Monday, September 23, 2019

Strange dilemmas and just decisions (Following folktales around the world 123. - Republic of Congo)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

Notes on the Folk-lore of the Fjort
(French Congo)
R. E. Dennett
The Folk-lore Society, 1898.

It is tricky to find folktale collections from some parts of Africa, because political and cultural borders shifted around so much in the past two centuries. This book contains folktales from French Congo, mostly from the regions that are now the Republic of Congo (and a small part of Gabon). Since I could not locate any more recent folktale collections from the RC, I settled for this one, collected by a British merchant in the 19th century. He spent 17 years in the colonies, learned the local languages, and studied customs, folklore, and religion. The book was organized and edited by famous traveler Mary Kingsley, who also wrote an introduction and some additional studies for it. There is a separate chapter that introduces storytelling traditions, complete with examples of call-and-response stories and story-songs. At the end of the book we find some local songs, in the original language as well as English and Latin (translated with the help of Ms. Kingsley). The book was not always easy to follow, and parts of it are definitely dated, but I found a lot of cool stories on its pages!

Highlights

I appreciated the tale about the married couple that went on a journey and entrusted their son to a neighbor. The neighbor mistreated the boy, who fled into the forest, and was threatened by chimbindi (ghosts). Luckily, his parents got home, decided not to believe the neighbor's lies, and went looking for their son. They arrived just in time to chase the ghosts away with a gun loaded with chili pepper, and a basketful of pepper powder.
The story of How gazelle got married was thoroughly entertaining. The suitor had to find out the secret names of two girls in order to marry them. His dog spied on the girls and found out the names, but on the way home was always distracted by something and forgot them, so he had to keep returning. Eventually he made it to the gazelle and disclosed the names... but on the way to the girls' home they both forgot them again, so the names had to be retrieved one more time.
My favorite story from the collection was the surprisingly titled Ngomba's balloon. A girl was abandoned by her mean sisters, and kidnapped by a monster. While the monster was away, she worked together with the other prisoners to create a balloon, and they eventually flew safely home. When the monster followed them, the villagers helped chase it away. I also loved the story about The younger brother who knew more than the elder. They lived apart, but when the younger brother almost lost his wife as a result of his pride and a bad agreement with someone, the elder showed up just in time to trick the other party, and help save the wife.
Nzambi
I was very happy to find a new fire-theft tale in the collection, in which a team of animals - spider, tortoise, woodpecker, sand fly - stole fire from heaven together. Since spider was their leader, he would have won a wife for the effort, but the girl's father decided not to make her life miserable, so he gave everyone money instead. This was not the only wise decision in the book, either. A crafty woman overreached herself when she set a trap for someone in the hopes of demanding a payment for her stolen goods. However, the judges examining the case decided that her loss was intentional, and thus the decision was not made in favor of the trickster. Even Nzambi, the creator mother goddess was called in front of judges once, for stealing the world's first drum made by a small wagtail bird. She claimed that as creator, she had a right to everything, but the judges declared that she did not create drums, only creatures with free will who had a right to their own inventions. Therefore Nzambi had to pay for the drum, and also had to pay a fine for stealing it.
Flora and fauna featured prominently into the stories. In one "true story" a local man described a fight between a gorilla and a chimpanzee ( in which the latter lost). Another tale explained Why crocodile doesn't eat chicken - with the fact that chicken convinced him that they are related, since they are both born from eggs.

Connections

I once again encountered the tale about the wives who saved their husband together. Dreamer, Guide, and Raiser of the Dead brought the man back to life, and then demanded to know which one of them was the most valuable. The man chose the last one, and the men of the village agreed, but the women declared that he should have given each of his wives equal appreciation.
The story of the Twin Brothers is well known in Europe, and I have also seen it in Africa before. One brother sets out on an adventure and dies, but the other saves him. In this version there was an intriguing house full of mirrors that all showed different places (including the forbidden village where the first brother perished). Sadly, after the rescue, the two brothers had an argument and they killed each other.
Among the local beliefs there were mentions of people who could shapeshift into crocodiles or leopards - the crocodile-people even had their own village on a river island.
A nameless trickster started a fight between two friends by walking between them in a coat that was half red and half blue. I knew this story with the Yoruba trickster Eshu. Another trickster tale featured Rabbit secretly eating up the food he stored with Antelope - for which Antelope captured with with the use of the classic "tar baby" trick.

