THE UNTANGLED TALES

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Spider as rower


Spider was employed by a village chief as a rower on a boat. The crew now consisted of four rowers and a helmsman. 

The village chief said: “I need to know all your names.”

Spider said: “Tjari gi dem soema (bring for the crew).”

Bat shouted: “Kot-kóti mofo (to say more than he should).”

Frog said: “Tódo (frog)”. 

Dog answered: “San mi sa taki (what should I say).”

Every day the village chief sent a plate with good food for the crew of the boat. 

When the carrier arrived, he said to spider: “Tjari gi dem soema (bring for the crew)”. Those were the words Spider had used to call himself.

Spider often took the food because the carrier mentioned his name. Then he ate everything himself and looked wealthy. 

One day the village chief wanted to make a trip. He stepped on the boat, looked at the three famished rowers and said: “Why aren’t you rowing?”

“We are too weak,” they answered.

“Weak? Aren’t you eating?”

“No,” said the rowers.

“I send food to you every day!”

“That is right, but Spider takes the delivery.”

“Is that true, Spider?”

“Yes, boss,” said Spider. 

“Don’t you eat together?”

“No, I’m eating alone, because you are sending it only to me”. 

“That is not true. I tell the carrier: Tjari gi dem soema.”

“So does he.”

“And you claim the food is for you alone?”

“Yes, for who else?”

“For all of you, of course.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“What didn’t you know?”

“That’s what the other three are called. After all, my name is Tjari gi dem soema, isn’t it? I didn’t confiscate the food. You send it to me alone. From now on, you must give clearer instructions and say that what you send is for four or five of us. You shouldn’t say: “Tjari gi dem soema,” because that is me! If you do it another time, I'll eat it all again. Is that clear?”

The three rowers and the helmsman gave the Spider quite a beating. He fled and left his clothes behind. Then he went into hiding in the corners and holes and now he doesn't dare to show himself among the other animals anymore. The cockroach and even the flies mocked him.

“I will avenge myself,” said Spider to himself. Everywhere he hung nets at some distance from the ground in which he would catch his enemies.

Since then, the spider hunts cockroaches and flies diligently and kills them wherever he can find them.

Spider captures Tiger


Spider was employed by a village chief as a rower on a boat. The crew now consisted of four rowers and a helmsman. 

The village chief said: “I need to know all your names.”

Spider said: “Tjari gi dem soema (bring for the crew).”

Bat shouted: “Kot-kóti mofo (to say more than he should).”

Frog said: “Tódo (frog)”. 

Dog answered: “San mi sa taki (what should I say).”

Every day the village chief sent a plate with good food for the crew of the boat. 

When the carrier arrived, he said to spider: “Tjari gi dem soema (bring for the crew)”. Those were the words Spider had used to call himself.

Spider often took the food because the carrier mentioned his name. Then he ate everything himself and looked wealthy. 

One day the village chief wanted to make a trip. He stepped on the boat, looked at the three famished rowers and said: “Why aren’t you rowing?”

“We are too weak,” they answered.

“Weak? Aren’t you eating?”

“No,” said the rowers.

“I send food to you every day!”

“That is right, but Spider takes the delivery.”

“Is that true, Spider?”

“Yes, boss,” said Spider. 

“Don’t you eat together?”

“No, I’m eating alone, because you are sending it only to me”. 

“That is not true. I tell the carrier: Tjari gi dem soema.”

“So does he.”

“And you claim the food is for you alone?”

“Yes, for who else?”

“For all of you, of course.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“What didn’t you know?”

“That’s what the other three are called. After all, my name is Tjari gi dem soema, isn’t it? I didn’t confiscate the food. You send it to me alone. From now on, you must give clearer instructions and say that what you send is for four or five of us. You shouldn’t say: “Tjari gi dem soema,” because that is me! If you do it another time, I'll eat it all again. Is that clear?”

The three rowers and the helmsman gave the Spider quite a beating. He fled and left his clothes behind. Then he went into hiding in the corners and holes and now he doesn't dare to show himself among the other animals anymore. The cockroach and even the flies mocked him.

“I will avenge myself,” said Spider to himself. Everywhere he hung nets at some distance from the ground in which he would catch his enemies.

Since then, the spider hunts cockroaches and flies diligently and kills them wherever he can find them.

Spider, Tiger and the dead cow


Spider, who had to earn a living for his large family, received almost nothing of what he brought with him. Often he had to go to bed on an empty stomach and he didn't like that at all.

This can’t go on like that, he thought. Working hard for little pay and not even getting enough to eat, that is really not acceptable!

After he had thought about it for a long time, he started to steal fat from the belly of a cow. “They have to unlearn that gluttony”, he said to himself. “I’m not going home yet. First I’ll eat something myself and what is left I’ll take with me.”

Spider went to see his friend Tiger and asked him if he could spend the night in his henhouse.

“Yes,” was Tiger’s unwieldly pronounced reaction.

Spider crawled into the hutch and in the middle of the night he went to fry the fat. The smoke of his fire rose. Tiger woke up from the smoke and went to the henhouse.

“Friend Spider, what's the meaning of this? I could have died of fright. Give me some of that fat, because honestly, the smell made me hungry.”

“Eat as much as you want, friend, go ahead.”

Tiger ate until he was satiated, and then asked how he got that fat.

“I want to tell you and show you as well, but then you will let me get caught and you might get caught too.”

“No, what do you think? I’m not crazy, am I?”

“Well, all right then. Tomorrow night I’ll take you with me.”

Tiger only half believed it. He went to get Spider and they went to the village chief’s stable together. Spider spoke magic formulas, the cow opened up and they stepped inside.

Spider filled his hunting bag with fat and Tiger ate everything that was cut off by Spider.

“Aren’t you taking a piece for your wife? Cut off another piece quickly, I will go outside now”. 

The ferocious Tiger cut around and hit the cow in her heart, so she fell down dead. 

“Didn’t I tell you? Now we’re trapped!”

“Spider, please help me!”

“Crawl into the bowels, then I’ll go in the paunch.”

The gentlemen took up their positions in the organs mentioned.

The dead cow was transported to the slaughterhouse, where the veterinarian performed the autopsy. The paunch was thrown away and picked up by a couple of old negroes who liked to eat paunch. One of the negroes cut open the paunch and look, Spider jumped out before anyone had seen him. Then he started shouting: “You look like you’ve gone mad! This is your fault. You got my suit all dirty. I’m not standing here for nothing. The doctors don’t know anything. None of them can determine the cause of death of the cow. It’s just throwing money away. I know much better than all those gentlemen with their learned heads and long names.”

The chief of the village heard everything Spider said, and asked him if he was crazy, if there was a line running through his head.

“Excuse me?” Spider shouted. “I am not crazy, but you are, because you let yourself be fooled.”

“Do you know who you are talking to?” said the chief of the village.

The doctors asked Spider if, in the presence of the chief of the village, he wanted to account for what he had said.

“Either you explain yourself, or I’ll have you captured, tramp!” said the chief of the village.

“Oh, Your Excellency, I’m just a poor spider who’s been to a poor school. I haven’t learned much, but I’ve had a lot of experience. You know the saying: Dreams are deceptions. But my head doesn’t deceive me. The cow was murdered by Tiger, who is still in her belly according to my dream. If you have the intestines cut open, you’re sure to find him. But you must take precautions to catch him, because he will want to flee. I've been friends with him for a while, but because of his dirty tricks, I put an end to it. I bet if he sees me here, he'll say I killed the cow.”

The cow was examined and Tiger was found. Spider got a financial reward.



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