Ananse The American Man

Onyamekrom was a very big village. It was always peaceful and the people lived happily among themselves even though there were not many jobs in the village. There was no hospital or clinic in Onyamekrom. The only school in the village was up to class six. There was no electricity. The only thing that put the people of Onyamekrom on the map was their hard work. Most of the village folks were farmers; only a few were hunters, fishermen, palm wine tappers and blacksmiths. Even the market women in the village had farms of their own. The teachers also had farms, but it was their pupils who did the greater part of the work on their farms. The people of Onyamekrom had only one market day in a week. Every market day was always a busy and noisy day. Everybody trooped to the market square to buy and sell on that day. Most mothers went along with big baskets to buy all the ingredients they would need for cooking for their families throughout the week. Every man in Onyamekrom was very hard-working, even the young men who had no wives and children were so serious with their farm work. They always had a bumper harvest and often kept most of their crops in silos until the dryzeason.
Apart from the hectic work on the farm, most of the men in Onyamekrom had guns which they often went on hunting expeditions with. They often did so in groups and shared whatever game they got among themselves. Even those who had no guns had several traps from which they often got bush meat for their families. But in this same village where everybody was hard-working, there lived a very lazy man called Kweku Ananse. He was very lazy and also poor. But he had a wife and five good children. He had a large family but he was unable to take care of them. Strangely, Ananse’s wife was the king’s only daughter; she was a very beautiful young woman and nobody ever dreamt that the lazy Ananse would get the chance to marry her. As to how Ananse got the king’s only (laughter’s hand in marriage, is a story on its own. Both the king and his beautiful daughter did not like Kweku Ananse, but he ended up marrying from the royal home because Ananse’s wife was a royal. There was a daily supply of food from the palace for herself and her children alone. As for Ananse, the king always made sure that he got no portion of the food that was always sent to his daughter. The hefty guards from the palace always made sure that not even a morsel of the food got into Ananse’s hungry stomach. As for the water they brought, he was free to drink as much as he could, even if lie wanted to drink a whole barrel!
Everybody thought this would teach Ananse a very big lesson, but he still remained undaunted with his laziness; all his farms became so bushy that most of them began to turn into forests. One particular night, Ananse was not feeling well; his good friend from whose home he always went to eat in the evenings had travelled on that very day. Ananse felt very disappointed, he went to bed unusually early on that fateful day. His wife and children were comfortably asleep and snoring loudly but Ananse was dying from hunger in his room. He just could not sleep. When he could not control himself any longer, he got up from his bed and searched every nook and cranny of the room. but he found nothing that was edible. “Oh, my God!” lie exclaimed and began to shed tears. His wife heard him weeping but she ignored him and kept her eyes closed. Ananse got up and walked out of the room in tears; he was so sad and confused that he took three chairs outside, instead of one, to sit on. He wept hours on end until he began to doze off and was soon overtaken by a very deep sleep. Whiles in his sleep, Ananse dreamt that he had become a very rich man who owned many houses, farms and commercial vehicles that worked for him. But he just did not know how he came by that fortune. All he knew was that he was rich, and everywhere he went, people accorded him a lot of respect. He had become popular in the surrounding towns and villages of Onyamekrom and even beyond. Most parents even named their children after him.
Ananse was happily enjoying his dream, and smiling in his sleep, when he was suddenly awoken by a man he had never seen. Ananse leaped out of his sleep and nearly attacked the man physically for interfering with his sweet dream. He was so annoyed with the stranger that he nearly ordered him out of his house. But on a second thought, he decided to listen first to the mission of the stranger. Ananse quickly calmed himself down and offered the stranger some water to drink. The young man had also been hungry for so long, but he had some food in his bag, and so he brought it out. Ananse started smiling when he saw the food; he quickly set a table and shamelessly joined the young man to eat his food. He did not even wait for the stranger to first invite him. Right after eating, Ananse smartly dashed into the compound of one of his neighbours who was .a palm wine tapper. He sneaked into the man’s store room and filled his bottle with a quantity of fresh palm wine. He also drank as much as he could over thCre and refilled the bottle again and again. When he felt the presence of another person in the next room, he tip toed in silence and got back to his house. He served the stranger first and then filled another calabashful for himself. The young man was happy with the way Ananse had received him in his house, even at that ungodly hour. “Oh papa Ananse, you have really made me feel at home.
I’m convinced that you’re a very kind man, as you can see, l came to this village for a reason, my message was only meant for the king’s ears, but from the way you have received me in your house, I am not afraid to tell you everything.” “O-o-h, my f-r-i-e-n-d, go ahead, go ahead, feel free, go ahead and talk to me! Don’t be afraid at all! I’m the only wise man the king listens to in this village. That’s why he’s even given me his only daughter. Don’t worry at all, okay?” “Okay! Thank you very much. My name is Kweku Simpa. I come from a very far away village in the Fanteland. Before the death of my late father, my brothers and I used to work for him on his plots of land on days when we did not go fishing. On one of such days, my elder brother and I were busily weeding on one of my father’s lands when we came across this black pot.” The young man brought a small black pot out of his bag and showed it to Kweku Ananse. “You mean this pot?” asked, Ananse. “Yes, this very one!” replied Kweku Simpa. Ananse became more curious; he lowered his cloth and sat up properly on his chair. “So my Son, what did you find in it?” He asked. “Hmmmn, it had this red bandana tied around it. The lid had been turned upside down and on it was the the…..” “Stop, stop, stop!” Ananse shouted heavily at the young man; He apparently knew the history of that pot. It was stolen from Onyamekrom in the days when the white men first arrived and began to trade with the local people. A symbolic image ofthat very pot had been drawn on the walls of the king’s palace.

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