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Yoruba Trickster Tales

Yoruba Trickster Tales

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Publication Date: July 1st, 1997
University of Nebraska Press
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Yoruba Trickster Tales come out of the tradition of evening storytelling, a popular form of entertainment in traditional African societies. A favorite genre among these folktales is the trickster tale, variations of which are found in many cultures around the world. Among the Yoruba of West Africa (mostly in western Nigeria but also in neighboring Bénin), the trickster character is Àjàpá, the tortoise. The repertory of tales about him is seemingly inexhaustible. In this volume Oyekan Owomoyela offers a representative gathering of twenty-three Yoruba trickster tales. Àjàpá is notable for his strikingly human habits, abilities, weaknesses, moods, and disposition. We discover different aspects of Àjàpá in these tales, including his vanity and resourcefulness, his appetites and playfulness, and his amusing relations with his friends. As we read through these entertaining stories, we gain a many-sided view of this fascinating character and the spirited world in which he lives. These tales of the trickster Àjàpá will appeal to readers of all ages, learned and not so—even as they introduce us to a vital folk culture.

About the Author

Oyekan Owomoyela is the author of African Literatures: An Introduction and the editor of A History of Twentieth-Century African Literatures (Nebraska 1993).