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.

Mr Spider "Pulls" a Supply of Meat

"DE FROG he leelee beef. One tem he duh go walker. He meet one cow wey belong to de king. Well, dis cow, pusson kin kare um ebery mawnin' fo' go yeat, tie um nah one place (pasture). Well, ef yo' meet dis cow, en yo' say: 'Cow open!' he kin open he mout', he kin swallow yo'.

               "Well, ebery mawnin' de Frog kin go wid leelee knef en bucket, he tell de cow: 'Open!' De cow kin open he mout', de Frog joomp inside, en de cow swallow um. De cow fat, en de Frog nebber hurt de cow w'en he cut dis plenty fat, but he no fo' cut one place, de heart; even ef de fat plenty deh, he no fo' cut um. Ef he cut um de cow fa' down de same place, he die. Aintee de life deh to de heart? Aftah de Frog done cut de fat, he come back to de mout', he say: 'Cow open!' De cow open he mout', de Frog come out, he go home, he cook. Aftah he finis' cook, he call Spider come yeat. Aftah dey done yeat, w'en Spider feel de sweetness, he say:

               "'W-y-ee, fren'! Which side yo' go get dis beef yeah?'

               "De Frog say: 'I bin go tell yo', but w'en yo' fine anyt'ing sweet fo' yeat, yo' nebber slack fo' go aftah de same t'ing. Yo' nebber say, "Make I wait," so ef I tell yo', yo' go kill pusson cow, en I no able de palaver. I know yo', yo' get big yi.'

               "Spider say: 'No, fren', I no go do so.'

               "Well, de Frog tell um say. 'All ret, mus' come to-morrow mawnin', early in de mawnin'.'

               "Spider say: 'All ret.' He no sleep; middle de net he get up, he go to de Frog heen do', he say:

               "'Brah, (Brother,) day done broke.'

               "De frog come out, he say: 'No, day no broke, do' no clean; wait leelee bit mo'.'

               "Spider go lay down fo' few minute, den he get up, he too eager. He go to de Frog heen do'-mout', he make noise lek fowl kin make w'en day wan' break: 'Kokooriko-o-o!' Den he knock. 'Kong, kong!' He say: 'Brah, day done broke.'

               "De Frog say: 'Ah, no! Yo' see yo' yown trick; not yet.'

               "Spider go fo' few minute, he come ag'in, he holler lek one bird. Day kin done begin fo' break, yo' see leelee clear befo' dis bird make noise: 'Dew, dew, dew, dew!'

               "Spider say: 'Brah, day done broke.'

               "De Frog come out, he say: 'Lef me! Now so yo' trick 'tan.' He say: 'Ef yo' humbug me again, I no go kare yo', I go me one (alone).'

               "Well, Spider go lay down soffle tay (till) day done broke. Now de frog go call um. W'en Spider come he take he bly (basket), he follow de Frog. Dey jus' go tief de grease. Ef de king know, now great trouble come 'pon dem, dey no get permission fo' do dis t'ing. W'en dey done go inside, dey begin fo' cut.

               "De Frog he tell Spider, he say: 'Yo' see dah place deh?'--he mean de heart--'I no care ef plenty rich palm-ile deh, no venture fo' cut deh. De minute yo' touch deh wid knef, de Cow go die.'

               "Spider say: 'All ret.' Spider full heen bly, den Frog full heen bowl, dey go. But w'en dey wan' fo' come out, dey fo' say to de Cow: 'Open.' W'en dey reach home, de Frog tell Spider: 'To-morrow no come, make we slack fo' to-morrow.'

               "Spider say: 'All ret'; he go home. He en he wef en he pickin dey cook all, dey yeat all.

               "Well, aftah dey done yeat, Spider go, he plant (plait) plenty bly, two tem as big as de fus'. Mawnin' early he get up, he gie all heen pickin dem bly, he say: 'Come, oh, go.'

