How The Robin Got A Red Chest – According to Suegra

(English translation in comments)

A cute plump little Robin perched on the backyard fence. I watched him out the kitchen window as I washed breakfast plates off in the sink. Suegra appeared next to me.

“Ay, qué lindo, vá?” she said.
I nodded, turning off the water and drying my hands.
“¿Cómo se llaman esos pajaros de la garganta roja?” she asked.
“Robins,” I responded, accepting the loss of my quiet bird watching moment.
“Hay una historia de esos Robins,” she said, “No la conoces?”
I shook my head.
Suegra smiled, for she had a story to tell, and there are few things in the world that make her as happy as story telling.
“Bueno,” she began, “Cuándo Jesús se murio en la cruz, tenía bastante sangre, cómo los soldados estaban apuñalandolo…” she pauses to make sure I understand. I nod and she continues.
“Jesús tenía sangre por todos lados, y aquí en el pecho,” she says putting her hand slightly above her heart.
“Venía ese pajaro…el Robin, me dijiste, vá?… bueno, pero antes de este tiempo estaba sólo cafecito el pajaro. El Robin voló por el pecho de Jesús y posó allí…”

I smile because this is a sweet folktale…At this point I have assumed that the bird came to comfort Jesus, and for that, the blood colored his feathers red… but Suegra isn’t finished.

“Se posó en el pecho, y empezo a picar a Jesús—”

“Picar?!” I interrupt, “Pero yo pensé que este cuento sería algo más bonito… picar?! Qué feo salio el cuento…”

Suegra shrugs and walks away. When I look out the window, the cute little Robin has flown away.

Image: Elee Kirk

Posted on March 13, 2011, in beliefs, Corazón, humor, suegra. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. English translation:

    A cute plump little Robin perched on the backyard fence. I watched him out the kitchen window as I washed breakfast plates off in the sink. Suegra appeared next to me.

    “Ay, how cute, right?” she said.
    I nodded, turning off the water and drying my hands.
    “How do you call these birds with the red throat?” she asked.
    “Robins,” I responded, accepting the loss of my quiet bird watching moment.
    “There’s a story about these Robins,” she said, “Do you know it?”
    I shook my head.
    Suegra smiled, for she had a story to tell, and there are few things in the world that make her as happy as story telling.
    “Well,” she began, “When Jesus died on the cross, he had a lot of blood because the soldiers were stabbing him…” she pauses to make sure I understand. I nod and she continues.
    “Jesus had blood all over, and here on the chest,” she says putting her hand slightly above her heart.
    “This bird came,…Robin is what you said, right?… Well before this time, the bird was only a brownish color. The Robin flew to Jesus’s chest and landed there…”

    I smile because this is a sweet folktale…At this point I have assumed that the bird came to comfort Jesus, and for that, the blood colored his feathers red… but Suegra isn’t finished.

    “The bird landed there on his chest, and started to peck Jesus—”

    “Peck?!” I interrupt, “But I thought this story would be more beautiful… peck?! How ugly this story turned out to be…”

    Suegra shrugs and walks away. When I look out the window, the cute little Robin has flown away.

  2. I liked your ending much better! Don’t you just love Latin folklore. :) I really should write about some of the stories I’ve heard. And not all from my suegra, but most of them si! LOL :)

    And I loved how you wrote this post using both English and Spanish. Spanglish Sundays, perhaps? :)

    • LOL, every day is “Spanglish” for me…These conversations with Suegra, I just have a lot of difficulty translating them to English – not because I don’t know the words, but because the way she speaks, it’s hard to capture in English… And so I end up keeping the dialogue in Spanish, and my narration in English – it just feels more natural, but then I feel bad for anyone who can’t understand – so that’s why I put the translation in comments.

      Of course anything having to do with Suegra has to be complicated ;)

      Would love to hear some of your stories! Maybe you can share them on Spanish Friday!

  3. chantillypatino

    Lol…I thought it was going to be sweet, why is it that old folktales often have a bit a gruesomeness to them? Lol…thanks for sharing though…I love hearing these old stories. <3

    • That reminds me, actually a lot of the folktales, games, etc. – even Anglo ones, are not as sweet as we imagine them. Take for example the children’s song, “Ring around the Rosie” …

      This is a song about dying from The Black Plague. “Ring around the Rosie” was the pink rings on the skin you would get. “Pocket full of posies” was because people kept flowers in their pockets to ward off the smell of death. “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down” —- self-explanatory, no?

  4. So, I was thinking, (no te precupas tanto!) Tu cres que viviendo con ella, estas ensenando como debes de hacer con tus propio hijos y sus esposas? Bueno y malo? Porque ay viene pronto el dia de tus hijos tienen sus familias, no? (Feel free to smack me now, lol)

    • Sooo, I can smack ya for reals? lol

      Here is what I’ll say, everyone on this Earth can teach you something, and I’ve learned a lot from Suegra, (the difficult people and times in your life usually teach you the most. LOL.)

      As for my kids growing up and having their own families… Some day the tables will be turned – That’s why I try to be fair – at least I hope I am. I don’t try to paint her as a two dimensional villain, because she isn’t. She’s human, with good qualities, and bad ones, like the rest of us. Being a daughter-in-law isn’t easy, but I’m sure being a mother-in-law is no picnic either.

  5. Suegra makes good stories ugly

  6. Love it how our ‘old school’ always keeps it real!

  7. jaja pobre chuchito!

  8. Quieres oir una historia verdaderamente detestable, increiblemente asquerosa y basada en absolutanmente ningun ángulo médico? Pregúntale qué pasa cuando te pica/muerde una masacuata!

    • Acabo de preguntarle y no sabía nada de masacuatas… gracias a Dios. LOL.

      Pero los sapos, sí tiene un cuento raro. Ella tiene miedo pero MUCHO miedo de los sapos. Me dijo que Dios no creaba los sapos, sino que el Diablo abrió la boca – y de allí salian… Cuándo dije, “pero bien dice en la Biblia que Dios creaba TODO” – no tiene repuesta. Es muy terca. LOL.

  9. jajaja la dejaste sin una respuesta!!! Me gustaría saber cual es su opinión con respecto a Adan, Eva y “la culebra”. Que si Eva se comió la manzana; si Adan mató la culebra con un manzanazo; que si la culebra le comió la costilla a Adan etc etc!
    Ahhhh y en cuanto a la masacuata… no te lo puedo poner en tu blog, es muy feo!

  10. ROFL- wow- was not expecting THAT

  11. OMG even her stories are a Pill! LOL! Gotta love her!

  12. Disney would change that one, the bird would comfort, then start singing, and the Roman guards would be so moved that they’d let Jesus go…

  13. That was hilarious…….. i just reading along and then got to the word picar and was like que???? that was unexpected! I’m telling you, your suegra sounds like a handful!
    besos

  14. Your Suegra is an excellent storyteller, lol…but by now, you probably expect these cuentos gone wrong, jajaja! Either way, I give her a 10 for creativity and shock factor :-)

  15. Someone needs to give you a book deal for a non-fiction book on living with Suegra!

    Dear goodness, you are a Saint!!!

  16. Wow! I thought it was going to be a nice story too. I wonder if this is just told in El Salvador or if it has roots throughout Latin America.

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