The Buzzard and the Monkey
Description:John O’Neal, performing as the legendary character Junebug Jabbo Jones, tells a story that explains why the buzzard eats only things that are already dead. A classic type of folk tale, “The Buzzard and the Monkey” is based on an African-American tale told to O’Neal by Louise Anderson of Jacksonville, North Carolina. The excerpt is from Program 3 of the KET series Telling Tales, in which master storytellers bring a variety of traditional tales to life in front of a student audience. The series includes 16 programs, each 15 minutes long. Ten of the stories come from Appalachian culture, four have African roots, and two are grounded in Native American tradition.
- Discuss similarities and differences between storytelling and acting.
- Use as an example of a “why” story and a prompt for encouraging students to write their own.
- Use as an example of oral tradition.
- Include in a study of African-American culture/history.
- Use in conjunction with “Gospel Train,” “So Go Rabbit,” and “Rosebud-Trinidad” from the KET series Old Music for New Ears and “Little Johnny Brown” from the KET series Dancing Threads to explore how music, dance, and drama help define specific groups and reflect unique histories, situations, and perspectives.
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