               "De Frog bin tell um not to go to-morrow, but he no hearee; he go, he say: 'Cow open!' De Cow stupid, he open, he swallow Spider wid all heen pickin. Dey cut, dey full all de bly, dey go home, dey cook, dey yeat. Dis Frog he no know say Spider bin go deh. Ebery mawnin' now so Spider duh do. W'en dey cut de grease one day, de nex' mawnin' dey meet mo' come, but he nebber plenty lek de fus'. One tem Spider no kare none of heen pickin, he one, no mo', go. He see plenty big, big grease, big, big fat deh to de heart. He no believe de word Frog bin talk, he get too big yi. He cut de heart. Jus' he cut um de Cow fa' down one tem. Spider come, he say: 'Cow open.' Cow no able open, because he done die. Spider he no know how fo' do. Pusson come evenin' tem fo' de Cow. Den meet he done die, den 'plit um, dey call de pickin, den gie um de inside part fo' was'. Dey kare um nah wattah-side, dey was' de heart, de inside part all. Because Spider leelee, dey no see w'en he joomp 'pon top de bridge. He call, he tell de pickin, say:

               "'Look how oonah (you) hebe (throw) dirty 'pon me w'en yo' duh was' deh.'

               "Dem pickin begin fo' beg um, dey say: 'Daddy, do yah, do yah! No do we not'ing, we no know, we mistake.'

               "Spider say: 'I no 'gree.'

               "He go nah town to de king, he go lay dis complain'. W'en he done tell de king all how de pickin do um, de king cut de cow he foot, all de bigness of he foot, [1] he wan' gie um to Spider.

               "Spider say: 'I no wan' dis foolish t'ing yeah.'

               "Dem cut de han', dem lay um 'pon de foot. Spider no 'gree. Las' dey take de head, lay um 'pon top. Spider kin 'trong fo' yeat, he lazy fo' wuk. I no care ef anyt'ing fo' yeat how he big, he kin take um, but ef yo' gie um one grain ress fo' tote (carry), he no able um, he heaby. But how de yeat may big, ef cow yo' gie um, he go hase um go. Spider take all dis beef, he tote (carry) um go. W'en he reach middle de road, he see 'tranger duh come, he call quick fo' he'p. He 'krape de groun' leelee bit, he dig one hole, en he set de cow him head inside de hole; but he no put all, so dat ef pusson draw um, he no go be hard fo' pull um deh. He tie rope to de horn, en he do lek say he duh draw. So w'en he duh do dis, he see dah people duh come yandah wid plenty cow. W'en dey reach close um, he tell um, say:

               "'Oonah come, oonah come quick! De king heen cow wan' fo' go inside hole.'

               "He put heen han' 'pon de head, he do lek he duh draw, he say:

               "'Come, he'p me; make we pull de king heen cow f'om dis hole.'

               "So de 'tranger all come, dey begin fo' go take de rope, en w'en dey draw, de cow head bin lef' nah dem han'. Spider make lek he vex 'pon um, he say:

               "'Yo, oh! Oonah done cut off de cow heen head. All ret, oonah take um, oonah bring odder cow. Ef de king hear jus' now dat oonah kill de cow (because nar de king life oonah take 'way so), de treatment oonah go get f'om de king, I no able fo' 'spress um.'

               "Dis cow wey Spider done kill bin sacred cow, now he 'tan' fo' de life of de king. Ef anybody kill de cow, now de king life he cut off. Dey done pull sacrifice to dis cow.

               "Dem 'tranger den 'fraid fo' true. Dey gie Spider one big cow, dey yown cow wey dey bin bring. Spider say:

               "'Now dis one cow oonah gie fo' dis sacred cow? I no wan'.'

               "Dem people no know how fo' do, den duh trimble wid fear. Now, dey take odder large cow, dey gie Spider all two; he refuse. He get big yi, he say he no wan', he jus' only wan' fo' go 'port dem to de king. Dem people beg, dey ketch odder cow agin, dey gie Spider de t'ree cow. He say: 'All ret, oonah go.'

               "W'en dey done go, Spider take all heen plenty beef, he go. He done rich by heen cunnie."

               Soree was trying hard to recall a suitable story to follow the one just ended, but at that very moment a fowl began to crow. "Dah fowl craze," exclaimed Oleemah, thinking it impossible that morning was at hand, and with that he arose and thrust his head out of the window.

               "Nar true word dah fowl duh talk," he admitted, as he saw the first signs of approaching dawn. The clouds had thinned, the rain had almost ceased, and in consequence the dense darkness was breaking away.

               Reminded by these signs that life is not all fiction, Oleemah turned to the door and strode away to his hut. His movements broke the spell that had so long held the company, and soon all had scattered to their several huts, feeling that the night had been well spent.



[1] "De bigness of he foot," i. e. leg. In the dialect the foot and hand may include the leg and arm, there being no distinctive terms for each.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Mr Spider "Pulls" a Supply of Meat
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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