~ 184. Butterfly and Anansi in the Fields ~

"Did you hear about the new law?" Butterfly asked Anansi. "No badmouthing! If you badmouth somebody, you'll drop down dead!"
Anansi laughed. "I can keep my mouth shut. We'll see about you!"
Then Anansi and Butterfly went to work in their fields.
Dry-Head-Skull-Man walked by, talking to himself, rattling his skeleton bones as he danced. "All dressed up, going to the barber, getting ready for the party tonight!"
Butterfly didn't say anything.
Anansi said, "What's Dry-Head-Skull-Man going to a barber for? There's no hair on that fool's head!"
Anansi dropped down dead for badmouthing, and Butterfly ate him up. "Delicious!"

Inspired byJamaica Anansi Stories by Martha Warren Beckwith
Notes: This is story 32 in the book. Beckwith heard this story from Charles Thompson; see Beckwith's notes, and see also this other version: The Law against Badmouthing. He's just "Dry-Head" in the story, and he's a strange, supernatural character; I imagined him here as a skeleton with a skull. In Sherlock's "Anansi and the Old Hag," Anansi gets tricked into badmouthing the bald Turkey who says he is going to the barber.

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