Kweku Anansi and His New Wife
An Akan Story by Farida Salifu
Traditionally, Kweku Anansi is seen as a trickster. The word ‘Anansi’ means spider in Akan, but the character is sometimes portrayed as a man. Folk stories of Anansi originated from the Ashanti tribe in Ghana and have been passed down from generation to generation.
One day, Kweku Anansi went to God to complain that his wife was nothing more than an extra mouth to feed. He also complained that she was eating his share of the food at home. God asked Anansi, ‘What would you like me to do about this problem?’
‘God, please give me a wife with no mouth upon her face,’ replied Anansi.
God looked upon Anansi with bemusement as Anansi never failed to surprise God with his strange reasoning and outlandish plans.
‘Okay,’ said God. ‘Come the morning I shall give you a new wife with no mouth upon her face.’
Anansi was so excited that he went straight to the supermarket to buy yams and plantains for the next day. ‘Finally,’ thought the greedy man, ‘all of the food that I buy will be for me alone to eat!’
Waking up to a beautiful sunny morning, Anansi saw his new wife in the kitchen preparing breakfast. The wife turned and acknowledged her husband with a silent nod, then continued with her breakfast preparations before the stove.
Anansi could not believe that he was lucky enough to have a new wife, one who would cook only for him and eat nothing herself. And he could not believe that he had gotten away with asking for such a wife from God!
Several days passed and things seemed to be going very well… until Anansi went to check on the food supplies in the kitchen. The greedy man was very surprised to discover that most of his food had disappeared. Anansi knew that he could eat a great deal of food, but had he really eaten four bags of rice, six yams, and three plantains in such a short time? He was very puzzled because he was supposed to be the only one eating the food, especially as his new wife didn’t even have a mouth with which to eat.
And so Anansi decided to find out. Over the next few weeks he kept a very close eye on the kitchen. But no matter how closely he looked, he could find nothing unusual at all. His wife cooked every meal only for him. Anansi just did not understand why he still had to buy twice as much food each week. Where was it all going?
Anansi knew that he liked to eat his wife’s cooking, but even he could not finish so much food in such a short time, could he?
One night, Anansi woke up to drink some water as he was very thirsty. It was then that he heard a rumbling noise in the house and quickly went to check on his wife. But when he entered her room he discovered that she was not in her bed. So then he crept towards the kitchen and peered through the open door.
Anansi could not believe his eyes as he stood still in the kitchen doorway. There, sitting on a stool at the table, was his new wife. And she was eating a big bowl of food! He watched in amazement as she scooped up the boiled rice and yams, lifted up her right arm, and put the food into a mouth that was hidden in her armpit!
Anansi was very shocked to see such a thing. He thought to himself, ‘So this is where all of my food has been going. My wife has a secret mouth in her armpit and she has been stealing food during the night! What a mean trick!’
The next morning, Anansi took his wife back to God and demanded to know why she had a mouth hidden in her armpit.
God answered, ‘You asked for a wife with “no mouth upon her face.” And so I gave you a wife with a mouth under her arm. You did not ask for a wife with no mouth at all.’
Anansi felt humiliated and tricked, but God had no sympathy for the greedy man. God said to him, ‘You had a devoted and loving wife, Anansi. But because of your greed and selfishness you thought you would be clever and demand a new wife from me. I am showing you that I am much wiser than you, and I hope you have learnt a lesson here. Greed and selfishness have no place in life.’
Anansi felt ashamed by his greed and begged God to return his old wife to him because he had indeed learned a valuable lesson. From that day on, Anansi was determined to be a better man and not be so selfish. And who knows, perhaps he would even try to be more generous with his food.
Kweku Anansi and His New Wife
An Akan Story by Farida Salifu
Obiara gye to mu sɛ Kweku Ananse yɛ daadaafo. ‘Ananse’, yɛ aboa, naaso wɔtaa kyerɛ no sɛ ɔyɛ barima. Anansesɛm firii Asanteman mu bae na wɔaka efiri mbere santen kɔ santen.
Da koro bi, Kweku Ananse kɔ Nyame hɔ kɔbɔɔ ne hwen kyerɛɛ no sɛ ne yere nnyɛ nipa papa biara sɛ ɔno de eduane ara na ɔdi.. Ɔsan kaa sɛ ne yere no di ɔno Ananse koraa mpo ne ediban. Nyame bisaa Ananse, ‘Dɛn na wo pɛ sɛ me yɛ fa asɛm yi ho?’
Ananse yii ano kaa sɛ, ‘Nyame, me srɛ wo ma me yere a ɔnni ano wɔ n’enim.’
Nyame bɔɔ hu kakra na ɔhwɛɛ Ananse. Nna Ananse ne ho yɛ Nyame enika efiri sɛ abere biara ɔba bɛka nsɛm anaa nhyehyɛe a ɔpɛsɛ ɔyɛ a a ɛyɛ nwanwa kakra.
Nyame kaa sɛ ‘Yoo.’ ‘Anapa bɛbɛ no, me bɛ ma wo yere foforo a onni ano wɔ n’enim.’
Anansi eni gyee ara ma ɔkɔɔ gua mu kɔtɔɔ bayer ne borɛde a ɔbɛdi no kyena. Ananse enibere ni n’adwen ara ne sɛ, ‘Afa. Ediban no nyinara a me bɛtɔ no, me nko ara na me bɛdi!’
