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 One Was Most Greedy

"T'REE man bin deh. Dey go far up country wey dey nar 'tranger to de king en de people. Dey all t'ree greedy too much, en because 'Tuckmah' mean say greedy pusson, pusson wey get sweet-mout', dis make all man duh call de one Tuckmahkodinay, de odder Tuckmahfongkah, en de las' one Tuckmahtontoun. W'en dey reach net tem to one big town, den go to de king heen (his) ho'se. Dey tell de king 'How do?' dey say: 'We nar 'tranger, we duh come out far country, make we sit down dis net to yo' town.'

               "De king ax um plenty question: which side dey come out; how de ress 'tan', ef he plenty; ef dey bin see war boy w'en dey pass. Dey tell de king all t'ing wey dey bin see, en he gladee fo' de word wey dey talk; he gie dem one cow. Fo' few day dey sit down to dis king him town. Soon one mawnin' dey dribe de cow befo', dey walker tay dey reach to one leelee fa'm-ho'se; nobody no deh. Tuckmahkodinay he say: 'Make we kill de cow, make we yeat um.' Dey go inside ho'se, dey fine cutlass, en calabas', en pot, en all t'ing fo' cook, but pusson no deh. One man take de cutlass fo' cut de cow he t'roat, fo' kill um. Tuckmahkodinay say: 'Bimeby de blood go was', I go hang me mout' underneat', make me ketch de blood.'

               "De one wey hole de cutlass mistake, he cut off he cumpin (companion) him (his) head. He sorry, but wey t'ing fo' do? Nar (there are) de two man lef'. Dey cook de beef all. W'en dey finis' cook Tuckmahtontoun tell Tuckmahfongkah, he say: 'Go get wattah, make we yeat.'

               "Deep well bin deh, he no far off, so Tuckmahfongkah say: 'Bimeby Tuckmahtontoun go yeat all de beef w'en I turn me back, make I mus' walk wid me back' (backwards).

               "So he duh do, but befo' he kin t'ink say he reach to de well, he fa' over inside, he die. Tuckmahtontoun he see say he cumpin no come back, he say: 'Wey t'ing do Tuckmahfongkah, he no duh make hase come wid de wattah, make we yeat. I t'ink I betty go mese'f.' He go, he meet Tuckmahfongkah done die. Hese'f de one man lef'. He take de calabas', he full um, he hase (raise) um put um 'pon he head, he turn back come agin to wey he done cook. Befo' he reach close he see Fileentambo (Gazelle), he holler: 'Oh yah! Dah beef duh t'ief me sweet yeat (meat) wey I done cook. Ah, m-o-nay! I duh get trouble to-day.'

               "He put down de wattah, he run, he call: 'Hah, hah!'

               "Jus' de beef hearee dis he turn quick, he see de man, he scare; he wan' fo' run, he foot slip, go inside de boilin' pot. He pull um quick, he run, he run. De man say de beef done kare all de sweetness, he greedy um de leelee bit wey he kare 'pon he foot, so he run aftah um, he run, sotay (till) he ketch um. W'en he wan' fo' lick de Fileentambo heen foot, dah foot wey bin inside de pot, Fileentambo he kick de man, bus' (burst) he t'roat. Tuckmahtontoun fa' down one tem, he die.

               "Dem t'ree pusson deh, which one get sweet-mout' pass? Oonah (you) fo' judge."

               Sobah was satisfied that his hill was a difficult one to climb; and, without waiting to hear the opinions that might be advanced, he turned his attention to replenishing the fire which had burned low.

               The rain continued steadily outside, and a generous share of it found its way through the thatch. Darkness, thick and impenetrable, enveloped the hut. Inside, the fire, now blazing afresh, lit up the dusky faces and cast weird shadows upon the blackened mud walls. The air was thick with smoke and reeking with odors, but no one heeded that. These were big, overgrown children, bent on an entire night's amusement and entertainment in the most refined form they knew; and, like all children, they must enjoy their game in spite of discomforts, perhaps even enjoy it the more because of the discomforts.

               Soree felt that he was expected to furnish the next story, but some delicate inner sense told him that they had had enough mental nuts to crack, and so he considerately turned to stories of a more fanciful and entertaining type.

               "Yo' know dah story 'bout Mr. Spider en Mr. Lepped?" he asked to gain time to collect his thoughts. They had heard similar stories, but were just as eager to hear this one. After scratching his head thoughtfully a few minutes, Soree cleared his throat as a signal that he was ready to begin.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Which One Was Most Greedy
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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