Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 323
Publication Date: 1924
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Published in 1924, Jamaica Anansi Stories includes folklore (including animal stories, modern stories and old stories), transcriptions of folk music, and a large collection of riddles, all cross-referenced with folklore studies from other cultures. The trickster Anansi, originally a West African spider-god, lives on in these tales. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion; he is able to overturn the social order; he can marry the Kings' daughter, create wealth out of thin air; baffle the Devil and cheat Death. Even if Anansi loses in one story, you know that he will overcome in the next.
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1. Tying Tiger
a. The Fish-basket.
George Parkes, Mandeville.
One great hungry time. Anansi couldn't get anyt'ing to eat, so he take up his hand-basket an' a big pot an' went down to the sea-side to catch fish. When he reach there, he make up a large fire and put the pot on the fire, an' say, "Come, big fish!" He catch some big fish put them aside. He said, "Big fish go, make little fish come!" He then catch the little fish. He say, "Little fish go, make big fish come!" an' say, "Big fish go, make little fish come!" He then catch the pot full an' his hand-basket. He bile the pot full and sit down and eat it off; he then started home back with the pot on his head and the basket. Reaching a little way, he hide the pot away in the bush an take the basket along with him now. While going along, he meet up Tiger. Now Tiger is a very rough man an' Anansi 'fraid of him. Tiger said to him, "What you have in that basket, sah?"--speak to him very rough. Anansi speak in a very feeble voice, say, "Nothing, sah! nothing, sah!" So both of them pass each other, an' when they went on a little way, Tiger hide in the bush watching Anansi. Anansi then sit down underneath a tree, open his basket, take out the fishes one one, and say, "Pretty little yallah-tail this!" an' put it aside; he take out a snapper an' say, "Pretty little snapper this!" an' put it one side; he take out a jack-fish an' say, "Pretty little jack-fish!" an' put it one side. Tiger then run up an' say, "Think you havn't not'ing in that basket, sah!" Anansi say, "I jus' going down to the sea have a bathe, sah, an' I catch them few 'itte fishes." Tiger say, "Give it to me here, sah!"--talk in a very rough manner. An' Tiger take it an' eat them all an' spit up the bones. Anansi then take up the bones an' eat them, an' while eating he grumble an' say, "But look me bwoy labor do!" Tiger say, "What you say?" Anansi say, "Fly humbug me face, sah!" (brushing his face). So booth of them start to go home now with the empty basket, but this time Anansi was studying for Tiger. When he reach part of the way, Anansi see a fruit-tree. Anansi say, "What a pretty fruit-tree!" (looking up in the tree). Tiger say, "Climb it, sah!" (in a rough manner). So when Anansi go up an' pull some of the fruit, at that time Tiger was standing underneath the tree. Anansi look down on Tiger head an' said, "Look lice in a Brar Tiger head!" Tiger said, "Come down an' ketch it, sah!" Anansi come down an' said to Tiger he kyan't ketch it without he lean on the tree. Tiger said, "Lean on the tree, sah!" The hair on Tiger head is very long. So while Anansi ketchin' the lice, Tiger fell asleep. Anansi now take the hair an' lash it round the tree tie up Tiger on the tree. After he done that he wake up Tiger an' say that he kyan't ketch any more. Tiger in a rough manner say, "Come an' ketch it, sah!" Anansi say, "I won't!" So Anansi run off, Tiger spring after him, an' fin' out that his hair is tied on the tree. So Tiger say, "Come an' loose me, sah!" Anansi say. "I won't!" an' Anansi sing now,
"See how Anansi tie Tiger,
See how Anansi tie Tiger,
Tie him like a hog, Tiger,
See how Anansi tie Tiger,
Tie him like a hog, Tiger!"
An' Anansi leave him go home, am' a hunter-man come an' see Tiger tie on the tree, make kill him.
b. The Storm.
Brer Tiger got a mango-tree in his place. Brer Nansi go an' ask if he could sell him a ha' penny wort' of mango. Brer Tiger say no. Brer Nansi well want de mango. Brer Nansi say, "Law pass dat eb'ry man have tree mus' tie on it 'cause going to get a heavy storm." Brer Tiger say, well, mus' tie him to de mango-tree. After Brer Nansi tie Tiger, climb up in de mango-tree, an' eb'ry mango he eat tak it an' lick Brer Tiger on de head. After he eat done, he shake off all de ripe mango an' pick dem up go away leave Brer Tiger tie up on de mango-tree.
Brer Tiger see Brer But pass an' ask Brer But to loose him. Brer But say dat he kyan't stop. Brer Tiger see Brer Ant passing, ask Brer Ant to loose him; Brer Ant say he kyan't depon haste. Brer Tiger see Brer Duck-ants passing an' ask him fe loose him. An' don' know if him will loose him, for don' know if him will put up wid him slowness, for Duck-ants is a very slow man. After him loose him, Brer Tiger tell him many t'anks an' tell him mus' never let him hear any of Duck-ants's frien's pass him an' don' call up "How-dy-do." Brer Nansi in a cotton tree were listening when dey talking. De nex' evening, Brer Nansi go to Brer Tiger yard an' knock at de door. An' say, "Who is deah?" an' say, "Mr. Duck-ants's brudder." An' dey tak him in an' mak much of him, get up tea because it was Mr. Duck-ants's brudder, an' after dat go to bed. In de morning provide tea for Mr. Duck-ants 'fore he wake, an' when he wake an' was washin' his face he got to tak off his hat. An' Brer Nansi is a man wid a bald head, an' dey got to fin' out it was Brer Nansi an' dey run him out of de house.