Tag Archives: folktales

African Folktales: The Tortoise’s Calabash of Wisdom

folktales-tortoise-calabash-of-wisdom_thumbThe tortoise was known to be the wisest of animals. He had many visitors who sought his wisdom, and they gave him many gifts. The tortoise was wise enough to want to become wiser. Then he decided to collect all the wisdom in the world, keep it in a hollow calabash (or gourd) and hang the calabash on a tree for safekeeping. Continue reading

African Folktales: Tortoise, the Birds, and the Feasts

folktales-tortoise-birds-and-feasts_thumbThere was a famine one time that went on for months. Even Tortoise, who was slow but cunning and full of tricks, had not had a good meal for two months. He could walk a little faster because his body had shrunken so, but that was of no use if he was weak from hunger and there was little food to be found. As he crept about, Tortoise listened carefully for news of food. He only heard of a feast that the sky-gods were preparing for their friends, the birds. The feast was to be in the sky where only the birds and the sky-gods could go. Continue reading

African Folktales: Why the Rabbit has a Short Tale

folktales-rabbit-short-tail_thumb Once upon a time Brother Rabbit had a long bushy tail. Every time he saw Brother Fox, Brother Rabbit shook and waved his tail in Brother Fox’s face. Brother Fox did not like Brother Rabbit treating him this way. He studied and studied how to get even with the rabbit. Continue reading

African Folktales: The Frog and the Black-Handed Monkey

folktales-frog-black-handed-monkey_thumb Long ago, frogs and black-handed monkeys were friends. The monkeys would take the frogs high into the trees to show them the world from above, and the frogs would help the monkeys get fruit that had dropped into the water.
One day a frog decided to play a trick on one of the black-handed monkeys. He gathered much food and invited the monkey to a feast. His monkey friend was glad to eat with his friend. Continue reading

African Folktales: Why There is Day and Night

folktales-day-and-night_thumbThere used to be a time when there was no night or day. There was some light so that everyone could see, but it did not change.

At that time, there was a village in which all the women had children except one woman. She wanted a child very much but all she could do was watch as the other women had more children. The women teased her and insulted her, telling each other that she must be evil. “You must be a terrible person to have been punished like this,” they said to her face as she wept. She knew that she was no worse than anyone else. Continue reading

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