AFRICAN FOLK TALES by Jessie Alford Nunn


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The stories are better than the telling, and more telling than the remarks introducing them. Collected by the author when she taught in Kenya, the twenty include many animal trickster tales of how and why, others in which human envy and greed are punished. Foremost among the latter is the bitter retribution of ""Nyangondhu, the Fisherman"" for turning against the old wife who is the source of his good fortune. In some cases punishment results from the breaking of a taboo or the flouting of a custom; ""The Greedy Wife,"" however, takes advantage of a taboo, thereupon her husband invents another to thwart her. While the stories are quite varied in substance, the narrative is uniformly stiff; although they represent African attitudes, they employ no African speech patterns or idiom. The didactic introductions inform the child that this is how African children are taught--teaching devices, they're called, and ""the very fabric of Africa's cultural inheritance."" Once penetrated, nevertheless, they're short and colorful enough to hold a child's interest, and sufficiently clever to do credit to the Kenyans.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1969
Publisher: Funk & Wagnalls