Fresh Ereba is an enthralling anthology of ten bedtime stories for children told in the style of traditional Caribbean folk tales. This must-have anthology includes illustrations as well as the popular stories Dawn in Yurumein, How Cassava Came to Have a Bitter Taste and How Fish Learned to Fly. In this revised edition several stories have been enriched with dialogue and ten fun educational activities for kids have been added. Fresh Ereba is a perfect storytelling resource for parents and grandparents alike seeking to entertain as well as stimulate the inquiring minds of children aged four to ten years old.
Targeted Age Group:: 4-10
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Storytelling is an integral part of Caribbean culture that has been handed down from generation to generation since the days of slavery. Like many Caribbean people, my induction into this sacred oral tradition came via my father. From as far back as I can remember in my childhood, almost every night, my father would regale my two brothers and me with enthralling bedtime stories. We always eagerly anticipated this night-time ritual because of my father’s boundless imagination and creativity. No two stories were ever alike, yet he invariably began the same way each night: “Once upon a time there were three little boys…”
As the mantle has now been passed to me, I am honored to be part of this intangible cultural heritage by sharing this collection of bedtime stories with the world. I sincerely wish that these tales in Fresh Ereba, told in the style of traditional Caribbean folk tales, will help enrich the inquiring minds of children the world over. In particular, Fresh Ereba is aimed at children who are part of the Caribbean diaspora living in Europe, North America and Central America, or even further afield.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Caribbean folk stories frequently use animals as a metaphor for humans, and through the behavior of animals teaches values and morals. The characters on two of the stories not featuring animals are inspired by my ancestors, the Garifuna people. They are an unique Afro-Amerindian tribe with a compelling, yet tragic story which has been largely untold.
The Story of How Cassava Came to Have a Bitter Taste
Once upon a time there was a colony of ants that lived in a village near a cassava field. Each day the ants would faithfully go to the field to tend to their crops. However, there was very big problem that the ants faced. Every evening at dusk, monkeys from the forest nearby would come to raid their land. They would pull up the cassava roots and eat them. No matter what the ants tried to do to stop this they could not prevent the monkeys from stealing their cassava.
One day, the ant chief decided that he had to put a stop to this. He convened a meeting with five of his wisest advisers in his hut and asked them for advice on what he should do. As he went around the room he heard many suggestions to remedy the problem. One wise old ant suggested that they build a big fence around their field to keep the monkeys out. But this would not work since the monkeys were very good climbers and would be able to get over the fence easily. Another suggestion was to raise an army to attack the monkeys in the forest and force them to move far away. However, that too was not feasible since the monkeys were bigger and stronger than ants, and they were very fierce warriors. In exasperation the chief decided to adjourn the meeting since none of the advice he had received would effectively solve the monkey problem.
As he prepared to retire to his hammock for a nap, his son approached him and whispered in his ear. After a moment of contemplation, the chief announced to his advisers that he had at long last found a solution to their problem. His advisers were astounded. How could a young boy devise a solution to such a difficult problem when they could not? But the chief assured them that he was confident that his son’s idea would work. He also announced that he would be leaving the following day to visit his good friend, Snake, who lived in a village nearby.
The chief returned the next evening accompanied by Snake and headed straight to the cassava field. After a few hours they retired to the chief’s hut for dinner. The following morning the chief proclaimed, “We ants will never again have to worry about the monkeys stealing our cassava. The Monkeys’ day is done!” All of the ants in the village could not believe their ears. Sensing their doubt, the chief calmly invited the villagers to join him that evening to see for themselves.
At dusk, the entire village marched out to the cassava field to see if the monkeys had once again stolen their crops. To their amazement the monkeys were all lying on the ground writhing in pain and grabbing their stomachs. But how could this be? Upon seeing their confusion, the chief quietly revealed how he had done it. Following his son’s advice, he had asked his friend Snake to help him poison all of the cassava roots with venom. As a result, when the monkeys raided the field and ate the cassava they were greeted with the bitter taste of the poison which upset their stomachs. However, the ants could still eat the cassava once they used a strainer to squeeze out all of the poisonous venom. To this day cassava is still strained in order to get rid of the poison before it is safe to eat.
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