Monday, August 01, 2016

C143. Baer (p. 135). How the King Recruited His Army

This is Chase143.

ATU1655 the profitable exchange: eaten grain and cock as damages
K0251.1 the profitable exchange: eaten grain and cock as damages

see Dasent's Ear of Corn and Twelve Men about Anansi; "his accomplishment is providing the king with twelve men."
Clarke has 6 references, and Klipple has 9, including an Anansi story from Rattray that is even closer than the Dasent story. Arewa has 2 more.
study by Christiansen (1931) shows tale about equally frequnt in Europe and Africa; Baer regards Harris version as "merging of the two traditions"

sequence of animals is like the European version, while the acquiring men is African

Baer also notes literary influences in this story like fortnight, grandsire, plus the names of the animals themselves

she also comments on the hero: "In Europe he is usually somewhat of a numskull; in Africa, an animal trickster, often either Ananse or Hare. Yet in this version he is human, and he is as slick a con-man as ever was in folklore."

in particular, she singles out the blackberry episode at the beginning: "This episode, which occurs in no other version, sounds for all the world like a satiric rendition of the share-cropping system in the South."

Baer concludes: "For a story such as this, determining origin seems impossible. The fascination lies in the attempt to pick out and weigh the various influences which have contributed to the final product."

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