Jamaica - Dry-Head and Anansi
George Parkes, Mandeville.
One time Anansi wife have a very large pig. She value the pig for ten pounds, say she was going to sell the pig an' buy a piece of land. Anansi wanted the pig to eat an' he wanted to eat him one, so he fawn sick, very very sick; all what the wife could do for him he wouldn't take nothing. He then call his wife an' tell her him gwine to die an' she mus' take care of herself an' the chil'ren.
The wife said to him she has to go nex' day to see the doctor about him, so the nex' day she dress herself an' start for the doctor, leaving Anansi very sick at home. When the wife gone one way, Anansi get up, dress himself an' go short cut the other way. He change himself into a different man. The wife say, "Good-morning, sir." He say, "Good-morning, ma'am." He say, "What is the matter?" The woman said, "My husband is sick unto death!" He said, 'Well, I am the doctor. Have you any hog at home?" Say, "Yes." He says, "If you want your husband to live, you better kill the hog and let him alone eat it." The woman turn back with a very heavy heart. Anansi run back by the short cut, reach home, an' be in bed sick. When the wife return home he say to her, "Have you seen the doctor?" She says, "Yes."--"What him say?"--"He say I am to kill the hog an' let you alone eat it; then you will get better." Anansi say, "Cho! Doctor talking nonsense! How he t'ink I eat such a big hog like dat?" The woman said, "To get you better I got to comply with the doctor's order."
[1. By himself, alone.]
Anansi took away the hog an' carry into a wood, him one alone. An' scrape it an' put it into a copper to cook. An' he see a wil' thing called himba an' he dig it to cook with the meat. He saw Mr. Go-long-go come up. Say, "Brar Anansi, wha' you do here?" Say, "I boil buckra meat, sah." Tell him mus' tak out piece of meat gi' him. Say, "I kyan' tak out fe a buckra meat, sah!" Brar Go-long-go say, "If you don' tak it out I 'top you mout', I 'top you breat'!" An' he take it out an' gi' him to eat. An' say, "Tak out de whole of it!" an' he tak out the whole an' put it before Brar Go-long-go. Eat off the whole of it!
An' he said, "Brar Go-long-go, I no pass some plenty guinea-pea deh?" An' they went there, an' carry a pint of oil an' put him into the middle of the plant-trash an' t'row the oil right around it, an' him light an' whole take fire. Brar Go-long-go say, "Come take me out!" Anansi say, "Nyam meat no gimme me no!"
[1. From this point the story follows a Lacovia version.
2. Wild yam.
3. "Go-long-go" corresponds with "Dry-head" in other versions. See note to 22.
4. "You ate the meat and gave me none."]
Ezekiel Williams, Harmony Hall.
Brar Nansi trabble away. Him was a man very fond of duckano. So while he was going on, hear somet'ing drop "woof!" An' say, "Makey stan' deh!" fe him duckano. At de same time deh was Brar Dry-head drop off de tree. Brar Dry-head say, "Ef you tak me up, you tak up trouble; an' ef you put me down, you put down yo' luck!" So Brar Nansi never know what to do. Brar Nansi say, "Brar Dry-head, have big fat barrow in a stye; mak we go kill it!" An' so dey do. Well, when de pot boil wid de barrow, Brar Nansi say, "Brar Dry-head, you know what we do? Who can't eat wi'out spoon not to taste it." So Brar Dry-head, he never have no hand, so Brar Nansi eatee off clean!
c. Brother Dead.
Emanuel Johnson, Brownstown.
Anansi run till he meet up Bredder Dead . . . Br'er Dead say, "If you pay me, I will save you."--"Br'er, me have not'ing to gi' you, but me have one cock a yard fe me wife, me tek him come gi' you." Br'er Nansi run to de yard, get de cock, meet Br'er Dead in de corn-piece an' gi' it to him. Now Br'er Dead goin' to kill him jus' de same. After Br'er Dead tie de cord gone away to odder side of de corn-piece, Anansi t'ief de cock back from Br'er Dead, get a hawk an' put up de hawk. Hawk catch Dead now in de corn-piece. Anansi say,
Fly along, Brudder Hawk, fly a-long. Fly a-long, Brudder Hawk, fly a-long.
