Jamaica: Tiger, Monkey, and Anansi

In these two stories, you will see Anansi's "cunnie" (cunning, tricks) at work. In the first story, though, one of Anansi's children gives him away, which is why spiders now stay on the ceiling where we can't catch them. In this first story, Anansi's wife is named Tacoomah but, as you will see in other stories, sometimes Tacoomah is the name of one of Anansi's friends, and sometimes it is name of Anansi's son (although the usual name for Anansi's son is "Cunnie-more-than-father").

In the second story, Anansi uses the "saying grace" trick, which you can also find in a Brer Rabbit story: Brer Wolf Says Grace.

[Notes by LKG]

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

Eating Tiger's Guts

Brer Tiger and Brer Anansi went to river-side.

Brer Anansi said, "Brer Tiger, tak out your inside an' wash it out."

Brer Tiger did so.

"Now, Brer Tiger, dip your head in water wash it good." The moment Brer Tiger put his head in water, Anansi took up the inside and run away with it give to his wife Tacoomah to boil.

Next morning he heard that Tiger was dead. He called all the children to know how they were going to cry. Each one come say, "Tita Tiger dead!"

The last child he called said, "Same somet'ing pupa bring come here las' night give Ma Tacoomah to boil, Tita Tiger gut."-

Oh, no!" said Anansi. "Pic'ninny, you can't go." So they lock up that child.

So man hear him crying ask him what's the matter. "I wan' to go to Tita Tiger's funeral!" Let him out to go.

When Anansi see him coming, he run away and tak house-top and since then he never come down.

Monkey and Anansi.

Anansi and Monkey were travelling; they were two good friends together.

Anansi ask Monkey, "Brer Monkey, how much cunnie you have?"

Said, "Brer, me have plenty plenty!"

Anansi said, "Brer, me only have one one-half; I keep the one fe meself an' give me friend the half."

Trabble on, trabble on, until they see Tiger in one deep hole.

Anansi say, "Brer Monkey, you have plenty cunnie an' long tail; sen' down tail into the hole an' help Brer Tiger!" While him sen' down him tail, Anansi climb one tree.

Tiger come out of the hole now, lay hold on Monkey, say, "I nyam you t'-day!" Anansi on the tree laughing.

Monkey into a fix now, don't know how to get away.

So Anansi call out to Tiger, "Brer Tiger, you ketch Monkey now you gwine eat him?"

Tiger say, "Yes, I gwine eat him."

Anansi say, "Do like me, now. Open you two hand an' clap wid joy, say, 'I get Monkey!'"

That time he open his two hand, Monkey get free. Tiger run after Monkey, Anansi mak his way down from the tree, go home.

(400 words)

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