Moral Lessons in African Folktales

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AuthorHouse, Jan 14, 2011 - Fiction - 276 pages
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This book challenges us to take a cursory glance at our contemporary world, where modern man’s scientific and technological ingenuity has led him to soar thorough the galaxy and made the heavens part of his domain; and contrast that with his level of morality today. Open any newspaper or listen to the radio and television news and you can’t help but lament on the appalling moral depravity and obscene behavior of our contemporary man. With this intractable moral depravity on the ascendancy, the author nostalgically reminiscences the upright morality of yesteryears, and admonishes us to heed Plato’s philosophical advice: ‘now since men are by nature acquisitive, jealous, combative, and erotic, how shall we persuade them to behave themselves? By the policeman’s omnipresent club? {now, AK 47}. It is a brutal method, costly and irritating. There is a better way, and this is by lending to the moral requirements of the community. Throughout this book the author emphasizes the significance of proper moral education in shaping the character of children, youngsters and even adults, and reminds us: ‘morals are the rules by which society exhorts its members and associations to behavior consistent with its 'order, security and growth’ {Will & Ariel Durant}. The author noted that in traditional African societies, the wise elders, like the ancient Greek philosophers, strongly emphasized the teachability of moral values and deliberately inculcated them into their youngsters. The stories in this book are folktales filled with moral lessons that have been handed down from many generations to the present in many African countries from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroons, Liberia, the Gambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania to Zimbabwe. The traditional African elders successfully utilized these folktales to socialize their youngsters to the moral requirements of their society to insure stability, harmonious relations, order, security and growth.
 

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Contents

The Hungry Little Boy
1
The Narrow and Straight Paths
6
The Ant and the Grasshoppers Friendship
9
The Antics of the Sick Lion
11
The Race Between the Dog and the Tortoise
14
The Princess who Married the Python
17
The Princess who Married the Evil Spirit
21
The Dog who Saved His Owners Life
23
Chief Elavonga and the Elephant
126
The Intelligent but Deceitful Rabbit
128
The Warrior Hunter and the Lion
132
How Evil and Wicked People Came into the World
134
Gods Challenge to Wise People
141
The Rabbit Gets a Short Tail
149
Why the Hawk Preys on Chickens
150
The Fate of the Deceitful Tortoise
152

A Reward for the Benevolent Hunter
28
The Wicked Stepmother
30
The Price of Jealousy Version One
32
The Price of Jealousy Version Two
37
The Silly Blind Man
40
Anansi Challenges the Powerful King
43
Anansi and Friends at the Village of Plenty
49
Singing to God for Rains
54
Anansi and the Squirrel in Court
57
The Ungrateful Hunter
60
The Deceitful Fox
65
The Married Woman with Two Lovers
68
How Anansi Survived the Great Famine
72
Help from Above
78
The Evil King who Destroyed Himself
81
Hot Beans in Anansis Hat
91
Why Lizards Nod Their Heads
93
The Tortoises Display of Intelligence
96
The Tortoise at His Tricks Again
102
The Elephants Abuse of the Little Ants
105
The Funny Friendship of the Tortoise and the Sheep
108
Animals in the Midst of Famine
110
Tamba and Takwes Ordeal
117
Why the Tortoise Has a Rugged Back
121
Women Once Governed the World
124
Why Beards Do Not Grow on Women Version One
155
Why Beards Dont Grow on Women Version Two
157
The Fate of the Deceitful Rabbit
160
The Boy who Cut Off the Elephants Tail
166
Anansi Marries His Own Daughter
173
Where Did Body Odors Come From?
175
How Wisdom Came to the World
178
The Race Between the Hare and the Tortoise
180
The Race Between the Hare and the Frog
182
Jealousy Between the Twin Sisters
184
The Sun and the Moons Marriage
194
The Origin of Death Among the Animals
197
The Two Tricksters
199
How the Pigeon Earned His Wings
201
Why the Owl Cannot See in the Daytime
204
How Death Came into the World
206
The Lion and the Mouse
208
The Vulture and the Crow Before God
211
Anansi Finally Meets His Match
214
The Price of Honor and Respect
220
Why the Hawk Hates the Chicken
224
The Beautiful Woman who Refused to Die
226
Why the Lion Holds Grudges Against Humans
229
The Guilty Tortoise
231
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