Where to next?
Gabon!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Genets and genesis (Following folktales around the world 122. - Democratic Republic of Congo)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!


Tortoise and Crocodile
and other folktales from the Komo People of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Barbara Thomas
Amazon Kindle Services, 2011.

The twenty tales in this book were collected from the Komo people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The collection is intended as a children's book, but it does contain stories that might be "sensitive" for Western readers. These have been marked with parental guidance warnings. The book notes the names of the original storytellers, but doesn't assign them to the tales, and the introduction is mostly just a foreword about sensitive content.

Highlights

I was fascinated by the tale of Motondo, the Magic Carpet, in which sisters went fishing and wanted to leave their little brother behind. He followed anyway, and when at night Father Spider stole the eyes of the girls (repeatedly), he stole them back. Eventually he warned his sisters of danger, and they wove a magic carpet and flew away to safety. The same moral (don't leave at home someone who wants to go with you) showed up in some of the Ashanti folktales in Ghana as well.
I was delighted to find a tale featuring one of my favorite feline creatures, the genet. The story was fairy simple; Rooster tricked Genet, and Genet died as a result, so his children have been revenge-hunting poultry ever since. The tale of Ingee's betrothal was one of the "parental warning" tales - a man heading out to find a wife took a dump where he was not supposed to, and his feces kept rolling after him everywhere as an ever-present reminder of shame. Needless to say, he did not get a wife.
Tortoise, the resident trickster, appeared as a fairly questionable character in many of the stories. In Tortoise and his friends, he invited animals along on a journey, then tricked them out of their food and weapons, framed them for theft, and had them killed. He did so with Endo, the red antelope (a symbol for death), and many others, until Mboko, the white antelope turned the tricks against him. In another tale Tortoise pretended to be a midwife for Crocodile's wife, and ate up all her eggs - that's why crocodiles have been hunting tortoises ever since.

Connections

I was reminded of Adam and Eve by the story of Abha-Betombetombe, Father of the Forest, where he warned fisherwomen not to eat from his sacred plantains. Of course they did, so he cursed them with monthly bleeding. After last week I once again encountered the story about why hens scratch the ground, looking for tasty morsels. The tale of Kaunga and Tombai was an all-devouring type folktale where a monster ate up everything and everyone, until a wild man named Kaunga had himself swallowed and rescued everyone by cutting the monster open from the inside, and staring a new world.
As I said before, the local trickster is Tortoise. I was reminded of Anansi and his moss-covered rock by the tale where Tortoise tricked animals into climbing a tree and being eaten by Leopard, until Mboko, the white antelope, once again came to the rescue. There was also another trickster figure, He-Spider, who tried to copy elephants and got hurt in the process, as tricksters sometimes do.



Where to next?
The Republic of Congo!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Animal friendships, animal enemies (Following folktales around the world 121. - Central African Republic)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

Central ​African Folk Tales
An Imaginative Collection of Wisdom for Children
Thomas G. Schaefer
XLibris US, 2014.

This book features twenty short folktales collected by a Peace Corps employee in the 1970s. Before violence broke out in the country, the oral tradition was still uninterrupted and stories could be gathered. Schaefer used these tales to teach English and show children that their own stories were just as valuable as the foreign literature used to teach French. He published a larger collection for educational purposes; this current ebook is a short selection from those stories. All tales are included in English and French, and accompanied by cute little drawings.

Highlights

Out of the origin stories, the one about the origin of rivers was the most intriguing. It claimed that in the beginning people lived without water, drinking juices of fruit and animal blood, until a hunter found a well, and released the first rivers into the world.
The strange and eerie tale of Birds, birs, and more birds was included in the book in two slightly different versions. This story said that originally there was only one bird in the world, the Bird of God. A hunter trapped it and ate it, despite the warnings of his wife, and was punished: In one story his stomach burst and birds flew out, in another he himself transformed into thousands of birds.
Among the animal tales my favorite was the story of Pig and Tortoise. Tortoise lent his shell to Pig, who forgot where he put it, and has been rooting around in shame ever since, trying to find it and give it back. The scratching of hens was similarly explained in a tale where Dog and Hen shared a meal, but the impatient hen ate the top of the rice, and left the choice parts in the bottom of the dish. She has been scratching ever since to make sure she gets the best bits of food.

