Chinamwanga Stories. Compiled and translated by Emmeline H. Dewar. Livingstonia Mission Press. 1900.
CuNNiE Rabbit, Mr. Spider, and the Other Beef. West African Folktales. By Florence M. Cronise and Henry W. Ward. London and New York. 1903.
These two books are, each in its own way, welcome contributions to the study of African folklore. Mrs. Dewar has collected twenty- four stories from an area hitherto almost, if not quite, untouched — the Nyasa-Tanganyika Plateau. No particulars are given as to where or how the stories were obtained ; but the language is that spoken at Mwenzo, a station about midway between the two lakes, whence the brief preface is dated. The language (here called Chinamwanga) is one of several spoken in the district, and seems to be closely related to Konde. The stories them- selves are sometimes very fragmentary — probably because told by children, who did not know them very well. Collectors usually have the same experience to begin with. The old people, who are the real authorities for the stories, are not easily approached on the subject, even when perfectly friendly. Perhaps after long residence among them, with daily intercourse, one may at last win their confidence ; but in the meantime one has to be content with the contributions of the juveniles, whose goodwill is greater than their knowledge. My own note-books contain many scraps which were quite unintelligible till a com- plete version of the tale was found in some other quarter, and some which still await identification. An example of this kind is "The Younger and Elder Brothers" (p. 29), which is pro- bably meant for the tale given in Jacottet's Coxites Populaires des Bassoutos (p. 47) as " Masilo et Masilonyane," and also by Callaway, in a Zulu version. There are several " Brer Rabbit " episodes; one (p. 57) is a variant of the Tar- baby story; and " The Rabbit and all the Other Animals " (p. 11) reminds one of " Le Chacal et la Source " in Jacottet, though I have nowhere come across it in the exact form given by Mrs. Dewar. In this last, the incident of Brer Rabbit entreating Brer Fox not to " fling him in dat brier-patch," is presented as follows : — " The elephant caught him, the rabbit cried . . . . ' Master, dash me on the rock, if you