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BOOK
JAMAICA PROVERBS
AND CULTURE
EXPLAINED
ISBN 1899341099
book preview

BOOK
Anancy Stories Book
Companion to the
CD ROM
ISBN 1899341110
Revised edition

JAMAICA TONICS
ISBN 1899341234
£14.99

Phonics Fun
ISBN 1899341129
UK English phonics

CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL

ANANCY STORIES
ISBN 189934117
£9.99 (UK ISBN)
audio CD

THW WOLFS' SHARE

AESOP JAZZY FABLES
ISBN 1899341080
£7.99 (UK ISBN)
audio CD

Caribbean Fruit& Veg videos

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HOME PUBLICATIONSFREE STUFFPHOTO GALLERY GAME MICRO SCIENCE FICTION
Anancy story history
The early structure and form of Anancy (Ananse, Anance, Ananci, Anansi, Anansy – alternative spellings) stories.
It is clear that in the earliest days of Africa story telling was a type of power (magic in the sense that the stories were ‘living’, independent of the storyteller, the storyteller was a like an emissary between the listener and the story). We know this because the Sky god (literally God – the supreme being) owned the stories that had to be won by Anancy and Aso (his wife) through tests of bravery and intelligence so that men could hear them. The Sky-god created them just as he had created men – men did not create the first stories.

In early Ashanti culture stories could only be told after dark, the reason for this was because of the unusual licence that Ashanti Anancy stories had:
Living Anancy stories
First to protect himself the storyteller has to announce a disclaimer before he began, he would tell the gathered listeners that,

‘We don’t mean to say so’; ‘we don’t really mean to say so’.

a plural here because the story is also living, the storyteller is excusing the storyteller and the story (the intended outcome is meant to be good, even though sometimes 'negatives' are portrayed).
In the Jamaican tradition we get (other Caribbean story telling have a similar device ),
‘Jack Mahn Dora, me no choose none’ – 'the keeper of heaven’s gate' bear witness that we are only telling a story, we have not chosen the outcomes to intend malice through the story. Again the ‘we’ means the story and the storyteller (of course stories want to go to heaven too).

Anancy Stories
NEW CD NOW AVAILABLE
ISBN 1899341137
£9.99

The licence of the Anancy story
In the earliest times certain subjects were taboo, certain people, events, and situations could not be mentioned in normal conversation on pain of death (there were powerful spiritual beliefs that prevented citizens from breaking these taboos), however in the Anancy stories these same subjects could be treated with almost unbelievable disdain, the Sky-god, lesser gods, fetishes, spirit ancestors, the sick, chiefs, and sex could all be ridiculed with a surprising amount of profanity. Actors would also enter the ‘storytelling circle’ to enact key characters from the story such as guileful and cheating priests or the cruelty and wickedness of a chief (all present at the storytelling).

The form of the characters in Anancy stories
In the classic form of characterisation for the original African Anancy stories:
Personal names were always avoided,
Animals were used to further remove the characters in the story from the real people of the village,
The king could be personified as Nyame the Sky-god,
Kwaku Anansy and his wife Aso would appear regularly (but not always) in the stories,
Animals in the stories were selected for their inherent characteristics and their similarity to the human characters they personified.

NEW Revised edition 2005
(UK) ISBN 1899341110 £5.99


The wisdom of the original African storytelling form
It was wisely known from the earliest times that Anancy stories would travel and change to suit the locality, just as they did when Africans travelled to the Caribbean, we can know this from the closing lines of the earliest Ashanti Anancy stories:

“This, my story, which I have related, if it be sweet, or if it be not sweet, take some elsewhere, and let some come back to me.”

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