Jamaican Stories

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

Tiger as Riding-horse (William Forbes, Dry River)

Reading time: 4 minutes. Word Count: 400 words

Here is another story about the rivalry between Tiger and Anansi - and this time the rivalry is for the attention of the young ladies.

Tiger was walking to a yard an' see two young misses, an' he was courting one of de young misses. An' as Anansi hear, Anansi go up to yard where de young misses is; an' dey ax him said, "Mr. Anansi, you see Mr. Tiger?" An' said, "O yes! I see Mr. Tiger, but I tell you, missus, Tiger is me fader ol' ridin'-horse." An' when Tiger come to misses, dem tell him. An' said him gwine Anansi, mak him come an' prove witness befo' him face how he is fader ol' ridin'-horse!

An' when him come call Anansi, say, "Want you to come prove dis t'ing you say 'fore de misses," Anansi say, "I nebber say so! but I kyan' walk at all." Tiger said, "If I hab to carry you 'pon me back, I will carry you go!" Anansi said, "Well, I wi' go." Anansi go tak out him saddle, Tiger say, "What you gwine do wid saddle?" Anansi say, "To put me foot down in de stirrup so when I gwine fall down, I weak, I can catch up." An' tak him bridle. Tiger say, "What you gwine do wid it?" Say, "Gwine put it in you mout', when I gwine to fa' down I can catch up." Tiger say, "I don' care what you do, mus' put it on!" An' him go back an' tak horse-whip. An' say, "Wha' you gwine do wid de horsewhip?" An' say, "Fe when de fly come, fan de fly." An' put on two pair of 'pur. An' say, "Wha' you gwine do wid 'pur?" An' say, "if I don' put on de 'pur, me foot wi' cramp."

An' come close to yard an' close in wid de 'pur an' horse-whip, an' mak him gallop into de yard. An' say, "Carry him in to stable, sah! I mak you to know what Anansi say true to de fac', is me fader ol' ridin'-horse."

Tiger tak to wood, Anansi sing a'ter him, "Po' Tiger dead an' gone!"

Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na bom, Eb-ry-bod-y
Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na bom, Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na.
Po' Ti-ger dead and gone, Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na,
Eb-ry-bod-y go look fo' dem wife, Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na,
Eb-ry-bod-y go look fo' dem wife, Si-lay-na, Si-lay-na,
Si-lay-na bom.

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

  • what did Anansi tell the young ladies about Tiger?
  • how did Anansi trick Tiger into wearing the saddle and the bridle, etc.?
  • what happened to Tiger in the end?

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