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Book source: I Sought My Brother, S.A. Counter and D.L. Evans, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA,1981. ISBN: 0-262-03079-9

Subject: [Folklore] Spider Tales

'Anansi toree' or spider tales are stories told to children of the Maroons from six to fourteen. They have been brought over from Africa to Suriname. Anansi is a clever and crafty spider who outwit people who do wrong. The story has a strong moral message which helps teach the cultural values to the children. There are many Anansi stories like the following example: ...There was once a man in a jungle village far away. He was too lazy to plant and harvest his food. This lazy person did not want to clear the fields and gather food for himself and his family. All day he just sat under the tree and drank coconut milk and slept while others worked hard in the fields. People brought him food but it was not enough for him as he liked to eat and eat. So one night while everyone was asleep he slipped away from his hut and went to the food store house in the jungle and stole the food his fellow villagers had harvested. To mislead the people he made foot marks of the 'tigri' on the ground. Thus people would think the tigri had stolen the food. He did steal food many times. One night when he was stealing food by the light of his torch Anansi, the spider, saw him. When the man saw that Anansi was watching him all the time, he became outraged and tried to kill the spider with a stick. Anansi moved many times (zig-zag) in his web to avoid being hit by the stick. In the end the spider fell on the ground and crept into a hole. The thief stamped with his feet around the hole to make certain the spider was dead. Days after this incident, the village chief went to the storage hut to study the tigri marks. While he examined the marks the chief heard a bird chirping in a tree and when he looked up he saw a message woven in a spider's web ...'its not the tigri but a man from the village that steals your food ...and he thinks I am dead'. The spider did not give the name of the thief. The village chief called all his people together and said: ...'The tigri that steals our food has two feet and he is one of us. Anansi saw him and the thief tried to kill Anansi...but Anansi is alive. Tomorrow Anansi will point out the thief to me'. The people returned to their huts talking and wondering who the thief would be. Next morning everyone in the village assembled at the appointed time to see who Anansi would name as the thief. When the village chief arrived he did not come with Anansi and the people were surprised. The chief asked if all were present and when the people looked around one person was missing. That person was the lazy thief. He had left the village while everyone was asleep,...never to return. --------

Met dank aan Albert Buys

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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