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Today we remain in Southern Africa for the story of TINK-TINKJE which is pronounced Tink-Tinkie.

 

 

THE birds wanted a king. Men have a king, so have animals, and why shouldn’t they? All had assembled.

 

“The Ostrich, because he is the largest,” one called out.

 

“No, he can’t fly.”

 

“Eagle, on account of his strength.”

 

“Not he, he is too ugly.”

 

“Vulture, because he can fly the highest.”

 

“No, Vulture is too dirty, his odor is terrible.”

 

“Peacock, he is so beautiful.”

 

“His feet are too ugly, and also his voice.”

 

“Owl, because he can see well.”

 

“Not Owl, he is ashamed of the light.”

 

And so they got no further. Then one shouted aloud, “He who can fly the highest will be king.” “Yes, yes,” they all screamed, and at a given Signal they all ascended straight up into the sky.

 

Vulture flew for three whole days without stopping, straight toward the sun. Then he cried aloud, “I am the highest, I am king.”

 

“T-sie, t-sie, t-sie,” he heard above him. There Tink-tinkje was flying. He had held fast to one of the great wing feathers of Vulture, and had never been felt, he was so light. “T-sie, t-sie, t-sle, I am the highest, I am king,” piped Tink-tinkje.

 

Vulture flew for another day still ascending. “I am highest, I am king.”

 

“T-sie, t-sie, t-sie, I am the highest, I am king,” Tink-tinkje mocked. There he was again, having crept out from under the wing of Vulture.

 

Vulture flew on the fifth day straight up in the air. “I am the highest, I am king,” he called.

“T-sie, t-sie, t-sie,” piped the little fellow above him. “I am the highest, I am king.”

 

Vulture was tired and now flew direct to earth. The other birds were mad through and through. Tink-tinkje must die because he had taken advantage of Vulture’s feathers and there hidden himself. All flew after him and he had to take refuge in a mouse hole. But how were they to get him out? Some one must stand guard to seize him the moment he put out his head.

 

“Owl must keep guard; he has the largest eyes; he can see well,” they exclaimed.

 

Owl went and took up his position before the hole. The sun was warm and soon Owl became sleepy and presently he was fast asleep.

 

Tink-tinkje peeped, saw that Owl was asleep, and zip-zip away he went. Shortly afterwards the other birds came to see if Tink-tinkje were still in the hole. “T-sie, t-sie,” they heard in a tree; and there the little vagabond was sitting.

 

White-crow, perfectly disgusted, turned around and exclaimed, “Now I won’t say a single word more.” And from that day to this Whitecrow has never spoken. Even though you strike him, he makes no sound, he utters no cry.

—————–

From South African Folk Tales collected by James Honey

ISBN: 978-0-956058-45-4

http://www.abelapublishing.com/page459.html

 

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Today we remain in West Africa and take a tale from the Yoruba people. It is entitled:

 

AKITI THE HUNTER – A Yoruba tale from West Africa

 

A FAMOUS hunter and wrestler named Akiti boasted that he was stronger than any other man or animal. He had easily overcome a giant, a leopard, a lion, a wolf, and a boa-constrictor, and as nobody else opposed his claim, he called himself “the King of the forest.”

Wherever he went, he sang his triumphant wrestling-song, and everyone feared  and respected him. But he had forgotten the Elephant, who is a very wise animal and knows many charms. One day the Elephant challenged him and declared that he had no right to call himself “King,” as the Elephant himself was the monarch of the forest and could not be defeated.

Akiti thereupon flung his spear at his enemy, but because of the Elephant’s  charm, the weapon glanced off his hide and did him no harm. Akiti next tried his bow and poisoned arrows, and his hunting-knife, but still without effect.

However, the hunter also possessed a charm, and by using it, he changed  himself into a lion and flew at the Elephant, but the Elephant flung him off. Next he became a serpent, but he could not succeed in crushing the Elephant to death.

At last he changed himself into a fly, and flew into the Elephant’s large  flapping ear. He went right down inside until he came to the heart, and then he changed himself into a man again and cut up the heart with his hunting-knife. At last the Elephant fell dead, and Akiti stepped out of his body in triumph, for he was now without question “the King of the forest.”

 

——————

From Yoruba Legends

ISBN – 978-1-907256-33-2

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_yor.html

 

NOTE: The Yoruba people are descendants from a variety of West African communities. They are united by Geography, History, Religion and most importantly their Language.  Many years ago, before African slavery, the Yoruba people inhabited an area which stretched, along the coast of West Africa, all the way inward and down to Angola in South West Africa.

 

Today we journey far to the South – to West Africa for an Anansi Story.

