Why Anansi Has Eight Skinny Legs
An Akan Story by Farida Salifu
Once upon a time, there lived a spider called Anansi. Though Anansi’s wife was a very good cook, the greedy spider loved nothing more than to taste other people’s food.
One day, Anansi stopped by to visit his friend, the rabbit. ‘Hmm!’ exclaimed the greedy spider as he entered the kitchen. ‘Those are really lovely greens you are cooking, Rabbit.’
‘Why don’t you stay for dinner?’ replied the friendly rabbit. ‘The greens are not yet cooked, but they will be soon.’
Anansi knew that if he stayed while the meal was still cooking, then Rabbit would surely give him chores to do, and the greedy spider did not visit his friend in order to do chores. So Anansi said to Rabbit, ‘Please forgive me, dear friend, but I have some things I must do right away. Why don’t I spin a length of web and tie one end around my leg and the other end around your cooking pot. That way you can tug on the web when the greens are cooked and I will come running back for dinner.’
Rabbit agreed that this was a very good idea, and so he tied Anansi’s web to his pot and waved his friend goodbye.
Moments later, the greedy spider found himself walking past the house of his good friend, the monkey. And it just so happened that Monkey was also in the middle of preparing his dinner.
‘Hmm!’ exclaimed the greedy spider as he entered the kitchen. ‘That is a lovely meal of beans and honey you are cooking, Monkey.’
‘Why don’t you wait until they are cooked and then stay for dinner,’ replied the friendly monkey.
Once again, Anansi knew that if he stayed while the meal was still cooking, then Monkey would surely give him chores to do, and the greedy spider had no desire to do chores. So Anansi said to Monkey, ‘I am very sorry, dear friend, but I have some things I must do right away. Why don’t I spin a length of web and tie one end around my leg and the other end around your cooking pot. That way you can tug on the web when the beans and honey are cooked and I will come running back for dinner.’
Monkey agreed that this was an excellent idea, and so he tied Anansi’s web to his pot and waved his friend goodbye.
On his way home Anansi visited six more friends, all of whom were busy preparing their evening meals.
He visited the tortoise, the hare, the squirrel, the mouse, the fox, and last of all he visited his good friend, the hog. And on each visit, Anansi spun the same old story. And for each friend he spun a length of web for their cooking pot. And so it was that all eight of Anansi’s legs were attached to different cooking pots by long lengths of web.
The greedy spider simply could not resist tricking each of his friends so that he might eat from every pot while avoiding any chores along the way.
Anansi was very much looking forward to all of the food, especially the hog’s sweet potato and honey dish which was always cooked to perfection. ‘I have really outdone myself this time,’ thought the greedy spider. ‘So much lovely food to eat and I even avoided doing any chores in return! I wonder which pot of food will be ready first.’
Just then, Anansi felt one of the lengths of web tug at his leg. ‘That must be the rabbit with his tasty dish of greens,’ thought the greedy spider.
But then another length of web tugged at another of Anansi’s legs. ‘Oh dear!’ he exclaimed out loud, ‘That must be the monkey with his pot of beans and honey.’
Then another leg was tugged! And another! And another! Until all eight of Anansi’s legs were being pulled in different directions at once!
Anansi dragged himself towards the river and jumped into the water so that all of his webs would be washed from his legs. One by one the webs released their grip on his legs until the greedy spider was finally able to climb back onto the riverbank.
When Anansi had recovered and managed to dry himself off, he noticed something very strange. All eight of his legs had been stretched. Where once they were short and wide, now they were thin and long! ‘How could I have been so greedy?’ thought Anansi. ‘Now look at what has become of me. Not only do I have eight skinny legs, but now I must even cook my own dinner!’
And that is why Anansi has eight skinny legs.
Why Anansi Has Eight Skinny Legs
An Akan Story by Farida Salifu
Bere bi a abɛtwa mu kɔ, ananse bi tenaa ase. Nna Ananse yere nim sɛnea wɔnoa ediban papaapa, naaso ma nna Ananse nim ara ne sɛ ɔbɛdi afoforo fo wɔn ediban.
Da kor bi, Ananse sraa n’adamfo rabb ‘Mmm!’ ananse tumfur ne teaa mu wɔ bere a ɔrekɔ gyaade hɔ. ‘Asoaso, efuw ediban a wo renoa no bɛyɛ dɛw paa.’
‘Adɛn nti na wo ntweɔn ma yɛndidi ewimbir yi,’ asoaso na ɔrekasa yi. ‘Efuw ediban no mmbenee, naaso wɔbɛben a ɔrennkyɛr koraa.’
Nna Ananse nim sɛ ɔtena hɔ wɔ bere a ediban no gu so renoa a, asoaso bɛpɛ edwuma bi ama no ma no ayɛ, naaso Ananse tumfur ammba n’adamfo hɔ sɛ ɔrebɛyɛ edwuma bi. Nti Ananse ka kyerɛɛ asoaso, ‘M’adamfo pa, fa kyɛ me, na ɛwɔ sɛ me yɛ ndeɛma bi seisei ara. Ma me nwen wɛb mfa ne nkyɛn baako nkyekyer me nan na me mfa nkyɛn baako so nkyekyer wo kyɛnsee a wo de renoa ediban no. Me yɛ no dɛm a wo bɛtumi awosow wɛb no sɛ ediban no ben a, na me bɛba ne wo abɛdi.’
