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.

Man Who Could Not Keep Secrets, The

ALL were ready enough to listen, so the story proceeded:

               "One huntin' man bin shoot de elephan' plenty, he bin kill um, but Elephan' kin turn anyt'ing, he kin turn pusson, beef, (animal) anyt'ing. So one day Elephan' he turn one fine girl, en he come to dis huntin' man yeah. W'en de man see dis fine girl, he drive heen wef, he say: 'Yo' mus' go nah kitchen, go cook.' He no wan' make heen wef hear w'en he en dis girl duh talk.

               "De girl come ax de man, say: 'How yo' kin manage fo' kill de Elephan'?'

               "De man answer, say: 'Look dah gun, he en de bow en arrow wey bin nah co'ner. I take um; I load um, w'en I see de Elephan' I shoot um, ding!'

               "Well, de ooman say: 'Ef yo' no get de Elephan'?'

               "Den de man say: 'I kin turn to dry 'tick (dead tree), make de Elephan' no see me.'

               "Den de girl say: 'But ef de Elephan' mas' (smash) de dry 'tick?'

               "Den he tell um say, he kin turn bug-a-bug (ant) hill.

               "Den de ooman say: 'Well, ef de Elephan' mas', mas' de bug-a-bug hill? Wey t'ing yo' go do nex'?'

               "Well, de wef come nah co'ner, he duh listen w'en dis man tell all him secret. Jus' he wan' tell de girl de las' fing lef', den de wef holler 'pon um, say:

               "'Yo'! Yo' tell all de word inside yo'?'

               "So he no tell de las' t'ing.

               "Den dis ooman go, he turn Elephan' agin.

               "De nex' day de man grap (get up), he say he go hunt; he meet dis same ooman done turn Elephan', 'tan' up inside de bush. So he fire. He miss de Elephan', so he turn dry 'tick, lek how he kin do make Elephan' no see um. De Elephan' come mas' de dry 'tick, so he turn bug-a-bug hill. De Elephan' he mas' de bug-a-bug hill. Well, now de las' t'ing lef' wey de man no bin talk. He grap, he go fa' down inside wattah, he turn dat t'ing wey turn fas', fas' 'pon top de wattah. He loss f'om Elephan', but he bin broke, broke all he bone w'en de Elephan' mas' um. F'om dah tem he no come home fo' two day, so heen people go fine um, dey tote (carry) um, bring um nah town. F'om dah tem he no able go huntin' tay (till) he die.

               "So ef ooman come to yo', no tell um all de word wey yo' get inside yo' heart; sometem now debble go turn ooman, sometem now Elephan' turn ooman, sometem now snake; yo' no know.

               "En no man no fo' do bad to heen wef, because widout heen wef, he bin tell de las' t'ing wey fo' do, make Elephan' no kill um."

               "Well," said Sobah, after finishing his story, and noticing that the showers had entirely ceased, "sun duh shine," and with that he arose and walked away with the air of one who knows that he has acquitted himself with credit in the eyes of his fellowmen.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Man Who Could Not Keep Secrets, The
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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