Jump Up And Say! A Collection of Black Storytelling
Of the eight parts of this collection of Black storytelling, the first section is titled The Breaking Day Has Wisdom, the Falling Day Experience: Moral Tales. I read a half dozen. Most are not fables in the most traditional sense, but two are. The Young Lion (28) by Teju the Storyteller is an expanded fable placed into a human situation. A young man discovers on his fourteenth birthday that he is bigger than his mother. He will not face another whipping from her! When he acts on and then announces this program to her, he gets hit in the chest with a pot and put into his place. She tells him the story of the lion who uses physical force to assert his kingship with every animal until he meets Ms. Elephant. Provoked, Ms. Elephant slams him around a few times and dangles him in the air. Now, boy, I know that you think you a young lion. But I'm an old elephant (32). This story works just the way a fable is supposed to work. She does not have to spell out a moral for him! Another fable is How the Leopard Got His Claws (36) by Chinua Achebe and John Iroaganachi. Originally the animals lived together in peace. King Leopard had only small teeth and no claws. Only the dog had teeth. King Leopard rallied the community to build a village hall as shelter in the rain. The dog and the duck said that they did not need it and left. Others built well. When the rain came, it filled the dog's cave. He came and took over the hall and chased others out with his teeth. He even beat and wounded the leopard; now the dog was hailed as king. The leopard went to the blacksmith to get himself teeth and claws and went to thunder to get his roar. He came back and retook his kingship and sent the dog packing, but then he told them to take down the hall. Since then all the anmals live in enmity and depend on their teeth and claws. Good story!
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