Asoaso gye too mu sɛ ɛyɛ asɛm papa nti ɔde Ananse ne wɛb kyekyeree ne kyɛnsee no na ɔyɛɛ n’adamfo no bae-bae.
Annkyɛr koraa na Ananse tumfur hun sɛ ɔnam n’adamfo adow dan enim. Ɛbaa no sɛ nna adow so gu so ara reyɛ ne ewimbir ediban.
‘Mmm!’ ananse tumfur ne teaa mu wɔ bere a ɔrekɔ gyaade hɔ. ‘Adow, eduwa ne wo a wo renoa no bɛyɛ dɛw paa.’
‘Adɛn nti na wo ntweɔn ma yɛndidi ewimbir yi,’ adow na ɔrekasa yi.
Bio, nna Ananse nim sɛ ɔtena hɔ wɔ bere a ediban no gu so renoa a, adow bɛpɛ edwuma bi ama no ma no ayɛ, naaso Ananse tumfur nnyɛ n’adwen sɛ ɔrebɛyɛ edwuma bi. Nti Ananse ka kyerɛɛ adow, ‘M’adamfo pa, fa kyɛ me, na ɛwɔ sɛ me yɛ ndeɛma bi seisei ara. Ma me nwen wɛb mfa ne nkyɛn baako nkyekyer me nan na me mfa nkyɛn baako so nkyekyer wo kyɛnsee a wo de renoa ediban no. Me yɛ no dɛm a wo bɛtumi awosow wɛb no sɛ eduwa ne wo no ben a, na me bɛba ntɛmara ne no abɛdi.’
Adow gye too mu sɛ ɛyɛ asɛm papa nti ɔde Ananse ne wɛb kyekyeree ne kyɛnsee no na ɔyɛɛ n’adamfo no bae-bae.
Ɔnam kwan so rekɔ fie no, Ananse kɔɔ n’adamfofo nsia hɔ a wɔn nyinara gu so reyɛ wɔn ewimbir ediban.
Ɔkɔɔ akyekyerɛ, hɛɛ, opurow, kura, fɔks ne n’adamfo pa hɔg hɔ. Na obiara a ɔkɔɔ ne hɔ no, Ananse twaa atoro dadaw no ara. Na ma n’adamfo baako biara no, ɔween wɛb maa wɔn kyɛnsee. Nti ɛbaa no sɛ nna Anansi ne anan awɔtwe no nyinara kyekyer kyɛnsee foforo.
Ananse tumfur no yɛɛ sɛ ɔredaadaa ne ndamfo no ama wɔetumi edidi wɔ obiara ne kyɛnsee mu a ɔrennyɛ edwuma biara.
Nna Ananse ayɛ krado paa sɛ ɔbɛdi ediban no nyinara nka nka ara sɛ hɔg ne santom ne wo aben dadaw. ‘Dɛm bere yi de me ehunu sɛ me ayɛ aboro so,’ Ananse tumfur na ɔredwen yi. ‘Ediban bebree na me rebɛdi yi na meannyɛ fie mu nsiesie edwuma biara amma obiara mpo! Woana n’ediban mpo na ɛbɛdi kan aben.’
Dɛm bere no ara na Anansi tee wɔ ne nan baako mu sɛ obi rewosow ne wɛb no. ‘Ɛbɛyɛ asoaso a ɔrenoa efuw ediban dɛɛdɛw na ɔrefrɛ me yi,’ nea ɛrekɔ so wɔ Ananse adwen mu ni.
Hɔ ara na wɔwosoow Ananse nan baako so. ‘Asɛm aba!’ ɔteaa mu, ‘Ɛbɛyɛ adow na ne edwua ne wo aben yi.’
Afei wɔwosoow nan baako so! Na bio so! Na bio so! Afei de nna wɔretwe Anansi ne anan awɔtwe no nyinara!
Anansi twee ne ho kɔɔ esuten no ho na ɔtoo ne ho too nsu no mu ama ne ntentan no ahohorow efiri ne na ho. Ntentan no yii firii ne nan ho baako baako kɔpem bere a Ananse tumfur tumii foow baa esuten n’ano bio.
Ananse n’eni baa no ho so na ɔhataa ne ho wɔ ewia no ase wie no, ɔhunuu biribi a ɛyɛ nwanwa. Na ne nan awɔtwe no nyinara mu atwe. Wɔ bere a nna kanee no wɔyɛ tiatia na wɔterɛw no, afei de nna ne nan no yɛ tenten ne fiafia! ‘Ɛbaa no sɛn na nna me eni reyɛ aber ade dɛm?’ asɛm a Anase redwen ho ni. ‘Afei hwɛ nea meabɛdan. Nnyɛ sɛ m’enya anan fiafia awɔtwe ara nko, na afei so ɛwɔ sɛ me noa me ara me ediban!’
Ɛno nti na Ananse wɔ nan fiafia awɔtwe.