Friday, April 1, 2011


Hello folks! I have been thinking a lot lately about my childhood and the folklore told to me by my parents and grandparents. Back then we used to call them “Anansi Stories” the retellings of folktales, legends, superstitions, and the worst one of all, ghost stories. I could remember my father’s narrations of ghost stories; they used to keep me up at night shivering to death. I was so scared to sleep in the front of the bed; I would exchange my best Sunday dress with my sister to sleep in the back. I used to think all night long about “Skinny Skinny yuh noh know mi”.

Get a comfy chair, sit down and let me see how many of you can follow this folktale in Kriol.  Remember that old Anansi Stories from days of ole? Braw Anansi always ride on Braw Tiger's back.

 Once upon a time, (when time was time) neh mi gat wah bwai weh mi lazy bad. One day, ih pa giah wah gun suh ih gaan dah bush gaah huntin’. Wen ih get deh, ih decide fi tek wah lee liddung gence wah tree.

Wen ih look up, ih si wah big snake. Ih hurry jump up ah shoot di snake, den grab ih gun ah look fi staat pell-mell bak home.

But as ih staat aff, ih yer wah voice behine ah, ih hurry look ‘roun but ih nuh si nobadi! Di only thing weh ih si dah di snake di liddung pan di goun’.

Ih naily pitch puppah-lik wen ih yer di snake seh ‘koh pick mi up! koh pick mi up! You Saiman Dudu, you lazy pickney, koh pick mi up!’

Saiman neva mean fi stan up deh ah lissen to no snake, suh di snake jump pan ah ah wrap ihself roun’ Saiman nek. Poh Saiman run home wid di snake fass’n pah ih nek.

Wen ih reach home, ih ma seh ‘Bwai, weh you gwine wid dah big dead snake?’ Saiman seh ,’ih nuh dead, ih cud talk!’.

Den di snake koh aff ah ih nek and staat seh ‘Koh skin mi now! Koh skin mi now! Saiman Dudu, Koh skin mi now!... Suh ih skin di snake. Dat neva enuff, di snake staat seh ‘Koh beri mi now! Koh beri mi now!

Well, wi all kno by now Saiman lazy bad, Anyway, ih mi kno weh wah wee-wi hole mi deh, suh ih kerr di snake and foce ah down di wee-wi hole, but as usual, lazy mek ih figgit fi bring di snake skin, Suh di snake staat wid ih ‘Guh bring mi skin! Guh bring mi skin! Saiman Dudu you betta guh bring mi skin!’

Saiman Dudu had to gaan bak fi di skin beka ih fraid fi di snake no puss bak foot. Ih foce ah dung di wee-wi hole fi di snake.

Wen di snake get ih skin, ih tell Saiman ‘Yu know why ah du yu dis? Da beka yu to lazy, di neks time wen yu puppa or mumma ask yu fi du sunthin, du am beka, if ah aftu koh bak ah wah du yu suntin plenty wussara dan dis.’

Suh Saiman run gaan home an fah datti day, ih laan ih less’n. Neva lazy nuh-mo…AND, if the pin neva ben, story neva enn.

Kriol narration by Ellie Gillett


Once upon a time there was a boy who was very lazy. His father gave him a gun, so he went to the bush to hunt. When he got there, he laid down by the root of a tree to take a little rest.

When he looked up, he saw a big snake. He got up and shot the snake. And then he grabbed his gun to run back home.

But then he heard a voice behind him. When he looked around, he didn’t see anyone. He only saw the snake lying on the ground.

And the snake said: “Come pick me up, come pick me up. You Simon Dudu, you lazy boy. Come pick me up, come pick me up. Mm, mmm.”

But the boy didn’t stop, so the snake jumped on him and wrapped around his neck. And Simon ran home with the snake wrapped around his neck.

When he reached home, his mother asked, “Where are you going with that big dead snake?”

Simon answered. “It’s not dead, you know. It can talk.” Then the snake came off his neck and said, “Come skin me now; come skin me now. You Simon Dudu, you lazy boy. Come skin me now; come skin me now. Mm, mmm.”

So Simon skinned the snake. Then the snake said, “Come bury me now; come bury me now. You Simon Dudu, you lazy boy. Mm….Mmmmmm”

But Simon was so lazy; he didn’t want to dig a hole. He knew where a “weewi” ant hole was, so he picked up the snake and took it to the hole and dropped it inside. But he had left the snake’s skin behind.

Then the snake said, “Go get my skin; go get my skin; you Simon Dudu, you lazy boy.

So Simon went and got the skin, because he was afraid of the snake, and he dropped the skin in the hole.

Then the snake told Simon, “Do you know why I’m doing this to you? It’s because you are too lazy. The next time your father or mother tells you to do something, you do it, because if I have to come back, I will do something much worse to you.”

From that day on Simon learned never to be lazy again.

This story was told to villagers by Mrs. Natalia "Netty" Wade. She was also interviewed by the Belize Kriol Project and was published by the Angelus Press Belize. Other well known story tellers are people like Wilford "Manhead" Crawford, Jr., Mr. David Tillett, Mr. Horace Adolphus, Mr. Ewing Rhaburn, and Mr. Reginald Westby, Mr. Egbert Tillett, and Mr. Walter "Braw" Wade

Hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil: Toshogu Shrine-Nikko, Japan. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


Cherry Cadle said...

This is so funny. Never heard this one before. Read the Kriol version and had my daughter laughing. I guess everybody have their own anansi stories. This was very entertaining. Love it. Was surprised that I was able to read the story in the Kriol version. I always thouht that Kriol was spelt Creole or is that spelling refers to the ethnicity. Good Job.

Louise said...

Good job Ellie with the Kriol version. I was glad that I could read it and that means that I haven't loss my culture. I haven't heard this one before and I love it.


Marion said...

Terrific story and loved it. Can't wait to share with my grand-children. My mammy was from Monkey River, and she used to put me and my brother to bed every night with anansi stories (no TV or even radio in the early 50s to distract us from our family unit), even so I never heard this one before.

By the way, Cherry, the word "Kriol" is the original form of the word Creole. It was established first by Portugal and then Spain, and it meant the first generation to be born in the colonies of mixed parentage -- that is European and African peoples (masters and slaves) chiefly in Belize and the West Indies). Later England picked up the term and changed its spelling. As you may know they're also known for taking from others and putting their stamp on it -- like the English language which has been borrowed from numerous other languages and retained as England's own, and the fork we eat with which was an Italian invention.

Nevertheless remember to be proud of your African roots mi creole pipple cause the light skin and so-called "good hair" and "sharp nose" is only part and parcel of the historical brutal slave past and it has for too long fooled some of us into thinking like John Crow -- dat wi pikni white). Truth is love played no part in any relationship between master and slave, and our great, great, great, great grandmothers were forced into submission at every turn of their lives under threat of the whip, torture, and public hangings. Having said that we as an ethnic group would make our great to the 5/6th power grandmothers proud having persevered and empowered ourselves with education, education, education. Lately however, I find myself worrying for our young ones back home. It seems they have traded their souls for "the goodies." Can we talk?

Marion said...

Hello Ms. Elul,

Congratulations on your very wonderful and enlightening website which was most recently made known to me. I trust it is bringing you great joys. By the way I am Marion, and of course, a Belizean. I am contacting you because I am most interested in learning how and where I could purchase more Anansi stories. I have four grandchildren, and each one of them thoroughly enjoyed "Lazy Simon" which you offered a while ago. I myself grew up listening to my late mother tell many anansi stories to me and my brother at bedtime; however my memory has failed me on most of them.

Appreciate hearing from you in that regard, and I thank you for a response.