Me da Coolie sleep on Piazza, NottyShaw, - - - You worthless Becca Watson, Since the waggonette come in, Them Gar'n Town people, - Young gal in Jamaica, take warning, Me no min de a conceit, - Complain, complain, complain, 27 1 I can't walk on the bare road, Vlll Contents. Come go da mountain, 19a Amanda Giant, - Last night I was lying on me number, Me lassie, me dundooze, PACE Mister Davis bring somet'ing fe we all, - - - - A wh6 the use, - Traces of African Melody in Jamaica — C.
Myers, - B.
English Airs and Motifs in Jamaica — L. Pages 3 and 5, page-heading, for Introduction rtad Annancy Stories. Jzkyll's delightful collection of tales and songs from Jamaica suggests many interesting problems. It presents to us a network of interwoven strands of European and African origin, and when these have been to some extent disentangled we are confronted with the further question, to which of the peoples of the Dark Continent may the African element be attributed? The exact relationship between the "Negro "and Bantu races, — which of them is the original and which the adulterated stock in other words, whether the adulteration was an improvement or the reverse , — is a subject quite beyond my competence to discuss.
It seems certain that the Negro languages as yet only tentatively classified are as distinct from the singularly homogeneous and well-defined Bantu family, as Aryan from Semitic. Ibo, at one end of the area, has possible Bantu affinities, which await fuller investigation; the same thing has been conjectured of Bullom and Temne at the other end Sierra Leone ; but these are so slight and as yet so doubtful that they scarcely affect the above estimate. The difference in West Coast and Bantu folk-tales is not so marked as that between the languages ; yet here, too, along with a great deal which the two have in common, we can pick out some features peculiar to each.
And Mr. JekylTs tales, so far as they can be supposed to come from Africa at all, are not Bantu. The name of "Annancy" alone is enough to tell us that. Annancy, or Anansi is the Tshi Ashanti 1 word for "spider" ; and the Spider figures largely in the folk-tales of the West Coast 1 Fanti is a dialect of this language, which is variously called Twi, Chwi, Otyi, and Ochi. His place is there taken by the Hare Brer Rabbit , and, in some of his aspects, by the Tortoise. We find the " Brer Rabbit " stories best known through Unck Remus in the Middle and Southern States of America, where a large proportion, at any rate, of the negro slaves were imported from Lower Guinea.
Some personal names and other words preserved among them e. But the British West Indies would seem to have been chiefly supplied from Upper Guinea, or the "West Coast" proper it really faces south, while Loango, Congo, etc, are the "South- West Coast " — a point which is sometimes puzzling to the uninitiated. Among the tribes to be found in Jamaica, Mr. Jekyll furnishes a bit of confirmatory evidence in the list of names p.
These are immediately recognizable as Tshi. As given in Christaller's Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language called Tshi , the boys' names are identical or nearly so allowing for the different systems of spelling with those in Mr. Jekyll's list. They are: Kwasi, 1 One is given by Mr. Cable in the Century Magazine, xxx.
Another by Mr. Ben d' nu li, nu li, nu li, nu li, bend'le. I can make nothing of these.
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In the latter case, uncertainty as to the phonetic system adopted complicates the puzzle. The girls' names are less easily recognizable, but a careful scrutiny reveals the interesting fact that in some cases an older form seems to have been preserved in Jamaica. Moreover, the sound written w by Christ- aller approaches that of b, which seems to be convertible with it under certain conditions, all the girls' names being formed by means of the suffix ba — z.
Conversely, ekpo in the mouth of a West Coast native sounds to a casual ear like ekwo. The names of the days appear to be formed from them by the omission of the initial A where it exists , and the addition of the suffix da, with some irregularities, which no doubt a fuller knowledge of the language would explain: Kwasida, Dwoda, Benada, Wukuda, Yawda, Fida, Memeneda Meminda. The week of seven days does not seem to be known else- where in Africa, except as a result of Moslem or Christian influence.
