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Telling the tale

To tell the tale of Speedy, A.B. Quintanilla starts, "Érase una vez" -- which means "Once upon a time." Hearing these words, listeners instantly know we are entering fairy-tale territory. "Érase una vez" or  "érase que se era" or "había una vez" are all ways to set up a fictional tale in Spanish, just like "once upon a time" in English. It's a fairy-tale convention.

Another convention we're all familiar with is the ending "And they lived happily ever after." In Spanish, you may hear: "Vivieron felices y comieron perdices" -- which a more literal translation would render "they lived happily and ate partridges." You see, partridges (perdices) are considered delicacies, so eating them signifies the good life. Plus, it rhymes.

Let's end on another rhyming note:

Y colorín colorado
este cuento se ha acabado

And that´s the end of that
[or]
Snip, snap snout,
this tale's told out.

 
So to sign off this lesson, let's just say:

Y colorín colorado
esta lección se ha acabado.

Vocabulary

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