Anaya Short Story Collection

Overview

"As a boy, I loved to hear people tell stories. In the evening, after the supper dishes were done, we would sit around the kitchen table and listen to the elders. Storytelling time was always a magical time. I had a favorite uncle who really knew how to tell a story, and when he came to visit, the evening became a storytelling feast." Consummate storyteller Rudolfo Anaya draws on the rich Hispanic and Native American folklore of the Río Grande Valley of New Mexico to tell these enchanting stories. Meet Dulcinea, who dances with the devil, and
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Overview

"As a boy, I loved to hear people tell stories. In the evening, after the supper dishes were done, we would sit around the kitchen table and listen to the elders. Storytelling time was always a magical time. I had a favorite uncle who really knew how to tell a story, and when he came to visit, the evening became a storytelling feast." Consummate storyteller Rudolfo Anaya draws on the rich Hispanic and Native American folklore of the Río Grande Valley of New Mexico to tell these enchanting stories. Meet Dulcinea, who dances with the devil, and Lupe, who encounters the ghostly la Llorona one dark night. Rudolfo Anaya, "the most widely read Mexican-American" (Newsweek), has written ten captivating stories set in the Southwest. Memorable characters and evocative tales that reflect the Hispanic and Native American heritage of the United States combine to make this a book that will be treasured.

A collection of ten original and traditional stories set in New Mexico, including "Lupe and la Llorona," "The Shepherd Who Knew the Language of Animals," and "Coyote and Raven."

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Editorial Reviews

Multicultural Review
Anaya's anthology of folktales is perfect to use as an introduction to the hispanic culture of the Southwest. Children from all cultures will enjoy stories and appreciate the universal themes they represent...I recommend this book as a read-aloud during those short periods of time often given to traditional chapter book readings. My Land Sings will enhance any library's multicultural holdings and could be used easily in comparative literature studies.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Within this collection of ten tales are five "cuentos" or traditional tales of New Mexico and five original stories steeped in the culture of the region. A full page pen and ink drawing introduces each story. Anaya briefly discusses each tale in the preface, and the importance of stories in nurturing the imagination, developing a sense of community and providing a "knowledge of its values." With his original stories based on legends and "everyday" tales he heard as a child, Anaya encourages readers to record tales they hear or rewrite old stories in contemporary settings. The strong Catholic background of the Spanish settlers brought symbols and religious figures to the tales. Here then, one finds a young woman dancing with the devil in disguise, and receiving visits from the Lord and the Virgin Mary. There are cautionary tales about what happens when we get too greedy, either for money or immortality. Some readers may need further explanation about the traditions of New Mexico. Others will find here a fine collection of gems.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-This collection of stories has elements of both Mexican and Native American folklore. Anaya has included five of his own stories and retold and enhanced five traditional tales. Filled with ghosts, devils, and tricksters, these cuentos are suffused with the beliefs of the peoples in the Rio Grande region. Because of the predominating Roman Catholicism of those who settled the area, the pieces have strong elements of that religion in them as well. The tales are divided into categories such as rogues and rascals, enchantment, animals, and riddles; some are humorous, while others teach a lesson. The latter is represented by the author's story "Sipa's Choice," in which a young leader and his people are metamorphosed into golden carp because the young man failed to respect the traditional ways of his father. Anaya champions the reading of a good book or listening to a folktale as an opportunity to insert one's own experiences into the story and, hence, to nurture the imagination. This appealing volume will add diversity to folklore collections.-Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fascinated with the Hispanic and Native American folktales of his youth, Anaya (The Farolitos of Christmas, 1995, etc.) has compiled ten stories from time-honored oral traditions, including some passed on in corridos, or songs. The tales hold lessons on respect for elders, the importance of the Catholic faith, reverence for the animal world, the role of luck in a man's life, and whether or not we should attempt to seek immortality. The wide variety of stories demonstrate a mature understanding of life's trappings and dangers, but retain a healthy sense of humor about the human predicament. Córdova's black-and-white illustrations capture the magic and beliefs expressed by the tales. (b&w illustrations, glossary) (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688150785
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/15/1999
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Lupe and la Llorona

When the clock in the kitchen struck midnight, Lupe quietly got out of bed. She dressed hurriedly, crept to her bedroom door, and listened intently. In the adjacent bedroom, her parents were sound asleep.

