Silver Eagle Gathering
Silver Eagle Gathering Logo
Click for site map  
Ananse's Gift

This story is from Ghana in West Africa.

Ananse is a wise spider.

Author Unknown

In the middle of the forest there was a small house under an oil palm tree. A grandmother and two grandchildren, a boy and a girl, lived in this house. They were twins and named Abena One and Abena Two, which is how twins were named.

When Abena One and Abena Two were in school, the grandmother would walk to her farm and dig and weed and pick some vegetables for dinner.

One day, the children came home and saw an empty cooking pot. "Where's our dinner?" they asked.

Grandmother looked at the children. "I have worked hard, but now my back is bent and my arms are weak. I cannot dig and I cannot weed. Unless I get new arms and a new back, I cannot bring home food anymore.

That night Abena One and Abena Two went to their beds, but they could not sleep. They waited until their grandmother was sleeping, and very quietly went outside. "We must get our grandmother new arms and a new back. Let's go and ask the Wise One what we should do."

They walked into the forest where they saw a tiny house. From the house came two high, squeaky voices, singing this song, "Here they come, come one, come two. What's the good they want to do?"

Abena One and Abena Two looked in the doorway. They saw two small people with so many hands and so many feet that the children knew they had found Ananse and his wife.

Without getting up, Ananse waved the children into the room with two of his hands. At the same time, he used another two hands to pull up two chairs and put two mugs on the table with two more hands.

Ananse asked them what they wanted. Abena One and Abena Two explained that their grandmother needed new arms and a new back.

Ananse folded two arms on the table. He used two more arms to scratch his head as he thought and then patted Abena One on the back with one arm and Abena Two on the back with another. He looked at his wife.

She spoke, "We are very clever, but even Ananse cannot give new arms and new backs. But, do not worry. I know a secret. The Good God has already answered your wish."

She took the children outside. "Close your eyes".

Ananse took Abena One's hands. and put them on Abena Two's back. Abena One said, "That's a fine strong back for my grandmother."

Then Ananse's wife took Abena Two and put his hands on the arms of Abena One. Abena Two said, "Those are fine strong arms for my grandmother".

BOOM! A big clap of thunder filled the sky and when the children opened their eyes, they were all alone. Ananse, his wife, and the little house had disappeared.

The next morning the children woke up early and walked to the farm. They weeded and raked. They picked just enough vegetables for dinner. When they got home, they swept the yard, started the cooking fire, and started a delicious soup. The smell of the soup drifted into the house and the grandmother woke up.

"What is that wonderful smell?" she said. Then she saw the soup bubbling over the fire and the yard so clean and neat. She looked at the children.

"We did it, Grandmother. We visited Ananse the Spider. We learned that we could be your arms and your back. Now you never have to worry."

Before they went to school each day, Abena One and Abena Two worked on the farm. Soon, they had the best farm in the village. They kept the yard and the house very clean; except for one small corner by the back door.

In that corner was a shiny web and two small busy spiders who looked very much like Ananse and his wife.