Ananse And the Three Cruel Friends
Three cruel friends lived in Anansekrom; they were Bedu a farmer, Ato, a large cattle owner and Adu, a wicked hunter. These men were very wealthy because their businesses were successful. Despite their wealth, the men were not sociable and kind as they should be; they were very stingy and fussy. Thus, Ananse the trickster got mad about them.
Ananse pulled many tricks on them. Thus, the three cruel friepds looked forward to catching him one day and teaching him a lesson.
One morning, as Bedu was going to his farm, He saw Ananse sitting right in the center of the road. The trickster looked hot and bothered about something. He kept shaking his head back and forth and seemed to be panting for breath.
“Hello, Ananse,” greeted Bedu, stopping beside the trickster. “What’s the matter with you?”
“I was taking a stroll in the field beside my house when a farmer came along and set it on fire,” Ananse gasped. “I ran very fast in a bid to save the situation, but fire was faster than I was, so I curled up in my coat and it passed right over me! My body is hotter than the noon-day sun!”
“Let me have a look,” said Bedu. Bedu immediately grabbed him by the neck and swung him right off the ground as Ananse exposed his body
“I’ve got you now, Ananse,” cried Bedu. “You aren’t going to bother me and my friends anymore!”
Well, Ananse begged and begged Bedu not to drown him. For that was what he feared the most. I’d rather go back into the fire in the field because I am somehow used to being burned than getting drowned in the deep lake.” Ananse lied.
Bedu swung the poor Ananse back and forth, trying to decide what to do. Dropping Ananse into the fire was a tempting idea, but then he remembered how Ananse-had said he was used to the fire, he changed his mind.
Bedu decided then to drown Ananse instead. He tucked Ananse under his arm and carried him down to a pond.
“Please, oh please don’t drown me.” Ananse begged.
“I am not making any promises Bedu
retorted. “You’ve played too many tricks on me, Ananse.”
Bedu thrust him into the water and began bouncing him up and down.
“Oh, I am drowning,” shouted Ananse when his head bounced out of the water. “Don’t let go of my shirt or I’ll be drowned for sure!”‘
“That’s the idea, AnanSe,” Bedu yelled back and let go of his shirt.
Immediately Ananse splashed down and down into the water and thumped onto the mud on the bottom.
That was when Bedu remembered that Ananse lived on an island, and there was never any fear of him drowning, He could hear him laughing from the bottom of the pond: “I dare you to come down here”.
Bedu jumped up and down in fury. Ananse had escaped!
From the other side of the pond, The Bull Frog called out: “Knee-deep! Knee-deep!”
Bedu glared at the pond, and then looked back at the Bull Frog. “It’s only knee-deep?” he asked suspiciously.
“Knee-deep, knee-deep!” The Bull Frog said again.
All the little frogs joined in the chorus then. “Better-believe-it! Better-believe-it!”
Well, thought Bedu, if it was only knee deep, then he would have no difficulty catching Ananse.
“Jump-in, Jump-in!” croaked The Bull Frog.
“Knee-deep, knee-deep!” agreed all the little frogs.
Badu was not good at swimming but he was bent on catching Ananse. He approached the edge of the pond cautiously. From underneath the water, Ananse teased him. and his words bubbled up to Bedu: “I dare you to come-down here! I dare you to come down here.”
Well. That did it. Badu ran right up to the edge of the pond. Leaning over, he looked into the water and saw another man staring at him .
“That’s your brother! That’s your brother!” The Bull Frog told Bidu who had never seen his shadow before.
Badu was thrilled. He did not know he had a brother. Now that there were two of them, catching Ananse would be an easy task! Badu leaned over to shake hands with his newfound brother only to find himself deep down the pond.
All the frogs laughed and laughed at the trick they had played on Badu. Ananse started swimming up from the bottom of the pond, his red eyes fixed on Badu’s shirt. Badu knew that the old trickster wanted to pull him down under the water and drown him so he swam very fast. With much splashing and squirming, Badu made it to the edge of the pond, where he jumped out and ran away as fast as he could. The Bull Frog laughed and the little frogs shouted with glee.
The last thing he heard as he rounded the corner was the voice of Ananse calling: “I dare you to come down here!”
Badu yearned so much to catch Ananse again.
One day, Ananse was skipping down the road heading for his home in the bush when he spotted Ato in his ranch. It was a very hot day so Ananse was thirsty. Some milk would be real fine on such a warm afternoon but Ato always refused to offer Ananse milk when he asked for. Ananse thought of up a plan.