Quietly, she slipped out of the house. The village of Puerto de Luna, a farming community on the banks of the Pecos River, was also asleep. An October quarter-moon hung over the valley, but it shed very little light. Lupe shivered as she ran to meet Carlos by the church.

Earlier that afternoon in the schoolyard, Carlos had been bragging that he wasn't afraid of la Llorona.

"It's just a story our parents tell to scare us," he said to the seventh graders gathered around him.

"No, she's real," one of the girls replied.

"I don't believe it," Carlos said, looking at Lupe. "I dare anyone to go to the river with me."

"At midnight?"

"Yes, at midnight!"

The others glanced nervously at Lupe. She was strong and tall like Carlos, and she was the only one in the group who stood up to him.

"It's a crazy idea," Lupe said.

"What's the matter, you chicken?"

Lupe clenched her teeth. Carlos had been after her all week, ever since her team had beaten his in baseball. She had tried not to pay attention to his needling, but nobody called her chicken!

"I'll prove who's chicken," she shot back. "I'll go with you tonight!"

The kids had cheered her, but later, as they walked back to the classroom, José fell in step beside Lupe. He was her neighbor, and the boy she secretly admired.

"You don't have to go," he whispered. "It's dangerous by theriver at night."

"Do you mean it's too dangerous for a girl?"

José blushed. "You know what I mean."

"I know," Lupe answered. "But Carlos dared me in front of the gang. I won't let Carlos call me a coward."

"Yeah," José agreed. He knew Carlos had been hassling Lupe all week. "Do you want me to go with you?" he offered.

"No, Carlos challenged me." She looked into his eyes and saw he really was concerned about her. "Thanks," she added.

José shrugged. "Just be careful" were his parting words.

Maybe I'm like Carlos, Lupe thought as she approached the church at midnight. I want to find out if la Llorona is real or just a story our parents tell. She stopped cold when she spotted a shadow at the door. Her skin tingled. "Who is it?" she called.

"Booooo!" Carlos cried, jumping out at her.

"Boo yourself!" Lupe said, faking laughter to show he hadn't frightened her.

"Bet you thought it was la Llorona," Carlos teased her.

"Don't be silly," Lupe answered boldly.

"Are you afraid?" asked Carlos, peering toward the river.

Lupe hesitated. All her life, she had heard the different stories people told about la Llorona. Some said she was a young woman who long ago had lived in a neighboring village. She had fallen in love with a rich man's son and had a baby, but since she wasn't married to him, the young man's parents were going to take the baby away from her. The baby was all the poor girl had in the world, and she vowed not to let them take it.

When the family came with the sheriff for the child, the young woman gathered the baby in her arms and fled to the river. The sheriff and his deputies followed, using hound dogs to track her. The baying of the dogs could be heard up and down the valley.

As the sheriff and his men drew near, the frightened girl threw herself into the river. The strong current swept her off her feet and tore the baby from her arms. It disappeared into the watery depths.

Later, some villagers would say she had intentionally thrown the baby into the river. The sheriff had saved the young woman, but the baby drowned. It was never found.

After the accident, the young woman was overcome with grief. She walked along the edge of the river, looking for her baby. At night, the people of the village heard her crying and calling the child's name.

"You can still hear her crying at night," the old people told the children. "She became la Llorona, 'the crying woman.' Don't go near the water. She might think you are her child and take you."

Parents told the story to warn their children not to play near the river and its dangerous currents.

"I'm not afraid," Lupe said, shivering. She wasn't going to let Carlos scare her. Besides, she had the medal of her guardian angel hanging around her neck. She touched it and said a silent prayer.

Carlos, too, had hesitated. Across the road, the river and its dark forest looked menacing. "Okay, let's go," he said.

They left the village and hurried through the river bosque. Overhead, the tall, stately cottonwood trees formed a canopy that shut out the scant moonlight. Around them, river willows and salt cedars pressed in on the thin trail. Finally, they came to a small clearing in the brush.

"Here's where she cries at night," Carlos said.

Lupe shivered. She knew the spot. This was the place where the young woman and her baby had jumped into the river.

There was something evil about the place. Dank vapors rose from the river. The awful stink of something dead touched Lupe's nostrils. The trees rose in the dark like giant specters.

Suddenly, they heard an eerie sound and they froze. A shadow appeared in the moonlight and shimmered on the water. It seemed to be the figure of a young woman walking on the water, coming toward them. A shrill noise filled the night, sounding like the cry of a grieving woman.

My Land Sings. Copyright © by Rudolfo Anaya. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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