Jamaican Stories

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

Eating Tiger's Guts: The Tell-tale (Simeon Falconer, Santa Cruz Mountains)

Reading time: 2 minutes. Word Count: 200 words

This wonderful little story about Anansi and Tiger ends with a kind of etymology: why spider floats around up in the air and doesn't live down on the ground.

Brer Tiger and Brer Anansi went to river-side. Brer Anansi said, "Brer Tiger, tak out your inside an' wash it out." Brer Tiger did so. "Now, Brer Tiger, dip your head in water wash it good." The moment Brer Tiger put his head in water, Anansi took up the inside and run away with it give to his wife Tacoomah to boil.

Next morning he heard that Tiger was dead. He called all the children to know how they were going to cry. Each one come say, "Tita Tiger dead!" The last child he called said, "Same somet'ing pupa bring come here las' night give Ma Tacoomah to boil, Tita Tiger gut."--"Oh, no!" said Anansi, "Pic'ninny, you can't go." So they lock up that child. So man hear him crying ask him what's the matter. "I wan' to go to Tita Tiger's funeral!" Let him out to go. When Anansi see him coming, he run away and tak house-top and since then he never come down.

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

  • how did Anansi get Tiger's guts so he could boil them?
  • why didn't Anansi make one of his children stay home from the funeral?
  • why did Anansi have to run away from Tiger's funeral?

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