Connections

Image from here
Animals sometimes helped, and sometimes tried to outdo each other in the stories. Bee and Pigeon saved each other; Elephant and Hen had an eating contest (which hen won, on account of number of items consumed), and Lion and Mosquito fought for the throne of the jungle (Mosquito won). There was also once again a tale where a hunter was rescued from a lion by a mouse that pretended to be a lion-hungry monster.
I was reminded of all the sky-raising myths by the tale that explain why there is rainfall. It was a story of war between earth and sky; earth tried to shatter sky with mountains, while sky tried to melt earth with rain, even though the moon tried to bring them to peace.
There is not one famous trickster in residence here, according to the collector, but rather many tricky animal characters. Still, there was a mention of a mischievous character named Tere, but only in one tiny story.

Where to next?
The Democratic Republic of Kongo!

Monday, September 2, 2019

The story door (Following folktales around the world 120. - Cameroon)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!


The Sacred Door and Other Stories
Cameroon folktales of the Beba
Makuchi
Ohio University Press, 2007.

The thirty-six tales in this book were recorded between 1979 and 1989 by a lady from Cameroon who emigrated into the USA. Makuchi is Beba, and she grew up in a living oral tradition with regular storytelling in the evenings (children were told that if they told stories in the daylight, the ghosts would take their voice). She also wrote her master's thesis on folktales she collected and translated, but she only started working on this book when she began sharing the stories with American children, to bring Beba culture closer to them. Each story comes with useful footnotes, and they are peppered with proverbs and wisdom. From the Afterword we can learn about the history of Cameroon and the Beba, as well as the Beba oral tradition, and we even find a collection of riddles to open storytelling sessions with.

Highlights

I really enjoyed the story of the curious and brave little girl who saved herself from a man-eating lion. I also encountered women who turned down all suitors in favor of a handsome stranger who turned out to be a cannibal spirit; this should be under the Connections category, but all of them were so unique that I wanted to mention them here. In one of them a bunch of fish disguised themselves as suitors (they even borrowed a car!), while in another the girl was rescued from the spirit world inside the belly of a toad, with a straw in her mouth so that she could breathe. The storyteller explains that these stories were supposed to warn young people that a marriage unites two families, and you should not run off and marry strangers.
I was also thoroughly entertained by the most R-rated story of the book, about the friendship of Penis, Testicles, and Vagina.Or rather, the friendship of Penis and Vagina, because Testicles offended Vagina, and she has been refusing to have anything to do with them ever since.

Connections

There was yet another story about why bats fly at night (in this case, due to their quarrel with the sun, because the latter did not shine long enough for bat's mother's funeral). The story of the feast in the sky was also familiar from both sides of the ocean. Tortoise joined in with the help of borrowed feathers, but when he ate up all the food, his bird-friends took the feathers back, and he had to jump and crack his shell. Another traveling story motif that made an appearance is "a bundle of sticks is harder to break than a single one."
I was reminded of Aesop's tales by the story of the monkey and the bee, whose friendship was tested when they tricked each other out of shared meals. In this case, however, they made up in the end and became friends again. There are also Aesopic parallels to the story of the flutes, where a boy lost her flute, and the spirits offered him a golden one instead that he humbly refused, earning a reward. Another boy was not so humble, and got punished. These "kind and unkind" type tales appeared in quite a few versions in the book, both with boys and girls. Out of the latter kind, the best one was the story where the two sisters were hosted and tested by a mysterious drum-maker who did everything - talking, cooking - with his buttocks.
Cameroon has a good football team
The story of Sense-Pass-King was a variant on the Clever Maid story with a male hero, while the unhappy stepchild was a straight up male Cinderella story, where they even tried the shoe on his foot. It was accompanied by a female Cinderella as well, called Dance in the Sky, where the girl had crocodile skin, and wings in her armpits. Mbaka and the magic ring was a classic dog-and-cat Aladdin type tale, except here the magic ring brought success to the hero's soccer career...
The evil predator that got tricked back into the trap was Leopard, defeated by Monkey and Cow. The trickster in residence is Torokee the Tortoise; he did the tug-o-war trick with Elephant and Hippo, and ran the infamous race against Hare with the help of his family.

