A FOLK TALE FROM GHANA (part of the Ghanaian Cultural)

In Ghana there are many folk tales about a strange creature called Spider. He is supposed to be a spider, but he acts like a man. He loves to eat, and he hates to work. He thinks he is clever, but at times he is stupid.

Each story about Spider explains why something happens.

This story tells why spiders hide in dark corners. This particular spider, His name is BROTHER ANANSE  (BROTHER KWAKU ANANSE). Note: in Ghana Kwaku is a boy born on Wednesday.



Once upon a time Brother Ananse lived with his wife and his two sons in a house made of banana leaves. Not far away was forest where the cocoa trees grew.

Behind the banana-leaf house was a garden. In it, Brother Ananse and his wife planted many vegetables.  Sugar Cain, Orange and Banana trees grew around its edges.

When the rains come each year, the vegetables grew, and the garden was green and beautiful. The oranges and bananas ripened. and Brother Ananse and his family had all they wanted to eat.

Each day Brother Ananse’s wife cooked rice and fish and vegetables and other good things in her big cooking pot.  The smell of that wonderful stew made Brother Ananse mouth water. Each day Brother Ananse went on eating until he could eat no more.

You might have thought that Brother Ananse would be satisfied, but he wasn’t. Every day, as soon as the stew had disappeared or finished, he looked around to find something for his wife to cook next. He wanted to eat most of the time when he wasn’t sleeping.

As the days went by, something began to trouble Brother Ananse.

“Things are not as they should be here,” he said to himself one morning. “Of all the good things in my garden, the very best things should be only for me. I must think of a way to save the best things for myself. My family can get along with the rest.”

So Brother Ananse sat down under a banana tree in the garden to think. At last he had a great idea. He began to carry out his plan at once.

First  he hung his head down low.  Next he pretended that he could hardly walk, as he made his way back to the banana-leaf house.

“Something is wrong with me,” he said to his wife. “I am not feeling well. I am very sick indeed, and I must wait on longer. I must go to the village to see the magician. Since he is wise enough to know what will happen tomorrow, next week, or even next year, he will know what is wrong with me.”

“I will go with you to help you on your way,” said his wife, looking at him sadly with tears in his eyes.

“You must stay where you are,” insisted Brother Ananse.  “If I do not go by myself, the magician will be angry,”

The day was almost over before Brother Ananse returned home. His wife and his two sons were waiting near the doorway.

“My dear wife and my two sons,” said Brother Ananse, shaking his head and looking as if the world had come to an end,  “I have bad news for you. The magician tells me that I am very sick. No one can do anything to help me. Soon I am going to die and leave you.”

“Die and leave us?” Cried his wife and his two sons. “That cannot be.” It took time, but at last Brother Ananse made his family understand that what was to be would be. He was going to die, and there was nothing they could do about it.  “Since I am about to die,” he went on to explain, “these are the things you must do for me so that I will be happy in the next world.”

“First you must dig a deep hole in the garden. Come, and I will show you. Put it here next to the spot where the biggest and ripest tomatoes grow.”

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