Traditional Stories in Belize

 

In Belize, Anansi stories became part of the tradition when slaves were brought to the Americas from Africa. Since then they have stayed popular and there are many stories about this mischievous Half Spider-Half Man.

Who are the popular characters in YOUR stories?
Are they mischievous like Anansi?

 

(Click “CC” to have words to read along with Vanyah and N’Gaii)

 

Transcript:

Hi My name is N’gaii.

Hi my name is Vanya.

Brer Anansi and Brer Tiger Riding Horse

Both Brer Tiger and Brer Anansi loved the beautiful Ms. Selena and were trying hard to win her heart. Anansi knew it was difficult to compete with Tiger because Tiger was big and strong. He decided to play a trick on Tiger. Anansi spread the rumor around the entire village and he also personally told Ms. Selena that Tiger was his riding horse. Word got out to Brer Tiger, who was furious. Everyone was teasing and making fun of him. When Brer Anansi heard that Brer Tiger was looking for him, he ran home, put an egg in his mouth, and oiled his face so he would look sick. He got under his blanket and waited. When he heard a bang on the door and shouting, he pretended he could barely speak. Eventually Brer Tiger got in. Brer Anansi rolled his eyes so only the white parts showed. He began groaning as though he was in terrible pain. He begged Brer Tiger to take him to the doctor and promised that they would settle the matter as soon as he was well. He kept on groaning and soon after, broke the egg in his mouth and pretended like he was vomiting. Brer Tiger got frightened and worried. He quickly offered to take him to the doctor. Pretending to be sick, so weak and couldn’t walk, Anansi kept on groaning. Brer Tiger picked him up gently and put him on his back. Anansi said to Brer Tiger, can you please hand me the stick that is leaning in the corner so I can have it to help me walk when I get to the doctor. Tiger did as he was told.

*break in video

He gave the stick to Brer Anansi as Brer Tiger began to leave. Brer Anansi said Brer Tiger,  “I am so weak. Can you please tie a rope around your neck so I can hold on good I’m afraid I’m going to fall. Again he did as he was told. They then left for the hospital. Ms. Selena was sitting under a tree in the main area of the village, selling delicious food. Most of the villages gathered around laughing and talking since it was Saturday evening, none of them were working. As soon as Brer Anansi saw that they were approaching the crowd he dug his heels into Brer Tiger’s back, held onto the rope as tight as he could and whipped Brer Tiger with the piece of stick as hard as he could. The pain whipped through Brer Tigers body and he took off running. Everyone laughed and shouted, “Brer Tiger is Brer Anansi’s riding horse for real!” When they reached an area where Brer Anansi knew it was safe to get away, he jumped off of Tigers back and hurriedly climbed a tall tree. Brer Tiger stood under the tree and waited. Hours came and went but Brer Anansi did not come down. Eventually Brer Tiger got hungry and left to look for food. Brer Anansi climbed down and ran away to safety.

17 thoughts on “Traditional Stories in Belize

  1. Dear N’gaii, Vanya, and Belizian friends,

    What a treat it was to get to listen to you tell the tale of Brer Tiger and Brer Anansi! N’gaii and Vanya, you two did a fantastic job of reading the story. Nice pacing and excellent expression. You really brought the story to life!

    We read a few stories similar to this in our reading book. They called them Trickster Tales. Each story had a clever character who outsmarted another. The characters were always animals.

    I wanted to tell all of you how excited I am that you are a part of this project. About five years ago, I visited Belize on vacation! Your country is very beautiful and the people were so kind and welcoming. I hope to return someday!

    My students are off from school all of this week. It is Thanksgiving in America. Here is a link if you’d like to learn more about this national holiday. What is Thanksgiving? I’m hoping some of them will leave a comment while on vacation! 🙂

    What kinds of stories do you like to read? I enjoy reading biographies. Those are nonfiction stories about real people. I also enjoy a good Trickster Tale as well!

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Y♥llis
    California

  2. Dear N’gaii and Vanya,

    I really like your story! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Here is a traditional story we have in the United States called the Gingerbread Man:

    Once upon a time there was an old lady who baked a gingerbread man cookie. When she opened her oven door, the cookie escaped and when the old lady and her husband chased him he said:

    “Run, Run as fast as you can!
    You can’t catch me!
    I am the Gingerbread Man!”

    As he kept running he saw a pig, a cow, a farmer, a horse who all wanted to eat him and chased after him. Each time the gingerbread man said the same words:

    “Run, run as fast as you can!
    You can’t catch me!
    I am the Gingerbread man!”

    Then, he came to a river and was scared of getting caught and being eaten by everyone who was chasing him. A sly fox came out of the woods and offered to take the Gingerbread Man across the river. He promised he wouldn’t eat him. Gingerbread Man hopped on the fox’s tail and the fox started swimming across the river. When the river got too deep the fox asked the Gingerbread Man to sit on his back so he wouldn’t get wet. When the river got even deeper, the fox asked him to sit on his nose. Once they got to the other side the fox tossed the Gingerbread man in the air, opened his mouth and snatched him with his teeth. That was the end of the Gingerbread Man!

    I hope you enjoyed the story.

    Sincerely,
    Leila♥

  3. Dear Miss Usher’s grad 3 Class,

    I really loved your story! ♥♥♥.

    My favourite part of the story was when Anansi pretended to be sick.

    Most of our popular stories are dreamtime stories.

    I love dream time stories. One of my favourite characters is the gecko. It is called how the gecko got its spots.