Where to next?
The Central African Republic!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Spirits and tortoises (Following folktales around the world 119. - Nigeria)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria 
Elphinstone Dayrell
Longmans, Green & Co., 1910.

This is a fairly old book from British colonial times. It contains forty folktales from Southern Nigeria, collected by a colonial officer. The introduction was written by Andrew Lang himself, who also made notes for some of the stories, comparing them to European fairy tales. Many of the tales come with footnotes explaining certain cultural and historical elements, and sometimes they even come with an expressed moral at the end - although the moral is not always what one would expect from the story.

Highlights

Among the more mythical tales my favorite was the one that explained why Sun and Moon live in the sky. According to the story, they invited their friend the Sea over as a guest, but when the Sea appeared with all of his volume and residents, Sun and Moon had to flee to the roof first, and then to the sky, where they have been ever since.

The long and elaborate story of The king and the ju ju tree was especially great. In it, a king tried to cut down a magic tree to clear space around his favorite bathing place, but a splinter got into his eye, causing horrible pain. A man appeared to cure him, but asked for his daughter in exchange - of course the man was a spirit, planning on eating the girl. The princess, however, managed to get away from him with the help of a talking skull, and after many adventures found her way out of the spirit world and back home.
As for the animal tales, the one that stuck with me the most was the ominous story that explained why worms live underground. It was the story of a great battle between the worms and the terrifying driver ants, obviously won by the latter.
The story of the fat woman who melted in the sun, despite the strange title, was a story of beauty. Women were traditionally fattened up before marriage, and this one big beautiful lady was very popular - but also made of oil, so she was forbidden from going out in the sun. A jealous co-wife, however, tricked her into going to the fields, and the lady melted, down to her big toe. Luckily, she managed to pull herself together after a while.
The story of the king and the 'nsiat (weaver) bird, on the other hand, was a tale of breaking with traditions. The king married the beautiful daughter of the bird, despite the warning that women in her family give birth to twins - and offense traditionally punished by death. When the twins were born, however, the king loved his family so much that they ended up moving to the wilderness together to live with the bird family - and they have been living as weaver birds ever since.

Connections

I was reminded of the Cajun story of Marie Jolie by the tale of the disobedient girl who married a skull. The skull came from the spirit world, borrowing body parts from other spirits to form the perfect man, and the girl was helped by a friendly old woman in her escape back home before the spirits would have devoured her.
The pretty stranger who killed the king carried the internationally popular motif of a beautiful new wife (in this case, an old witch in disguise) beheading a king while he was asleep, thus bringing down the entire kingdom.
This Nigerian tortoise is more than
 300 years old!
The local trickster is, once again, Tortoise. He had many adventures, such as finding out the hippo's secret name (and thus exiling him into the waters), or playing tug-o-war with Elephant and Hippo. The latter story had a nice twist in the end: both animals decided they wanted Tortoise to be their friend. Tortoise moved to the water with Hippo, and sent his son to live with Elephant - that's why we have turtles and tortoises now. Tortoise also played the leading role in the story of the king's magic drum that created food out of nowhere. The trickster managed to get the drum from the king, but broke the taboo associated with it, so instead of food the drum now summoned people who beat everybody up. Using this new ability, Tortoise managed to get a second deal, and acquire a tree that grew foo-foo... until his sons broke that taboo as well, and the entire family had to move to the prickly bushes out of shame.

Where to next?
Cameroon!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Dawn to Dusk (Following folktales around the world 118. - Benin)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!


Dawn to Dusk
Folk Tales from Benin
Iro Eweka
Routledge, 1998.

