Cassette recorded by Jenny Onobu, of Nigeria. (Ages almost eleven years old. Language (native): Idoma). Recorded at the Educational Institute for Learning and Research, 65 East 96th Street, New York, New York, June 2 and 6, 1983.
Jenny: In Nigeria one man is my daddy’s friend. That man went to that place in the river. I always go there too. But one day the lady, the man, I’m sorry I say the lady. The man saw a mermaid coming out. The man saw the mermaid and then, but the man is (soldier ? . . . ) and the man took the (?) . . . off the mermaid.
In one part of Nigeria called Makodi. I been to there two times. They make food, call that food AKLA (ochra?). This food, the time and one day the mermaid saw the ladies making this food. Another time and the mermaid come out of the river and dress herself like a lady who is making . . . saw Akla . . . they cut. And they say this lady, you know how to make this food very well. And the people think is a human, but is mermaid.
And one day, one man come out and one man just come out from the car and says “I want to buy this Akla.” And the mermaid say, “Is finished.” And the man started fighting with the mermaid and the man . . . (saw in the lady’s dress??). “This lady is not a lady—is a mermaid.” And if the time . . . they throw the mermaid in the river. And the man who beat the mermaid is sleeping and the mermaid come to the man’s bed, take the knife and cut the man’s neck. And the lady, (the man’s wife ) come and start shouting. And the people think the lady kill the husband and they kill the lady back. End of mermaid story.
I want to tell you another one.
One time I went to swim with my friend Viki and my friend Esta and my sister’s daughter Ada. We went to there to wash our clothes and swim. And I’m washing my clothes and my clothes started running away. But I’m asking my friends . . . . the clothes I’m washing. My friend say she don’t worry. But look at the clothes. I’m trying to cry and my friend say, “Look the clothes is running away.” I say, “But who trade(?) there? She don’t know. My friend hold my leg. I look. I look and haven’t see anyone. But I look inside and I see the real mermaid f . . . (?). I started shouting after the mermaid disappeared.
Cassette recorded by Margaret Staggers, on June 30th, 1983. Mrs. Staggers was born and raised in Plantersville, South Carolina, and recorded stories here that she remembers from her childhood. (The remainder of Margaret Staggers’ transcript can be obtained, by request, from the Yale—New Haven Teacher’s Institute office.)
Is that you gal?
Come here momen (moment). You goin’ to the village?
I want to send wid (with) you for sumpin’ (something). I want sumpin’ from that village so bad. I been a wish and wish that someone come by hyeah (here) goin’ to the village. Come heah (here) momen! Get me a nickle wud (worth) of sausage, and a nickle wud of cheese. Get me a bun. And a let me see, what else I wanna (want to) send for. I think I want a bottle of dope (soda), and a ain’ anudder (another) nickle in dey (there) ane (any)? Get me a piece of cheese and you take dat udder (other) nickle. Oh, thank you God, thank you Jesus.
That you gal? Oh gal, I too glad to see you dis mornin’.
Sister Margret home?
What you do de (there) now?
I leave her makin’ some bread crust.
Oh, I mean to call Sister Margret yesterday cause I had a message for her and I forgot all about that woman dis mornin! Oh, I got to get over dere (there) and talk to that woman dis mornin!
Hey Julia. How you dis mornin’ gal?
Oh, I ain’t coin’ too good Sarah. I had this headache on top of me that bothered me so bad.
Oh, my God hav mercy I ain’ doin’ too good myself, but I yah (here). I de yah (be here). You know I thank God for this thing today cause I de yah. Cause I could a been gon (gone) you know. Too much a people a wait for dis day but dey gon. Too much a people a wisht they had been here today but de(they) gon. But you hav to thank God. You ain got nothin’ but a head on you to bother you. God, I got too much a ache and pain sometime I don’t know where to put myself.
Yes, Sarah, Eva in yah (here).
Oh God, come here Eva. Gal, I too glad to see you dis mornin’. I want you to write a letter fo me.
Alright, mam, I’ll be right out wid my paper and my pencil.
Eva, I wan you to write a letter for to Doctor Teal for me dis mownin’. You tell Doctor Teal I say I’m comin’ down dere and I’m gonna bring dat money. And tell Doctor Teal I say I woulda been don dey (down there) but I just didin’ had the money. Tell Doctor Teal he don’ hav ta worry bout me cause soon as I get dat money I’m gonna put dat money in him hand.
How do you spell Doctor Teal?
Oh God, Eva—you ain hav to spell ‘im just put ‘im on dat paper.
Hey Sister Mary, how you dis mawnin’ (morning) gal?
I ain’ feel too good dis mawnin’. Clara been sick all night. I been up all las night.
Oh, das too bad Sister Mary. Clara sick and you ain had nothin’ to giv Clara?
Yeah, Sister Lena, I giv Clara everthing I coulda find to give Clara. But Clara jus didin’ feel good las night and de gal wooden (wouldn’t) say nothin’. I ain know what wrong wid de gal, but it be too sick las night.
So how Floy come along Sister Lena?
Well, Floy de dere (be here), Floy de dere. Still in dere. I don’ know you know. Dem chillun (children) don’ talk to you no more you know? Dey jus a sit dere, but I know Flora ain’ feel good. Cause when Flora don eat I know Floy ain’ feel good. You see Floy got dat head on top a him and dat head be botherin’ him all de time. You know? An I don’t know what it is but de doctor say it sumpin’ dey can’t do no good wid, you know. But I try to giv Floy everythin’ I can to give Floy to try to help Floy to feel better. But Floy dis a sit dere.