[From Cunnie Rabbit, Mr. Spider, and the Other Beef: West African Folk Tales by Florence Cronise and Henry W. Ward, 1903. See item #63 in the Bibliography.  The illustration is by Gerald Sichel. For help with the English used here, see the vocabulary listing in the book. Something important to know: a “die pusson” is a “dead person,” i.e. a ghost.]

One tem one country bin deh. Dem people wey get dis country, dey lek fo’ dance Wongko. Well, odder people f’om odder country kin come dance wid um. Well, dem people wey come out f’om de odder country fo’ dance, dey all get fren’, so w’en dey wan’ fo’ go back to den place, den fren’ kin follow um leelee way, go lef den nah road. So dey bin do all de tem.

But one ooman bin deh, he lek he fren’ too much. One day w’en den ‘tranger come dance nah de town, w’en dey go back, all man go lef he fren’ nah road. W’en dey duh go, one dog go wid dem nah road. Dey done go leelee far, den some of dem young man, dem tell den fren’ “Goodbye,” dem say, “we go meet nex’ moon.”

Some of dem ooman go back, but some tell den fren’, say, “Anyway wey yo’ go nah wuld, we all go go; ef now yo’ die, we all go die.”

Well, w’en dey go far agin, dey reach to one big, big valley. Now all den man dey tell den fren’ wey bin say dey go die wid um, dey say, “Oonah go back. W’en de nex’ moon kin white, we go come agin.”

So dey all go back. But one no go, he say he mus’ follow sotay he reach dah place wey he fren’ bin lib. De dog deh wid de ooman.

Dah man tell de ooman, he say, “Go back!” De ooman say, “No!”

De man say, “I lek yo’ too much, lef nah town. W’en I come back I go come to yo’, but no follow me to dah place wey we duh go.”

Dah ooman say, “I go go!”

Well, dis ooman no know say dis man nar die pusson, oh! W’en dey kin get dance nah town, den die pusson all, dey kin come out den grabe, dey come dance wid dem people, but dem people nebber know quick fo’ say dey bin die pusson. But w’en dey know, dey tell all de ooman, dey say, “W’en pusson come out far country, come dance, oonah no mus’ go wid um; sometem bimeby dey die pusson, yo’ no know.”

Dis girl too, dey bin tell um, say, “Die pusson kin come out de grabe fo’ dance, so no get fren’ wey come out far ‘way.” But de ooman he get ‘tronger yase, en he get dis heah die pusson fo’ fren’.

W’en dey done go sotay den odder die pusson done los’, den gone to de grabe, but de one man lef’. He en dis girl den go to heen town, but de ooman no know say dis die man town. W’en dey go, dey reach nah net, but den jus’ meet one ho’se nah de place.

Well, de girl see de place white, no mo’, because soso die pusson wey get white clo’es bin deh. Well, de man done los’ f’om he han’, en dis ooman he dey inside de one ho’se. Den die pusson jus’ come curse um, suck teet’ ‘pon um, no mo’, but de ooman done ‘fraid, he no get nobody. He see white clo’es, no mo’; den come suck teet’, den los’ agin; he hearee um, he no see pusson.

But oonah no know dog get witch yi? He duh see den die people heah, he begin fo’ holler ‘pon dem fo’ make dem go back. Well, dis dog yeah he turn pusson, he ax de ooman, he say, “Ef I pull yo’ f’om dis trouble yeah, ef yo’ go home, yo’ cook fo’ yo’ fren’, en I go tief all de ress en de fis’ — ef yo’ call me dog yo’ go die.” He no wan’ de girl call um dog, because he done turn pusson.


De girl ‘gree, he say, “Come go, kare me back.” De dog done turn dog agin, so he able fo’ holler ‘pon dem die pusson. He ‘tan’ up befo’, w’en dem die pusson come, he holler ‘pon dem, en dem go back.

Well, w’en dis girl en dis dog go far nah road, dey no know de country, den meet one big, big wattah, den no know how fo’ cross um, en de dog say, “Come, lay down ‘pon me back.” So de girl lay down, en de dog cross um over dah big, big wattah. W’en dey done cross de ooman tell de dog ‘Tankee, tankee.’ Long tem he tankee um.

Well, den de dog say, “I ‘gree fo’ de tankee, but yo’ no mus’ call me name dog, oh! w’en yo’ go to de town, oh! but yo’ fo’ gie me odder fine name lek pusson.” He no wan’ turn pusson w’en he reach de town, because de people go ax de girl, “Which side de dog done go, wey bin follow yo’?”

Well, dah dog kare de ooman sotay dey done reach nah home. De ooman tell he people all dah trouble wey he see, he say, “Dah t’ing wey follow we two, so, he sabe me,” but he no call he name dog.

Well, dis girl people kin do dis dog good. No matter fo’ de people ef dey call um dog, but only de girl no mus’ call um dog. Well, one day dah ooman cook fine sweet ress fo’ he fren’, not fo’ de die pusson, but odder fren’ in de town. W’en he done cook um, w’en he go call he fren’ fo’ come yeat dah ress, w’en he come back he meet dah t’ing done yeat um. He no talk anyt’ing, he go cook odder ress, he gie he fren’. Well, dah dog duh yeat de ress wey de girl cook, all de tem.

One day he done vex ‘pon de dog. He cook one fine ress wid fat beef fo’ he good fren’ nah de town. Well, w’en he go call he fren’, he meet dah dog done yeat dah sweet, sweet ress, en he lay down close de bowl wey he done yeat. Dah ooman vex, he say, “Dah dog tief me ress all de tem, look how he come tief me ress wey I cook fo’ me fren’.” Wen de girl call um dog, de dog look um, en de girl fa’ down, he die. Story done.


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A Reader's Guide to African Folktales at the Internet Archive Copyright © 2022 by Laura Gibbs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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