This book is not just any folktale collection: It was written by a member of the Edo royal family. Iro Eweka, author, poet, psychologist, belonged to the last generation of the family that had the chance to listen to the traditional storytellers in the original context of court entertainment. While working on his doctorate in the USA, he had the inspiration to write the stories of his childhood down to preserve them. He arranged them in a sort of mythical chronology, from Creation to the fall of the Edo Empire in the 19th century. Each chapter opens with a quote (most often an Edo proverb). At the end of the book there is a whole chapter of Edo wisdom and proverbs, and another one that tells about the origin of Benin's name. The stories themselves are retold in beautiful, poetic language, which made this book a truly amazing read.

Highlights

The book begins with a creation myth. I especially liked how all animals and plants, once they were created with the strike of a whip, greeted the Creator and introduced themselves by their own name. So did men, women, and children. The mythology around birth was especially fascinating: according to Edo belief, everyone decides what they want their life to be before they are born, and they tell it to the Creator. Then they are sent down to Earth with their invisible twin, live their lives, die, then return to heaven, and make modifications to their life based on their experiences. Then it's the invisible twin's turn to be born, and so on and so forth, for 14 cycles. Prayers made during a lifetime are added to the modifications for the next round. The story also pointed out that this is why parents have to be grateful to their children, because the child chooses them and not the other way around.
The story of creation was followed up by the Great Debate, when arguments first arose between plants, animals, and humans. Ósánóbuá, the Creator was called down from the sky to do justice. The Debate was mostly carried by the wise trickster Tortoise, who listed the problems with the current state of things (especially with how humans behaved). In the end the Creator decided to put more rules in place, and give each creature their own language so they wouldn't understand each other anymore.
I really enjoyed the historical legend of Prince Ogun, who was exiled from his kingdom and lived in the jungle for seven years. He made friends with plants and animals, learned all the healing arts, saved a lion, an antelope, and a tree. When he was told that he would regain his thorne if he sacrificed a tiger, he refused, saying he would rather stay in the jungle than kill an animal. In the end, of course, he fulfilled his destiny and became king (but didn't kill a tiger). He was the one that named Edo after a slave who saved his life. 
Among the folktales I liked the one that explained why leopard has spots. It featured the Mother of all animals, who one day accidentally broke leopard's clay pot, angering the creature. She was defended by Ram, with the help of wise Tortoise (who helped him protect his large testicles in the fight). The wounds that Leopard received in the fight became his spots. Tortoise played similarly important roles in many other stories, as the trickster-advisor to the sacred kings. I especially loved the story where he warned the king to only declare plans with the caveat "barring any obstacles." When the king said no obstacles can ever derail his plans, Tortoise climbed a tree and tossed roasted nuts at the king's workers - who immediately abandoned their job to eat all the delicacies.

Connections

Once again there was a myth about the raising of the shy. In this one, people did not have to gather their own food at the beginning of time, because they could just take pieces of the low-hanging sky to eat. One day a frantic mother tore off too much sky, and threw out the leftovers. The sky got so offended that it asked for the Creator's permission to rise higher, out of reach. Humans were lucky that Tortoise already knew how to cultivate crops, and he taught them.
I was reminded of the story of the lion and the mouse by the tale of the spider and the deer. Spider asked Deer to carry him across a river, promising to return the favor one day. He did, by the classic spider trick of weaving webs to conceal Deer's footprints when hunters wanted to trap him, making it look like the prints were from many days earlier.

Where to next?
Nigeria!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Tricksters and more tricksters (Following folktales around the world 117. - Togo)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts here, or you can follow the series on Facebook!


Tales told in Togoland
A. W. Cardinall
Oxford University Press, 1970.

This book contains folktales and legends from Togo, collected by the author in the first half of the 20th century from hunters and farmers. Cardinall admits that he is not an anthropologist, he merely wanted to record the stories in fear that a trained collector might not get to Togo in time before they disappeared. There is a detailed introduction about the country's geography, cultures, and history. The stories themselves are grouped into thematic chapters, in which they follow each other without sub-titles, connected by information on customs, beliefs, and folklore. The last chapter is taken up by the oral history of the country from the times before colonization. The book is a very enjoyable read, and while the text is occasionally dated (referring to some things as "primitive"), it contains a whole lot of really great stories.

