Sacred Texts  Africa  Index  Previous  Next 

23. Cunnie-More-Than-Father.

George Parkes, Mandeville.

Anansi has seven children. He ask them how they would like to name. Six of them like different name, but one boy say he would

{p. 28}

like to name "Cunnie-mo'-than father." So for every tack[1] Anansi put up, Cunnie-mo'n-father break it down. One time he work a groun' very far away into the bush, an' in going to that bush he pass a very broad flat rock. So one day a man give him a yam-plant; that yam name "yam foofoo."[2] The same day plant the yam, it been bear a very big one same day. So nobody in the yard know the name of that yam save him, Anansi, alone. So when he go home, he cook the yam an' call the wife an' chil'ren aroun' to eat, an' say, "Who know name, nyam; who no know name, don' nyam!" So as no one know the name, they didn't get none of it; Anansi alone eat off that yam that night. The nex' day go back to the groun' and the yam bear a larger one. He bring it home an' bile it again, call the wife an' chil'ren an' say, "Who know name, nyam; who no know name, don' nyam!" The nex' day he went back an' the yam bear a larger one than the previous day. He cut it an' carry it home, cook it, call up the wife an chil'ren; he alone eat it.

Cunnie-mo'n-father say, "Look here! I mus' fin' out the name of that yam!" He got some okra an' went to the place where the broad rock is an' mash up the okra an' have the place quite slippery, an' hide himself away in the bush near by. Anansi now coming with a larger yam this time. As he reach to the rock, he make a slide, fa' down, an' the yam smash. He said, "Lawd! all me yam foofoo mash up!" Cunnie-mo'-n-father now catch the name, an' he ran home now an' tell mother an' other chil'ren, "Remember! yam foofoo!" Anansi then take up the pieces, put them together and carry home. He cook it an' ca' all of them roun' to eat. He say, "Who know name, nyam; who no know name, no nyam." They began to guess all sort of name; after that, whole of them say, "Yam foofoo! yam foofoo!" Anansi get vex, say, "Huh! eat! nobody fin' it out but Cunnie-mo'n-father!"

Anansi then get to hate Cunnie-mo'n-father, want to make an end of him, but he didn't know what way was to do it. So one night Brar Tiger came to pay a visit to Anansi at his house. While both of them sittin' an' talkin', at that time Cunnie-mo'n-father was lying down underneath the table fawning sleep.[2] Anansi said to Tiger, "Look heah! ev'ry tack dat I put up, Cunnie-mo'-n-father break it down. I wan' to mak an end of him, but I don' know what way to do it." That time, Cunnie-mo'-n-father listen. Tiger

[1. Tack means a "trick".

2. A yellow yam, the favorite vegetable food of the negro is called "afoo yam".

3. Fawning means "feigning".]

{p. 29}

said, "I wi' kill him fo' you." Anansi say, "How you will manage it?" So Tiger said to Anansi, "You mus' put up a tack, an' I wi' ketch him." Anansi said, "Look heah! Tomorrow night jus' at dinner-time you come here hide yo'self in the pepper-tree; behin' that fattest limb, you hide yo'self there, an' I will sen' him to pick some pepper an' as he put his han' on the pepper-tree, you mus' hol' him." So the nex' night at dinner-time Tiger went to hide himself there. Anansi call Cunnie-mo'n-father, say, "Go get pepper from the pepper-tree." Cunnie-mo'n-father start for de pepper-tree. On his way going he call in the kitchen an' take a fire-stick, an' as he went to the pepper-tree, he shove the fire-stick right in Tiger face. Tiger cry out, "W'y-ee!" an' gallop away. Cunnie-mo'n-father return to Anansi an' say he hear something in the pepper-tree cry, so he don' pick any. Anansi eat his dinner that night without pepper.

A few minutes after, Tiger come back in the house an' tol' Anansi what have taken place. Anansi say, "Well, the boy have tack! but we mus' ketch him." At that time the boy go under the table lay down an' study for them again. Tiger say, "How mus' we ketch him?" Anansi said, "You come here tomorrow twelve o'clock an' I'll sen' him up on a cocoanut tree an' while he in the tree, you wait underneath; when he come down you ketch him." The nex' morning, Cunnie-mo'n-father get two bags, fill it with red ants go up same cocoanut tree an' hide it, preparing for Tiger. At twelve o'clock Tiger come to Anansi yard. Anansi call for Cunnie-mo'n-father an' said, "Go an' get me some cocoanuts off'n that tree." He went, an' Tiger lay wait under the tree for him. He shout to Tiger he mus' look up an' show him the bes' cocoanut he want, an' while Tiger do that, he open one of the bag an' throw it down in Tiger face. Ant begun to bite him an' he has to run away. Cunnie-mo'n-father slip right down off the cocoanut tree, so he didn't get any cocoanut.

