Linguist Staff (Oykeame), 19thโ€“20th centuryGhana; Akan, AsanteGold foil, wood, nails; H. 61 5/8 in. (156.53 cm)Gift of the Richard J. Faletti Family, 1986 (1986.475a-c) photography by mma, Digital File DT5040.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 9_9_10

Linguist Staff (Oykeame), 19thโ€“20th centuryGhana; Akan, AsanteGold foil, wood, nails; H. 61 5/8 in. (156.53 cm)Gift of the Richard J. Faletti Family, 1986 (1986.475a-c) photography by mma, Digital File DT5040.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 9_9_10

Linguist Staff (Oykeame), 19thโ€“20th centuryย Ghana; Akan, Asante

๐Ÿ™๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ–ฅ #WorldWideWeb – #Anansi (ษ™-nahn-see) is an African Deity and folktale character. He often takes the shape of a spider and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories. He is also one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore.

The Magic of Ananse Anansi and the dispersal of wisdom

Another story tells of how Anansi once tried to hoard all of the world’s wisdom in a pot (in some versions a calabash). Anansi was already very clever, but he decided to gather together all the wisdom he could find and keep it in a safe place.

With all the wisdom sealed in a pot, he was still concerned that it was not safe enough, so he secretly took the pot to a tall thorny tree in the forest (in some versions the silk cotton tree). His young son, Ntikuma, saw him go and followed him at some distance to see what he was doing.

The pot was too big for Anansi to hold while he climbed the tree, so he tied it in front of him. Like this the pot was in the way and Anansi kept slipping down, getting more and more frustrated and angry with each attempt.

Ntikuma laughed when he saw what Anansi was doing. “Why don’t you tie the pot behind you, then you will be able to grip the tree?” he suggested.

Anansi was so annoyed by his failed attempts and the realisation that his child was right that he let the pot slip. It smashed and all the wisdom fell out. Just at this moment a storm arrived and the rain washed the wisdom into the stream. It was taken out to sea, and spread all around the world, so that there is now a little of it in everyone.

Though Anansi chased his son home through the rain, he was reconciled to the loss, for, he says: “What is the use of all that wisdom if a young child still needs to put you right?

 

 

 

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