Jamaican Song and Story: Annancy Stories, Digging Sings, Ring Tunes, and Dancing Tunes, Volume 55

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Folk-lore Society, 1907 - Anansi (Legendary character) - 288 pages
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Reading the introduction was a history lesson. The material in this book was taken straight from the Jamaican tongue but filtered through a classically educated observer. The effort put into trying to put the dialect into the Italian or French sounds was commendable. There obviously was no field recording accompanying the book. 

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Page xvii - They actually saw the bush at their verandah burning with fire," and had to run for it. " The Chameleon ran for a tree. Mulungu was on the ground, and he said ' I cannot climb a tree! ' Then Mulungu set off and went to call the Spider. The Spider went on high and returned again, and said, { I have gone on high nicely. You, now, Mulungu, go on high.
Page xiii - ... animals, who speak and act like human beings, belong more especially to the savage stage of development. The savage mind seems unable fully to grasp the difference of kind, and the personages of his folk-tales are represented as acting in ways that their physical forms alone would render impossible. " The hare and the elephant hire themselves out to hoe a man's garden ; the swallow invites the cock to dinner, and his wife prepares the food in the usual native hut with the fireplace in the middle...
Page 1 - A strong and good workman, he is invariably lazy, and is only to be tempted to honest labour by the offer of a large reward. He prefers to fill the bag which he always carries, by fraud or theft. His appetite is voracious, and nothing comes amiss to him, cooked or raw. . . . Sometimes he will thrust himself upon an unwilling neighbour, and eat up all his breakfast. At another time he carries out his bag and brings it home full of flesh or fish obtained by thieving. He is perfectly selfish, and knows...
Page 156 - Africa, the slaves continued to name their children according to the day of the week on which they were born.
Page 10 - All Annancy stories end with these or similar words. The Jack is a member of the company to whom the story is told, perhaps its principal member; and the narrator addresses him and says: "I do not pick you out, Jack, or any of your companions, to be flogged as Tiger and Annancy were by the monkeys." Among the African tribes stories we know are often told with an object. The Negro is quick to seize a parable, and the point of a cunningly constructed story directed at an individual obnoxious to the...
Page xxxix - The book as a whole is a tribute to my love for Jamaica and its dusky inhabitants, with their winning ways and their many good qualities, among which is to be reckoned that supreme virtue, Cheerfulness.
Page 1 - ... on the other hand their several mental characteristics are often cleverly and convincingly drawn, and with entire consistency. One is strong, another cunning, and another slothful. The chief characteristic of Annancy, the Spider, the central figure of Negro beast-tales on both sides of the Atlantic, is trickery. " A strong and good workman, he is invariably lazy, and is only to be tempted to honest labour by the offer of a large reward. He prefers to fill the bag which he always carries, by fraud...
Page 285 - Jamaican tunes and song-words seem to be reminiscences or imitations of European sailor's chanties of the modern class; or of trivial British nursery jingles, adopted as all such jingles become adopted.
Page xxiii - ... unless the tortoise happens to be young and small, are very scarce. Thus the tortoise has been practically immune from attack — a fact that in a great measure explains his longevity. [His reputation has been enhanced by] the fact that he can exist longer without food than perhaps any other animal. ... In process of time, the word which stood for ' tortoise ' became a synonym for cunning and craft, and a man of exceptional intelligence was in this way known among the Ibo as Mbai and among the...
Page 283 - Sloane wrote of two types of stringed instruments : gourds with necks, strung with horsehair (no doubt the banjo), and 'a hollow'd timber covered with Parchment', having a bow for its neck, the strings tied longer or shorter. The recent description by Clerk is fuller: Today . . . the Maroons . . . use a drum ; and a Toombah, a large piece of the Trumpet Tree, hollowed out, and three strings stretched across, and pieces of metal in place of shells, strung on each side. The Toombah is a variety of...

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