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 Secures a Powerful Witch Medicine

"WELL, Spider bin to heen facki (village), he en Cunnie Rabbit. One day dey go to Freetown. Spider buy gun en powder. Well, dah tem all dem beef dey no know 'bout gun en powder. Dey all bin lib nah town lek pusson; dey lib inside ho'se, all beef (animals) get heen (their) yown. Den ho'se wey dey get, den plenty. Well, w'en Spider come nah evenin' tem, he holler loud, he say he get witch med'cin' fo kill dem people wey get witch. He say: 'Nobody fo' come out all dis net, because de med'cin' go walk all 'bout dis town', he say: 'I no bizzen, oh, ef he go kill anybody.' [1]

               "All dem people den 'gree, den say: 'Oh, Daddy, make dat t'ing wey yo' talk true, make de witch people finis' nah dis town, because dey plenty, oh!'

               "So Spider, w'en net come, he load he gun, he ram um. W'en all de town silence he come out, he bootoo (crouched) nah Deer he do'-mout', because Deer he stupid pass (beyond) all beef. Spider done ready wid he gun. Well, Deer open de do' fo' come outside, Spider shoot he gun, 'b-o-o-m!' De noise he loud; Deer fa' down, he done die. Spider he run, he go inside ho'se, he lock de do', he holler, he say:

               "'Hay-ee, hay-ee! Oonah (you) see wey I bin tell yo' 'bout de witch wey bin inside dis town? Mr. Deer hese'f get witch.'

               "W'en de beef all hearee de big, big noise, dey t'ink say dis med'cin' wey Spider bring duh fet wid witch. Den say: 'How Spider bin know? He deh inside ho'se, he do' lock; dah med'cin' get power fo' true, make he kare 'way dem witch all.'

               "Spider go tote (carry) him big, big beef, wey he kill, he kare um go nah ho'se, he cook um. De pot--de pusson wey bin lie, he say he big lek dis town Rotifunk, but me wey nebber lie, I put leelee salt make he sweet, I say he big lek Freetown, Temne country, Mende country. Spider he cook all de beef. He, he wef en he pickin yeat um all de same net. De nex' net Spider come out agin, he go to Mr. Elephan', he go watch to de do' wid he gun; he put two-tem as much inside he gun as wey he bin put yesterday. Aintee yo' know Elephan' big?

               "So w'en Elephan' jus' peep, he wan' fo' come out, now Mr. Spider he lay um, he shoot, gbe-gbe-e-n!! Elephan' fa' down, he done die. Spider he run go inside ho'se, he holler agin, he say de same word lek how he bin say 'bout Mr. Deer. He take de beef, he go cook um. Fo' two day, to-morrow en nex' to-morrow, nobody no hear any witch, oh! because Elephan' he big. Now dis bin hangry tem, so make Spider pull dis cunnie 'bout witch. He go nex' tem to Mr. Lepped, he say:

               "'Dah fat fellay!'(Because he kin yeat plenty animal, he rich, he skin full plenty palm-ile. [2]) 'Dah fellay deh, I go kare um to-morrow.'

               "He go sit down close Lepped he do'-mout', he cock he gun, he ready. W'en Lepped go come out nah net, Spider lay um, he shoot um de same, he run go nah ho'se, he talk de same word lek befo'. So Spider do sot-a-y (till) dem beef dey lef few, no mo'. Well, so he bin kill dem beef ebery net, ebery net. One mawnin' he go to de fa'm. Mr. Cunnie Rabbit come now, he see dat Spider he absen', so he go inside he ho'se, he say: 'Make I go see de med'cin' wey Spider get fo' kill all we people;' he say, 'Nar witch pusson he duh kill.' He peep, he see gun, he look one side, he see bag hang wid powder inside, en all t'ing, he kare um go home to he yown ho'se.

               "W'en Spider come home, he look, he no see anyt'ing, he say: 'Ah, m-o-nay! Mese'f done los'.'

               "Evenin' tem Spider lay down, but he no able fo' sleep. He grap (get up), he go open de do', he run out. Well, Cunnie Rabbit done ready fo' shoot, but too much eagerness, he miss Spider; de gun shoot odder way. Spider holler, he say: 'What pusson shoot deh so?' Cunnie Rabbit answer, he say:

               "'Yo' say yo' duh drive 'way witch, en behole yo' bin shoot all we people.'

               "Spider say: 'Ah, shut mout' one tem! Make we be one word, we two be cumpin (companions).' So de Cunnie Rabbit he 'gree.

               "W'en dem beef dey see de witch med'cin' wan' fo' kill dem all, dey all scatter, go nah bush. So Spider make dem beef no duh lib nah town, dey all duh scatter nah bush tay to-day."

               This story only whetted Konah's appetite, and so she insisted on hearing another one at once.

               "Ah, yo' humbug too much," protested Mamenah, but at the same time she began to search her memory for another story. Finally she said: "Well, I tell yo' 'bout Spider en de ole ooman."



[1] 'It will not be my fault if anybody is killed.'

[2] "Palm-ile" is the general term meaning fat or oil of any kind.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Mr Spider Secures a Powerful Witch Medicine
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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