Anansi is a part of the African folklore. He a popular character in many regions of Africa and is known by many names. He is a trickster character, someone who tries to trick others, but often finds himself trapped in his own web. Here’s a story, recounted by Kiren, how wisdom came to the earth. A Different Truths exclusive for the Special Feature on Africa.
Anansi is a popular character in many regions of Africa and is known by many names. He is a trickster character, someone who tries to trick others, but often finds himself trapped in his own web. Anansi and the wisdom pot is a story to how the wisdom came to the earth.
Anansi the spider, lived in the jungles of Africa. It was the time when animals could talk to the humans. He was very clever, and could outwit many different people. He knew, heart of his hearts that he did not have very much wisdom and this bothered him a great deal.
One day he had a clever thought. “I know,” he mused to himself, “if I can get all the wisdom from the village people and put it in a pot, I will be very wise indeed…. In fact, I would be the wisest of all!” So he set out to find a suitable pot and then began his journey to collect the village’s wisdom.
He went from door to door asking, “O wise people of the village… give me some alms of wisdom…be generous …be generous.”
The people chuckled at poor Anansi, for they knew that he was always in for some trouble. Each put a bit of wisdom in his pot saying, “May God bless you with lot of wisdom Anansi!” And wished him well on his search.
Soon Anansi’s pot was overflowing with wisdom and he could hold no more. He jigged on his six legs, heart dancing with joy, exclaiming, “I am certainly the wisest person in the world now…ha ha ha… but wait!” He suddenly stopped as the thought flashed in his tricky brain, “I must hide my wisdom in a good hiding place or else I may lose it.” He now needed to find a place to store it.
He looked around and spotted a tall, tall tree. “Ah,” he said to himself. “If I could hide my wisdom high in that tree, I would never have to worry about someone stealing it from me!” So Anansi set out to climb the towering tree.
“He first took a cloth band and tied it around his waist. Then he tied the heavy pot to the front of his belly. As he began to climb, however, the pot full of wisdom kept getting in the way. He tried and tried, but could not make progress around it.
Just then, Anansi’s youngest son walked by and saw his father struggling with the pot. “What are you doing Father?” asked the little spider. “I am climbing this tree with my pot full of wisdom,” Anansi replied solemnly.
“But Father,” said the son, “It would be much easier if you tied the pot at your back, than in the front?”
Anansi sat there in stunned silence and then shouted, “It’s time for you to go home now?”
The son skipped down the path and disappeared.
Anansi moved the pot at the back and climbed the tree with no problems at all.
When he had reached the top, he vented out. “I walked all over and collected so much wisdom, yet my baby son thinks he is wiser than me. Take back your wisdom!”
He lifted the pot high over his head and threw it on the ground. The pot crashed on the ground and the wisdom blew far and wide all over the earth. And this is how wisdom came to the world.
Almost instantly Anansi repented, “Oh Bother! What have I done?” and dashed down on his silver lining trying to catch the wisdom as much as he could. Since then the spider is always on his trail in search of the wisdom. All the other spiders also supported him in his search. Even to this day, you see the spiders going down on their silvery trail in search of wisdom.
Photos from the Internet
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