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.

New Version of Eve and the Apple, The

"FUS' tem people no bin deh nah de wuld. God say make we pull (create) one man lek we. So he pull one man en one ooman. So nar heah God's people wey he pull. He pull de garden fo' um too. He pull every t'ing fo' den yeat, but one tree he say make yo' no yeat. Satan sen' snake fo' tempt um. De snake walker up lek pusson. He say: 'God story 'pon yo'; yo' no go die; make yo' yeat de fruit.' Den de ooman go pick de plum en yeat um. Den de ooman go tell de man, he say: 'De fruit sweet, make yo' come yeat um.' Den de man come pick de plum en yeat um. Ebenin' tem God bring de light en go look fo' dem, en dey go hide under one tree. God call, dey no answer, but God fine um en say: 'Dat fruit I say make yo' no yeat, yo' bin yeat um?'

               "Dey say: 'Yes, one man come en say make we yeat um.'

               "Den God punish de people. He say ef dis ooman born pickin, de snake go bite pickin foot. Den God punish de snake. He say w'en de ooman go walker, he no see de snake, he step 'pon heen head en mas' um flat. Nar dat to Mary, Christ's mudder."

               The story seemed to Konah much like the ones she loved so well, except that it introduced characters of which she had not heard until that very day. There were questions she was burning to ask regarding the God who had been mentioned so often that day. The visitors undertook to enlighten her. They represented Him as a being who is always kind, and gentle, and helpful, a willing burden bearer for others.

               "God he get big cottah (head-pad) so he kin kare all trouble fo' we," was the striking way in which the last truth was expressed. The large cottah, or head-pad, told Konah plainly that this being was accustomed to carry excessive burdens, but that those should be carried "fo' we," she could only partly understand. Going on with his personal experience, the speaker said: "De goodness of de Lawd toward me, my mout' too narrow fo' talk. I no know how fo' 'press dis tankee of God; he done die fo' we, he get up in t'ree day, he go do good fo' we, he no fo'get we. Ef I holler it no sufficien'. Ef it outside matter, my tongue kin ring lek bell, inside it kin tangle en humbug."

               A little later the visitors withdrew, and Konah, carried by her eagerness to the very height of presumption, ventured even to make a direct and final appeal to her father, "Oh, Daddy, make we go."

               The father had not yet settled the question, so he commanded curtly: "Shut mout'."

               Morning came, and with it Sobah's decision to remove to the mission town. Konah was in ecstasy. The people of the village gathered to see the visitors off. As a special mark of friendship Sobah got under one corner of a hammock, and toted it for some distance. Konah was drawn irresistibly to the side of the woman who had put a new warmth into her heart, and a new hope into her life. Lacking the ability to communicate in words, the woman put out her hand. The girl seized it eagerly, and trotted along contentedly by the side of the hammock. Encouraged by Konah's example, other little girls came up and took hold of the hand. Then the other hand was put out, and soon there were as many little girls attached as there were fingers on the hands. They trotted along, laughing and uttering frantic little ejaculations of joy. Whenever a tree crowded too close upon the path, they would loosen their hold, bound around the obstruction, and come back with a cry. So the procession moved on until the river was reached. There the little girls reluctantly halted. Konah stood watching, filled with an intense longing, as the path turned from the further bank of the river, and she saw the last hammock disappear around the bend. Her little heart fluttered with emotion, and her whole childish being reached out from that borderland of darkness, in a mute appeal to be taken along into that warmer, richer light toward which she felt herself drawn by an irresistible attraction. Thus she stood within the shadow, waiting for the coming of the sunshine.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: New Version of Eve and the Apple, 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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