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This classic of Jamaican folklore was collected by Martha Warren Beckwith... Beckwith studied under the famous ethnographer Franz Boas, who also encouraged the pioneering Afro-Caribbean ethnographic field work of Zora Neale Huston. Jamaica Anansi Stories includes folklore, transcriptions of folk music, and a large collection of riddles, all cross-referenced with folklore studies from other cultures...
The transcription of Jamaican patois in these texts may be jarring to modern sensibilities, and occasionally impenetrable. It must be recognized that the purpose of this transcription was to respect the subject matter, and place it in context, rather to trivialize it. This is not a minstrel show. These texts prove that African folklore survived the 'middle passage' of the slave ships. In fact, these oral traditions were the only possessions which survived that harrowing journey, and should be treasured appropriately.
The trickster Anansi, originally a West African spider-god, lives on in these tales. Why is this figure so universal? And why did so many African American folk tales recount his exploits, under one name or another? 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. For an oppressed people Anansi conveyed a simple message from one generation to the next:--that freedom and dignity are worth fighting for, at any odds. (Quote from sacred-texts.com)
Table of Contents:
Publishers Preface; Preface; Animal Stories.; Tying Tiger.; Tiger As Substitute.; Tiger As Riding-horse.; Tiger's Sheep-skin Suit.; Tiger Catching The Sheep-thief.; Tiger's Breakfast.; Eggs And Scorpions.; Tiger's Bone-hole.; The Christening.; Eating Tiger's Guts.; Throwing Away Knives.; Grace Before Meat.; Day-time Trouble.; New Names.; Long-shirt.; Shut Up In The Pot.; House In The Air.; Goat On The Hill-side.; Dog And Dog-head.; Tacoomah's Corn-piece.; Anansi And The Tar-baby.; Inside The Cow.; Cunnie-more-than-father.; The Duckano Tree.; Food And Cudgel.; The Riddle.; Anansi And Brother Dead.; Brother Dead And The Brindle Puppy.; The Cowitch And Mr. Foolman.; Dry-head And Anansi.; The Yam-hills.; The Law Against Back-biting.; Fling-a-mile.; But-but And Anansi.; Tumble-bug And Anansi.; Horse And Anansi.; Anansi In Monkey Country.; Curing The Sick.; Anansi, White-belly And Fish.; Goat's Escape.; Turtle's Escape.; Fire And Anansi.; Quit-quit And Anansi.; Spider Marries Monkey's Daughter.; The Chain Of victims.; Why Tumble-bug Rolls In The Dung.; Why John-crow Has A Bald Head.; Why Dog Is Always Looking.; Why Rocks At The River Are Covered With Moss.; Why Ground-dove Complains.; Why Hog Is Always Grunting.; Why Toad Croaks.; Why Woodpecker Bores Wood.; Why Crab Is Afraid After Dark.; Why Crab Is Afraid After Dark.; Rat's Wedding.; Cockroach Stories.; Hunter, Guinea-hen And Fish.; Rabbit Stories.; The Animal Race.; The Fasting Trial (fragment).; Man Is Stronger.; Old Stories, Chiefly Of Sorcery.; The Pea That Made A Fortune.; Settling The Father's Debt.; Mr. Lenaman's Corn-field.; Simon Tootoos.; The Tree-wife.; Sammy The Comferee.; Grandy-do-an'-do.; Jack And Harry.; Pea-fowl As Messenger.; The Barking Puppy.; The Singing Bird.; Two Sisters.; Asoonah.; The Greedy Child.; Alimoty And Aliminty.; The Fish Lover.; Juggin Straw Blue.; The Witch And The Grain Of Peas.; Bosen Corner.; The Three Dogs.; Andrew And His Sisters.; The Hunter.; Man-snake As Bridegroom.; The Girls Who Married The Devil.; Bull As Bridegroom.; The Two Bulls.; Ballinder Bull.; Bird Arinto.; Tiger Softens His Voice.; Hidden Names.; Anansi And Mr. Able.; The King's Three Daughters.; The Dumb Child.; The Dumb Wife.; Leap, Timber, Leap.; The Boy Fool