LATIN AMERICAN FOLKTALES
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOKS FOR THE TEEN AGE AWARD WINNER
Pantheon (September 2003)
Trade Paper • ISBN-13: 9780375714399 • US $19.95 • 402 pgs.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The wisdom and artistry of Latin America’s storytellers preserve one of the world’s richest folktale traditions—combining the lore of medieval Europe, the ancient Near East, and pre-Columbian America. Among the essential characters are the quiet man’s wife who knew the Devil’s secrets, the three daughters who robbed their father’s grave, and the wife in disguise who married her own husband—not to mention the Bear’s son, the tricksters Fox and Monkey, the two compadres, and the classic rogue Pedro de Urdemalas.
Gathered from twenty countries, including the United States, the stories are brought together here in a core collection of one hundred tales arranged in the form of a velorio, or wake, the most frequent occasion for public storytelling. The tales are preceded by a selection of early Colonial legends foreshadowing the themes of Latino folklore and are followed by a carefully chosen group of modern Indian myths that replay the basic stories in a contrasting key. Riddles, chain riddles, and folk prayers, part and parcel of the velorio along with folktales, are introduced at appropriate junctures.
The collection is unprecedented in size and scope, and most of the tales have not been translated into English before. The result is the first panoramic anthology of Hispano-American folk narratives in any language.
Part of the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library
“A cornucopia of magic and myth . . . Beware, for the pages of this volume—filled with tricksters, witches, and ghosts—are enchanted!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
John Bierhorst is the author of two books on Latin American folklore, The Mythology of South America and The Mythology of Mexico and Central America. A specialist in Aztec languages and literatures, he is the translator of Cantares Mexicanos and the author of a Nahuatl-English dictionary. He is currently an editor of the Norton Anthology of World Literature and has received grants and scholarships from the Americas Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.