Commentary, folklore and legends, Food Culture

A Tale of María Marimacha

Maria Marimacha

Here we have a story that is very popular in our city about a girl who in order to play disobeyed her parents. It is a common disciplinary tale that shows traditional regimes of gender and of discipline.

As a result of her disobedience, she ended up committing a crime and paying a heavy price. The word Marimacha is one that is used for girls who only play with boys and even act like them.

One day a girl named María played with her friends (boys) in the street. She always wanted to be out there with them to play the traditional games such a tops, marbles, mata chola (tether ball), etc. But she would always lose because she did not have the ability to win at the games. She was still a girl.

Her mother called her and sent her to the market to buy oil and cow heart so they could make some anticuchos, skewers. She liked anticuchos a lot. It was her favorite food. Her mother gave her 20/S and she went towards the market. She saw her friends who were playing in the street close by.

Seeing the games made them win her over and she invested her 20/S to bet on marbles. As always, she lost. Now she could not return home without the ingredients her mother had sent her to the store for. The oil they could borrow from a neighbor but the heart they could not.

She went to her grandmother’s house. The grandmother was very old. So she killed her and took out her heart to take home and fill her mother’s request. She arrived home with everything her mother had wanted and they prepared up the skewers, the anticuchos, from the heart. However, María Marimacha would not eat any of them even though everyone knew she loved anticuchos.

That night as she slept she suddenly heard a voice that said: “María Marimacha, give me my heart back.” One time after another the voice repeated itself, demanding the heart back. María Marimacha became very frightened and hid herself in her clothes closet in order to not hear the voice any more.

Suddenly a shout was heard coming from María’s room and her parents rant to it and found her dead and heartless.

This is the story of María Marimacha, the girl who disobeyed her parents and who paid for her crime in the same fashion as what she had done. We say she paid with the misma moneda, the same coin.

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