Stories from Africa were traditionally passed
down by word of mouth. Often they were told by the light of the moon around
a village fire after the completion of a long day of work. The stories rarely
ended with the words we so often heard as children when our parents told us bedtime
stories -- "and they all lived happily ever after". Most stories didn't
end happily ever after. Usually the stories taught a lesson, and frequently,
the selfish person learned that lesson the hard way.
here are three folk tales collected in Liberia. The first one, Spider and
the Honey Tree, deals with an animal who is a favorite throughout West Africa.
Spider is known for his clever tricks but they don't always work out the way he
intends. In the second tale, Black Snake and the Eggs, Black Snake devises
a way to live happily ever after. Unfortunately for him, that usually doesn't
happen in African stories. And the final story, The Chief Who Was
No Fool, features a wise chief who matches his wits and meets his match with a
very clever wife.