Lee Haring

Published On


Page Range

pp. 11–48


  • English

Print Length

38 pages

1. Mayotte Is Ours

  • Lee Haring (author)
Chapter 1 draws on two years of research by the historian and ethnographer Claude Allibert. His schoolboy informants told him, the foreigner, a good many local legends about memorable places in Mayotte. These are key to a recurrent theme in the book, that in the face of foreign domination, Mahorais people cling to ancestral traditions from Africa and Madagascar. Their symbols and style portray tricksters, the making and breaking of friendship, and the force of kinship. Other tales are recognizably European. Claude Allibert reads them as bearing traces of Mayotte’s early history; they also seem to have much to say about 1970s Mayotte.


Lee Haring

Professor Emeritus of English at Brooklyn College

Lee Haring is Professor Emeritus of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He has taught in graduate folklore programs at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Connecticut. He has conducted folklore fieldwork in Kenya, Madagascar (as Fulbright Senior Lecturer), and Mauritius (as Fulbright researcher). His book Stars and Keys: Folktales and Creolization in the Indian Ocean translates and comments on a hundred stories from Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, the Comoros, and Seychelles. He has also published Malagasy Tale Index, a comprehensive analysis of folktales; the English translation of Ibonia, Epic of Madagascar, available at; Verbal Arts in Madagascar, a study of four genres of oral literature; the bilingual field manual Collecting Folklore in Mauritius, in English and Kreol, two tale collections; and numerous journal articles. In 2013 he was given a Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award by the American Folklore Society.