West African Folk Tales cover

West African Folk Tales

William H. Barker (1882-1929)

1. 01 – How We Got The Name Spider Tales
2. 02 – How Wisdom Became The Property Of The Human Race
3. 03 – Anansi and Nothing
4. 04 – Thunder and Anansi
5. 05 – Why the Lizard Continually Moves his Head up and Down
6. 06 – Tit For Tat
7. 07 – Why White Ants Always Harm Man’s Property
8. 08 – The Squirrel and the Spider
9. 09 – Why We See Ants Carrying Bundles As Big As Themselves
10. 10 – Why Spiders are Always Found in Corners
11. 11 – Anansi and the Blind Fisherman
12. 12 – Adzanumee and her Mother
13. 13 – The Grinding-stone that Ground Flour by Itself
14. 14 – Morning Sunrise
15. 15 – Why the Sea-turtle When Caught Beats Its Breast with Its Forelegs
16. 16 – How Beasts And Serpents First Came Into The World
17. 17 – Honourable Minu
18. 18 – Why the Moon and Stars Get Light from the Sun
19. 19 – Ohia and the Thieving Deer
20. 20 – How the Tortoise got its Shell
21. 21 – The Hunter and the Tortoise
22. 22 – Kwofi and the Gods
23. 23 – The Lion and the Wolf
24. 24 – Maku Mawu and Maku Fia
25. 25 – The Robber and the Old Man
26. 26 – The Leopard and the Ram
27. 27 – Why the Leopard Can Only Catch Prey on Its Left Side
28. 28 – Quarcoo Bah-Boni
29. 29 – King Chameleon and the Animals
30. 30 – To Lose an Elephant for the Sake of a Wren is a Very Foolish Thing to Do
31. 31 – The Ungrateful Man
32. 32 – Why Tigers never Attack Men Unless they are Provoked
33. 33 – The Omanhene Who Liked Riddles
34. 34 – How Mushrooms First Grew
35. 35 – Farmer Mybrow and the Fairies

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Compiled by an American missionary, West African Folk Tales by William H Barker is a delightful collection of folk tales from Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania and other countries along the west coast of Africa. These stories spread in various forms to other countries like the West Indies, Suriname, the Netherland Antilles, etc and can be still heard today among the people of these countries. West African Folk Tales is a wonderful read for both young people and older readers alike. The stories are charmingly retold. Most of them are about Anansi, the trickster god of the West African people. He is worshiped as the god of all stories and often takes the form of a spider, which is considered to be very cunning. Anansi the Spider sometimes has a human face, wears clothes or assumes human form but keeps his eight legs. The first story in this book tells of how the Anansi tales originated. In the olden days, goes the tale, all stories were only about Nyankupon the chief of gods. But Anansi the Spider felt that he should be the hero of all stories. He goes to the chief and demands that he should be made the hero, whereupon the chief sets some conditions for Anansi to fulfill before he can call himself a hero. How the clever Spider achieves this forms the rest of this entertaining tale. The Anansi tales are supposed to have originated in Ghana and it is among the Ashanti people of Ghana that they are most popular. However, they remained an oral tradition, passed on from generation to generation, and Anansi himself was reputed to be a skillful speaker and teller of stories. Though Anansi is quite smart, he uses his cleverness to trick others and sometimes he himself meets a bad end! This book contains 18 Anansi stories and 17 others about different animals like leopards, tigers and elephants. There are also stories about various trees and plants. The Anansi tales are closely linked to Uncle Remus' Brer Rabbit tales and Anansi's character bears a strong resemblance to the tricky rabbit. The original edition of West African Folk Tales has some beautiful illustrations which would appeal to young readers. This collection was first published in Lagos in 1917. William H Barker was a missionary and the principal of a government school in Accra. The book was coauthored by Cecilia Sinclair and will certainly provide hours of entertainment for both parents and children.



- Chap 4

All fables should be read by kids! Enjoyed this story so much


Brilliabt, very interesting.