New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, (1974). Single volume, measuring 10 x 7.5 inches: 80. Original full black and yellow geometric patterned cloth, spine lettered in yellow, original unclipped blue and yellow pictorial dust jacket, blue endpapers. Black-and-white vignettes throughout text, and eight full-page illustrations. Author’s notes at rear. Jacket spine ends lightly rubbed.
First edition of this collection of African “singing tales,” adapted by storyteller Adjai Robinson. In his introduction, Robinson explains the traditional role of music in the folktales of his native Sierra Leone and Nigeria: “So important are song and dance in African storytelling that whole stories are told in song. . . . The singing and dancing so completely dominate the tale that but for a few words or short sentences the story tells itself in song and bodily motion.” In one tale, a selfish stepmother’s fruit trees wither when her stepdaughter sings to them; in another, a new bride about to be eaten by her monstrous husband summons help with a song. Each tale opens with musical notation, accompanied by lyrics in English, Igbo, and Yoruba. A beautiful near-fine copy.