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Peter E Adotey Addo

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Brer Rabbit and Ananse Stories from Africa
by Peter E Adotey Addo   

Last edited: Wednesday, April 11, 2001
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2001

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Here is the final word on that old Brer Rabbit .

The Origins Of The Brer Rabbit Stories In The American South

In Africa Ananse, the Spider, is the hero of all folktales. The Spider is a crafty,
cantankerous, and wise creature. He is regarded as the one who challenges the
creator. One day as the legend goes, Ananse collected all Wisdom from the earth
and attempted to hide it on the top of the tallest tree in the forest, thereby depriving
all humans of knowledge and wisdom. The Spider, carrying the "Pot of Wisdom,"
was reminded by his own son how stupid his attempt was. In trying to place the pot
behind him Ananse fell and as you can imagine the pot broke and naturally
Wisdom was scattered all over the world and so it happened that everybody got a
piece of wisdom. Knowledge ,we believe in Africa is and should be free for all
.Among the the Ga Speaking people of Ghana by this simple act the Great
Creator who made Wisdom also made it free for all people and no one person
has all the Wisdom. Everyone has just a piece of the Knowledge and no one has it
Most of the Stories refered to as Brer Rabbit are actually Anasne Stories
brought to the Americas by the African American Slaves introduced here
Centuries ago. In an attempt to keep their Culture alive in this Strange and
forbidden place they found themselves , they tried against all odds to keep alive the
few songs and stories about the homeland they would never see again.. It
was something they could remember and so they held on to the Ananse the Wise
Trickster figure they were all familiar with from the Land of their birth.
The act of Story Telling was a very important part of their Lives since it was by
this Oral Tradition that History was kept alive and transmitted from one generation
to another.Secondly all the Ananse Stories ended with Specific Messages , Morals
or Advice , Proverbs or a Very Wise Saying. What they had then was an
Instrument of transmitting Knowledge , Morals ,Ethical Values , and an
Instrument of sharing but also Preserving their Common Values in a new Land.
Thus the very close similarity between the Ananse Stories of Africa and the Brer
Rabbit Stories
For further Reading.....Check ..HOW THE SPIDER BECAME BALD by Peter
Addo at

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Web Site: Ananse Chronicles

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Reviewed by Ruby 2/5/2003
I think this is an interesting piece of folktale. It seem to have a universal truth to it if you will.

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