Jamaica: Tiger Catching the Sheep-Thief

In this story, Anansi gives a chicken to Miss Madder and, thinking it is a gift, so she eats it. Anansi, though, comes back and demands the hen, and then argues that not only should he be getting back a hen; he should be getting back a hen and eggs and more chickens that came from those eggs. So Miss Madder is now in Anansi's debt, which is a very dangerous place to be!

[Notes by LKG]

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

Tiger Catching the Sheep-Thief

One day was an old lady name Mis' Madder, had twenty sheep.

Mr. Anansi went an' gi' her a hen an', couple week after, Mr. Anansi went back fe de hen.

An' said, "Didn't you gi' me de hen, Mr. Anansi?"

An' said, "Oh, no! Missus, me hen wud have hegg, hegg, on hegg, chicken on chicken!"

An' said, "De only t'ing I can do' Mr. Anansi, go in de sheep-pen an' tak a sheep!" It went on till de nineteen was gone, leave one.

Tiger says, "Mis' Madder, I'll kill de sheep tak a half an' ketch Mr. Anansi."

Tiger kill i', put 'e skin over himself. When Mr. Anansi come, Tiger bawl like a sheep "Ba-a-a-a!"

Miss Madder say, "All right, Mr. Anansi, I don' wan' to hear any more talkin'; tak' de las' sheep an' go."

Anansi say, "T'ank you, Miss Madder, won' come back an' worry you fe no more fowl!"

When he went off, under way said, "Yah! dis sheep hebby, sah!"

Went home, de wife an' chil'ren sit roun' him wid bowl an' knife. Mr. Anansi tak de knife cut de t'roat an' say, "Lawd! me wife, dis fellow fat till no hav any blood!"

Cut de belly come down, Tiger jump out hold him.

Mr. Anansi say, "He! he! Brar Tiger, wha' you do?"

Tiger say, "Miss Madder ha' twenty sheep an' if me no tie you, him wi' say you an' me eat dem."

Anansi say, "If dem tak dem big banana trash tie me, I wi' be glad, but if dey could a tak dat 'itte bit o' banana t'read tie me, I should be so sorry!"

An' dey tie him wid de small banana trash an' t'row into de sea, an' he jus' open his leg an' run under water. An' from dat time you see Anansi running under water.

(300 words)

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