Wednesday, July 27, 2016

C108. Baer (p. 112). The little boy and his dogs

This is Chase108.

ATU0008A false beauty doctor
ATU0312 giant-killer and his dog
ATU0303 twins or blood brothers
H1385.6 quest for lost sister
G0551.1 resuce of sister from ogre by brother
E0761.1.1 life token: water turns to blood
E0761.2.2 life token: staff stuck in ground shakes
D1470.1.8 magic wishing eggs
B0524.1.2 dogs rescue fleeing master from refuge
B0421 helpful dog
R0251 flight on a tree which ogre tries to cut down
K1013 false beauty doctor
B0524.1.1  twins or blood brothers
G229.2 witch carries children in her own body
G0275.2 witch overcome by helpful dogs of hero
G512.9.1 ogre killed by helpful dogs

"Told by a fifteen year old negro boy who can read a little" ... apparently the brother-in-law of Harris's cook in Atlanta; "his name was John Holder and he had 'a tendency to indulge in storytelling'"

Baer has note from Johnston's Hausa stories, with a note on ogres about how much that ogre resembles this bear: "are of great stature and strength. They live solitary lives in the deep bush and need women to keep house for them."

Then add in Werner's observation that African monsters and spirits translated as "ogre" are commonly transformed animals

best parallel according to Baer is a Bolia story about a djinn and his captive wife in Lambrecht: "her oldest brother goes into the forest seeking her and is accompanied by his 12 dogs. The brother climbs at ree; the djinns begin to cut it down; the man hits the tree as it begins to fall and makes it whole again. After the second time this happens, the man calls his dogs who kill the djinns, and the brother and sister return to the village"

after story appeared in Louisville Courier-Journal in 1886, David Dwight Wells published in Popular Science Monthly "The Story of the Hunter" -- "his source was the son of an English planter in British Guiana who had heard the story about 1810 from 'his negro nurse, a slave, whom his father had bought direct from the coast of Africa.'"

Baer quotes various observations from Wells that are so hampered by his racial prejudice that they are probably not useful at all.

Baer: "In the nineteenth century, whether the hero was a boy or a grown hunter, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the tale was of African origin."

EC Parsons published a note in Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, Die Flucht auf den Baum, 1922, arguing that it was European.

Dundes then comments on Dorson's Rang-tang and says "the specific motif of two dogs with peculiar names is not common in Europe at all. It is extremely common, however, in Africa" (Bascom has 22 versions)

Swanton 79 has Creek versions with 3 dogs: Simursitty, Jewdawson, and Ben-Boten

Baer final summary: "the taleteller was a young southern American Negro, born after the days of slavery and influenced by the folktale traditions of Europe and Africa. With the cue of "a boy and his dogs," he told a tale constructed out of the totality o ftraditions available to him, combining episodes from African stories, reinforced and embellished with bits and pieces from similar European tales."

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