(Pantheon, March 12, 1985)
This addition to the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library completes Roger Abrahams's masterful survey of taletelling in the black world by showing the vital forms African stories took as they entered the New World. These 107 tales come from the canefields of the antebellum South, the villages of Caribbean islands, and the streets of contemporary Philadelphia. Throbbing with life, they range from earthy comedy (in recounting the scandalous doings of tricksters Rabbit and Fox) to inventive "just-so" stories explaining why the world is the way it is, to moral fables about encounters between masters and slaves, kings and servants, black and white. Together, they robustly demonstrate the ways an uprooted people have drawn from the traditions of their past to fashion a life -- and with it, a whole new and vital culture -- in the New World.