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  • Ron Daise

What Would Little Muddy Waters Have to Say About This?

Updated: Feb 16

In my book Little Muddy Waters, A Gullah Folk Tale, a hard-headed little boy undermines every advice his Grandma Waters gives. “She wants him “to be a good little boy. And she taught him to mind his manners. But Little Muddy Waters thought most things his grandma to him were the funniest things he had ever heard. He would just laugh and laugh and laugh.”


She advised him about the medicinal use of Spanish moss, the curative use of a particular herb, and a practical use for spider webs. She even reminded him that he should not comb his hair outdoors. (The book will be republished soon, in case you aren’t sure of the answers). Although Little Muddy Waters, A Gullah Folk Tale was published in 1997, many of the Gullah Geechee beliefs and practices mentioned in the storyline are still maintained today. They are among African retentions that make Gullah Geechee people unique among other African Americans.




Florence Tucker Wineglass, a main character in my historical novel, Raptors in the Ricelands, cites many of these beliefs as she ponders the causes of a personal experience. The book's release date is April 30, 2024, and pre-orders are available at www.belleislebooks.com, www.amazon.com, and www.bn.com.



I also wrote about African retentions in Turtle Dove Done Drooped His Wings, A Gullah Tale of Fight or Flight (Geechee Literature Series – Book 2). In this allegory, I compare and contrast the human condition through a group of lowcountry birds engaged in a spiritual journey toward creating “Thrust,” that which propels them to a better future built on the legacy of the past. The birds engage in dysfunctions, arguments, doubts, and kindnesses but, in the end, fulfill their mission.


An excerpt reads:

Great Blue Heron flew in bearing an overnight bag in addition to her typical small suitcase- size purse. The sight caused Great Council members to gather around her quickly.

“He didn’t make it through the night, huh?” Rooster clucked. “This novel bird flu is so dangerous! Every year, People name some new disease after us birds. It’s People Flu, not Bird Flu! I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.”


Great Blue Heron confirmed that her father-in-law had passed. Her husband had been with him when he’d crossed the last river. Her family was traveling now, and she would join them today when she left Angel Oak. The family’s Sun Red fa Down Homegoing Service would be at sunset tomorrow.


“They say if you nibble on some Life Everlasting blossoms in the first two hours

of feeling bad you’ll make it through this flu-thing okay,” Ruddy Duck said. “Make
sure you take some with you, now!”


The birds formed a circle around Great Blue Heron and all began trilling “In the
Sweet By and By.” After expressing condolences, they pulled away and the meeting
began.


“Sister Leader Great Blue Heron,” Starling stated as he addressed the group,
 “please know that I will stand by your side to offer anything you and your family
 may need during this moment of distress. It is a moment that is not a stranger to any
 one of us. So, please, please throw out the lifeline, if need be, and I will surely pull
 you back to shore.”


Great Blue Heron nodded in appreciation, and Starling continued. “Stories
 should be our Thrust. Stories will help Lowcountry birds to know who we are and
 will help other birds to find commonality with us. Our funeral songs and burial
 practices, our superstitions and beliefs, everything about us is rooted in a story.”


Although Little Muddy Waters may have just laughed and laughed and laughed about the beliefs the Lowcountry birds expressed, they are beliefs and traditions that Africans passed on to and are observed by their Gullah Geechee descendants.


Geechee Literature Series Books 1 and 2 are available at www.amazon.com in Kindle and Paperback. For autographed copies, visit www.Etsy.com/shop/GeecheeLiterature. We Wear the Mask, Unraveled Truths in a Pre-Gullah Community also is available at https://www.audible.com/pd/We-Wear-the-Mask-Audiobook/B0BL1YC1TH with me as narrator.


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