Family Stories and Limericks

North carolina tree Committee member: Angela A.

Below is an excerpt from a letter I sent to my family for Brer Rabbit Day this year:

We’ Celebrating Bre’r Rabbit Day !

The act of Story Telling is a very important part of our lives since it is by this Oral Tradition that family and cultural history is kept alive and passed from one generation to another.

We’ celebrating Bre’r Rabbit Day by remembering a fun “something” that we, personally, have heard or experienced and tellin’ it and re-tellin’ it at every opportunity on Sunday, April 7, 2013. I’m sending family members an invitation to participate on a puzzle piece from a poster I’ve made printed with the “Bre’r Rabbit and the Tar Baby” story. Everyone is asked to bring their puzzle piece to the next family gathering they attend. As I put the puzzle back together, we’ll use each returning piece as an opportunity to retell our stories.

This idea is in memory of my Uncle Bruce who was the family griot, historian and prankster. I treasured the times I spent in his presence- happy and laughing.

If your family griot is still alive, try taking Brer Rabbit Day as an opportunity to record their stories and memorize them for future generations.

In the meantime, allow me to share a few of my Uncle Bruce’s favorite tongue twisters and limericks and such with you.

A flea and a fly in a flue
were imprisoned, so what could they do?
Said the flea, “Let us fly”
Said the fly, “Let us flee”
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
A tree toad loved a she-toad
Who lived up in a tree.
He was a two-toed tree toad
But a three-toed toad was she.
The two-toed tree toad tried to win
The three-toed she-toad’s heart,
For the two-toed tree toad loved the ground
That the three-toed tree toad trod.
But the two-toed tree toad tried in vain.
He couldn’t please her whim.
From her tree toad bower
With her three-toed power
The she-toad vetoed him.
‘Lias! ‘Lias! Bless de Lawd!
Don’you know de day’s erbroad?
Ef you don’ git up, you scamp,
Dey’ll be trouble in dis camp.(from “In The Morning” by Paul Laurence Dunbar)

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