Myth-Folklore Unit: Jamaica Anansi Stories

Overview. The trickster Spider Anansi is a famous folklore figure in West Africa, and slaves abducted from West Africa brought the stories of Anansi with them to the Americas. This book of Jamaica Anansi Stories contains stories collected in Jamaica during the early years of the 20th century by Martha Warren Beckwith, a professor of folklore and well-known ethnographer. Beckwith recorded the stories in dialect as told to her by Jamaican storytellers. She also used variant spelling to try to record their pronunciation. I have removed the variant spelling, but the stories are still in Jamaican dialect. My advice: read the stories out loud so that you can get used to what the dialect is like. The stories are also highly oral, without complex sentences (such as this one!) that are typical of written language. So, that's another good reason to read the stories out loud, getting a sense of how these storytellers express themselves.

Language. In addition to standardizing the spelling, I've also glossed the unfamiliar dialect words, so it should be not too hard to understand. If you have questions, let me know and I can add some more glosses and commentary to the stories.

Story Length. These are all single-page stories; some of them are very short stories, so that you will find two separate stories on a single page.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Jamaican Anansi Stories. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. Tying Tiger
  2. The Gub-Gub Peas
  3. Tiger as Riding-Horse
  4. Tiger Catching the Sheep-Thief
  5. Tiger's Breakfast / Tiger's Bone-Hole
  6. Eggs and Scorpions / The Christening
  7. Eating Tiger's Guts / Monkey and Anansi
  8. Sheep and Anansi / Rabbit and Anansi
  9. New Names
  10. Long-Shirt
  11. Shut Up in the Pot / House in the Air
  1. Goat on the Hill-Side / The Duckano Tree
  2. Anansi and the Tar-Baby / The Yam-Hills
  3. Guinea-Chick / Horse and Anansi
  4. Anansi in Monkey Country / The Fishes
  5. Anansi, White-Belly and Fish
  6. The Rain / Fire and Anansi
  7. Spider Marries Monkey's Daughter
  8. The Chain of Victims
  9. Tumble-Bug Rolls and John-Crow
  10. Anansi and the Pig Coming from Market