Jamaican Stories

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

The Chain of Victims (Richard Morgan, Santa Cruz Mountain)

Reading time: 4 minutes. Word Count: 400 words

This is a "chain" story, where there is a whole series of animals linked together. You may know the famous English chain story, "This is the house that Jack built." You could call this story: this is the trick that Anansi played.

Hanansi saw Brar Hog an' said, "Brar Hog, lend me a dollar, to-morrow, twelve o'clock, come fe it." An' saw Brar Dog an' said, "Brar Dog, len' me a dollar, to-morrow, twelve o'clock, come fe it." An' saw Brar Monkey an' say, "Brar Monkey, len' me a dollar, to-morrow, twelve o'clock, come fe it." An' saw Brar Tiger an' said, "Brar Tiger, len' me a dollar, to-morrow, twelve o'clock, come fe it. An saw Brar Lion an' say, "Len' me a dollar, to-morrow, twelve o'clock, come fe it."

Nex' day hear some one knock at de door. Hanansi said, "Who come deah?"--"Me, Brar Hog." An' he say, "Come in." He an' Hog stay dere talkin' an' hear anodder knockin'. An' say, "Who come deah?"--"Me, Brar Dog." He say, "Brar Hog, you run go in dat room, fe Dog too bad; if him catch you him are goin' to kill you!" Dog come in. Him stay dere talkin' until hear anodder knock an' said, "Who come deah?"--"Me, Brar Monkey." An' say, "Come in"; an' say, "Brar Dog, you run go in dat room dere an' when you go you see Brar Hog un'er de bed, kill him." Him an' Monkey talk till Tiger come knock at de door, an' Hanansi say, "Who knock deah?"--"Me, Brar Tiger." An' say, "Brar Monkey, run go in dat room hide or Tiger ketch you!"

When Brar Tiger come in, him an' Hanansi deh talkin' till he hear annodder knock. An' say, "Who come deah?"--"Brar Lion." An' say, "Brar Tiger, you run go in dat room deh; you see Brar Monkey, kill him!" So as Lion come in he tell Brar Lion, "Look heah! have plenty o' meat. Brar Tiger gone in dere; you gwine go kill him!" Lion went in an' kill Tiger. Me'while de Lion kill Tiger, Hanansi go out de kitchen door dig one deep hole an' ca' say, "Brar Lion, run come heah! We go put on little hot water fe clean up doze fellah!" As Lion jump out of de house, feel so glad, gallop on to de kitchen, he got down in de hole an bre'k his neck. So Hanansi said, "You brute! look how much money I borrow from you, an' I have all yo' bone to crack t'-night!"

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

  • why did all of the animals come to Anansi's house at noon?
  • what did he do with the animals one by one?
  • how did Anansi get rid of Lion 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