Jamaican Folklore: How the Fish Goda-me Got a Name

posted on January 18th, 2010 by in Audio

It’s been too long since I told you all any stories now don’t it. Being from deep Westmoreland in a time before cell phones, Internet and cable, going to the river use to be a really big part of my life. River for me was usually Cabaritta, which is the largest river in the parish and rises near Cascade in Hanover. I remember my Gran-Uncle and brother sometimes catching this really weird fish called Goda-me/Godami/Gadami (however you spell it), which my Great-Gran would then make really sweet rundown out of. Why I say it is a strange fish is it can live out of water for several hours, even days, if kept in a cool damp place I guess its some sort of lung fish but I really only know it as Goda-me/Godami/Gadami so if you know it by any other name please drop me a line.
Ok yu chat too much Eve tell me the story now.

Once up on a time the Creator was in the process of naming all the animals in the world. As you can imagine this went on for some time and it was a very big task to come up with really good names. Eventually names like Aye-Aye and Frigate bird can give a glimpse into the Creator Sprit’s disposition. Much time passed (this was before hours were invented) and finally the Creator was done, sighed and melted in a chair due to the sheer exhaustion of the completed task. Then out of nowhere came a small almost frightened voice it said,
Gad?

So God jump up now and bawl out.
A who dat? A who leff?

This little fish walk out of the shadows, still a bit frightened and with really big Puss in Boots eyes says, Gaddami….

Jack Mandora mi nuh choose none.


  • john

    It is interesting that this comment was posted. I only heard of this fish from a discussion with a pub owner in Birmingham, UK who grew up in Westmoreland. He commented that not only was it able to live outside of water for some time but also had its eggs and intestines suspended outside its body during the breeding season. Heard its great with curry as well as rundown.

    As for the story…simply great.

  • toastyle1210

    Good to have you back, Eve – great story!