The Little Angels: Folktale told by Slaves
This is a folk tale told by slaves to teach their children manners. It has been modernized in some ways. It is still a useful story for teaching certain lessons to children.
One day, all of the little angels were playing in a beautiful field. It was not only beautiful, it also had lots of things in it that little angels would like. The flowers were made of gum drops of different colors amd tje small stream running through it was chocolate milk. The clouds were marshmallows and so close to the ground that the little angels could reach them whenever they wanted.
As they played, the little angels were watched over by one grown up angel. Suddenly, the grown up angel remembered that she was going to have to leave for a short time. She called all the little angels to her and said, " I have to leave you alone for awhile. Please promise that while I'm gone, you will stay here and be good. And whatever you do, don't go hear the dark gloomy woods at the other end of the field."
All the tiny, musical angel voices shouted at once, "We promise! We promise! Please hurry back!"
The grown up angel then flew away.
What she didn't know, and neither did the little angels, was that the mean old devil was hiding in those dark, gloomy woods at the far end of the field. He had been peeking through the bushes and listening all of the time. When the grown up angel left, he said to himself,"Umm-umm, little angels sure do make a tasty snack. I think I'll go get me some while that big angel is gone."
He slunk down the field and no one saw him until he got to the little angels. Now, he didn't look like a devil; he looked just like anyone else. He just walked up to the little angels and said, "Hello, little angels. Whatcha doin'?"
"We're just playing here and waiting for our friend to come back."
" This here is a real nice place to play, but I know of a better place. It's not only got gumdrop flowers, chocolate milk streams and marshmallow clouds; it's also got lollipop bushes, fat happy puppies and nobody ever tells you to git to workin' or when to go to bed. Wouldn't you just like to see a place like that?"
The little angels looked at each other and finally one of them said, "Yeah, we would like that, but we promised the grown up angel we would stay right here."
The devil smiled real sly like and said, "Why we could fly there and be back before that ol' angel and she'd never know you went."
"How we gonna do that? We just itty bitty agnels with itty bitty wings. We can't fly that far or that fast".
The devil starting scratching his head like he was thinking real hard. Then he says, "I know what. You all jump in my mouth and I'll carry you there that way."
The little angels looked at each other again and the one who was doing the talking said, "Alright. If you promise to have us back before the grown up angel gets back. Reckon she'd never know." And all the little angels jumped into the devil's mouth.
Now that old devil was standing in the field with his cheeks all puffed out 'cause he had his mouth full of little angels. He was trying to decide whether to fly off with them or just swallow right there when the Lord came walking by.
"Hello, Mr. Devil. Nice day ain't it?"
Old devil looks at the Lord outa the corner of his eye and saus. "Umm hmm."
The Lord don't think that's a very polite answer so He gives him another chance. "Think it's gonna rain?"
Still looking at the Lord sideways, old devil says, "Umm-Umm."
The Lord don't think much of this answer, either, cause none of his creatures ever talk to him unpolite. He notices about that time that the old devil's cheeks are all puffed out like he's got his mounth full se he thinks to Himself, "Ibetter git to the bottom of this." Then he slaps Old Devil on his back real hard and says, "Have a nice day!"
When the Lord does that, the old Devil's mouth flies open and all the little angels fly away safe.
Just goes to show you, always keep your promises; always answer polite saying Yss ma'am, yes sir, no ma'am and no sir. Never say Umm-hmm or umm-umm cause them's words the devil made up. Never talk with your mouth full. And NEVER,NEVER go anywhere with some one you don't know, no matter how nice they look or what they offer you.
Copyright 2008 The University of South Florida and The Africana Heritage Project. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. For more information, contact the Africana Heritage Project via e-mail.