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 [60. The Animal Race.]


60. The Animal Race.

The wit of the animal race turns upon the fact that a slow animal, contrary to all expectation, wins over a swift. The story takes three forms. (1) The swift animal is so sure of winning that it delays and "slow but sure wins the race." (2) The little animal wins by hanging on behind while the other runs, and thus slipping in ahead at the end. (3) The slow animal arranges a relay by placing one of its kind along the road and taking its own position in hiding near the goal. See Dähnhardt 4:46-96.

(1) The classic Aesopic moral appears in Parsons, Andros Island, 102-103; and in JAFL 30:214.

(2) Compare Barker, 155-157; Madagascar, FLJ 2: 166-168; Natchez Indians, Swanton, JAFL 26:203; Saurière, 104; Lenz, Estudios, 185, 187.

In Grimm 20 (Bolte u. Polívka 1:148-165), while the giant bears the trunk of the tree on his shoulders, the valiant tailor rides home from the forest in the branches and pretends that he has been carrying the heavier load of the two.

(3) The Jamaica stories always follow the form of the relay race, as in Jekyll, 39-43. Compare Basset 1: 15; Bleek, 32; Frobenius 3:15; Rattray, Chinyanje 131; Renel 2:150-152; Schwab, JAFL 27:277; Hartt, 7-15; Smith, 543; Christensen, 5-9; Jones, 5-6; Edwards, 69; Harris, Uncle Remus, 87-91; Boas, JAFL 25:214-215; Parsons, Sea Islands, 79; JAFL 30: 174; 32:394; and references to American Indian stories in Boas, JAFL 25:249; Ponape, Hambruch, Südsee-Märchen, p. 196; note, p. 347.

The story is told in Grimm 187, discussed by Bolte u. Polívka 3:339-355.

For the flying-trial for a bride, compare Parsons, Andros Island, 101.

Next: Note 61. The Fasting Trial.