~ 150. Anansi and the Spotted Cow ~


A man had itch-bean plant in his field.
"If someone cuts down the itch-bean without scratching," he said, "I'll give him a cow."
People tried to cut it down; they all scratched.
Anansi started cutting.
"I hope he gives me a spotted cow," Anansi said. "I had a spotted cow once. She had a spot here—" Anansi scratched his arm. "And a spot here—" He scratched his leg. And so on.
Anansi kept on cutting and talking till he finished.
Anansi hadn't scratched; he was just talking about his old cow's spots!
The man had to gave Anansi a cow.


Inspired byJamaica Anansi Stories by Martha Warren Beckwith
Notes: This is story 29 in the book. Beckwith heard this story from Moses Hendricks; additional information in Beckwith's notes. The story is about cowitch, which has many different names in English: Wikipedia: Cowitch. Other versions of this story have mosquitos, and the person is forbidden to slap the mosquitos. The story also appears in Jekyll: 8. William Tell. In Dasent, it is a tree infested with ants: The King and the Ant's Tree. In Hallworth's version, the problem is "zootie grass" that must be cleared from the field, and Anansi uses the slapping trick, plus he fools the watcher by sending him to fetch water in a calabash full of holes.




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