Jean Gran barged into Ti Jean’s house, sweating and huffing as if he’d run all the way from town which he did.
“Ti Jean,” he said. “No one would buy my Granny, you liar!”
“You probably didn’t try – ”
“Shut up!” Jean Gran pulled an old croaker sack off the wall and started at Ti Jean. “You shut up! The law’s after me now and it’s all your fault. I’m gonna put you in this frog sack and toss you in the sea for all you’ve done to me.”
Sure enough, Jean Gran got Ti Jean in that sack, hoisted him on his back and started off toward the sea. By and by he came to the parish church and Jean Gran started thinking about the murder he’d done to his grandmother and the one he was about to do to Ti Jean. “Well,” he said to himself. “That surely is a sin and a sin twice over. I should make my confession now and put my soul to rights even before I kill Ti Jean.” With that he put the sack down by the church steps and went in.
Ti Jean poked his head out of the sack just as the young cowherd was walking by with his cattle. “Hey there Ti Jean,” said the cowherd. “What you doing in that old sack now?”
“It’s a shame, my friend. I won’t marry this princess, so they’re taking me down to throw me in the sea. I sure don’t know how to use a knife and fork, you see, so how can I marry a princess?”
“A princess, huh?” The cowherd thought for a minute. “What if I marry her? I know how to use a knife and fork, after all.”
“Well, that might solve all our problems. Why don’t you climb in this sack and when you get to the sea, tell the man who takes you that you’ll marry that princess today.”
“What about my cows?”
“Why, I’ll watch them for you.”
So the cowherd climbed in the sack and Ti Jean took off down the road with the cows.
As evening approached, Jean Gran returned from the sea thinking he’d tossed his hated neighbor into the brine. Wasn’t he surprised to see Ti Jean in a pasture with a fine herd of stout cattle? “Ti Jean?” he called. “Is that you?”
“Sure is,” Ti Jean replied with a smile. “Thank you for throwing me into the sea, my friend. At the bottom I met the Sea King, who cut me out of that old croaker sack and gave me this herd of cattle. It was the best thing that happened to me since you killed my Granny.”
“What? You got those cattle at the bottom of the sea?”
“Well, I want some cattle too. You put me in a sack, Ti Jean, and you throw me into the sea.”
“You certain now?”
“I am. You put me in a sack and throw me in the sea.”
So that is just what Ti Jean did, rowing Jean Gran in a little boat way out to sea and tossing him in. Then Ti Jean rowed back to shore, took his cattle home and lived the rest of his life in prosperous peace.
, a similar story is told of Jean Sotte and Jean Esprit, Stupid and Witty John. It certainly goes without saying that Jean Gran was not very bright and Ti Jean had his wits about him. Even though the stories are gruesome, they are also surprisingly humorous. I hope you enjoyed this one. Bon Samedi ~ Louisiana
Header: The Cowherd by James Douglas