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Lyr Add: Santa Anna's Leg

Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Oct 08 - 06:26 PM
Art Thieme 04 Oct 08 - 07:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Oct 08 - 08:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Oct 08 - 10:10 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Santa Anna's Leg
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 06:26 PM

La Pata de Santa Anna

La pata de Santanna
La llevan enterrar
Entre cuatro lagartijos
Y un gato del Sacristán.

Santa Anna's leg
Is carried to its burial place
Between four lizards
And the Sacristan's cat.

This little parody, probably a fragment, was collected in Santa Fe, NM, from Anita Gonzáles Thomas, which she remembered as a children's rhyme.
'pata' is used mostly for the leg of an animal, 'la pierna' is the usual term for a human leg.
Article by Marc Simmons, Santa Fe New Mexican, 10/03/2008, and notes by readers. "Trail Dust: A nonsense kid's rhyme links N. M., Santa Anna."

Santa Anna lost the lower half of his left leg in the "Pastry War" of 1838 to a French cannonball. The 'war' started over French claims for property destroyed in a Mexico City riot. One of those seeking damages was a French pastry chef whose bakery was destroyed by drunken Mexican military officers.
When Mexico refused to pay, French ships bombarded Vera Cruz. Santa Anna went to the coast, and lost his leg in action against them. The 'war' was settled when Mexico agreed to pay. Santa Anna claimed that he had saved the country from foreign invasion.
Many Mexicans already disliked Santa Anna because of his defeat and loss of Texas.
He brought his leg back to Mexico City in a fancy coffin. It was paraded through the city and "installed in a great urn atop a stone pillar in Santa Fe Cemetary (Mexico City). A statue of himself, pointing toward Texas, was erected. This was followed by day-long festivities.
"He wore out his welcome in 1844, .... mobs destroyed all his statues ... and, according to Guillermo Prieto, with savage ferocity exhumed Santa Anna's leg, playing games with it and making it an object of ridicule." He was exiled "for life" but came back a year later, leading in the war with the United States.

The little rhyme may be a fragment of a parody song about the burial of the leg. I can't find mention of the song in "Cancionero Folklorico de México," but vol. 4 has a couple of humorous verses about Santa Anna, using 'pata' for leg.

Santa Anna cayó al infierno,
ardiento como *tecata,
los diablos le preguntaron:
"?Qué hiciste con la otra pata?"

Free translation-
Santa Anna, cast in the inferno,
blazing like a *candle,
The devils asked him:
"What did you do with the other leg?"

In modern Spanish, *tecata is heroin, or a heroin user.

"The Leg I Left Behind," in the DT, notes the loss of the artificial leg at Cerro Gordo, where he was forced to flee and left it behind.

"The Leg I Left Behind" is reproduced in Dolph, "Sound Off."
Some websites give the date 1848 for the song.

Where was the song first published? I haven't found any information.
Any information would be appreciated.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Santa Anna's Leg
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 07:23 PM

Fascinating! A great footnote in history.

Really---it is!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Santa Anna's Leg
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 08:49 PM

So that explains the lines in the shanty:

O Santy Anna had a wooden leg
Heave away, Santy Anno!
Wore it for a wooden peg
All on the plains of Mexico

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Santa Anna's Leg
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Oct 08 - 10:10 PM

Another verse in "Cancionero Folklorico de México," not about the leg, but very derogatory. I won't bother to translate it.
Santa Anna cayó al infierno,
como tortilla tostada;
porque ya no lo aguantaron,
se lo llevó la *[chingada].

P. 161, vol. 4, Coplas varias y varias canciones, section Coplas humoristicas historicas. Both and the one posted previously are found in a poem published in the volume "Santa Anna," 1931, Vásquez-Dávila, pp. 75-76, Guadalajara Jalisco). *asterisks in the original.

The following verse also about the leg:

Santa Anna quere corona;
se la haremos de hojalata;
pa que la tenga de oro,
le ha de costar la otra pata.
(Santa Anna wants a crown; ...)
Also from the volume, "Santa Anna, but placed in a different section from the two given previously.

Santa Anna dijo en la puerto,
cuando ya se iba a embarcar:
"Ahi les dejo el gallo muerto,
acábenle de pegar."
(His peg from a dead chicken?)

Oral tradition, Michoacán, "San Juan Betamo."

I would appreciate translations from someone conversant in Spanish. Mine is hopeless.

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