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Saturday, August 26, 2006


You can't grow up in Jamaica without hearing about Anasi stories. Every school child on the island has heard one or has told one at one time.

Below is informaton on the origin of Anasi Stories, and an Anasi story from Jamaica.


The trickster Anansi, originally a West African spider-god, lives on in these tales. Why is this figure so universal? And why did so many African American folk tales recount his exploits, under one name or another? Anansi is the spirit of rebellion; he is able to overturn the social order; he can marry the Kings' daughter, create wealth out of thin air; baffle the Devil and cheat Death. Even if Anansi loses in one story, you know that he will overcome in the next. For an oppressed people Anansi conveyed a simple message from one generation to the next:--that freedom and dignity are worth fighting for, at any odds.

This site will give you more Anasi stories:

Below this story was told by Samuel Christie of Saint Anns.

14. New Names.

Samuel Christie, St, Ann's Bay.

There was four friends; one was Anansi, name of the other was Tiger, name of the other Tacoomah, name of the other Parrot. So they go for a journey, and Anansi bargain with them that the four mus' change their name an' when they come home, each one mus' go to their mudder house an' if their mudder call them the old name they mus' eat their mudder. So the new name,--Anansi name was Che-che-bun-da, Parrot new name was Green-corn-ero, Tiger name was Yellow-prissenda, Tacoomah name was Tacoomah-vengeance,--the four new name. Any mudder call them the ol' name, they mus' eat the mudder.

So they come to Tacoomah house first. Anansi say Tacoomah name 'Tacoomah-vengeance'. The mudder didn't understand the new name, so she say, "Look me pickney Tacoomah come!" An' kill Tacoomah mudder an' eat him. Second, 'em go to Tiger mudder. Anansi say Tiger name 'Yellow-prissenda'. So they fall upon Tiger mudder, eat her. So that night Anansi cry to excuse the night an' go over to his mudder house an' say, "Mudder, if you call me Anansi', dey will kill you! but de name 'Che-che-bun-da'." The next night they come to Parrot house. Anansi say Parrot name 'Green-corn-ero'. Eat Parrot mudder the same. At night, again Anansi cry excuse an' go to his mudder, say, "Mudder, las' night wha' me tell you say me name?" The mudder say, "Me pickney, you no name Anansi?" Anansi say, "Ma, coming here tomorrow night an' if you call me so they kill you! You mus' call me 'Che-che-bun-da'!" Ask his mudder again, "Wha' me tell you say yo' pickney name?" She say, "Anansi?" Anansi say, "No,

{p. 18}

mudder! dey kill you! Me name Che-che-bun-da, Che-che-bun-da, Che-che-bun-da, Che-che-bun-da!" Keep tell the name over an' over that the mudder no forget.

So the night now Anansi turn come and they come along singing,

"Anansi name a Che-che-bun-da,
Cherry-senda, Yellow-prissenda,
Parrot name a Green-corn-ero,
Cherry-senda, Yellow-prissenda,
Tiger name a Yellow-prissenda,
Cherry-senda, Yellow-prissenda,
Tacoomah name Tacoomah-vengeance,
Cherry-senda, Yellow-prissenda."

An' as Anansi mudder see Anansi coming an' the rest, say, "Look me pickney Che-che-bun-da!" Call the new name, so her life save, an' didn't eat Anansi mudder. Anansi make the bargain to feast on the others an' save his mudder!

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