Jamaican Stories

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

Anansi and the Tar-baby (Richard Morgan, Santa Cruz Mountains)

Reading time: 2 minutes. Word Count: 200 words

Here is another Anansi story using the "tar baby" motif.

Tiger got a groun' plant some peas an' get Hanansi to watch it. Me'while Hanansi are de watchman, himself stealin' de peas. Tiger tar a 'tump, put on broad hat on de 'tump. Hanansi come an' say, "Who are you in de groun'?" Him don hear no answer. He hol' him. His han' fasten. He hol' him wid de odder han'. Dat han' fasten. He said, "Aw right! you hol' me two han', I bet you I buck you!" He head fasten. Said, "I bet you, I kick you!" Him two feet fasten. Den he say, "Poor me bwoy! you a watchman an' me a watchman!"

So begin to sing,

"Mediany dead an' gone."

Nex' mawnin' Tiger come an' say, "Why Brar Hanansi, a you been mashin' me up?" Tiger tak him out. Tiger said wha' fe him do wid him now? Hanansi say, "What you fe do? Mak a fire, bu'n me.' Tiger go 'way, mak up him fire, ketch Hanansi go fe t'row him in de fire. Hanansi say, "Brer Tiger, you don' know to burn somebody yet? You mus' jump ober de fire t'ree time, den me a count." Tiger jump one, an' jump again, two, an' jump again, t'ree, an' go fe jump again. Hanansi kick down Tiger into de fire, den go back now go finish off de peas.

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

  • why was Tiger angry at Anansi?
  • how did Tiger trap Anansi?
  • how did Anansi get free? what happened to Tiger?

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