This curriculum unit will contain several tales from the oral tradition from Puerto Rico. In each case, a short summary will be given for each tale with a brief historical background and if possible the location of the tale will be included. Stories for which I have not found a translation, I will translate and illustrate. Many stories have been retold and printed as collections of stories by one editor. Dr. Alegria published “Three Wishes”, a collection of Puerto Rican tales translated into English and beautifully illustrated by Puerto Rican graphic artist Lorenzo Homar. Marigloria Palma edited “El Folklore de Puerto Rico,” which is a collection of songs, games, traditions, and tales in Spanish that she heard as a little girl. I recommend these books as part of the classroom or school library.
In order to work with these folk tales, the students will be asked to analyze the story through identification of its characters, the problem or problems in the tale, the setting, sequence of events, and the solution of the problem(s). Other elements that will also have to be identified are: the lesson or moral, magic, evil vs. good, good conquers evil, talking animals, ordinary people, magic numbers, punishment/reward, trickery, greed, exaggeration. Not all the elements will or can be found in a single folk tale, but students need to know which ones are present in the tale that they are reading. Student opinions on the tales are also important; these stories teach a lesson and should be entertaining at the same time.