African Folk Tales: Anansi And The Turtle
Once, there lived a spider called Anansi. He was a very greedy spider and did not like sharing any of his things with others. One day, he collected some lovely yams from his garden and cooked them with utmost care. The delicious smell of ......
Once, there lived a spider called Anansi. He was a very greedy spider and did not like sharing any of his things with others. One day, he collected some lovely yams from his garden and cooked them with utmost care. The delicious smell of the yams made Anansi hungrier. He somehow managed to wait till lunch time.
Just as he sat down to consume his delicious meal, he heard a knock at his door. Anansi was irritated and opened the door hurriedly. It was the turtle standing at the door. He has been travelling for a very long time and looked very tired and hungry.
“Hello Anansi, What are you cooking? I can smell something really delicious,” the turtle said.
“Oh! I have cooked some yams for lunch,” Anansi said reluctantly.
“Oh, can I please stay for lunch? I am hungry and tired of all the travelling,” the turtle said.
Anansi was not willing to share his food with the turtle. But it was a custom in the country to share food with visitors who came during lunch or dinner hours. So, Anansi could not refuse. Nevertheless, he was determined not to share his delicious yams with the turtle.
“Please have a seat and enjoy your meal,” Anansi said to the turtle.
Both of them sat on the chairs. The turtle was about to help himself to a share of the yam when Anansi suddenly stopped him.
“Don’t you know that you must clean your hands before you touch your meal? Please wash your hands before you eat,” Anansi instructed the turtle.
The turtle took a look at his hands and saw that they were full of dirt as he has been walking for a very long time. He went to a nearby river and returned after washing his hands.
Anansi had already started his meal. “The yams were getting really cold so I started my lunch. Please join me now,” Anansi said.
However, even this time when the turtle reached for his meal, Anansi stopped him by giving him the same reason. The poor turtle saw that his hands had become dirty once again as he walked back from the river to the house.
The turtle was very hungry and tired by now. But he still went back to the river to wash his hands. This time he was determined not to let his hands get dirty. He was careful and walked only on the grass to keep his hands clean. But by the time he reached the table, Anansi had already finished all the food except for a morsel that was spared for the turtle. The turtle was angry and humiliated. “Thank you for the lovely lunch. I would like to invite you over to my place for a meal someday,” the turtle said and left.
A few days had past and Anansi started thinking about the turtle’s invitation. He was tempted to go for a sumptuous meal at the turtle’s place. After all, he knew that the turtle was an amazing cook.
One day, he went at the bank of the river under which the turtle had his house and stood there at dinner time.
The turtle saw him and said, “Hello Anansi, thank you for coming. Please have dinner with me.” The turtle invited Anansi inside his house, which was underwater.
Anansi could not wait any longer and quickly dived into the water. But alas, he was too light and could not swim deep into the water. Meanwhile, the turtle was ready with the delicious spread.
Anansi tried every possible measure to go under the river; he tried a running jump, a belly flop and a high dive, but could not go beneath the surface of the water. Anansi started thinking hard and finally decided to pick up some rocks and put them in the pockets of his jacket. His plan was successful and this time Anansi reached straight to the turtle’s house after diving underwater.
Anansi was impressed to see the delicious spread and was about to dig into the first bite when the turtle stopped him. “Dear Anansi, kindly remove your jacket before you touch the food. In our custom we do not eat with our jackets on,” the turtle said. Anansi saw that even the turtle was not wearing his jacket. Anansi removed his jacket which was full of rocks and pebbles and within no time he went rushing up to the surface of the water.
Anansi could see the turtle slowly consuming the lovely meal. Anansi felt sad and slowly climbed out of the water.
Moral of the story: Never try to outsmart someone. You may find that you yourself are the one to be outsmarted.
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