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 Gets into Trouble Again

"ONE ole ooman get one sheep. Because dis ooman ole, he no able fo' walker, so he say he go gie de sheep to any pusson wey go tote (carry) um. So de news go all 'roun de country. People come, dey look de ooman good fashion, but de heart no gie dem fo' take de wuk. So w'en Spider hear dat, he go to de place, he ax de ooman fo' de wuk. De ooman he tell um all t'ing, en Spider he 'gree fo' take de job. He take de sheep f'om de ooman, he kill um, he yeat um, he say he go tote (carry) de ooman any way wey de ooman wan' fo' go. But Spider he no know say dat sometem de ooman he han' long, sometem he short, same way wid he foot. He able fo' make dem any way wey he lek. W'en he han' long good fashion, he 'tan' lek one ole palm-tree fo' long; same way wid he foot. So w'en Spider done kill dis sheep, w'en he done yeat um, de ooman tell um say:

               "'I wan' fo' go nah one odder town, make yo' come tote me.'

               "W'en Spider hase (raise) de ooman, put um 'pon he back, de ooman make all he han' en he foot long, he wrap Spider two, t'ree tem, four tem. Spider no know how fo' do agin, en he no able fo' run 'way; de ooman done hole um so he no able fo' lef um. But Spider he cunnie, he nebber lef nah (in) trouble. W'en dey done go far nah road, he ax de ooman, he say:

               "'Wey t'ing yo' 'fraid pass (beyond) all t'ing dis wuld?'

               "De ooman say: 'De t'ing I 'fraid pass all, bin dem Manekky, [1] dem cut-nose people.'

               "So w'en dey go nah road, w'en he tote de ooman, he hearee den woodcock wey duh talk: 'Wah, wah, wah!', so he say:

               "'Look, Mammy, dem Manekky people duh come.'

               "De ooman 'fraid bad, he say: 'Kare me go, hide me! Make dem pass befo' we go.'

               "So Spider he lef' de road, he tote de ooman inside de bush, he kare um bottom one big 'tick (foot of a tree). Now de ooman come down f'om he back. Spider tell de ooman, say:

               "'Make I go look ef dey done pass.'

               "So w'en Spider go, he no go to de ooman agin, he jus' laugh de ooman, he go. He no come agin bottom de 'tick fo' look de ooman.

               "W'en 'bout eight moon done pass, Spider en he fren' wey he wan' make he wef, dey duh walker nah de same road. Spider wan' fo' do trick fo' make dis girl laugh, he say:

               "'Wait me nah road, I go come.'

               "So he go to dis place wey he lef' dis ooman; de ooman done die long tem. W'en he wan' bootoo (stoop over) fo' make he take de ooman he dry head (skull), fo' make he go scare he fren', de dry head jus' joomp one tem, he fashin 'pon he nose. Well, he try fo' pull dis dry head 'pon top he nose, but he no able. De girl wey lef' nah road, he call um t-a-y, but Spider shame fo' come wey de girl kin look um. W'en he try, try agin long tem fo' pull de dry head, he no able, so he come out nah de road wid de dry head 'pon top he nose. W'en de ooman see um, he 'fraid bad. F'om dat tem he say he no wan' Spider agin.

               "Spider try fo' pull dis t'ing 'pon top he nose, he no wan' kare um go nah town; he shame, bimeby people go see um, but de dry head too 'trong, Spider mus' kare um go nah town. He go to de blacksmit', en de blacksmit' go take hot iron, he pull de dry head 'pon top he nose.

               "So ef yo' wan' take any wuk f'om pusson, yo' mus' look de pusson good, en make yo' know de wuk wey yo' wan' do, ef yo' able fo' do um. Bimeby ef yo' begin do de wuk, yo' lefum, yo' wan' do rascal trick, yo' get trouble lek Spider."

               As Mamenah finished the story, a flock of over zealous birds swooped down upon the rice-field, intent upon securing an early evening meal, but the woman, keeping a vigilant eye in that direction, started up with the cry:

               "Eh! lookee, see dem bird. Come make we dribe um."

               Much shouting, shaking of rattles and hurling of stones soon frightened away the birds. Mamenah grumbled on for some time about the troublesome pillagers, but Konah fell to dreaming about Mr. Spider and the difficulty resulting from the cruel trick he played on the old woman. There was something uncanny and suggestive of spirits in the way the skull had behaved. Suddenly, and as if the light of a new truth had dawned upon her, the child asked:

               "Mammy, yo' t'ink say nar true word dey bin talk w'en dey say die pusson kin walker nah wuld?"

               Mamenah looked thoughtfully into the little girl's face before making any reply. Finally she said:

               "Die man kin walker, kin dance, kin do all t'ing lek pusson. Some tem he kin come, kin go, kin make noise, but no man no able fo' see um."

               Konah was deeply interested in a being that could make itself visible or invisible at pleasure, and accordingly pushed her questions further.

               Mamenah, like a wise teacher, chose to answer all by relating a story in point.



[1] The Manekky society is a secret organization for murdering the infirm and the incurable.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Mr Spider Gets into Trouble Again
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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