Jamaican Stories

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

Tracking Anansi (Simeon Falconer, Santa Cruz Mountains)

Reading time: 4 minutes. Word Count: 400 words

This little story contains some little catch phrases that are an important part of how the story is told and remembered. Do you know the story of Rapunzel? In the version I learned as a child there was a little phrase, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair!" Because of the use of that phrase in the story, it has stuck with me. There is a similar phrase in this story!

Anansi live into a tree with wife and children, then go about and robber the others and they can't find where he live. So Tiger and Bredder Tacoomah dog him and see when he send down the rope and swing up whatever he provide for the family. So Bredder Tiger go to a tin-smith to give him a fine v'ice and went to the tree and him sing,

"Mama, mama, sen' down rope,
Sen' down rope, Brer Nansi deh groun' a!"

Then the mother find out it was not Bredder Nansi from the coarseness of the v'ice. So he go to a gold-smith now, and he come back again and sing again. Now he get a v'ice same as Bredder Nansi.

"Mama, mama, sen' down rope,
Sen' down rope, Brer Nansi deh groun' a!"

Then the mother let the rope down to receive him. Brer Nansi coming from a distance see the mother swinging him up in the tree now and say, "Mama, cut de rope! mama, cut de rope!"

And she cut the rope and Bredder Tiger fell and broke his neck. Bredder Nansi tak him and have him now for him dinner. They couldn't eat Bredder Nansi at all; him was the smartest one of all.

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

  • how did Tiger try to fool Anansi's wife?
  • how did Anansi keep Tiger from getting into his house?
  • what did they do 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