Ananse sɔree Kwesida anapa fɛɛfɛw bi hunuu sɛ ne yere reyɛ ediban. Ne yere noo danee ne ho na ɔbɔɔ ne tiri de kyiaa ne kunu, na ɔtoaa ne eduanenoa wɔ bukyia ne so.
Nna Ananse nngye nndi sɛ ne tiri etumi ayɛ yie dɛm sɛ ɔenya yere foforo a ɔno de ɔbɛnoa ediban ara nko naaso ɔrenntumi nndi bi. Na bio so nna ɔnngye nndi sɛ ne nsa tumi kaa ne ebisade yi firi Nyame hɔ!
Nda kakra twaa mu na nna biribiara rekɔ so yie… kɔpem bere a Ananse kɔhwɛɛ edibannoa ndeɛma a wɔwɔ gyaade hɔ. Nna ɛyɛ papa eniberni yi hu kakra sɛ nna ediban no nyinara ayera. Nna Ananse nim sɛ ɔtumi bɔ ne ho mbɔden didi ara yie, naaso ɔnoara na nna wɔedi mo mbag anan, bayer nsia, borɛde baasa wɔ bere tiawa yi mu anaa? Nna asɛm no yɛ no nwanwa paa efiri sɛ nna onim sɛ ɔno nko ara na ɔredi ediban no nyinara, nka nka ara sɛ ne yere foforo no nni ano mpo a ɔde bɛdidi.
Nti Ananse yɛɛ n’adwen sɛ ɔbɛyɛ nhwehwɛmu. Ɔde n’ani kɔɔ gyaade ne ho yie ndapɛn kakra a wɔbɛba no mu. Ɔhwɛe hwɛe, naaso ɔennhu biribiara a ɛbɔ hu wɔ kwan biara so. Ne yere no noaa ediban maa ɔno ara nko. Nna Ananse nnte ase koraa siantiri a ɛwɔ sɛ ɔtɔ ediban mbɔho mienu dapɛn biara mu. Nna ediban no nyinara rekɔ hen?
Nna Ananse nim sɛ ɔpɛ ne yere n’eduanenoa, naaso ana ɔbɛtumi edi ediban bebree wɔ bere ketewa mu?
Anadwo baako bi, Ananse soɛree sɛ ɔrekɔ nom nsu efiri sɛ nna nnsukɔm de no ara yie. Hɔ no na ɔtee dede bi wɔ fie no mu nti ɔkɔɔ sɛ ɔrekɔ hwɛ sɛ ne yere ne ho yie a. Naaso ɔdur ne dan mu no, ɔhunuu sɛ ne yere no nnda ne mpa mu. Nti ɔweae kɔɔ gyaade hɔ na ɔhwɛɛ firi pono ne mu nea ɛrekɔ so wɔ hɔ.
A Nna Anansi nngye nea ɔde n’eni rehu nti ɔgyinaa hɔ dii wɔ gyaade pono ne nkyɛn. Nna ne yere foforo no te egua so wɔ hɔ. Na nna ɔredidi wɔ kyɛnsee kɛse bi mu! Ɔde hu hwɛɛ sɛnea ne yere no faa bayer ne mo a wɔanoa na ɔde hyɛɛ n’ano a ɛtɛw n’amotoa mu!
Ananse bɔ hu ara yie sɛ ɔde n’ani rehwɛ biribi ti sɛ yi. Ma na ɔredwen ara ne sɛ, ‘Nti ha na m’ediban no nyinara kɔ. Me yere wɔ kokoa mu ano wɔ n’amotoa mu a ɔde wia ediban anadwo! Asɛm paa ni!’
Ewia pue ara pɛ, Anansi de ne yere no san kɔɔ Nyame hɔ kɔbisaa no siantiri a ne yere no wɔ ano a wɔde esie n’amotoa mu.
Nyame yii no ano, ‘Wo bisaa sɛ wo pɛ yere a “ɔnni ano wɔ n’enim.” Nti me maa wo yere a ɔwɔ ano wɔ n’amotoa mu. Wo emmbisa sɛ wo mmpɛ yere a onni ano koraa.’
Nna ɛyɛ Ananse sɛ Nyame egu n’enim ase na wɔadaadaa no, naaso Nyame ennhu papa enibere ni yi mbɔbɔr koraa. Nyame kaa kyerɛɛ no, ‘Nna wo wɔ yere a ɔdɔ wo na ɔsom wo yie, Ananse. Naaso wo enibere bɔne ne pɛsɛmenkominya nti, wo dween ho sɛ wo de wo nyansa bɛgye yere foforo efiri me hɔ. Me rekyerɛ wo sɛ me nim nyansa kyɛn wo koraa, na me gyedi sɛ wo enya adesuadehunu bi efiri asɛm yi mu. Enibere ne pɛsɛmenkominya nni tebea biara wɔ abrabɔ mu.’
Ananse n’eni toee sɛ ɔwɔ enibere na ɔsrɛɛ Nyame sɛ ɔmfa ne yere dadaw no nnsan mmbrɛ no efiri sɛ nna wɔesua nyansa paa. Saa da rekɔ no, Ananse si n’adwen pi sɛ ɔbɛyɛ nipa papa na ɔrennyɛ pɛsɛmenkominya. Na woana nim, ebi koraa mpo a ɔbɛpɛ sɛ ɔbɛkyɛ ne ediban?