Jamaica: Goat on the Hill-Side and the Duckano Tree

This first story might remind you of the famous Aesop's fable about the fox does not enter the lion's den when it sees the tracks leading in, and none leading out. You can read that story in the Aesop unit for this class: The Lion, the Fox, and the Beasts.

The second story is about a pudding, dokunnu (duckano), wrapped in leaves from the banana tree or plantain tree. Read more at the National Library of Jamaica online.

For an African version of the second story, see Tit for Tat in the West African unit for this class (in that story, Anansi's son is named Kweku). The West African story does not contain the second part about the dog which Anansi uses to get the charmed food from the tree in the Jamaican tale.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Jamaican Stories unit. Story source: Jamaica Anansi Stories by Martha Warren Beckwith (1924).

Goat on the Hill-Side

The time hard. Anansi said to Tacoomah, "How going to manage wid de hard time?"

So Tacoomah said, "You know we do? I will get me machete an' I go half shut de door, den I will say, 'Police, I sick!'" Den, when people come, Tacoomah take de machete an' chop dem, put dem in de barrel for de hungry time.

Anansi say, "Brar Tacoomah, barrel nearly full?"--"No, Brar."

He cry out again how Tacoomah poorly; an' de people come an' as dey come, he kill dem put in barrel to serve in hungry time.

Den Goat up on de hill-side say he see everybody goin' in, nobody come out; de house so little, how is it gwine to hold all doze people?

So Goat come down now off de hill-side to see how Tacoomah. He peep in.

Tacoomah say, "Come in!" an' Goat run right back up hill-side. An' from dat day, Goat stay up on hill-side.

The Duckano Tree

Deh was Anansi.--Tacoomah was Anansi son.

Den was a hard time. Anansi had a Duckano tree had some Duckano on it.

An' he had t'ree pickney; when he go out a night, eat him belly full, come back carry 'em a bag. Now when him wife mak a little dinner fe him, tell him no, he don' want it, gi' it to pickney dem.

Tacoomah tell mama cut little hole in Anansi trab'ling bag an' t'row ashes in it. Fast as he go 'long, ashes drop straight to de Duckano tree.

Den Tacoomah follow de ashes till him fin' out de Duckano tree.

An' when him fetch to de Duckano tree, pick off all, lef' one; an' him tell de Duckano, "As Anansi come fe pick you, drop a dirt!"

An' as de Duckano drop a dirt, Anansi say, "Yes, dat de bes' place I want you fe go!" Come down to pick him up, Duckano go back on tree. Anansi say, "Cho! dat de bes' place I pick you t'-day." Go back on tree, couldn't catch it. An' not a creature can pick de Duckano, but Tacoomah!

Den, as Anansi go up de Duckano tree, him see Dog a come. An' said, "Brar Dog, go pick up Duckano fe me!" an' as de Duckano drop, dog come pickee up; den, as Dog pick him up, Dog nyam de Duckano.

Dog run 'round so, Anansi go after him so. Dog go into one deep hole, jus' two eye look out a deh. Little out de two eye, Anansi pass an' see him, draw him out of de hole an' 'queeze out de Duckano. Wha' mak de two sink place in Dog side, Anansi 'queeze out Duckano.

Jack man dora!

(500 words)

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