This chapter talks about how sticking fast is the tar baby story's essence. Once the story was reduced to this one essential element, it became possible to establish connections between variants that otherwise seemed unrelated to one another. It had always been easy to follow a simple chain of substitution, in which the tortoise takes the rabbit's place, or the story begins with the theft of water rather than the theft of produce, but once one element, rather than the story as a whole, became the object of analysis, the range of potential connections increased exponentially. From Hausaland to Haiti and from Lithuania to the Philippines, collectors discovered tales that were connected to one another through the trope of sticking fast.
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