Description of the Tale:
Tale's Author: Fairy tales and legends from Africa.
Name of the Tale: The Rubber Man
Fairy-Tale's Genre: Domestic
The People of Country: Africa people.
The Rubber Man
Spider was very lazy. Every morning he got up at twelve o'clock, ate his breakfast and said to his wife, "I am going to our farm."
But he did not go to the farm; he had no farm at all. He went to the forest and sat there under a big tree all day long.
His wife sometimes said to him:
"Tell me when you want my help on the farm."
She said nothing more: she did not want to make him angry.
Spider answered then:
"Oh, there is plenty of time yet.3 Don't be afraid, I shall tell you, when I need you."
The people often asked him:
"When will you begin to work on your farm?"
And he answered, "There is plenty of time yet."
Then one day he said to his wife:
"Tomorrow I want to plant some nuts on our farm. Go to the market and buy a bag of nuts. I must have them for tomorrow."
His wife was happy to hear that and ran to the market to buy the nuts. The next day Spider went with the nuts to the forest, ate as many nuts as he wanted and then had a good sleep4 under a big tree. In the evening he came home and said to his wife:
"Oh, how tired and hungry I am! I was working on our farm all day long. Is supper ready? Life is hard for us men.5 We work from morning till night and you, women, you have only to cook dinners and suppers."
Every day Spider went away, but he did not work on the farm: he only ate nuts and then rested in the forest.
Time passed, and people began to bring home their nuts. But Spider brought nothing. Then his wife said:
"When will you bring our nuts home? Shall I help you?"
"No, no, I don't want your help," Spider answered. "I shall bring the nuts home in a few days."
But how could he bring the nuts home? He had no nuts now! He had not even a farm!
"Where can I get the nuts?" he asked himself. "Ah, I know. I shall steal some," he thought
At night he went out of his house and soon came to the chiefs farm. It was a big farm, and there were many nuts in the nut trees. So he filled his bag with nuts, hid the bag under a tree in the forest and went back home. The next morning he said to his wife:
"Today I shall bring the nuts from our farm. Please make a good supper! I shall be very hungry and tired."
"Yes, my dear," said his wife.
Spider went to the forest. The bag of nuts was there under the tree. Spider ate some nuts and had a good
sleep. In the evening he carried the bag to his wife. She was so happy! She opened the bag, took one nut, ate it, then took another and then another. How good they were!
The next night Spider again went to the chiefs Farm and again stole a bag of nuts. When the next evening came, he carried it to his wife. He did the same thing again and again. But one night the chiefs servant saw that a thief was stealing the nuts.
"I must catch the thief. But how can I do that?" ihought the servant. Then an idea came to him. lie took two big pots and went to the forest to find •ome gutta-percha trees.6 He made brown rubber out ofthe gutta-percha sap, and then he made a rubber man. lie placed the sticky rubber man near the nut trees.
"Now I shall know who the thief is," he said lo himself.
When night came and all the people were asleep, Spider went to the chiefs farm. He came to the place where the nuts were and suddenly saw a man there.
"Oh," he asked the man, "what do you want here?"
There was no answer.
"Who are you?" Spider asked him again. "What ;ire you doing here. at night?"
The rubber man did not speak.
Then Spider hit the rubber man on the head and cried:
"Why don't you answer me?"
The rubber man was so sticky that Spider could not pull his hand away7 from the man's head.
"Let me go! Let me go!" cried Spider and hit the rubber man with the other hand. And the other hand stuck to the man's head, too. Now Spider understood that it was not a man. Still he tried
to push it aways with his foot, but his foot stuck to the rubber man, too. Now Spider could not move any more.
"How silly I was," he said to himself. "People will come in the morning, and everybody will know that I am a thief."
Poor Spider! In the morning the chiefs servant tore him away froms the rubber man and brought him before the chief... .
And from that day on Spider hid in a dark place and did not speak to anybody because he was so ashamed.io And now his children and his children's children and his children's children's children always hide in dark places.