Car-ry him go'long, Car-ry him go'long, Car-ry him go'long,
Brud-der Hawk, Car-ry him go 'long.
An' Br'er Hawk fly along wid him till drop him into a sea-ball. Jack man dora!
[1. A pit in the ground near the sea-coast, into which the waves wash is called a "sea-ball."]
Dry-Head and Anansi.
The "Dry-head" episode is very popular in Jamaica. From Jekyll's version, 48-49, I have corrected my version 30 c as Johnson gave it and made Dry-head, not Anansi, the victim of the bag trick. Johnson was not a reliable informant. Other Jamaica versions occur in Pamela Smith, 75-76, as the conclusion to the "cowitch" story, and in Wona, 44-50.
The story falls into three parts. (1) Anansi pretends that he is about to die unless he has the whole of a fat barrow to himself. (2) He carries it away into the woods to eat and inadvertently picks up Dry-head, who devours the whole. (3) He invents an expedient to get rid of Dry-head.
Compare Surinam, JAFL 30:244 -246; Madagascar, Renel 2:1-2; 57-59; Kaffir, Theal, 158-162; Upper Congo, Weeks FL 12:82-83; West African, Tremearne, FL 22:61-63; Barker, 66; Cronise and Ward, 287-290; Rattray, 2:106 -122.
(1) Rattray's Hausa version is identical with the Jamaican. The Surinam story lacks the Dry-head ending. In the Madagascar and Congo stories, the trick turns upon pretending that a spirit warns the wife against poison if she partakes of her husband's food. In Theal, Kenkebe visits his father-in-law in time of famine, is feasted on an ox and given bags of corn, which he conceals. Compare numbers 21 c, 23, 24, 25, and 29.
(2) A Masai story (Hollis, 15) tells of two brothers who are given a bullock to slaughter. They carry it to "a place where there was no man or animal, or bird, or insect, or anything living," and a devil puts them to much inconvenience.. The pursuit of Anansi by the shadow of Death, in the Wona version of 27, has already been referred to in the Dry-head episode. In Barker, 81-84, the stolen flour-producing stone which Anansi is carrying off, sticks to his head and grinds him to pieces, as referred to in the note to number 22.
In Theal, Kenkebe's wife and son hide themselves behind the rock which conceals his secret store, and push over a stone which pursues him as far as his own house.
In Barker, 66, the king gives to the greedy man a box so enchanted that it can never be put down.
In Sac and Fox Indian tales, JAFL 15:177, the monster-killing twins bring home a rock which sticks upon their backs until they carry it to its place again.
In the Ojibway Nanabushu cycle, Jones, Pub. Eth. Soc. 1:117-127, Nanabushu is cooking a deer. The branches of the tree creak and he gets up to grease them and is caught and hung there. Meanwhile, the wolves come and eat up the deer. He finally escapes, discovers that the brains of the deer are still left in the deer-skull, transforms himself into a snake and crawls into the head. Turning too quickly back into human shape, he gets caught with the skull fast to his head and has to carry it about with him until he manages to break it against a rock.
(3) The regular Jamaica conclusion of the Dry-head episode seems to be the Aesopic one in which a bird carries him in air and drops him, not against a rock but, in Jekyll, "in the deepest part of the woods;" in version (c), "in a sea-ball." In another version not printed here, Anansi takes in an old man because he has some food with him; but when the food gives out, the man "become a Dry-head on him," and Anansi puts him off on Tacoomah, who leaves him by the sea so that a wave comes up and drowns him. In version (a) Anansi burns him up. Version (b) is a witticism in the same class as "Dry-head and the Barber" in this collection.
In Pamela Smith's version, Anansi shoots the bird who is doing him the favor of carrying off Dry-head. See note to number 70 and compare P. Smith, 59-64, in which Tiger, pursued by the "Nyams," begs one animal after another to hide him, but always lets his presence be known. Finally, when Goat kills the "Nyams," he eats Goat with the "Nyams."
In Dorsey, The Pawnee, 126, and Traditions of the Arikara, 146-148, Coyote, pursued by a Rolling Stone, takes refuge with the Bull-bats and is defended by them. In the Pawnee version, he later insults his rescuers.
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.