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.

Which Twin Restored His Father to Life

SOREE, between whom and Sobah was springing up a good-natured rivalry, now offered a twin story that was one better--in number at least--than Sobah's.

               "Hill!" he announced.

               "How?" was the response.

               This indicates that all were ready to listen, so Soree related the following:

               "Dis man heah he get four son, dey all twin. De fadder bin huntin' man. W'en he (his) pickin (pickaninnies) leelee he go huntin'; since dat he no come back. De wef he (her) heart trouble um, because he no know wey t'ing become of he man. W'en den four boy no done full grown, dey sized boy no mo' (merely), dey ax dem mammy 'bout dem daddy en de mammy answer: 'He bin go huntin'; me no know wey t'ing bin come of um.'

               "So de las' boy, de one wey (who) make four, he say: 'I go surely know wey t'ing become of me faddah, I mus' fine um.'

               "De odder one say: 'Ef yo' fine um, I kin manage fo' make faddah; ef yo' pick (collect) all de bone I kin join um.' De odder one say 'I kin gie body'; de odder one say: 'I go gie um life.' But dey no tell de mudder w'en dey duh talk 'bout dis t'ing, dey jus' ax um which road den daddy bin take w'en he wan' fo' go hunt. De mammy say: 'Dis back road.'

               "Dem four boy dey grap (get up), dey go. Well, dey cut de way t'rough de bush, dey wandah, dey wandah far 'way nah de bush. De las' one he see one leelee road, he hole um wid all heen bruddah, he 'tan' up befo'. W'en dey go, dey go, dey go, dey meet one ribber. Jus' dey reach deh de las' one see heen fadder gun, en he meet heen dry head (skull). Now de odder t'ree boy jus' duh come, en de las' one tell um say: 'I finis' me yown part.'

               "Well, de one wey bin say he go join de bone, he dibe bottom de wattah, he meet all dem bone, he bring um all 'pon top de lan', join dem all lek pusson, en he say: 'Look, me finis' me yown part.'

               "De odder one he mix mud, he plaster um 'pon all de body, make de hair all. He take palm-leaf, he duck um inside de puttah-put, [1] he fash'n, fash'n um 'pon de mud. De blackness he duh shine, he fine de man. W'en he finis' he tell de odder twin, he say; 'Me done me yown part.'

               "De one wey pass all fo' ole (old), he get one leelee horn wey kin protec' de life, kin bring life back. One country-fashion man make de horn, but not fo' dis purpose, he make um w'en de four twin leelee, fo' protec' dem, so nobody no go kill de baby. So dis boy go to de fadder to he nose, he put de horn deh, he blow inside de horn. De fadder sneeze, he grap, he take heen gun, he go home. Heen wef bin cry, he t'ink say somet'ing happen to heen pickin, dey all done die, because since early mornin' dey bin go 'way tay late nah evenin'. Jus' he look he see he man come nah road. De cry turn to laugh, great joy.

               "Well, now dem four boy yeah, which one make dem get fadder?"

               Soree allowed the argument to run on for a time, and noticing with deep satisfaction that opinions were hopelessly divided, closed the matter by saying with a touch of triumph in his tone: 'Nar dis de question dey duh argue tay (till) to-day. Yo' no able um.'

               Sobah felt that his first story had not won him as much credit as he deserved, and so was constrained to offer another.



[1] Puttah-puttah, i.e. black mud deposited upon the banks of rivers or pools.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Which Twin Restored His Father to Life
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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