Cunnie Rabbit, Mr. Spider and the Other Beef: West African Folk Tales | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in October 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Mr Spider a Clever Trader

"ONE tem Spider say he go go far up country fo' buy plenty cow. Early mawnin', fus' fowl crow, he grap (got up), he walker tay (until) de sun middle de sky. He done tire. W'en he reach to one big, big grass-fiel' he go lay down. He close to one lion, but he no know. Dey all two, dey duh sleep. Well, soon de Foulah people dey bring plenty cow wey dem duh kare down fo' go sell. De Foulah people dey no sabbee lion, dey nebber see um yet. W'en dey meet dis lion heah de one man say:

               "'Eh, lookee! Wey t'ing dat?'

               "Odder one say: 'He big dog, aintee?'

               "Den 'tan' up wid wonder. Dey no see Spider fo' long tem, because he leelee so. W'en dey fus' meet up nah grass-fiel' Spider bin hearee um, he come out heen sleep. He hearee how dey say dat de lion one big dog. W'en he look de plenty cow he t'ink: 'How I go do fo' get dem cow? I mus' get um.'

               "He grap (got up), he tell dem Foulah man 'How do.' Dey answer um 'tankee.' Dey ax um say:

               "'Daddy, now dis dog heah, yo' get um?'

               "Spider say: 'Yes, nar me yown dog dat.'

               "De Foulah man wan' fo' buy um, dey talk de palaver, dey bargain fo' gie um all de cow fo' buy dis dog. Spider say: 'All ret, but no wake dis dog yeah, oh! because he done use me too much. [1] Bimeby w'en yo' wake um, he go follow me, he no 'gree fo' follow oonah (you). W'en I done go far 'way, den oonah mus' wake um.'"

               By this time Gondomah was warming to his theme, and surprised even himself with his unwonted eloquence. The listeners, ever ready to see a rich point, had for some time been quivering with intense appreciation of Spider's rascally shrewdness, and just here gave expression to their delight in a fit of uncontrollable laughter, and exclamations of approval.

               Gondomah, elated beyond measure, paused long enough to regain his composure, and then went on.

               "So den people dey gie Spider all de cow. Dey wait tay (until) he done get far 'way, dey begin fo' call de dog. Jus' de Lion wake he open he yi, he 'tretch hese'f, he raise he tail, take um put um 'pon he back. He jus' grip one of de Foulah people, he kill um; de odder all run go. Spider he done get de cow.

               "So ef Spider tell yo' say he go do anyt'ing, no deny. [2]

               Sobah, a little jealous of the attention that had been paid to this upstart story-teller, had been searching in the vast storehouse of his memory for a fitting tale with which to bring himself again into favorable notice. The one which came to his mind caused a broad smile to spread over his face, and a chuckle of satisfaction to rise in his throat. Oleemah, noticing these signs of pleasure, and suspecting that they foreshadowed a good story, asked encouragingly:

               "Wey t'ing make yo' gladee so? Do, yah? tell we."

               Not needing further urging, Sobah launched into his narrative with much animation.



[1] "Done use me too much," i.e. He is too accustomed to me.

[2] "No deny," i.e. Do not doubt his ability.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Mr Spider a Clever Trader
Tale Author/Editor: Cronise, Florence M. & Ward, Henry W.
Book Title: Cunnie Rabbit, Mr. Spider and the Other Beef: West African Folk Tales
Book Author/Editor: Cronise, Florence M. & Ward, Henry W.
Publisher: E. P. Dutton & Co.
Publication City: New York
Year of Publication: 1903
Country of Origin: Sierra Leone
Classification: unclassified

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