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Stories from Home Series: A Ghanian Fable

Anansi - The Spider-Man by Sylvia Smith (Lecturer)

One day, Anansi, the spider-man, went on a long journey far away from his home but got lost and found himself in deep trouble. He fell into a lake and was swallowed by a fish.

Back home, his oldest son, "See Trouble", could sense that his father was in great danger, so he passed this message along to his five brothers, and they all went to save him. One of the brothers, the second son, "Road Builder," made a road to help the six sons to make a faster journey to rescue their father. Once they reached the river that their father was deep within, "River Drinker", the third son, took big gulps of the body of water until only one fish was left. "Fishcutter", the fourth son, skinned this fish until it was nothing but bones, allowing his father to escape.

However, trouble still lay ahead. As soon as Anansi was back on his eight legs, a falcon came down from the sky, scooped him up and flew away. Anansi's fifth son, "Stone Thrower", acted quickly and threw a stone high up into the sky, knocking his father out of the bird's beak. As Anansi descended from the sky, "Cushion", the youngest, used his soft body to ease his father's landing. Finally, as Anansi was on the ground, reunited with his loving sons, the spider family happily made their way home.

The moral of the story is to be very thoughtful when you name your children because one day, they may be able to help you in a way you wouldn't imagine.

Note: According to the legend, Anansi is a spider-man who originates from Ghana and is a popular character amongst African and Caribbean folklore. He is described as a keeper of knowledge and stories. Anansi is also often portrayed as a cunning trickster.

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