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.

Devil Turns Pigeon, The

"ONE big debble ho'se bin close by one town. Dem debble wey bin deh, dem bad. Dey say: 'Make nobody no fo' set trap inside de bush.' So one 'tranger come to de town. All man tell um say: 'No fo' set trap inside dah bush (forest),' but he deny; he make 'tronger head, he say he mus' set trap deh. So he go make trap. W'en he set dis trap inside de bush, soon one pigeon go inside de trap. Dis bird nar debble wey bin turn bird en go inside de trap. De bird begin cry, he say: 'Daddy, come loose me.'

               "So de 'tranger go loose de pigeon, he put um one side. De pigeon cry agin, he say: 'Daddy, kare me go nah ho'se. (De pigeon duh say so).'

               "So de man take de pigeon, he kare um go nah ho'se.

               "De pigeon cry: 'Daddy, kill me one tem.'

               "W'en de man done kill um, he say: 'Daddy, pull de fedder 'pon me.'

               "W'en de man done pull de fedder, de pigeon say: 'Clean me.'

               "W'en he done clean um, de pigeon say: 'Put pot nah fiah.'

               "W'en he done put de pot, de pigeon say: 'Cut, cut me.'

               "W'en de man done cut um, he say: 'Put me nah pot, cook me one tem.'

               "Den de man cook um.

               "Now de pigeon say: 'Daddy, put salt,' en he put salt. He say put peppy, en he put peppy. So de pigeon say: 'Tase de salt, ef he go do nah de soup.' Now de pigeon say de soup done. W'en he done cole, de pigeon say: 'Pull me, make yo' yeat me.' Well, w'en de man yeat um he lef half. De pigeon say: 'Yeat me all.' He yeat all.

               "Evenin' tem de man go nah bush agin. Jus' he reach nah bush, he open he mout' fo' talk. Jus' he open um de bird fly f'om he mout' go 'way, en hese'f fa' down, he die. W'en de people look fo' um all inside de bush, dey no see um, de debble done kare um go.

               "So deny no good. Ef pusson tell yo' say: 'No do dis t'ing, yo' no mus' make 'tronger head."

               The dreadful consequences that might be expected to follow upon a headstrong course, Sobah set off with solemn look and awed tone; then shaking his head warningly, he concluded with the proverb: "Ef yo' wan' yeat out de debble he yown bowl, make yo' get 'poon wid long handle."

               The story echoed a feeling of universal childhood, the undefined dread of some mysterious visitation upon disobedience and kindred sins that finds expression in the goblin stories of all tongues.

               Konah felt it keenly, being impressed as much by the solemn manner of the recital, as by the matter of the story.

               The older ones too, being but grown up children, were filled with much of the same vague awe, but years had dulled the keenness of their spiritual sensibilities. After some desultory talk on less serious matters, the men stretched out on the floor of the hut, and were soon asleep.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Devil Turns Pigeon, The
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

Back to Top