Jamaica: Sheep and Rabbit

In these two stories, you see Anansi paired up with two very foolish creatures. Anansi is dangerous, to be sure, but the main lesson here is that you shouldn't do what Anansi tells you to do and, most of all, don't ever ask him to show you what trouble means.

Beckwith reports three different versions of the "trouble" story: one with Rabbit as the foolish partner, one with Rat, and one with Goat.

[Notes by LKG]

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

Sheep and Anansi

Mr. Anansi an' Mr. Sheep going out walking over de country. Carry two spoon; Sheep carry one, Anansi carry one.

Anansi tell Sheep, "Mr. Sheep, lef' you spoon here, don' carry it."

Den go to de second house an' get some breakfas' again. After him get de breakfas' him say, "Mr. Sheep, where you spoon?"

An' said, "Don't you tell me to lef' it at de firs' house?"

"You mus' go back for it now!" Mr. Sheep gone for it, him eat off all de breakfas'.

An' said, "Come, Mr. Sheep, but you mus' let' you spoon."

"Me won't carry it at all."

Den go up to de nex't yard an' get dinner now. Night is coming. An' said, "Mr. Sheep, where is you' 'poon?"

An' said, "I lef' it at de las' yard you eat."

Well, den, Sheep have to go back fe his spoon again; tell Sheep come back again an' Anansi eat off de dinner. Sheep couldn't get not'ing to eat.

Rabbit and Anansi

Brar Nansi and Brar Rabbit went for a walk one day. Brar Rabbit ask Brar Anansi to show him 'daytime trouble.'

An' while dey go on, Brar Anansi saw Tiger den wid a lot of young Tiger in it. Brar Anansi took out one an' kill it an' give Rabbit a basket wid a piece of de Tiger's meat to carry for de Tiger's fader, an' took Rabbit along wid him to Tiger's house an' tol' Brar Rabbit to han' Tiger de basket.

Anansi run, an' Tiger catch at Rabbit to kill him, but he get away.

Brar Anansi run up a tree an' say, "Run, Brar Rabbit, run! Run fe stone-hole!"

Took a razor an' give it to Rabbit. An' Tiger got up a lot of men to get Rabbit out de hole an' Tiger sent for Reindeer to dig him out, as he had a long neck to put down his head an' dig him out, but Anansi tol' Rabbit when Reindeer put down his head in de hole, he mus' tak de razor an' cut it off.

A lot of people gadder to see Reindeer tak Rabbit out of de hole, but instead, Reindeer head was taken off an' he drop an' was dead an' de whole crowd run away wid fright.

After Rabbit come out, Brar Nansi say to him, "Brar Rabbit, so 'daytime trouble' stay. So, as long as you live, never ask anybody to show it to you again!"

Next: New Names

(400 words)

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