Jamaica: Monkeys and Fishes

The first story here has the motif of "boiling in the pot" again, but this time, things do not turn out as Anansi expects!

In the second story, the "ile" here is "oil" ... for frying the fish in!

[Notes by LKG]

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

Anansi in Monkey Country

Anansi go to Monkey country. Put on a big pot of water an' tell the Monkey when him get in the pot of water, when him say "Bunya," they mus' take him out of the pot of water. When they take him out, they mus' go in.

So when he go in the pot of water, as soon as he feel the water hot he say, "Bunya." They take him out.

An' put all of them one time into the pot of water. An' when them said, "Bunya!"

Anansi said, "No bunya yet!"

An' said, "Bunya!"

Anansi said, "No bunya yet!"

Anansi wouldn't take them out until them boil. Anansi take them out an' eat them.

One little one let' at the top of the pot that the water didn't scald. That one run go to the next Monkey country an' tell them the story about Anansi an' the 'bunya.'

When Anansi eat, he start to the other country, an' him go there an' tell the Monkey mus' put him into the pot of water an' when he say, "Bunya," mus' take him out.

So when Anansi feel the water hot, he say, "Bunya!"

Monkey say, "No bunya yet!"

Anansi say, "Bunya!" Monkey say, "No bunya yet!"

Monkey keep Anansi in that pot till him kill him.

The Fishes

Three little fish pickney mother was sick an' Anansi said, "If you want, I get you' mother better for you!" an the three little fish said, "Yes!"

An' said, "You give me a frying-pan an' some sweet ile, an' you lock up in that room an' when she better, I let you know."

An' he fry the fish an' eat it an' tell the fish pickney that they can come out the room now.

An' they ask, "Where is our mother? Did you get her better?" an' he said, "No, I eat her!" an' the fish run after him an' he run away.

An' a mule ask the fish, "Do you want me to catch him for you?" an' they said, "Yes!" And the mule said, "Give me those peas that you have now an' I catch him for you."


An' the mule go out to Anansi gate an' lie down there an' when Anansi come out, Anansi run up into his belly an' the mule gallop away again.

An' Anansi cry out in the mule's belly, "If he go to sea-side, stop him; but if he go anywhere else, let him go!" An' he gallop to the sea-shore an' give Anansi to the fish.

An' he say, "You know what you do, fish? Put me under the trash an' burn me!"

An' when the fish put him under de trash, Anansi run under a stone, hide, an' the fish t'ot he was burn.

(500 words)

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