Folktales

crocodile


To look for a specific item, type the word in the search box below. For example, type “spider” or “Vai” to see all entries on those terms.


 





 

This page is having a slideshow that uses Javascript. Your browser either doesn’t support Javascript or you have it turned off. To see this page as it is meant to appear please use a Javascript enabled browser.

  • 284
  • 190
  • 344
  • 186
  • 189
  • 353
  • 105
  • 341
  • 106
  • 329
  • 221
  • 119
  • 124
  • 123
  • 169
  • 342
  • 222
  • 351
  • 305
  • 453a
  • WarScenePainting
  • 294
  • 402
  • 404
  • 171
  • 112
  • 350
  • 135
  • 174
  • 406
  • 440px-1896_Libéria
  • 231
  • 225
  • 287
  • 163
  • 406A
  • 167
  • monroviasoldiers
  • 346
  • 223a
  • LiberianLegisture
  • 115
  • 288
  • 58
  • 403A
  • 224
  • stpaulriverboat
  • crocodile
  • 343
  • 383
  • July 26th Nafoh
  • 446
  • 215
  • 187
  • 60
  • 289
  • 454
  • July 26th Flag Bearer III
  • 220px-1896_Libéria
  • 405
  • July 26th Football
  • 345
  • 121
  • 352
Play
Pause


 


LiberiaPediabanner
 

LiberiaPedia Databases

B. V. R. James Henry Roadman John B[radberry] Jordan adjournment of legislature Provisional Monthly Court Nancy A. Woodson James Thomas ginger Daniel B. Warner spring guns Mende Fantasy and Wonder justice of the peace courts H. W. Dennis National Fair Morality Tale Careysburg Liberia College Sapo T.H. Amos J. T. Gibson Naffaw recaptured Africans auditors secretary of treasury Amos Herring American Colonization Society Rachel Perdue City of Buchanan charter navigation legislative journals boundaries of the Republic Dilemma Tale Kru Po-RIver people Francis Burns Granville Woodson Edina township Why Things Are the Way They Are Z. B.Roberts Otillia Julien Jordan crimes R. A. Sherman Padee commissioners for international exhibition Costa Guarda Settra-Kroo John Day David Banaker rebellion James L. Sims J. Gearing George W. Deadrick Alfred F. Russell Kuwaa Rev. S. J. Mills highways licenses state prison Samuel F. McGill tonnage duty foreign mineralogists H. R. W. Johnson secretary of the treasury City of Monrovia charter armed force Lexington Francis Payne payment of duties James M. Horace revenue cutter Dan Gola Mah travel journal duties on imports revenue punishment of crimes Ghee's Mountain 1856 Sinoe War John Perdue Charles B. Dunbar find site for capitol in interior constitutional amendment Regina Coeli Naffaw people Trickster Tale paper currency Nair Mountain land grant to immigrants smallpox in Maryland Marshall music Grebo superintendents New Georgia James R. Amos slave trade at Gallons Junk River Jeremiah Hilliard H. Underwood taxes Thornton Belton Dey WIlliam H. Hill ports of entry Georgianna M. Hilliard Philadelphia international exhibition Beverly R. Wilson Bassa William Harris Sikon Tchien militia Kissi Clay Ashland United States of America elections Mechlin river colonial records of the Republic engraved bills small pox Loma Sinoe Benjamin Anderson library salaries of civil servants import duties Brig “Town of Liverpool” Historical Account James R. Moore R. E. Murray Kpelle Edward James Roye Bandi boundaries of the counties Vai Presbyterian Missionary Society commerce J. J. Roberts judiciary Grand Bassa County superintendent S. C. Fuller Ma Robertsport Maryland County Putu Schooner Lark treasury department

 

This page is having a slideshow that uses Javascript. Your browser either doesn’t support Javascript or you have it turned off. To see this page as it is meant to appear please use a Javascript enabled browser.

  • KickstarterButton
    PatrickFeb 24, 2016

  • HistoricalDictionary
    PatrickFeb 24, 2016

  • WorldCatLink
    PatrickFeb 13, 2016

  • AmazonLink
    PatrickFeb 13, 2016

Play
Pause

Welcome to a small sample of Liberian folktales.

