreshing take on a great story, and how cool to hear a story from a culture that doesn’t get widely discussed (at least in the US).
I LOVE your 21st Century commentary. It’s relevant and meaningful, and reflects how stories are shaped by the societies in which they take place AND in which they are retold. Your equality-centered narrative is a breath of fresh air, and demonstrates what feminism is supposed to promote- gender equity. Storytellers have a right to integrate their values into their tellings; legends are living stories, not stale documents. I’m so appreciative of your decision to integrate respect for women. Thanks
Relistening to this and I still love it. As a Chilean-American, it’s always nice to see anything Chilean represented outside of Chile (rarely happens!). I’m going to write a paper about this story, using your podcast, for a folklore class: do you have a transcript you could send me? We have to include the text of the story, and it would be a big help if I didn’t have to transcribe it myself. I’ve listened to your show since the beginning and it’s so cool that I get to listen to it for school!
Hi Sarah! I was wondering if maybe you could help me out. Since I heard this episode I have really been wanting to find the original Spanish version but oddly (and ironically) I can only find it in english. I know it’s called “Crystal the Wise” but everything search for from “Crystal la sabia” to “cuento popular chileno sobre la mujer más sabia” comes to a dead end. This said, maybe you or your parents know the original name?
Hi Sergio, sorry this is so late but hope it helps! The original Spanish version that this episode is based on was from this collection: Cuentos Populares Araucanos y Chilenos. Santiago de Chile: Impr. Universitaria, 1918. It was told to folklorist Sperata de Saunière by Carmen Rivera. The story in there is called “Luzmira de la Sabiduria.” I accessed it through HathiTrust Digital Library with my university subscription, but you might be able to find it somewhere else too now? It seems like certain libraries are doing more open access stuff because of stay-at-home orders and all. If you’re interested in doing research on Chilean folktales in Spanish generally, Sperata de Sauniere, Ramon Laval, and Yolando Pino-Saavedra are good collectors to look up.
A Spanish version is also included in this book avaliable on Amazon!
That should be a lot easier to find than the one from 1918 :)
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!
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!
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.
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.)
You should look into la llorona or “the crying woman” it’s one of the more popular Mexican legends
Could you tell me where you found this story? I’d love to read it myself. Thanks!
I found the version I used here:
But there are more versions floating around the internet that are slightly different.
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)
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.
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)?
I really enjoyed this episode, and wanted to learn more about Crystal. Where would I find more details about her story.
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.
I’m planning on it! And thanks, I’m glad you like the show :)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
I wish you talked more about the shoe
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.