ANANSE AND THE THREE WISE SINGERS
The three friends were happy and thanked God so much for their success. They then decided to make singing their profession from that day onwards. They used part of the money they had from the competition to buy a guitar and sewed a uniform which they would wear anytime they went out to sing. They then shared the rest of the money among themselves. One of the three friends suggested that they went round from village to village and from town to town to sing for money. This was a good idea and so they all agreed readily and started with their trips a few days afterwards. On the first day, they put on their uniforms and
proceeded to the next town taking their guitars along with them. They were warmly welcomed by the people of that town and they earned much
money from the various performances they staged. They saw their new profession to be very lucrative and so decided to move on to other nearby towns and villages to make more money. It was on one of their singing trips that they met Kweku Ananse in a village called Di Asempa. It was very late then. They were in search of a place to pass the night but no one was willing to allow them into their houses. Kweku Ananse met the three friends on his way to a friend’s house. They told him their story and he agreed to offer them a room for free.
They were very much grateful for such a gesture. Ananse took them to his house and showed them their room. He also provided them with food and everything they needed. The three friends were full of gratitude to their host. In the middle of the night, as Ananse lay On his bed thinking about how useful “those three fools” could be to him, he overheard some mellifluous voices echoing from the room he had offered to the visitors. He became curious and sneaked out of his room to hide behind the visitor’s room. He then realized that the three friends were rehearsing to sing at the market square for money. He quickly got back to his own room, pretending not to have gone out all. He did that in order not to give his wife any basis for suspicion. He lay quietly on his bed pretending to be far asleep. However, as he lay on the bed he thought deeply about how he was going to make money from the three friends. Early in the morning, uncharacteristic of him, Ananse got up and prepared a sumptuous meal for his visitors. As the three friends were taking their breakfast. Ananse started showering them with praises for their sweet voices.
He then added falsely “Oh my good friends, it’s very good that your fates brought you to my household. 1…I…I am also a professional singer just like you. In fact I am the choirmaster at my church. I guess it would be very perfect if I join you people on your singing trips”. The three friends didn’t like the idea initially. However, considering the kind of hospitality shown them by Ananse, they agreed to his proposal. Immediately after they had agreed, Ananse rushed to a tailor’s shop to sew the same style of the uniform. The only difference was that theirs was blue whiles Ananse’s was green in colour. Despite the striking difference in their uniform and the fact that Ananse did not have a good voice as he told the three friends, he was determined not to let them go off his hook till he had taken undue advantage of them to make a lot of money. Due to his slyness and cunning nature, Ananse was always able to twist and turn cases brought against him to his favour. As a result, he was very influential in that town. He consequently approached the chief of the town to inform him that he (Ananse) and his three old time friends would like to sing to entertain the people at the market square. The chief sensed some sort of falsehood in what Ananse had told him. He was quite reluctant to grant Ananse the permission to go ahead. But Ananse managed to convince the chief for permission. Ananse quickly got back to his visitors and they headed towards the market square. It was a market day and so many people had come from far and near to buy and sell.
Naturally, so many people gathered to listen to Ananse and his visitors as they prepared to perform. Kweku Anance “sang” so many songs with his friends to the delight of everyone who had come to watch them perform. The people marveled at the sweet voice with which they sang. They started showering them with gifts including money and foodstuff as they danced to the tune of their songs. Ananse was happy at his success in playing his tricks on the visitors. What Kwaku Ananse did was that, although he did not know how to sing any of the numerous songs, he stood very close to the three friends and kept opening and shutting his mouth. He did so perfectly that everyone thought he knew the lyrics. The three amputated friends, as naïve as they were, did not realize the trick and so they took Ananse along with them any where they went. Ananse also kept playing the same trick on them an where their singing business took them to. As they went sharing the money equally, Ananse would always take the lion’s share in whatever they had at the end of the day. In addition, Ananse always capitalized on the difference in colour of their uniforms to tell people that he was the boss of the group. He even claimed to have the sweetest of voice than the three friends. The three friends became angry when they heard the sort of claims Ananse went about making. They therefore decided to investigate Ananse. Ananse had boastfully challenged them and so they were bent on finding out if what ne said was true. However, upon investigation, they realized that anytime they were singing, the only voice they heard was purely theirs. In fact there was no additional voice and this gave them a cause for suspicion against Kweku Ananse. They, therefore, decided to teach him a very bitter lesson. They however, kept this plot to themselves alone and never made mention of it to anyone. They were always on the look out for a perfect day to disgrace Ananse. Ananse took the quietness of the three friends to be their weakness. He soon graduated in his greed.
Thus, he no longer took the lion’s share of their income. Rather he started keeping all of everything they had from their singing to without giving the three friends anything. Despite the fact that Ananse had so much from his “new business”, he never gave his wife and children anything. Instead he spent his money on drinks, gambling and young girls. One day, Ananse and his group were invited to sing at a grand durbar to mark the climax of a festival in his hometown. Ananse was highly respected in that town due to his enviable wisdom. It we’s therefore a great honour to him when they had that opportunity to sing at the durbar. In fact, they were the,only singing group invited to perform at the function. Ananse demanded an unreasonably high contract sum from the organizers of the festival, regardless of the fact that they were his own town folks. The people of his home town expected a sterling performance from Ananse and his crew, considering the high gate fees charged. On the D day. the durbar grounds was filled to capacity. The three friends saw that as a perfect opportunity to expose Ananse of his treacherous deeds. They sang their first song and the crowd applauded rapturously for that fantastic performance. As they sang their second song, the three friends intentionally paused sharply at a point in time. Ananse who was so much unaware of that sudden pause kept opening and shutting his mouth without any sound coming from his mouth.
Ananse was indeed thrown off balanced. He was very much disgraced but the greatest challenge hit him when the three friends requested that each of them should sing one song each at a time. The three friends sang melodiously one after the other and the people cheered them up with so much excitement. It was now Ananse’s turn to sing. He was so much embarrassed that he did not know what to do. He bowed down his head in shame. After waiting for almost an hour for Ananse to sing, the crowd grew impatient and started yelling for action. The three ampLitated friends pleaded for silence and then told the chief and everyone around how Ananse had taken undue advantage of them to amass wealth. Ananse could not stand the disgrace anymore. He therefore tried to escape through the heavy crowd. But the guards of the chief were very much smart. They grabbed him as soon as he made the attempt of escaping. The cheif then ordered Ananse to refund every pesewa he had earned from the three genuine singers. All the property he acquired from the singing business of the three friends were confiscated ad auctioned later on. The three friends were very much grateful to the chief and his elders for helping them. They therefore took only two thirds of the money raised from the auction of Avanse’s property. They donated the remaining one third to the community for development projects. Avanse was not allowed to g scott free at all. He was later thrown into jail for swindling.
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