Victor's Ramblings

The Story of Genesis told in Pidgin English.

I found this wonderful version of Genesis is some of my father's old fading typed papers. He typed them up whilst he was with the British Navy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, during the war. This is definitely the way many of the local people speak in West Africa, or at least, they certainly did speak like this in Lagos, Nigeria in the 1970s when I was stationed there. In 1942 -1943 my Father must have been very amused to hear this old biblical story told in the manner of the local people, and incorporating the local food and customs. I believe this 'language' is called 'West African Pidgin English'.

For de first time, noting deen be,  only de Lawd.   He be.  An de Lawd,  he done go to work hard for make dis-ting dey call um Earth.

For six day de Lawd He workan. He done make all-ting,  every-ting. He go put for Earth plenty beef, plenty cassava,  plenty banana,  plenty yam. Plenty guinea corn,  plenty mangos, plenty groundnut, everyting. And for de wata He put plenty fish. And for de air He put plenty bird.

After six day de Lawd He done go asleep. An when He sleep, plenty palaver start for dis place dey call um Heaven. Dis Heaven be place where we go live after we done die, if we no been so so bad for dis dis earth. De angel dey live for Heaven an play de banjo, an got plenty fine chop, an  plenty palm-wine.

De headman of dem angel, dey call um Gabriel. When dis palavar start for Heaven, there be plenty humbug by bad angel, dey call um Lucifer. An Gabriel done catch Lucifer and go beat um, and palavar stop, one time.

An de Lawd toll Gabriel he be good man too much, an He go dash Gabriel one trumpet. An Gabriel he get licence for play trumpet and hit de drum for heaven, an Lucifer go for Hellfire, where he be headman now.

After de Lawd done go lookum disting det call um earth, an he savvy dat no man be for seat. So de Lawd he take small piece earth an he go breathe. An small small he make um man, he callum Hadam, de headman.

An de Lawd he go call dis headman. He say: Hadam. An Hadam he say; Yessah.  De Lawd he say: Hadam, you see dis garden? Dey callum Paradise. Every ting for dis garden be for you - but dem mango tree dat be for middle of garden, dat no be for you. Dat be white man chop, dat no be black man chop. You go and no chop um, or you get bolly an plenty pain, you savvy?

An Hadam he say: Yessah Lawd, I savvy.

De Lawd he done gone back for heaven to hear Gabriel play dem trumpet, an Hadam he go walka—walka for garden, where everyting be fine too much.   Bye an bye de Lawd he come back for earth an go lookum see Hadam. An he say  “Hadam, everyting be alright? You lookum". An Hadam he say "Yessah, eveyting be alright. But —" An de Lawd he say  "Whassa matta Hadam? You done got small—small trouble?" An Hadam he say — "No I no got trouble, Lawd, sah, but I no got woman."

An de Lawd He say  “Ah—ha:"

Den de Lawd He make Hadam go sleep one place, an He go take small-small piece of bone from Hadam's side, dey callum wishbone. He go breathe, an woman she be. An de Lawd call dis woman Heva.

De Lawd wake Hadam an He say "Hadam, you see dis woman?". An Hadam he say  "Yessah, Lawd, I see um." Den de Lawd go way for up heaven an Hadam an  Heva go walka—walka for garden where they go play plenty.

One day when Hadam done go catch barracuta, Heva done take small—small A walkan she meet Shanake. An Shanake say " Hello Heva. Ekabbe". An Heva say "Hallo, Shanake. Kushayo".

Shanake he say "Whassa matta Heva — why you no chop dem fine—fine mango from tree for middle of garden?" An Heva she say "Ah-ha, dat be white man chop, dat be no black man chop. Hadam done tell me we get plenty plenty pain for belly, if we chop um".

An Shanake he say "Ah, Hadam be fool, dat chop be good for blackman. You chop um, you like um." An Heva she done chop um, an she done like um too much. She put dem mango for ground-nut stew - then there be plenty trouble for paradise one-time.

Hadam an Heva dey done savvy dey be naked, dey no get cloth, so dey go put um hat for head. Bye an bye one man dey callum Noah come for garden, Noah be headman for one Elda—Dempster boat, an he done take Heva for sail on lagoon an dey go make um plenty humbug for Hadam.

Den de Lawd done come back for earth, an He go callum Hadam. But Hadam he no be for seat - he go fear de Lawd, an done go for bush one-time. Again He call "Hadam!" An Hadam he say with small-small voice; "Yessah Lawd".  An de Lawd say "Close me Hadam, close me". An Hadam close de Lawd. De Lawd say "Whassa matta Hadam, why for you go for bush?" An Hadam he say "I no get cloth, Lawd, so I no want you see me naked!"

An de Lawd he be vexed too much. "What disting who tell you you be naked?" He say "Ah-ha, you done chop dem mango from de tree for middle garden.!" An Hadam he say "I no chopum Lawd.  Dem woman  you make for me she go putum for groundnut stew "

Den de Lawd make plenty palava an He done drive Hadam an Heva from paradise.