Jamaica: Tumble-Bug and John-Crow

The Tumble-Bug is also known as the Dung-Beetle, and this first story tells you just why that is!

In the second story, you will see that Anansi plays a trick with some boiling water. In a variation that Beckwith reports, Anansi uses boiling porridge instead: The Dance.

[Notes by LKG]

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

Why Tumble-Bug Rolls in the Dung

Deh was Mr. Anansi and Tumble-bug.

Deh was a young lady, was de king daughter. Her fader said who come wid a jar of money will get dat young lady to marry.

Tumble-bug get a jar of money.

Anansi get a jar an' couldn't get no money to put in it, get some cow dung an' some horse dung fill up de jar.

And after dem was going up to de young lady, dem ketch to a shop. And de two jar favor one anodder.

An' Anansi said, "Brar Tumble-bug, let we go in de shop go get a drink."

An' Anansi said, "Mus' buy a bread come," an' as he come out, him tak up Tumble-bug jar and let' fe him jar. An' Tumble-bug tak up Anansi jar.

And when dem go up to de young lady in de king yard, Anansi said, "Massa, mus' bring a clean sheet go t'row out money out of jar!" An' he t'row out money--wa-a-a-a-a! An' as Tumble-bug t'row, him t'row out horse-dung an' cow-dung.

Anansi said, "Tak it up, tak it up, tak it up, you nasty fellow, carry out de missis yard!"

Dat is why you see Tumble-bug roll in filth to-day to-day.

Why John-Crow has a Bald Head

Anansi always has a grudge wid John-crow; he say whenever he make his nest, de Crow fly on it an' catch it up an' he never can make his nest, so he have a hatred for Crow.

He say he was going to married and he was going to invite no one but Crow.

An' he have a big dinner an' no one was at de table but Crow.

So after de eat an' drink done, he said he was going to have a baptism but he don't baptize wid not'ing but boiling water.

So after de water's boiling, he took it off an' order Crow to sit round de copper an' so he dip ev'ry one head into de water, an' dat why Crow have bald-head to-day.

(400 words)

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