    Your blogging pal,
    Ella♥
    From 2KM and 2KJ

    • Hello Ella,

      Your dreamtime story sounds interesting! We learned about reptiles in science, and geckos are reptiles. We would love to hear your story about geckos.

      From,
      Standard III in Belize

  4. Dear Vanyah, N’Gaii, and Standard 3,

    That was a fantastic Anansi story! You did a great job reading it clearly.

    I used to live in Belize and I learned a few Anansi stories when I was there. This is one of my favorite ones. I love how mischievous little Anansi tricks big, strong Tiger into carrying him on his back. He is especially smart to say that he needs a rope to hold onto so it looks like a bridle! I wonder if his cleverness won Ms. Selena’s heart in the end.

    Sometimes I tell Anansi stories to my students and they love them. They always laugh hard at his tricks.

    Who did you learn the story from? Do you know other Anansi stories?

    Excellent job!

    From,
    Mr. Salsich in Connecticut

  5. Dear Vanyah, N’Gaii, and Standard 3,

    This is a wonderful story. It seems Brer Anansi was a trickster who enjoyed embarrassing Brer Tiger. I have heard traditional stories from other lands who also tell stories of those who lie to get their way.

    One of my favourite stories similar to this is “The Scorpion and the Frog”…

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    One day a scorpion came to a river he couldn’t cross. Seeing a frog, he asked if he could be taken across the river.

    “But you will sting me and I would die,” the frog claimed.

    The scorpion reassured the frog, “If I were to sting you, we would both sink in the river and drown.”

    The frog agreed so the scorpion climbed on the frogs back and they set off. Midway, the scorpion stings the frog.

    The frog complained, “Why did you sting me? Now we’ll both drown.”

    The scorpion replied as they started to sink, “It’s in my nature.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    The story teaches us no matter how we treat some creatures, they will always respond they way they do no matter what happens.

    This story type has appeared in different forms in both European and Eastern African folklore, with a version being attributed to Aesop from Ancient Greece.

    Perhaps Brer Tiger learned to be more careful to be more careful who he trusts in the future. Brer Anansi was just following his nature 🙂

    Ross Mannell (teacher)

  6. Dear Vanyah and N’gaii
    Thank you for sharing the Anansi story with us. I used to enjoy reading stories about Anansi when I was a child. Anansi sure is a trickster and he gets himself into lots of trouble.

    You both read clearly and beautifully.
    Is this your favourite Anansi story?

    best wishes
    Mrs McKenzie

  7. Dear Belize,

    You did very good on fluency on reading. I liked the part when Anansi crushed the egg in his mouth and pretended to vomit.

    from Nate 😆

  8. Dear Vanyah and N’Gaii,

    I like your story. What type of animal is Miss Selena that Tiger and Anansi are competing over?

    Sincerely,

    Jennifer 🙂

    • Hello Jennifer,

      Miss Selena is actually not any animal at all, she is a woman! Only Brer Anansi and Brer Tiger are animals.

      From,

      Standard III in Belize

  9. Dear Vanya and N’Gaii,

    Awesome reading! I loved the interesting story. 😉

    My favorite part was when Anansi oiled his face and put an egg in his mouth. I also liked it when Anansi cracked the egg in his mouth and pretended to vomit.

    I liked your story so much!

    Sincerely,
    Taylor in Mr. Salsich’s class

  10. Dear Vanyah, N’Gaii, and Standard 3,

    We loved the video of your story. Your voices were so clear and you made the story interesting with expression!

    Kennedy-I liked the part where the spider put the egg in his mouth to make it look like he was vomiting.
    Karin-I liked the part where Brer Anansi played the trick to make Brer Tiger look like his horse.
    Sophie-I like the story a lot because Brer Anansi tricks Brer Tiger.
    Brooklynn-I like the part where Brer Anansi pretends to be sick.

    We have some questions about the story:
    Brooklynn and Trista- Is Ms. Selena an animal or a person?
    Lily-What type of spider is Brer Anansi?
    Ana-Did Ms. Selena end up marrying Brer Anansi?

    We have stories with tricksters too. A lot of our traditional First Nations stories are about Raven. He is a BIG trickster! In one story he even pretended to be sick to trick his friends so that he could eat all the food while they did all the work.

    Are there more stories about Brer Anansi and Brer Tiger? we would love to hear them!

    Mrs. W and the 2/3s

  11. Dear Standard 3,

    Great post! I loved that Brer Anansi story. My favorite part was when Brer Anansi started whacking Brer Tiger with the stick. That was really funny!

    Your friend from Mr. Salsich’s class,
    Joey

  12. Hello,

    Great video!

    I am Ella form 2KJ in Australia. My techer is Miss Jordan.

    My Favourite Books are Billie B Brown, Harry PoteI and I Wish I had Duck Feet.

    From Ella

  13. Dear Belize,

    I l♥ve your traditional story! In second grade my teacher read us the story about the moon and which son to give it to. My grandpa told me stories all the time, and I l♥ved hearing about them.

    Sincerely,
    Sasha♥♥♥

  14. Dear Belize,

    We love your post! It was fun listening to your story. Kelly’s favorite part was when the spider pretended to be sick. Parsa’s favorite part was when the spider bite the egg in his mouth and pretended to throw up.
    That story was very funny, and very fun to listen to.
    What was your favorite part of the story?

    Your blogging buddies,
    Parsa and Kelly (Mrs.Yollis class)

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