Pamela Colman Smith

To the Memory of One who understood Annancy - PCS





These are Stories told in Jamaica by the people among themselves, or by the old nurses to their charges.

I have tried to write them down exactly as I heard them from many different people and in different parts of the island, where they vary more or less. In the hills, in the North-West, they are chiefly about birds; in other parts, about fish and rabbits, as well as the spiders Annancy and Tiger, and other animals.

The late Mr. York Powell, for some-time President of the Folk Lore Society, was much interested in this set of Annancy stories, and offered to write an introduction to my little book.

That introduction was never written, but I give a few quotations from a letter of his on the subject: "I am a folk-lorist, and these Annancy stories are excellent, and will please children and grown-ups. The elfish mockery of Annancy strikes me as especially well rendered. I heard 'Tiger me' fader'ridin h'arse' from Grant Allen, who picked it up in Jamaica in the seventies, and I always wanted more Jamaican stories of the right sort and quality, and here they are!

"The 'Why' stories, which I think very archaic in type, are all well represented in your little volume. They represent that folk lore philosophy on its explanatory side, but they give astonishing glimpses into early paths of thoughts."


London, 1905


ONCE in a long before time, before Queen Victoria came to reign over we, in dis country dere lib' Chim-Chim bird; an' him build him nes' up'pon de top of de grass, an' in de evenin', when de breeze come down from de hills, it go up an' down, up an' down, an' rock Breda Chim-Chim bird to sleep.
Now in dis country de same time, live a berry clever man, name Annancy. He was so clever dat sometime him mek' himself big, an' sometime little, an' him was half man an' half spider-a sort of *jumbe man.
Now dese two, Annancy an' Chim-Chim, get to know each oder in de bush; an' ebery evenin' dey play kyards together.
Now dey mek' a bargain, an' dey write de bargain hout: Dat de one dat loose is to pay a fine to de one dat win-an' de one dat win is to tek a piece of flesh off de one dat loose. Now dis go on for a long time, till Annancy get quite t'in.
So now at las' Annancy him say him would only play one time more; an' dey play, an Annancy win. An' Annancy say, "Now den Breda Chim-Chimn, I gwin to tek a piece of flesh off you!" An Annancy so please-him laff!
But Chim-Chim say, "Why!" 'an fly away.
Long time Annancy try to ketch Chim-Chim, by springes, an' **Calaban, an' lime' but all dis time Chim-Chim is too clever fe' him-an' he no ketch him at all!
So at las' Annancy go to him frien' Tiger (dat is anoder Spider), an' say, "I do beg you, Breda Tiger, help me ketch dat ole Chim-Chim bird; him go fly away, an' I can't ketch him at all!"-an' Tiger say-
"An' what will you gib' me if I help you ketch him?"
An' Annancy say-
"O me sweet frien' Tiger, I will gib' you one cow!"
Now Tiger is well fond of cow, an' him say him would do it! So him tink an' tink for a long time-an' at las' him say-
"I tell you what we wi' do, Breda Annancy. I wi' lie down in de house an' play dead! an' you wi' tek a bell an' walk all roun' de town an' ring it-an' bawl out, "De great Massa Tiger is dead-de great Massa Tiger is dead." An' den all de people wi' come to de funeral-an' den you can ketch him!"
So dey write de bargain hout!
Now de nex' gran' market day, Chim-Chim come to town to get ***Quattie peas an' rice, an' some plantain an' salt-fish an' yam.
An' when him go trough de town-an' was in de market, him hear a bell ringin'-an' him ax' de people what it is? an' de people tell him say "De great Massa Tiger is dead."
An' Chim-Chim say-
"De great Massa tiger is dead?"
An' dey say-
"Yes, de great Massa Tiger is dead!"
An' Chim-Chim say-
"Hi! an' when is him dead?"
An' dey say-
"Yesterday forenoon."
An' Chim-Chim say-
"I mus' go get me bes' coat an' go to de funeral." An' den Chim-Chim go home an' put on him second-best-two-tailed-blue-coat (fe' him best coat is too good fe' Tiger)-an' him ****qui-qui shoe-an' when him walk de shoe go "Buoay-soi, Buoay-soi," an' him go to Tiger house door mout. An' when him get dere him see a lot of people outside de house, a mint of people! an' him say-
"So de great Massa Tiger is dead?"
An' de say-
"De great Massa Tiger is dead."
An' Chim-Chim say-
"An' when is him dead?"
An' dey say-
"Yesterday afternoon."
An' Chim-Chim say-
"An' what is him dead wid?"
An' dey say-
"De heat of de wedder!"
An' Chim-Chim say-
"Hi! an' is him laugh at all since him dead?"
An' dey say-
An' Chim-Chim say-
"You no know dat man no dead at all till him do laugh?"
An' now when Tiger hear dis him gib' one big ha-ha in de house.
An' Chim-Chim say-
"Hey hey, me neber hear dead man laugh yet!"
An' him fly away!
An' Annancy no ketch him 'dat time, an' Tiger no get de cow.
*****Bumby, long time after dis, Annancy tink him wi' try one more time to ketch Chim-Chim. So him go into de bush where Chim-Chim lib, an' get in to him nes'. Now Annancy so heab'y dat when him get into de nes', de nes' go down 'pon 'de groun'! An' bumby in 'de evenin' Chim-Chim come home to him nes'-an' see it down 'pon de groun'! Him neber see it down so before! So him look at it all roun'-an' at las' him say-
"Good evenin', me nes'!"
Nes' no say notting.
At las' him walk all roun' de nes' an' say-
"Hi! how is dis? Ebery evein' I come home an' say, 'Good evenin', me nes',' and me nes' say, 'Good evenin', Breda Chim-Chim bird'-but dis evenin' it no say notting!"
An' den Annancy say from out de nes'-
"Good evenin', Breda Chim-Chim bird!"
An' Chim-Chim say-
"Hey hey! Why-me neber' hear nes' talk yet!"
An' him fly away.
An' Annancy neber ketch him to dis day!

*jumbe - evil spirit
**Calaban - bird trap
***quattie - penny ha'penny
****qui-qui - squeaky
*****bumby - by-and-by












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