In the evening, Tiger went back to Anansi to tell him how Cunnie-mo'n-father do him again. While the two of them was talking an' setting up another tack, Cunnie-mo'n-father was underneath table listening to them again. Anansi said, "The boy smart! but I goin' to put you up a tack fo' ketch him! Look heah! Tomorrow at twelve o'clock, you fin' yo'self at me groun' an' you will see a fat root of yam near to a tree. You mus' hide yo'self in the bush an' I will sen' him there to come cut yam, an' as he come there, hol' him." Tiger then went an' fix himself in the yam bush. At twelve o'clock Anansi call Cunnie-mo'n-father an' sen' him to groun, to cut yam an' tell him that very spot whe' he is to dig them.

{p. 30}

Cunnie-mo'n-father went to the groun' an' shout out "Yam-o-e-e! yam-o-ee! yam-o-ee!" t'ree times. Nobody answer. Cunnie-mo'n-father say, "I t'ink father tell me say that when I come to groun' call fo' yam, yam wi' speak, an' de yam don' speak!" Call again, "Yam-o-ee!" So Tiger answer him, "O-ee-e!" So Cunnie-mo'n-father say, "From me bwoy born, the firs' I hear that yam can talk!" So run home back lef' Tiger.

So Tiger leave the groun' an' come home an' tell Anansi what happen. Anansi said, "Well, 'cunnie mo' than me' fe trew, but we goin' to ketch him!" At that time Cunnie-mo'n-father underneath the table fe listen, an' unfortunately he fell fas' asleep. So Anansi an' Tiger ketch him an' make a coffin an' put him in. Anansi tell Tiger he mus' take him t'row him far away in the sea where he kyan't come back again. Tiger lif' up the coffin, put it on his head an' start on the journey. On reaching to a bush he help down the coffin an', as the sun was so hot, went underneath a tree an' fall asleep. Now there was a little hole in the coffin, an' looking thru that hole, Cunnie-mo'n-father saw an ol' man comin' along drivin' a flock of sheep. He began to cry, sayin' they want him to go to heaven an' he don' ready to go yet. The ol' man said, "Bwoy, you too foolish! Heaven's a good place an' you don' ready to go there yet? You open the coffin put me in!" The ol' man open the coffin, Cunnie-mo'n-father come out, put in the ol' man an' nail up the coffin back with him in it. He then drove the sheep a little way up inside the bush. Tiger now wake out of his sleep, lif' up the coffin an' away he went to the sea with it, an' go as far he could an' t'row the coffin down in the sea drown the ol' man, fe' a heaven he want to go! He then go back to Anansi yard an' tell him that he has finish with the fellow,--no more of him, fe' he has drown' him in the deepest part of the sea.

Later in the evening, while Anansi an' Tiger was sitting down an' talking about the badness of Cunnie-mo'n-father, Anansi look an' see a flock of sheep was coming up to his house an' some one driving it. The driver was Cunnie-mo'n-father. Anansi says to Tiger, "But now look at the bwoy what you drown' to-day, look at him driving a flock of sheep coming up!" Tiger said, "No! 'cause I t'row him in the farthest part of the sea!" They waited until he drove them up to the yard. Tiger said to him, "Boy, don't it was you I t'row into the sea to-day?" Cunnie-mo'n-father said, "Yes, the place whe' you t'row me I get these sheep, an' if you did t'row me a little further, I would get double more than this!" Anansi, hearing that, said that he would like to get some himself

{p. 31}

an' Cunnie-mo'n-father mus' carry him an' t'row him at the part where he can get the sheep. Cunnie-mo'n-father then get a coffin make an' put Anansi in it carry him to the sea-side, hire a boat, an' carry him far far away in the sea an' drown him. An' that was, the las' of poor Anansi in that story.

Next: 24. The Duckano tree.