Highlights


I found the first cool story right in the Introduction. According to local beliefs, animals could only be killed with bullets specifically crafted for that species. A man went to the blacksmith for buffalo bullets, and when he returned to pick them up, a hunter followed him into the bush - and saw the man turn into a buffalo. He shot at the animal, but the bullets bounced off, since the buffalo used the magic of the buffalo bullets to protect himself from harm. How cool is that?
Since there were many, many trickster tales in the book, I also found some new favorites. I loved the one where a chief had a competition with a boy about who can trick the other - and when the chief lost, he turned into a spider in his shame. It was an Anansi origin story! I also liked another story that explained why Anansi hides in shame - in that one, he tried to trick Chameleon, but ended up being tricked himself (with the help of a cloak made of living flies). In yet another story it was Nyame who punished the spider for his pride, burning his house down; Anansi only managed to save his pillow, which is why even today you can find small, white pillow-like nests in spiderwebs. I also enjoyed the tale in which a kind-hearted hunter found food with the help of a chichiriga, a forest spirit, but when Anansi tried to copy the trick, he did not treat the spirit well enough, and thus received nothing.
Last but not least, there was a fun story explaining the origin of wasps. A girl called her mother a witch, and the furious mom started chasing her to punish her. Various animals tried to help the girl, but they were all intimidated by the mother, until the wasp swallowed her whole. The wasp tied a rope around its waist so that the old woman could not come out (hence the tiny waists) - and since she went in face first, her sharp tongue became the wasp's stinger.

Connections

Since we are deep into West Africa here, many stories were familiar not just from other African countries, but also from the Caribbean and the USA. I have already heard the creation story in which the sky was raised as a punishment for people annoying the Sky God. Dilemma stories continue to be popular, similar to other African countries - there was the one about the three wives who saved their husband together and argued over who did the most (the husband declared they were all equally important), and another about four men saving a child from a snake, and then arguing about who deserved the snake's skin the most. In fact, dilemma tales had half a chapter to themselves.
After Mali I once again encountered a story about animals trying to take revenge on a hunter. He revealed almost all his secrets to his animal-wife, except for one, which helped him get away when she lured him unarmed into the bush (honestly, I was rooting for the animals). Another man had a similarly lucky escape from a crocodile, when he helped the animal and it wanted to devour him instead of a thank you. The man was helped by the clever little red-flanked duiker, a distant relative of the famous Southeast Asian trickster Mouse Deer. A third daring escape featured a man about to be devoured by a hyena that was about to be devoured by a leopard that was about to be devoured by a lion, and then all of them scared off by a rat that claimed he was about to devour them all (I knew this story from another African collection, with a muskrat as the hero). And while we are on the topic of hunting, I found a variant of the tale about the hunter's son from Ghana, in which a lion tried to take revenge on the boy when it saw the trophies of his kin.
There was a story similar to tales I know from Brazil, in which a hunter wounded an antelope and chased it into the village of the kulparga (little people, "fairies"), where he discovered that all animals are kulparga in disguise, and he had to watch the young antelope-man die. These little creatures, by the way, were similar to European fairies in that they also hated iron, and played the main role in the story where a hunter joined their celebration and sang the days of the week with them ("gift of the fairies" tale type). In this case, their gift was a large amount of cowrie shells.
Kép innen
The two main local tricksters were Anansi the Spider and Soamba the Hare (both of them traveled to the Americas from here). Next to such classics as the tar baby story there were also some familiar from Ghana, such as Anansi and Wisdom, or Anansi trading things up until he got a hundred slaves for one ear of corn. I was also already familiar with the "bring me something" tale, in which Anansi spied on Nyame in the disguise of a bird to find out what the deity wanted him to bring; as well as the one where Anansi killed the chief's sheep and tried to blame another spider for it, but then in his greed gave himself away.
I noticed some European parallels in the story of the Golden Twins (here Nyame's five wives competed in doing the best for their husband; the youngest gave birth to a silver and a gold child who were stolen by the others, but wise Anansi figured out the truth) and the Twin Princes (who were two friends that looked alike, and ended up saving each other). There was even a Bible parallel in the Ashanti myth in which Tano, younger son of Nyame, tricked his father into giving him the blessed lands he intended for his eldest son.

Where to next?
Benin!