By Roger Abrahams
From the canefileds of the ante-bellum South, the villages of the Caribbean islands, and the streets of latest internal towns, listed below are a couple of hundred stories from an "incredibly wealthy and affirmative storytelling tradition" (Choice).
Full of lifestyles, knowledge, and humor, those stories variety from the earthy comedy of tricksters to tales explaining how the area used to be created and acquired to be how it is, to ethical fables that inform of encounters among masters and slaves. They comprises tales set down in travelers' reviews and plantation journals from the early 19th century, stories accrued by way of creditors reminiscent of Joel Chandler Harris and Zora Neale Hurston, and narratives tape-recorded by means of Roger Abrahams himself in the course of wide expeditions during the American South and the Caribbean.
Part of the Pantheon Fairy story and Folkore Library
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Extra resources for African American Folktales: Stories from Black Traditions in the New World
When they reached the light they were very happy. Tu-chai-pai told his brother to make the moon, and told the people that when the moon grew small and might die, they must run races. Tu-chai-pai watched them do this. He was then finished with his creating, and did no more, but he continued thinking for a long time. (Leeming and Leeming, Creation 6869; Erdoes and Ortiz 15657 from DuBois) Page 20 The Luiseño myth is more violent. The world parents are brother and sisternot surprising in these myths, since the two primal parents come from the same sourceand creation comes about when the brother assaults the sister.
What the tribes have in common are myths having to do with hunted animals and with the relationship between the hunter and his superior prey, which willingly sacrifices itself so that humans may live. Myths of Bear Mother and Salmon Boy are common. Animal totems grew out of intricate clan systems and take material form in crests and in the totem poles unique to the region. Spirits are important in the Pacific Northwest, as well as shamans to regulate or interpret their activities. Page 9 Origin myths, reflected in rituals such as the Wakashan Winter Dance, are told to explain how certain ceremonies began.
Now the people were in danger of drowning. So they sent a number of their handsomest young men and their most beautiful young women up into the sky to dance, in hopes of distracting the sun. In her grief, the sun was not to be deterred, and wept on. Finally, the dancers told the drummer to play a different song, and they danced to the new one, and the sun looked up: The new music and the young people were so beautiful that the old sun gave up her grieving and once again smiled. (Leeming and Page, Goddess 57; Erdoes and Ortiz 152 from Mooney, Cherokee) Several goddesses play significant roles among the Pueblo people of the Southwest.
African American Folktales: Stories from Black Traditions in the New World by Roger Abrahams