Jamaica - Anansi, White-belly and Fish
Mrs. Ramtalli, Maggotty.
Anansi is accustomed to lie in the sun every morning watching the birds going to feed. One day he said to White-belly, "Brar White-belly, whe' you go to feed eb'ry day? tek me wid you." So White-belly promised on condition that he would behave himself. He fitted him out with a pair of wings to fly, and they went to the feeding-trees. These overhung a river. Every tree White-belly went on, Anansi said, "A fe me tree dat!" and White-belly went away to another. Anansi eat so much that he fell fast asleep. White-belly got annoyed. When Anansi was sleeping, he went and took off the false wings. Anansi turned in his sleep and fell into the river.
The Fish picked him up and took him to their home. He said, "Cousin Fish, no eat me!"--"If we are 'cousin' we wi' see!" Fish boiled some hot rice-pop. Anansi said, "It no hot enough! putee in the sun mekee hot more!" When he thought is was quite cooled off, put it to his head, never stopped drinking until it was finished. Then Fish say, "Yes, me cousin fe trew!"
[1. A shallow flaring bowl.
2. "I thought you were dead."]
It was getting night and Fish told him to remain over until next day. Fish had a barrel of eggs in the kitchen. Anansi wanted to eat them off, asked Fish to make his bed in the kitchen for the night. He poached all the eggs in the ashes, left one, and they went 'pop!' The pickney say, "A wha' stranger man a do deh?" The Fish mother said, "Have manners, pickney! Let you cousin prosper." Morning dawn, the mother sent the children to bring the eggs to her to count them. Anansi said, "Mek the child'ren keep quiet; me wi' work!" and he took the one egg, took it to the mother Fish. Each time she marked it he would wipe it off, take back the same egg, until he had taken the whole barrel full.
After that, he said he wanted to go. Fish said to two of the children, "Me son, get the canoe an' tek you cousin over the river." It was looking very breezy and rainy. When they got half way across, Fish bawled out at the top of her voice, "Bring stranger man back he-e-ah! fe he eat off all me eggs; only one is heah!" The children say, "Wha' ma say?" Anansi said, "You ma say you mus' row quickly, squall ahead!" The children rowed across. Anansi took them up, put them in his bag and took them home, eat them. And from that day, fishes are eaten!
Anansi, White-belly and Fish.
Jekyll, 129-131, and Milne-Home, 35-39, have excellent versions of this very popular Jamaica story, which, in its full form, is made up of four episodes. (1) The birds take Anansi across the water to their feeding-place where; because of his bad behavior, they abandon him. (2) Anansi visits Fish and claims relationship. Fish tests him with a cup of hot pop, which he cools in the sun under pretence of heating it hotter. (3) He is lodged for the night with a box of eggs, all of which he eats but one; and when called upon to count the eggs, brings Fish the same one every time, after wiping off the mark. (4) Fish sends her children to row him home. He fools them out of heeding her call when she discovers the loss of the eggs. Once on shore, he fries and eats the children.
Compare Tremearne, 265-266; Head-hunters, 324-326; Rattray, 2: 88-104; Parsons, Portuguese negroes, JAFL 30:231-235; Andros Island, 2-3.
(1) The episode of the birds' feeding-place is to be compared with that of Fire-fly and the egg-hunt, number 7, and with the visit "inside the cow," number 22. In the Portuguese version, the birds take Lob to a dance and he sings insulting songs because there is no least.
(2) The test of relationship occurs in Jekyll and in Tremearne, Head-hunters. It belongs to the same class of boasts as those of the Clever Tailor in Grimm 20 and 183.
(3) In Milne-Home, the scorpion trick is employed to guard the eggs, as in number 7, and Anansi complains of "fleas" biting him. The episode is lacking in Jekyll.
In Tremearne, Head-hunters, when Spider breaks the eggshells, the children cry out to know what is the matter and Spider says he is hiccoughing.
The egg-counting trick generally occurs in a different connection. The trickster visits Tiger's house, eats all the cubs but one, and counts that one many times. Compare Callaway, 24-27; MacDonald 1:55-56; Theal 111; Jacottet, 40-45; Rattray, Chinyanje, 137-138; Harris, Nights, 346-348.
(4) In Jekyll, Anansi visits "Sea-mahmy," who is a mermaid, and. her son, "Trapong," or tarpon, takes him home. In Milne-Home, "Alligator" is host; a "boat-man" the ferryman. Lob gets "aunt" sea-horse to carry him to shore. In my Jamaica versions, the sons are the ferrymen and are generally cooked and eaten at the other end. The misinterpreted call occurs in all Jamaica versions and in Tremearne, Head-hunters. In the Lob story, Lob mutters an insult; when asked to repeat his words, he declares that he has merely praised the sea-horse's swimming; compare Parsons, Sea Islands, 54-56. For the fate of the ferryman, see also note to number 38 and compare Anansi's treatment of Rat in the note to number 7.
Jamaica Anansi Stories ,Martha Warren Beckwith, New York, Published By The American Folk-Lore Society, G. E. Stechert & Co., Agents.  and is now in the public domain.