 

THERE were once upon a time three sisters and a brother. The sisters were all proud, and one was very beautiful, and she did not like her little brother, “because,” she said, “he was dirty.” Now, this beautiful sister was to be married, and the brother begged their mother not to let her marry, as he was sure the man would kill her, for he knew his house was full of bones. So the mother told her daughter, but she would not believe it, and said, “she wouldn’t listen to anything that such a dirty little scrub said,” and so she was married.

Now, it was agreed that one sister was to remain with her mother, and the other was to go with the bride, and so they set out on their way. When they got to the beach, the husband picked up a beautiful tortoise-shell comb, which he gave to his bride. Then they got into his boat and rowed away over the sea, and when they reached their home, they were so surprised to see their little brother, for the comb had turned into their brother. They were not at all glad to see him, and the husband thought to himself he would kill him without telling his wife. When night came the boy told the husband that at home his mother always put him to sleep in the blacksmith’s shop, and so the husband said he should sleep in the smithy.

 

In the middle of the night the man got up, intending to kill them all, and went to his shop to get his irons ready, but the boy jumped up as soon as he went in, and he said, “Boy, what is the matter with you?” So the boy said, when he was at home his mother always gave him two bags of gold to put his head on. Then the man said, he should have them, and went and fetched him two bags of gold, and told him to go to sleep.

But the boy said, “Now, mind, when you hear me snore I’m not asleep, but when I am not snoring then I’m asleep.” Then the boy went to sleep and began to snore, and as long as the man heard the snoring, he blew his bellows; but as soon as the snoring stopped, the man took his irons out of the fire, and the boy jumped up.

Then the man said, “Why, what’s the matter? why can’t you sleep?”

The boy said, “No; for at home my mother always gave me four bags of money to lie upon.”

Well, the man said he should have them, and brought four bags of money. Then the boy told him again the same thing about his snoring, and the man bade him go to sleep, and he began to snore, and the man to blow his bellows until the snoring stopped. Then the man took out his irons again, and the boy jumped up, and the man dropped the irons, saying, “Why, what’s the matter now that you can’t sleep?”

The boy said, “At home my mother always gave me two bushels of corn.”

So the man said he should have the corn, and went and brought it, and told him to go to sleep. Then the boy snored, and the man blew his bellows till the snoring stopped, when he again took out his irons, and the boy jumped tip, and the man said, “Why, what’s it now?”

The boy said, “At home my mother always goes to the river with a sieve to bring me some water.”

So the man said, “Very well, I will go, but I have a cock here, and before I go I must speak to it.”

Then the man told the cock if he saw any one moving in the house he must crow; that the cock promised to do, and the man set off.

 

Now when the boy thought the man was gone far away, he got up, and gave the cock some of the corn; then he woke up his sisters and showed them all the bones the man had in the house, and they were very frightened. Then he took the two bags of gold on his shoulders, and told his sisters to follow him. He took them to the bay, and put them into the boat with the bags of gold, and left them whilst he went back for the four bags of money. When he was leaving the house he emptied the bags of corn to the cook, who was so busy eating, he forgot to crow, until they had got quite away.

 

When the man returned home and could not find them in the house, he went to the river, where he found his boat gone, and so he had no way of going after them. When they landed at their own place the boy turned the boat over and stove it in, so that it was of no use any more; and he took his sisters home, and told their mother all that had happened, and his sisters loved him, and they lived very happily together ever afterwards, and do so still if they are not dead.

 

NOTE: ANANZI or Ahnansi (Ah-nahn-see) “the trickster” is a cunning and intelligent spider and is one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. The Anansi tales are believed to have originated in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. (The word Anansi is Akan and means, simply, spider.) They later spread to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles. On Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria.

He is also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy; and in the Southern United States he has evolved into Aunt Nancy. He is a spider, but often acts and appears as a man. The story of Anansi is akin to the Coyote or Raven the trickster found in many Native American cultures.

 

From Ananzi Stories by Sir George Webbe Dasent

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_anst.html

 

TWO women quarrelled, and one of them went out secretly at night and dug a deep pit in the middle of the path leading from her enemy’s house to the village well.

Early next morning, when all were going to the well for water with jars balanced on their heads, this woman fell into the pit and cried loudly for help.

Her friends ran to her and, seizing her by the hair, began to pull her out of the pit. To their surprise, her hair stretched as they pulled, and by the time she was safely on the path, her hair was as long as a man’s arm.

This made her very much ashamed, and she ran away and hid herself.

But after a while she realized that her long hair was beautiful, and then she felt very proud and scorned all the short-haired women, jeering at them. When they saw this, they were consumed with jealousy, and began to be ashamed of their short hair. “We have men’s hair,” they said to one another. “How beautiful it would be to have long hair!”

So one by one they jumped into the pit, and their friends pulled them out by the hair.

And in this way they, and all women after them, had long hair.

– – –

From Yoruba Legends by M.I. Ogumefu ISBN 978-1-907256-33-2

http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_yor.html

Yoruba Legends

 

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