Ashanti-Akan Proverbs in Jamaica (Part 2)
Keep in mind these sayings and proverbs are universal to every Akan person.
We highlight the Ashanti merely because it is the only known state to contemporary Jamaicans.
The Ashanti folk-story: “How it came about that Ananse, the Spider, went up on the Rafters,” is referred to by the Jamaica proverb “A fas’ mek Ananse dey a house-top,” which signifies “An impertinence makes Ananse stay in the house-top.”
The Ashanti saying: “A sheep does not give birth to a goat,” is rendered in Jamaica “Sheep and goat no all one.”
The Ashanti saying “When a fowl drinks water, it (first) takes it and shows it to the Supreme Being,” is usually amplified in Jamaica into “When fowl drink water him say ‘tank God,’ when man drink water him say nuttin.” Sometimes, however, the Jamaican merely remarks: “Chicken member God when him drink.”
The Ashanti “When you have quite crossed the river, you say that the crocodile has a lump on its snout,” is the Jamaica “No cuss alligator long mout’ till you cross riber.”
The Ashanti “The white-tailed one (the black colubus monkey) says: ‘What is in my cheek is not mine, but what has gone into my belly that is my very own,'” has become in Jamaica, where incidentally monkeys are not known; “Monkey say, wha’ in a him mout’ no fe him, but wha’ in a him belly a fe him.” A variation is even closer, “Monkey say wha’ deh in him jaw-bone no fe him, but wha’ deh in him belly a fe him.”
The Ashanti “Wood already touched with fire is not hard to set alight,” is practically unchanged in Jamaica “Ole fire ‘tick no hard fe ketch.”
The Ashanti “A stranger does not carry the head of the corpse,” is clarified by the Jamaican “‘Trainger hab no right fe carry coffin if him no know wha de burying grung dey.”