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 [139. The Fifer.]


139. The Fifer.

The story is common in Jamaica. See Jekyll, 98-99. It was told me as a "speak-acting" story, but as I could get no other of exactly the same character, I do not know how common it used to be to present a Nansi story in this way. The Nansi story is now given in the form of a dramatic monologue or rehearsed simply as a tale.

For the story of "The Fifer," six actors were required, one to represent the boy, one the father, and four others the "wild beasts." "Anansi," "Dry-head," "Tacoomah" and "Tiger" were the "beasts." Roe said that "the one who takes the son's part tells the story." The dramatization went on much like a school exercise performed by grown men, with improvised action and (probably) extemporized dialogue. It ended in a dance in which all six joined.

Compare Tremearne, 301; Harris, Nights, 370-373; Edwards, 87-88; Parsons, Andros Island, 137-138.

{p. 287}

The story seems to be drawn from such prohibitions against whistling at night or whistling more than twice when walking at night or through a haunted forest as are quoted by Sebillot, Le Folk-lore de. France 1:159, 283. He tells a Breton story of a lad who forgot the prohibition and found himself mocked and followed by the Devil, who bore him off just as he had reached home, Compare number 66, note.

Next: Note 141. Tacoomah makes a Dance.