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 [19. Dog and Dog-head.]


19. Dog and Dog-head.

This story is told everywhere in Jamaica, but I find no African version and Mrs. Parsons says (JAFL 32:391) that, although she heard it "over and over again" in South Carolina, it was altogether unknown in North Carolina; see Sea Islands, 1-5. Such a distribution argues a fairly modern origin for the complete form of the story.

The story has two parts. (1) Two friends, who have, one a dog and the other a dog-head, go hunting, and the owner of the dog-head claims the spoils for his own. (2) His companion, who dares not dispute him, recovers the spoils by pretending that the owner is come to punish the theft.

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An introduction sometimes tells how the friends come by the dog and dog-head. Each gets a present of a dog, but one is so greedy that he eats his down, beginning at the tail, until only the head is left. When his friend jeers at him, he makes a bet that his dog-head will catch the prey. The business of deciding at which end to begin to eat the dog is used as a humorous episode detached from the rest of the story, the victim sometimes escaping in the meantime.

The trick of claiming the cow as the prey of the dog-head may be related to such stories as that of Basset 2:88, in which the man lays the new-born calf beside his own bull and declares that the bull has mothered it.

For the revenge, compare Rivière, 11; Harris, Nights, 131-132.

Next: Note 20. Tacoomah's Corn-piece.