folktales The stories that folks tell are often unbelievable. They are fun to listen to even if you wonder if the story teller is actually believes what they are saying. But if they did it would make for a better story anyway. They give you that passion and energy that makes story telling a wonderful experience. What is lacking in the modern world is the knowledge of folktales. I do not know any of the folktales that belong to my family and it is a struggle to find out the various ones. Folktales speak to the collective conscious of a particular group. The knowledge that is hidden within the story will often help the listener navigate their everyday life. You can see the pattern of thinking within the stories and the consequences of the particular actions. This is why they are important that the older generation are venerated and given positions where they can serve the next generation. They are the keepers of the story and can help to shape the young generations character into something strong and responsible. Functioning as such keeps them healthy, purposeful and alive. But that is not the world we live in anymore as you can see from the number of senior citizens who are generally cast out of their families or stricken with illness. But you can create that in one’s own family. When everyone is engage in the business of family, then you can start to see where each individual genius lies and the unit functions as a whole. Generally the grandparents will pass on their knowledge of history, lessons they learned from life, and tall tales they tell to their wide eyed listening audience. I didn't grow up with such grandparents and I know some are way to surly to be that charming but it is where they function best and when I’m old and grey and I've got my little grand progeny around me, I hope I to scare them with my cackle.

The Griot


I’m fascinated by the griot. In a digital world one doesn't often get the chance to be graced by a story teller. You may find a one man play in the park sometime and perhaps there will be a story teller and historian in the occasional drumming circle but it isn't apart of modern digital society.

In a world where the oral tradition reigned supreme, some of the best stories are locked inside of the head of a griot. They are able to recite an accurate history of events that surround their people and have the ability to entertain as well as educate.

A griot also known as jeli is a West Afrakan historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician. They are more than a story teller and often act as adviser to the royal council.  Most villages within Afraka have their own griot who kept the record of the events and histories of their people.

They form a unique and powerful caste though an endogamous system.  Endogamy is the practice of only marrying within a specific ethnic group, class, or social group.

For some people not being able to verify the stores of the griot make it difficult to trust but that usually the problem of folks who belong to a different culture.

Maybe it’s the vibration of their words that make them so unique or maybe they are just a spiritual class of people that need to be able to survive.   This is why they generally marry within their caste system.  This gift is passed down from generation to generation and so are the stories and so are the healing remedies that they are privy to.

Within different families, it is the grandparents that preserve the history of the family by relating it to the children. They tend to be open to story and legacy.

Fairy Tales


Is it called Fairy tales because it is a story about fairies or are they called fairy tales because the story is as unlikely as seeing a fairy?

I never could figure that one out.  Fairy tales are not often about fairies themselves but they usually are a story that is hard to believe with your logical mind.

Technically a fairy tale is said to derive from the European tradition of folklore.  It included the creatures of the magical kingdom such as fairies, gnomes, ghouls, mermaids, witches and warlocks, giants and other creatures.

But you will usually hear the “fairy tale” to mean that the story is so out of the world unbelievable but pleasant enough or sometimes in the case of “fairy tale wedding” it will describe something as picture perfect.

But fairies in general are interesting creatures.  When I was very young, I use to talk to them and play around in their small world.  I had a handful of miniature toys that I played with and even had a language that I spoke to them in.

They would come to visit shortly after I awoke and I would recreate a world for them in the folds of my blanket.

I haven’t played with them in a very long time and according to legend they probably just would play tricks on me.  I was no longer that child innocence.

But I still admire the fairies, at least what I know of them and wondered why there aren’t more stories about them.

In Afrikan fairy tales, everyone in general is pretty steeped in their magical powers.  There is no separation from their spiritual life to their mundane life so the stories I’ve read focus on the relationship they have with the majestic animal kingdom.

The lesson is hidden within the context of the story which is what fairy tales are for in this day and age.  It is to educate children about the spiritual and magical world all around them.

The Spook that Sat by the Door- A Review

the spook that sat by the door

When I first read the Spook that Sat by the Door by Sam Greenlee, I was struck (yes, kind like against the wall kind of struck) by the genius idea and quality of the novel.

The novel is was about a CIA agent who navigated the climate of governmental agency and became the first black man to become an agent.

He works for government all the while plotting his own devious plot. The time was set in the late 1960s during the heat of the Civil Rights Movement and black power.

It is said to be satire and critique of the struggle and of black militancy.  But when I finished reading the story I was miffed that protagonist didn’t use his knowledge more strategically and was more forward thinking in his approach of turning the Chicago youth into capable guerilla soldiers.

I would have preferred that instead of waging war against the country in the short term, with guns and grenades, that war was waged on the long term with systematic economic structure.

Instead of using the violence that ravaged the times and black families as a weapon, the protagonist could have trained those young youth’s mind.

Imagine instead of black power and black militancy being the stereotypical all black attire with rifles on one’s hip, it was about getting the gang member to all have strategic college degrees—lawyers, civil law experts, contract law experts, doctors, historians, civil engineers, business men as well as architects.

Before the government could catch on what was happening an entire structure could be built by black people to support the economic growth and civil protection of black people.

Because as we know the American government was built on the backs and the blood of imprisoned Afrakans and a few years of shouting wasn’t really going to cut it.

But the book in general was a great read and had me thinking a whole lot on what it actually means to black and proud.