In the 1940s José María Arguedas and Francisco Izquierdo Ríos collected oral tradition stories from three separate geographical areas of Peru. The publication of these legends, myths and Peruvian tales (Mitos, leyendas y cuentos peruanos 1947) and its function as an historical record of cultural and national identity led Arguedas to national acclaim. However, these mythological and folk tales, legends and myths have had little attention outside of Peru and few tales have been translated into English. The thesis begins with an introduction to the challenges of translating folklore and cultural artifacts, the nature and function of tales likes these from 20th century Peru, followed by a review of the translation challenges and preferred techniques for my translation of a representative sample of the stories. The translations rely on a semantic, communicative translation method. Each translation is followed by a brief analysis of the cultural and linguistic elements that connect the story to its language and culture. Analysis yielded metaphysical, cosmological, sociological, and pedagogical functions in these stories that conveyed messages to a 20th-century Peruvian audience and helps the 21st-century readers of the translated tales in English to understand the unique world view of these stories gathered from an oral tradition. These folk tales, myths and legends contain unique cultural information about indigenous ideologies, culturally sanctioned behavior, warnings, origin stories, etc. The analysis of these stories is new and insightful since many of the technologies to connect geographical spaces and icons with the story and characters were not easily available until the 21st century to connect historical, geographical and cultural icons that bring renewed life and meaning into the myths, legends and stories.


Kimberly Contag

Committee Member

Adriana Gordillo

Committee Member

James Grabowska

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.