The Transmission of Kapsiki-Higi Folktales over Two by Walter E.A. van Beek

By Walter E.A. van Beek

This examine on Kapsiki-Higi stories compares corpuses of reports amassed over generations. during this oral environment, folktales seem even more dynamic than often assumed, reckoning on style, functionality and the reminiscence features of the stories themselves. In northeastern Nigeria the writer gathered those stories two times with a time hole of 2 generations, so as to check the dynamics of this oral transmission. The comparability among the 2 corpuses exhibits that folktales are a way more dynamic cultural process than is generally notion. those dynamics impact a few sorts of stories greater than others, mirror social swap and intergroup touch, but in addition rely on features of the stories themselves. Cognitive methods of reminiscence make clear those types of transmission, as do functionality facets in story telling, specifically ideophones.

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No sling is made out of his hide and he never features as a splendid husband for a proud bride. Tortoise is an animal whose box-like looks can be used either as a drummer—they are their own drums, one could say—or as a money box. 19 His shape hides well his ability to swim, so in many tales he escapes from Hyena/Leopard by insisting that he be drowned in a large body of water. And when Elephant dries the pond, Tortoise easily enters inside the huge beast, making Elephant’s life miserable. GROUPING THE TALES 29 The figure of Elephant is large, bulky, not overly smart, but not dangerous either—the Big Friendly Giant, one could say.

A. VAN BEEK TALES OF OTHER ANIMALS The non-Squirrel animal tales, the second genre, are about as numerous as the Squirrel tales but more polymorphous. They usually conform to the clever–dumb interaction but without the elaborate set-up Squirrel uses to trick his opponents. The weak ones use inherent and very visible bodily characteristics, such as the large testes and the horns of the billy goat, the scorpion’s sting, and the loud voice of the donkey. Tortoise is the cleverest and uses his aquatic skills for survival against his powerful adversaries.

These terms, also classificatory, indicate a link between clan-brothers and one between husband and spouse respectively, rounding off the three major bonds in the Kapsiki kinship system. In other animal tales, these kinship terms are far less used, underscoring the very human nature of Squirrel and his exploits. 15 This is the final element that sets off meke tales from all other stories, as several dominant motifs in meke tales echo the exploits of the culture hero Hwempetla: wagers with Death or Rain that he could hide or flee from these formidable opponents;16 stealing cattle and leaving horns and head above the ground; flying through the air to escape from Death—all motifs essential in the main mythic charter of the village.

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The Transmission of Kapsiki-Higi Folktales over Two by Walter E.A. van Beek
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