Nigerian Folk Tales
Walker, Barbara K
Walker, Warren S
. Rutgers University Press . New Brunswick, N.J. ,
GR351.3.N53 1961 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Thirty-seven Yoruba tales, including fourteen labelled Moral Fables (35-54). The notes on this section (89-98) comment in careful fashion on possible transmission routes, including those of the several Aesopic fables presented. As to these, TH adds the tortoise's deliberation before he accepts the original challenge. The Tortoise and the Boar and The Tortoise and the Snake work off of the Aesopic FS pattern, but use stepping on one's tail as provocation and adding a rope to one's tail as revenge; the moral is that man teaches man to be tall or short. How can the crow in FC speak with the cheese in his mouth? TMCM cuts out the country visit. The non-Aesopic fables are heavier on lessons and more like folk-tales, with emphasis on significant names, magical tests, and strange powers. The Test is ingenious. The Man, the Dove, and the Hawk is a well-crafted lesson in self reliance. The Lion and the Goat follows a familiar pattern but gives the man a rare chance to be the clever judge that recreates the original scene. The Lion, the Tortoise, and the Boar has a good moral: To state one's dislike is to initiate one's annoyance. I feel for the tortoise in the first fable who has collected all the world's wisdom into a gourd but is not smart enough to hoist it on his back while he climbs a tree! The Aesopic story about the bat changing sides and being outcast is told as a pourquoi story on 26. The Tortoise and the Tug of War (59) is told unusually cleverly: the tortoise has dragged both elephant and hippo out of their elements!