“Hi, Ato,” saidAnnase, walking up to him in the field.
“Hi Annase,” said Ato. “How are you?”
“I am quite well,” said Ananse. “How are the cows faring?”
“So-so,” replied Ato.
“I’m wondering if you could help me out.” Ananse said to Ato. “I’d like to get some mangoes down out of that tree, but it’s too high for me to climb.” He pointed over to a nearby mango tree.
“I am not good at climbing myself” said Ato.
“You wouldn’t have to climb.” said Ananse. “Just shake the tree a few times, and the mangoes will all drop.”
Ananse considered this for a moment. and then he agreed. Atoiran to the tree at top speed. BANG! He shook the tree as hard as he could without success Ato bucked up again and ran fast to the tree to shake it. As he did, Ananse trapped him. Just then three great branches fell and Ato was stuck within them. He pulled and tugged, but was unable to free himself.
“Help me out, Ananse,” Ato pleaded.
“I can’t climb up that high,” said Ananse. “But I’ll run and fetch Adu and Badu.”
The trickster ran home to fetch his wife Okonorie and all of the kids. Etikelenkelc brought a big gallon to the ranch, Nakotwia brought a big bucket and Yefunuduhwiduhwi carried a large basin to milk the cows until not a drop of milk was left in them. Ato was very mad at Ananse. He kept pulling and tugging but was unsuccessful.
“I’ll come back tomorrow for more milk,'” Ananse said. “I think you’ll probably be stuck there till daybreak.”
Ananse and his family left the field with their containers filled with milk. Ato was still trapped in the tree as they left. Ato tugged and tugged, trying to free himself from the tree. It took him the next morning to break loose.
Once he was free, he had a quick shower to calm him his nerves. After a moment he came up with a plan to revenge.
As soon as it was daybreak, Ato went back to the mango tree and pretended he was still stuck among the branches. Ananse had come early to the field and had seen Ato walking as freely as anyone else so he knew he was up to something when he climbed back to the top of the tree. He decided to play along with Ato’s game for a while to see what he was up to.
As quickly as he could, Ananse went back down the road and came clippity-lippity, hippity-hoppity up the road, singing as loud as he could. “How are you feeling this morning, Ato?” asked Ananse when he got to the field.
“Very bad” said Ato slyly. “I’ve been stuck here all night. But if you grab my shirt, you can help me out.” “Oh ho”, thought Ananse to himself He means to catch and beat me up. Aloud he said: “I’m a little man. If I pull your shirt, I might get crushed so I won’t get any closer to you!”
Ato became furious because- his plan didn’t work. He pulled himself out of the tree tic kctysplit and started chasing Anansc down the road.
Ananse ran as fast as lightning. He reached the bush path well ahead of Ato and threw himself into the bush. He watched Ato run pass his hiding spot. Ato stopped and looked around trying to fish out Ananse.
Ananse chuckled t. He made long ears of leaves, made his eyes extra wide, and then peered out of a shady corner of the road,-pretending to be a rabbit. “What are youidOing Mr. Ato?” he asked in a high-pitched voice quite unlike his.own.
“I’m looking for Ananse,” said Ato, who did not recognize Ananse in the dim light of dawn. “He just ran across,” Ananse lied.
That was all Ato needed to hear. He braced himself and ran on down the road.
Ananse laughed and laughed, rolling about among the bushes. He had the second cruel friend. He was a real rascal, no mistake!
Humming happily to himself, Ananse went home to have a drink of milk.
Ato hated Ananse so much because he was always playing tricks and bossing everyone around. So he decided to capture and kill Ananse if it was the last thing he would ever do.
He thought and thought until he came up with yet another plan. He would make a tar baby! Adu went and got some tar and mixed it with some sticky gum. He carved it into the figure of a cute little baby. Then he stuck a hat on the Tar Baby and sat her in the middle of the road.
Adu hid himself in the bushes near the road and waited for Ananse to come along. At long last, he heard someone whistling and chuckled to himself, and knew that Ananse was coming up over the hill. As he reached the top Ananse spotted the cute little Tar Baby. Ananse was surprised. He stopped and stared at this strange creature. He had never seen anything like that before!
“Good Morning,” Said Ananse, doffing his hat. “nice weather we’re having.”
The Tar Baby said nothing. Ato laid low and watched.
Ananse tried again “and how are you feeling this fine day?”
The Tar Baby said nothing. Ato lay low in the bushes.
Ananse frowned. This strange creature was not very polite. Its behavior made him mad.
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