Jamaican Stories

Week 8: African Traditions - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images

Cunnie-More-Than-Father (George Parkes, Mandeville)

Reading time: 6 minutes. Word Count: 600 words

Notice how the alliances have shifted here: Anansi is in league with his old enemy Tiger in order to destroy his own son. What kind of tricks is Anansi trying to play on his son? Why are his tricks not working?

Anansi said, "Look heah! Tomorrow night jus' at dinner-time you come here hide yo'self in the pepper-tree; behin' that fattest limb, you hide yo'self there, an' I will sen' him to pick some pepper an' as he put his han' on the pepper-tree, you mus' hol' him." So the nex' night at dinner-time Tiger went to hide himself there. Anansi call Cunnie-mo'n-father, say, "Go get pepper from the pepper-tree." Cunnie-mo'n-father start for de pepper-tree. On his way going he call in the kitchen an' take a fire-stick, an' as he went to the pepper-tree, he shove the fire-stick right in Tiger face. Tiger cry out, "W'y-ee!" an' gallop away. Cunnie-mo'n-father return to Anansi an' say he hear something in the pepper-tree cry, so he don' pick any. Anansi eat his dinner that night without pepper.

A few minutes after, Tiger come back in the house an' tol' Anansi what have taken place. Anansi say, "Well, the boy have tack! but we mus' ketch him." At that time the boy go under the table lay down an' study for them again. Tiger say, "How mus' we ketch him?" Anansi said, "You come here tomorrow twelve o'clock an' I'll sen' him up on a cocoanut tree an' while he in the tree, you wait underneath; when he come down you ketch him." The nex' morning, Cunnie-mo'n-father get two bags, fill it with red ants go up same cocoanut tree an' hide it, preparing for Tiger. At twelve o'clock Tiger come to Anansi yard. Anansi call for Cunnie-mo'n-father an' said, "Go an' get me some cocoanuts off'n that tree." He went, an' Tiger lay wait under the tree for him. He shout to Tiger he mus' look up an' show him the bes' cocoanut he want, an' while Tiger do that, he open one of the bag an' throw it down in Tiger face. Ant begun to bite him an' he has to run away. Cunnie-mo'n-father slip right down off the cocoanut tree, so he didn't get any cocoanut.

In the evening, Tiger went back to Anansi to tell him how Cunnie-mo'n-father do him again. While the two of them was talking an' setting up another tack, Cunnie-mo'n-father was underneath table listening to them again. Anansi said, "The boy smart! but I goin' to put you up a tack fo' ketch him! Look heah! Tomorrow at twelve o'clock, you fin' yo'self at me groun' an' you will see a fat root of yam near to a tree. You mus' hide yo'self in the bush an' I will sen' him there to come cut yam, an' as he come there, hol' him." Tiger then went an' fix himself in the yam bush. At twelve o'clock Anansi call Cunnie-mo'n-father an' sen' him to groun, to cut yam an' tell him that very spot whe' he is to dig them, Cunnie-mo'n-father went to the groun' an' shout out "Yam-o-e-e! yam-o-ee! yam-o-ee!" t'ree times. Nobody answer. Cunnie-mo'n-father say, "I t'ink father tell me say that when I come to groun' call fo' yam, yam wi' speak, an' de yam don' speak!" Call again, "Yam-o-ee!" So Tiger answer him, "O-ee-e!" So Cunnie-mo'n-father say, "From me bwoy born, the firs' I hear that yam can talk!" So run home back lef' Tiger.

So Tiger leave the groun' an' come home an' tell Anansi what happen. Anansi said, "Well, 'cunnie mo' than me' fe trew, but we goin' to ketch him!" At that time Cunnie-mo'n-father underneath the table fe listen, an' unfortunately he fell fas' asleep.

Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • how did Cunnie-mo'n-father defeat the Tiger at the pepper tree?
  • how did he defeat Tiger at the coconut tree?
  • how did he defeat Tiger when he was hiding where the yam grows?

Source: Jamaica Anansi Stories by Martha Warren Beckwith (1924). Weblink.

Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM