"Story time! Story time!" A long time now mi nuh hear dem words ennuh! Yuh memba dem time deh? No? Well, come. Mi 'ave a likkle story fi yuh!
The Jamaican tradition of storytelling originated with the African Griots who were brought over to the work on the island's plantations. Storytelling was a way to provide entertainment, pass on knowledge, teach morality, and so much more.
Elders would very often tell a story to a child in order to explain the consequences of particular actions. On moonshine nights especially, families would sit out under the stars or on their verandas, and the elders would have the undivided attention of the children as they recounted one story after another about Bredda Anancy'santics to outsmart his friend, Bredda Tucoman.
Life experiences were also topics in storytelling. History lessons were narrated as stories of what happen to Great Great Grandpa So-and-so. From how him used to buck aaf him big toe when him was a bwoy to how him used to deal wid him pickney when dem nuh have mannas.
Male elders, especially when they had a little “whites” (a drink of rum), would transition to duppy stories as the hour got later. These spoke of the supernatural - ghosts - and were (looking back) ridiculously embellished. Every time a duppy story was repeated, it got more dramatic. Children were both intrigued and terrified by these stories and would often report having nightmares and “seeing duppies" in their sleep.
As our favorite storyteller, Dr. Amina Blackwood Meeks would say, "I think human beings are wired for storytelling and in this age of techno-fascination it is an important up-close-and-personal irreplaceable tool for human encounter."
Wi cyaan wait fi di next story time.
Until then, Jack mandora... mi nuh choose none!
Hi, I'm Bobbi and while I'll generally be posting here, I'll occasionally invite others to share as well.