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The Congo week of four days is puzzling, till one remembers that it, too, rests on a division of the lunar month : 7x4 instead of 4 x 7. The word ba has come to mean " a daughter " when appropriated as a suffix to feminine names; but, properly, it seems to mean "a child" of either sex. This fact explains the appearance of such personages as " Brother Cow " see also Mr. Jekyll's note on p. Dennett, Folklore of the Fjort, p.
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The few words given as "African" by Mr. Jekyll seem to be traceable to Tshi. Afu "hafoo," "afoo," p. The nonsense-words in the songs may be corrupted from Tshi or some cognate language, but a fuller knowledge of these than I possess would be necessary in order to determine the point. Transplanted African folk-lore has a peculiar interest of its own, and one is very glad to find Mr.
Jekyll doing for Jamaica what Mr. Chandler Harris, e. But the African element in the stories before us is far less evident than in "Uncle Remus," and is in many cases overlaid and inextricably mixed up with matter of European origin. At least eleven out of the fifty-one stories before us can be set down as imported, directly or indirectly, from Europe.
I say directly or indirectly, because an examination of Chatelain's Folk-tales of Angola and Junod's Chants et Contes des Baronga shows that some tales, at any rate, have passed from Portugal to Africa.
Full text of "Jamaican Song and Story: Annancy Stories, Digging Sings, Ring Tunes, and "
But in the absence of more detailed and direct evidence than we yet possess, it would be rash to assume that they have passed to America by way of Africa, rather than that they have been independently transmitted. The eleven stories above referred to are : II. Yung-kyum-pyung, III. King Daniel, VI. Blackbird and Woss-woss, X.
Blue- beard, XVII. Saylan, XXI. Pretty Poll another version of III. Open Sesame variant of VI.
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The Three Sisters. But some of these, as I hope to show presently, also have genuine African prototypes, and it is a question Introduction. The last named is one of a small group of tales VII.
By far the greater number of the stories in this book, whether, strictly speaking, "Annancy stories" or not, come under the heading of animal-stories, and are of the same type as " Uncle Remus,'' Junod's " Roman du Lifcvre," and numerous examples from various parts of Africa. It will be remembered that, in most of these, the difference between animals and human beings is not very clearly kept in view by the narrators. Junod seems to me to overrate the conscious artistic purpose in the narrators of these tales : the native mind is quite ready to assume that animals think and act in much the same way as human beings, and this attitude makes it easy to forget the outward distinctions when they appear as actors in a story.
No doubt this haziness of view is increased by the popular conception of metamorphosis as a possible occurrence in everyday life. When, as has more than once been the case, we find men firmly believing, not xiv Jamaican Song and Story. In Chatelain's Angola stories the animals sometimes not always have the honorific prefix Na or Ngana, "Mr.
In Zulu, Ucakijana to whom we shall come back presently is the diminutive form of icakidC the Weasel, put into the personal class. I do not recall anything similar in Nyanja tales, but cannot help con- necting with the above the fact that animals, whatever class their names may belong to, are usually treated as persons in the tales. Now, the reader will notice how often the animals in the stories before us are distinguished as "Mr.
We might also compare the Zulu u Cakijana 1st class , who is human or quasi-human, while i-eakide 2nd class is the name for the Weasel. The article is one on " Negro Folk-lore," by W.
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Owens, and contains several stories, some of these independent versions of " Uncle Remus" tales, while others are not to be found in that collection. If he seems, as he continually does, to take on a human character, going to Freetown to buy a gun and powder Cunttie Rabbit, p. A Temne authority ib. The change of shape alluded to at the end of the Temne Tar-baby episode is comparatively a minor matter: he was formerly "round lek pusson," but became flattened out through the beating he received while attached to the Wax Girl.
In the Gold Coast stories, too, Anansi is quite as much a spider as Brer Rabbit is a rabbit; but in Jamaica, though he still retains traces of his origin, they are somewhat obscured — so much so that Mr. Jekyll speaks pp.
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