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.

Case of Tit For Tat, A

IN THE interval that followed Gondomah's story, a little diversion occurred. Two of the boys had been tantalizing each other, and matters had reached such a pitch that one spoke slightingly of the other's "daddy," and the other retorted by making a loud sucking noise through his teeth, an insult no Temne lad would allow to go unpunished, therefore a fight ensued.

               "Yo' curse me daddy, I conk (strike) yo'," and the blow came promptly.

               "Yo' suck teet' 'pon me?" and the counter blow was equally prompt. The battle promised to be prolonged to an extent that would interfere with the story-telling, so a man near by sent the boys flying to opposite corners of the room.

               When quiet reigned once more, Sobah began the story he was preparing to relate when the fight started.

               "Now Spider he get he village, but he no sleep deh, he sleep nah he fa'm-ho'se. One day he go set trap, he ketch dah Lepped he pickin (pickaninny), en he come yeat um. De Lepped no bin deh w'en Spider kare de pickin go. W'en Lepped come, he cry nah de bush fo' he pickin. Now de same tem, Spider call he cumpin (companion), 'Come go play, come go play.' W'en de Lepped hearee um he lef fo' cry, he silence, he come close de fa'm-ho'se. De Spider no know Lepped deh, he jus' duh talk, say: 'We yeat fine t'ing, to-day, de t'ing mark, mark. He favor dah pusson wey duh cry nah bush yandah; dah pusson heen pickin we yeat.'

               "De Lepped done hearee um, but Spider no know. He duh talk tay de t'ing come close um. Jus' he see um he run, he go inside de fa'm-ho'se, he de only one deh inside. Now he make fiah, he take dem pot, dem kettle, en all dem t'ing wey (which) pusson get inside ho'se, dem t'ing wey duh soun'. He beat dem all fo' make big noise: he holler fo' make de Lepped go say: 'Dey plenty inside de fa'm-ho'se. Now Spider heen wef en heen t'ree pickin come open de do' fo' come inside. Dis de tem de Lepped follow come inside. W'en 'fraid ketch Spider en he famble dey all klim, dey lef' de Lepped sit down nah groun'. W'en he done 'tay leelee bit, one pickin wey (who) pass dem all fo' young, he say he done tire fo' hang. Now de daddy say: 'Fa' down make Lepped yeat yo'.'

               "Now he fa' down, en de Lepped yeat um.

               "Now de nex' one say, hese'f done tire.

               "Daddy Spider say: 'Fa' down, now,' en he fa' down, en de Lepped yeat um.

               "Now de odder pickin say he done tire, but dah pickin ole pass de odder two, he 'trong leelee bit; dah make Spider say: 'Change yo' han'.'

               "Now he change he han' fo' some tem, den he say: 'I done tire,' en he fa' down, en Lepped yeat um.

               "At las' de wef Nahker, he say he done tire, en Spider say: 'Yo' wey big so? Fa' down, now, yo' go get de trouble.'

               "Nahker fa' down, Lepped yeat um. Spider he one lef' hang. W'en he done tire he take leelee condah (bark) wey bin deh 'pon dah 'tick wey Spider hang, he hebe (throw) um to dah Lepped down. Now de Lepped grip de condah, he mean say he hole Spider. W'en he duh fet wid de condah (bark) Spider come down soffle, he run, he go hide. Pusson nebber able ketch Spider, because he cunnie."

               Mr. Spider's ability to get himself out of the most serious difficulty, was fast bringing him back to the position of popular favorite. It was not at all to his discredit that he did not risk his life to save his wife and children. Soree, who had been biding his time, seized the favorable opportunity to complete the supremacy of Mr. Spider, and without preliminaries plunged into his story.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Case of Tit For Tat, A
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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