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Anansi Gives Peope Stories

Long ago, the sky god kept all stories locked up in a wooden box. People asked clever Anansi to ask the sky god for the stories. The sky god agreed, but only if Anansi performed three seemingly impossible tasks....

Long, long ago, the Sky God, Nyame, kept all stories locked in a wooden box………. high in the sky. People down on earth had no stories at all to tell. Their lives were dull and boring, and they were very sad. So, they asked Anansi the clever Spider to help them.

“No problem,” Anansi laughed.

Anansi spun a long spider web and climbed up his sticky thread up through the clouds. At last, he came to the Sky God, who was rather surprised and irritated with his uninvited guest.

"Ah! Just the person I was looking for, “said Anansi, “I believe you have something of ours – our stories. I’m sure this is just a little mistake on your part, but we’d really like them back! If you could just hand them over and then I’ll be on my way,”

Nyame laughed scornfully at Anansi and said, "Oh, these are very, VERY expensive stories, little spider. You couldn’t possibly afford them!”

Anansi knew better than to argue with the Sky God.

"How much do they cost?" asked Anansi.

"You'll have to bring me three rare and fierce animals, " Nyame answered. "A leopard with teeth as sharp as assegais, a hornet with a fearsome sting and………a….. a snake that can swallow an elephant whole!"

He snorted with laughter, slapping his knee with delight. He thought his box of stories was quite safe.

So Anansi slid back down his sticky thread to the earth. He pondered and thought and schemed and at last he came up with a cunning plan.

“I’ll dig a deep hole,” he said, “and cover it with branches and sand so it is hidden,”

And then, satisfied with his work, he went home to cook supper for his beloved wife

In the morning, sure enough, a leopard had fallen into his pit. It was furiously roaring and clawing at the side of the pit, but it couldn't get out. Anansi peered over the side.

“Oh let me help you, my dear spotted friend!" said Anansi. "Just lie down and relax on this bundle of sticks and I'll pull you out."

The leopard was tired and exhausted, so it lay on the branches, and quickly, Anansi wound his sticky web round the leopard and bound it to the pile of sticks!

“Let me go you rascal!” the leopard roared, hissing and spitting, and gnashing its jaws!

But Anansi carefully kept his distance, and slowly but surely, pulled the leopard up to the skies to show the Sky God. But Nyame just laughed, a little nervously, and said, "Not bad, but what about the other two?"

So down went Anansi, back to Earth to get the second creature. He thought

and he thought……………..” hmm”…… and at last he came up with another cunning plan.

” I’ll take a gourd full of water and go to the tree where the hornets live. “

He stealthily crept up to the nest. He could hear the buzzing of all the hornets inside, Carefully, he poured out some of the water

all over the nest. Then, he cut a leaf from a banana tree and held it over his head and then he poured the rest of the water all over himself.

He called out to the hornets, "Hey hornets! Quick! Emergency! It’s raining! But have no fear! I will protect you! Get inside my gourd and it will keep all of you dry."

Now, Hornets don't like to get wet at all, so in an instant, the air was filled with the angry buzzing of thousands of them. They rocketed out of the nest and, without pausing to look around, zipped straight into the gourd.

Then Anansi quickly spun a web across the opening so the Hornets couldn't get out. He carefully hauled the buzzing bundle them up to the skies and showed them to the Sky God, who was by now very irritated and not amused at all.But Nyame just said, "Hmmmmm, and where's the last one?"

So Anansi went down to earth again. He thought and thought and he thought, but he couldn't come up with a plan.

So he asked his clever wife, who said “I’ve got it! Just follow me!”

Together they found a long thick branch and some strong vines.

”And now we lay our trap!” she whispered and led Anansi down to the river.

When they got near the river she pointed up to the trees. At first, Anansi saw nothing, but after a while, he saw a slight movement. Perfectly camouflaged in the branches was a massive snake, as thick as a tree trunk and impossibly long!

“Now, just do what I do,” Anansi’s wife whispered, and then they loudly began to argue.

"The branch is longer!"

"No, it isn't!"

"Yes, it is!"

“Don’t be ridiculous”

“It is!”




Soon the snake opened one evil eye and asked what was going on. "I was arguing with my wife," said Anansi. "She says this stick is branch than you are. But I don't agree. I think you are much longer.”

Of course I'm longer than that little twig!!" spat the snake. "I'm incredibly long! I'm huge! Gargantuan! Humongous! Just put your little stick next to me and measure!"

So Anansi held his stick next to the snake, and then, quick as a flash, he and his wife lashed the snake to the stick with the vines. When he was all tied up, Anansi took the snake up to the skies

Nyame was impressed! He had to admit,“Anansi, you have paid your price. “

So he went to his wooden box of stories, opened the lid, and gave all of them to Anansi. In triumph, Anansi carried the stories down to earth. He shared them with his wife, and with all the other animals and people.

Stories are for telling, not for keeping in wooden boxes.


Multiple Choice Questions:

  1. Why were the people on earth sad?

  • A) They had no food

  • B) They had no stories

  • C) They had no friends

  • D) They had no homes

  1. How did Anansi climb up to the Sky God?

  • A) A ladder

  • B) A rope

  • C) A spider web

  • D) A tree

  1. What did Nyame ask for in exchange for the stories?

  • A) Gold and jewels

  • B) Three rare and fierce animals

  • C) Anansi's web

  • D) A magic potion

  1. How did Anansi catch the hornets?

  • A) He used a net

  • B) He used a gourd and water

  • C) He trapped them in a jar

  • D) He caught them in his web

  1. Who helped Anansi with the snake?

  • A) His friend

  • B) His wife

  • C) The Sky God

  • D) The leopard


  1. Answer: B) They had no stories

  2. Answer: C) A spider web

  3. Answer: B) Three rare and fierce animals

  4. Answer: B) He used a gourd and water

  5. Answer: B) His wife

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