Ananse: The Teacher

Once upon a time, Kweku Ananse decided to be a teacher. He set up a school in a village quite far from his own to teach the children of the animals who lived there.

Some of the animals whose children came to the school included Osebo the leopard, Onini the python, Gyata the lion, and Osono the elephant.

Ananse built two strong rooms; one for classes and the other for his private use. The doors and windows were made of iron and the walls were made of bricks.

Ananse told the children that he would teach them how to cook. He called it modern home science. He asked them to bring to school oil, tomatoes, onions, pepper, yams and other items used in cooking.

Each day, Ananse called one baby animal to his private room and killed it. He prepared stew with the meat and ate with boiled yam. This continued till all the baby animals had been killed.

Ananse gathered their bones in the classroom and allowed flies to hum over them. He then invited the parents of the animals and told them that he wanted to travel to his village on a short visit.

One of the parents asked, “Have you finished teaching our children?”

Ananse answered, “Your children are now speaking a foreign language.” He went on, “Put your ears close to the iron doors and windows and you will hear them.”

The parents heard the humming of the flies and believed that their children were speaking a foreign language. They were glad and so paid Ananse his wages and bade him farewell to go to his village.

When Ananse left, they broke the iron doors to get their children. What they saw shocked them. They became wild and chased Ananse. When Ananse saw them coming from a distance, he disguised himself as a stone breaker.

As the animals got closer to Ananse, Osebo, the leopard said, in a loud voice, “Ananse the teacher, you ate our children. We have got you!”

Ananse quickly replied, “No, no, I am not Ananse the teacher, I amAnanse the stone breaker.”

The animals left him and continued their search. They saw Ananse again cutting firewood.

Gyata, the lion, roared, “You killed our children, we are going to kill you today. You are Ananse the teacher!”

Ananse replied, “No, no, no, I am not Ananse the teacher, I am Ananse the woodcutter. There are so many Ananses

The animals continued their search. They saw Ananse again fishing in a small river. Osono, the elephant, raised a leg and trumpetted loudly, “This time we have got you. We are going to kill you for killing our children. You are Ananse the teacher!”

Ananse cried, “I am not Ananse the teacher who killed your children. I am Ananse the fisherman.

They left him and continued their journey in search of Ananse the teacher. Ananse had nearly reached his village when the animals saw him again. He pretended to be weeding but there were no weeds. All the animals realised that it was Ananse the teacher who had been deceiving them all along.

They surrounded him, ready to pounce on him and kill him but Ananse escaped. He climbed up to the top of the highest tree in the village.

From that day, Ananse never came down. He built his house there and has been living there ever since


Source: Ananse Stories Published by Sam Woode Limited