The primary goal is to increase interest in Liberia’s storehouse of oral literature which, although undeniably rich, is often overlooked by students of African oral traditions. Most of the tales in this collection were taken from “Legends of Liberia.”

That mimeographed collection, published sometime in the 1960s by Peter Pinney, a native of New Zealand, received limited circulation in its original form. A second edition, released by the Society of Liberian Authors in 1973 with few editorial changes, focused renewed and wider attention to these tales.

It is hoped that this expanded and substantially reorganized collection will bring these delightful stories to the eyes, ears and hearts of many more, especially the thousands of Liberian children uprooted and exiled by decades of violence.

Tales by Ethnic Origin

Bandi

Bassa

Dan (Gio)

Dey

Gola

Grebo

Kissi

Kpelle

Kru

Kuwaa (Belle)

Loma

Mah (Mano)

Mende

Putu

Sapo

Sikon

Tchien

Vai

 

 

A second purpose is to draw attention to the genres and other patterns that run through these stories. These patterns, which transcend linguistic and even national boundaries, have long been obscured by a tradition among Liberianists that emphasized ethnic differences over commonalities. Following that tradition, each chapter in Pinney’s book consisted of tales drawn from one ethnic group or “tribe.”

In contrast, tales in this collection are organized by genres, determined by a combination of literary features, such as tone, characters and perspective of author to audience. The five genres employed in this study are: Historical Accounts, Why Things Are the Way They Are, Trickster Tales, Fantasy and Wonder Tales, Dilemma Stories, and Morality Tales.

The study of these literary forms is part of a larger investigation by the author into the structure of pre-Liberian cultures and societies. Although much more research remains to be undertaken, two findings from this study deserve to be underscored.

The first concerns the trans-ethnic spread of these genres: They may be found among linguistically and ethnically divergent groups, not only in Liberia, but throughout West Africa and parts of its Diaspora in the New World. To cite just one example, the trickster spider is known to the Kpelle as NaaSi and to the Ashanti as well as Jamaicans as Anansi, a similarity that is too close to be coincidental. Such similarities suggest the people of West Africa share certain fundamental cultural elements, rooted perhaps in earlier long-distance networks of communication and trade.

This anthology also points to an apparent convergence of some themes and genres in these tales with certain underlying cleavages in the societies that produced them, such as between men and women over the sexual division of tasks, between “land-owning” clans and “strangers,” between hunters and other specialists on the one hand and farmers on the other, and between free people and unfree laborers.

Tensions between these groups often supply the themes and sub-texts of these tales. Although the concerns of women and other s occasionally seep through, these tales generally present the perspective of free male specialists who dominated rural Liberian societies. For example, the various historical accounts often illuminate inadvertently, through their emphatic claims and strategic silences, that rival claims existed to political and economic power.

While the dilemma tale was much more common among Mande-speakers — the Vai and Kpelle in particular, this association might have been due to a range of existential features of these societies other than the ethnicity of their producers.

In time, the study of Liberia’s oral traditions might shed some light on local antecedents of various journalistic and oratory practices. It could also help lay the basis for the emergence a truly national literature. At the very least, I hope you find delight in reading and retelling these teasures of the ages.

the dilemma tale. It is an unusual form of orally presented prose which leaves the listeners with a choice among alternatives. Liberia is one area of Africa, along with Zaire and Sierra Leone, where dilemma tales are especially popular. These tales come in two varieties.

One type requires the audience to judge the relative greed or skill of characters or the magical powers of those who have performed fantastic feats. The other, more complex, asks listeners to distinguish among similar moral or legal choices. These tales provide an especially useful contrast to television artifacts since they are permeated with moral ambivalence, as are many other genres of African tales.

 

Tales by Genre

Dilemma Tale

Fantasy and Wonder

Historical Account

Morality Tale

Trickster Tale

Why Things Are the Way They Are


Submit Testimonial

− 2 = 2