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.

Dr Spider's Fatal Prescriptions

"ONE tem Lepped get t'ree pickin, en heen pickin dey sick, so he duh walker all 'roun' de country fo' look fo' doctah. Den Spider grap (get up), he tell Lepped say, he say: 'Now me one big, big doctah. Ef yo' gie me yo' pickin, I go make dem all well.'

               "So Lepped call de pickin, en he gie um to Spider wid fine present. Spider take de pickin, en he kare um inside one fench wey he build, fo' doctah um. He tell Lepped say, he say: 'Make nobody no come inside heah, en yo'se'f no mus' come inside heah.'

               "So Spider dig one long hole f'om he yown home to dah place wey he duh doctah dem pickin. W'en he done kare dem pickin inside, he run t'rou' dis hole, en he go to heen ho'se. He call he yown pickin, he say, make dem bring pot, en ress, en palm-ile, en salt, en peppy. So w'en heen pickin done bring all dis, Spider grip Lepped heen pickin, en he kill dem. He make de pickin cook plenty ress, en he yeat dem all, he en him pickin, but he tell him pickin, make dem no yeat dem bone.

               "So aftah one moon, Spider go out to Lepped, he say: 'I ready fo' pull yo' pickin now, dey done well. But w'en I duh pull dem pickin, I go tie rope 'pon dem, make yo'se'f draw dem out.'

               "So Spider hese'f he go pass t'rou' dis hole heah, he go nah he yown home. Den he gie signal to Lepped fo' make he draw he pickin out; but w'en Lepped draw, he see soso (merely) bone, en he fa' down yandah fo' cry.

               "W'en do' clean, Lepped take hese'f, he put hese'f inside one hamper, en he put coal [1] 'pon hese'f, en he call heen servant, en he tell heen servant, say: 'Tie me good fashion wid dis cord, en kare me to Spider, en tell um, say: 'Now me sen' coal fo' um,' fo' Spider was a blacksmit' at dis tem now.

               "So heen servant take de hamper, en he kare um go to Spider, en he tell um say: 'Daddy Lepped say: "Make I bring dis coal fo' yo'."'

               "But Spider look de coal, he see Lepped lay down bottom, he tell he servant say: 'All ret.'

               "So Spider take one iron, he put um nah fiah, en de iron red hot. He say: 'Make I try dis coal, ef now good coal dis.'

               "So he take dis iron, en he chook um t'rou' dis hamper. Den Lepped holler, en he kill Lepped deh, en make big dinnah fo' hese'f en he pickin."

               There was again a note of triumph in Soree's voice as he recited these tragic events, for certainly as Mr. Leopard had been disposed of, Sobah could not produce him alive again in order to make another story.

               It was far past midnight, and there were signs of weariness on the part of the younger members, but there was no thought of breaking up the gathering. In fact they had been enjoying themselves so genuinely, that they were scarcely aware of the passage of time.

               Sobah arose, placed fresh wood on the fire, causing it to emit a heavy smoke; then squatting down again on the floor he began to relate another of Mr. Spider's many exploits.



[1] The coal referred to is charcoal. The natives know nothing of the natural product.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Dr Spider's Fatal Prescriptions
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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