Jamaica: Shut Up in the Pot and House in the Air

For a similar trick with a pot of soup, compare this story in the Nigerian reading unit for this class: Why the Bat Flies by Night. Bredder Tiger and Bredder Tacoomah seek their revenge in the second story, but Anansi is just too sly for them to catch!

[Notes by LKG]

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

Shut Up in the Pot

There was a very hard time, no food whatsoever could they get, so Anansi him family well fear. So when Bredder Tiger and Bredder Tacoomah go see him, he tell them for last three or four days his wife and children didn't eat bread. Say they will go back home and send him some of 'em food, and the two go back from Nansi yard and just dodge him now and hear his wife call, "Heah! dinner ready!"

And Bredder Tiger and Bredder Tacoomah go back to the house knock on the door. The wife open the door and Anansi go right out of the house--'shamed! The wife give them some of the food to eat and it was only fresh beef.

They come back to Bredder Anansi now and Nansi tell them say, "I will get the beef, but whatever I tell you to do, you mus' be sure to do it."

An' he put on a big pot of water on fire, an' him, Nansi, get into the pot of water and gwine tell them shut him up in him pot, an' tell them as soon as him knock the pot, open the pot.

An' him come out now, tell Bredder Tiger he mus' get in the pot, Tacoomah long side in the pot too.

And shut them up, an' he get a heavy weight an' put it on the pot top. An' he went right outside and tell him wife mus' shove up the fire, mak the fire bigger an' bigger.

An' when him come back, them was properly cooked, They gwine eat now, he was tuning up his fiddle--

I got them now! I got them now!
Them think they got me, but I got them now!

House in the Air

Anansi live into a tree with wife and children, then go about and robber the others and they can't find where he live.

So Tiger and Bredder Tacoomah dog him and see when he send down the rope and swing up whatever he provide for the family.

So Bredder Tiger go to a tin-smith to give him a fine v'ice and went to the tree and him sing,

Mama, mama, sen' down rope,
Sen' down rope, Brer Nansi deh groun' a!

Then the mother find out it was not Bredder Nansi from the coarseness of the v'ice.

So he go to a gold-smith now, and he come back again and sing again. Now he get a v'ice same as Bredder Nansi.

Mama, mama, sen' down rope,
Sen' down rope, Brer Nansi deh groun' a!

Then the mother let the rope down to receive him. Brer Nansi coming from a distance see the mother swinging him up in the tree now and say, "Mama, cut de rope! mama, cut de rope!"

And she cut the rope and Bredder Tiger fell and broke his neck. Bredder Nansi tak him and have him now for him dinner. They couldn't eat Bredder Nansi at all; him was the smartest one of all.

(500 words)

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