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 Turtle Makes a Riding-Horse of Mr Leopard

"ONE day Trorkey (Turtle) bin walker close to Lepped he ho'se (house), en he see de ooman lepped 'tan' up nah de do'-(door) mout'. He tell um say:

               "'How do, Mammy? How yo' kin 'tan'?'

               "De Mammy answer um: 'Tankee, I well leelee bit, how yo'se'f, Daddy? I no bin see yo' long tem.'

               "Trorkey answer um: 'I no so well, Mammy; dis de hour w'en feber duh walker all 'bout, en me skin all duh hurt. I duh go to de bush fo' pull med'cin', fo' make leelee tea. Which side Mr. Lepped to-day?'

               "He wef answer: 'He done go walker; I duh wait um jus' now. Yo' no bin see um nah road?'

               "Trorkey say: 'No, I no bin see um. I sorry he done go, because ef he here I go ride um lek hoss.'

               "Lepped he wef deny, he say:

               "'No, yo' won' do um, yo' no go able ride me man lek hoss.'

               "Den Trorkey go home. W'en Lepped come nah ho'se he wef tell um say:

               "'Trorkey bin pass heah to-day, he say he go ride yo' lek hoss.'

               "Well, den de man lepped vex, he run go to Trorkey, he go ax um ef he bin say he go ride um lek hoss. Trorkey deny, he say:

               "'I no say so.'

               "Den Lepped say: 'All ret. Come, we go ax me wef.'

               "Den de Trorkey say: 'I no able fo' walk. De sick too 'trong 'pon me.'

               "Dat de cunnie he duh do.

               "De Lepped say: 'Come, I go tote yo', I go ax me wef.'

               "Den de Trorkey say: 'Gie me one leelee rope, make I tie um 'roun yo' mout', make I hole um, so w'en I duh shake, shake, make I no fa' down.'

               "En de Lepped gie um de rope.

               "Well, de Trorkey say: 'Gie me one leelee 'tick, make I go flog dem fly, make I go dribe dem w'en dey duh follow we.'

               This bit of apparently artless guile on the part of Mr. Turtle, threatened to convulse the audience, but interest in the development of the story had become so intense as to check the rising tide of mirth for the present, while the story-teller went on with growing enthusiasm.

               "Well, de Lepped gie um de 'tick.'

               "Den Trorkey he say, 'Come go now.'

               "Well, w'en de Lepped done kare Trorkey go, Trorkey duh joomp, he duh flog de Lepped, he duh make lek pusson wey duh ride hoss.'

               Sobah described this little episode with inimitable drollery in tone and manner, and ended the 'wey duh ride hoss', with a peculiar nasal explosion that served to emphasize the humor of the situation. The result was instantaneous, and convulsive laughter continued many minutes, breaking out afresh every time anyone would remark: 'Aintee he flog um good fashion?' When the laughter had subsided sufficiently, the story proceeded:

               "W'en dey go meet Lepped he wef nah road, de ooman laugh en say:

               "'Oh! Nar true wey dis Trorkey bin talk, say he go ride me man lek hoss, so nar true.'

               "W'en Lepped reach, he hebe Trorkey down, den he tell he wef, he say:

               "I done bring Trorkey come, fo' de word he duh talk, say he go ride me lek hoss.'

               "He wef say: 'Wey t'ing Trorkey do so? He no ride yo' lek hoss'? en de ooman laugh agin.

               "Now Lepped see Trorkey bin make he fool; he ketch Trorkey, he tie um 'pon one big 'tick, he flog um sotay (until) he back all cut, cut. Dat make sotay to-day de mark all lef 'pon Trorkey he back."

               There was more laughter at the retribution that overtook Mr. Turtle, and then the talk drifted to personal matters.

               Finally, as if led by some common impulse, the company began to disperse, some to the solid comfort of a hard mud bed, and some to consort with the hideous spirits of darkness and the night.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Mr Turtle Makes a Riding-Horse of Mr Leopard
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: ATU 4: Sick Animals Carries the Healthy One

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