THE STORIES in this collection were recorded from the lips of over sixty negro story-tellers in the remote country districts of Jamaica during two visits to the island in the summer of 1919 and the winter of 1921. The role of Anansi, the trickster spider, is akin to the Native American Coyote and the (Southern African) Bantu Hare.
Herein you will find 149 Anansi tales and a further 18 Witticisms. The stories are categorised into ANIMAL STORIES, OLD STORIES (CHIEFLY OF SORCERY), DANCE AND SONG and WITTICISMS. You will find stories as varied in title and content as "THE FISH-BASKET", "THE STORM", "THE KING'S TWO DAUGHTERS", "THE GUB-GUB PEAS", "SIMON TOOTOOS", "THE TREE-WIFE" and many, many more unique tales.
In some instances, Martha Warren Beckwith was able to record musical notation to accompany the stories. As such you will find these scattered throughout the book. In this way the original style of the story-telling, which in some instances mingles story, song and dance, is as nearly as possible preserved.
Two influences have dominated story-telling in Jamaica, the first an absorbing interest in the magical effect of song which far surpasses that in the action of the story; the second, the conception of the spider Anansi as the trickster hero among a group of animal figures. "Anansi stories" regularly form the entertainment during wake-nights, and it is difficult not to believe that the vividness with which these animal actors take part in the story springs from the idea that they really represent the dead in the underworld whose spirits have the power, according to the native belief, of taking animal form. In the local culture, magic songs are often used in communicating with the dead, and the obeah-man who sets a ghost upon an enemy often sends it in the form of some animal; hence there are animals which must be carefully handled lest they be something other than they appear. The importance of animal stories is further illustrated by the fact that animal stories form the greater part of this volume.
33% of the net profit from the sale of this book will be donated to SENTEBALE, a charity supporting children orphaned by AIDS in Lesotho, Africa.
For Ages: 1 - 17 years old
Number Of Pages: 342
Published: 3rd June 2014