The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vol. XIV: RussianScandinavianMiscellaneous
Ananzi and the Lion
Ananzi (Spider) Stories
Recorded by Sir George Dasent
ONCE upon a time Ananzi planned a scheme. He went to town and bought ever so many firkins of fat, and ever so many sacks, and ever so many balls of string, and a very big frying-pan; then he went to the bay and blew a shell, and called the Head-fish in the sea, Green Eel, to him. Then he said to the fish, The king sends me to tell you that you must bring all the fish on shore, for he wants to give them new life.
So Green Eel said he would, and went to call them. Meanwhile Ananzi lighted a fire, and took out some of the fat, and got his frying-pan ready, and as fast as the fish came out of the water he caught them and put them into the frying-pan; and so he did with all of them until he got to the Head-fish, who was so slippery that he couldnt hold him, and he got back again into the water.
Oh, I have got my mothers bones. She has been dead these forty-eleven years, and they say I must not keep her here, so I am taking her up into the middle of the mountains, to bury her. Then they parted.
After he had gone a little way, the Lion said: I know that Ananzi is a great rogue. I dare say he has got something there that he doesnt want me to see, and I will just follow him. But he took care not to let Ananzi see him.
Now, when Ananzi got into the wood, he set his sacks down, and took one fish out and began to eat. Then a fly came, and Ananzi said, I cannot eat any more, for there is some one near. So he tied the sack up, and went on farther into the mountains, where he set his sacks down, and took out two fish, which he ate; and no fly came. He said, Theres no one near; so he took out more fish. But when he had eaten about half a dozen, the Lion came up, and said:
Then it was Ananzis turn to tie the Lion, and he took some very strong cord. The Lion said, You must not tie me tight, for I did not tie you tight. And Ananzi said, Oh, no! to be sure, I will not! But he tied him as tight as ever he could, and then told him to try and get loose.
The Lion tried, and tried in vain; he could not get loose. Then Ananzi thought, Now is my chance. So he got a big stick, and beat him, and then went away and left him, for he was afraid to loose him, lest he should kill him.
Now there was a woman called Miss Nancy, who was going out one morning to get some spinach in the wood; and as she was going, she heard some one say, Good morning, Miss Nancy! She could not tell who spoke to her, but she looked where the voice came from, and saw the Lion tied to the tree.
So at last she consented. But she had no sooner loosed him than he came up to her to eat her, for he had been so many days without food that he was quite ravenous; but the trees immediately cried out, Shame! and so he could not eat her. Then she went away as fast as she could, and the Lion found his way home.
When Lion got home he told his wife and children all that had happened to him, and how Miss Nancy had saved his life; so they said they would have a great dinner, and ask Miss Nancy. Now when Ananzi heard of it he wanted to go to the dinner; so he went to Miss Nancy, and said she must take him with her as her child; but she said No. Then he said, I can turn myself into quite a little child, and then you can take me; and at last she said Yes. And he told her, when she was asked what pap her baby ate, she must be sure to tell them it did not eat pap, but the same food as every one else. Accordingly they went, and had a very good dinner, and set off home again. Somehow, though, one of the Lions sons fancied that all was not right, and he told his father he was sure the baby was Ananzi; and the Lion set out after him.
Now, as they were going along, before the Lion got up to them, Ananzi begged Miss Nancy to put him down, that he might run; which he did, and he got away and ran along the wood, and the Lion ran after him. When he found the Lion was overtaking him, he turned himself into an old man with a bundle of wood on his head; and when the Lion got up to him, he said, Good morning, Mr. Lion; and the Lion said, Good morning, old gentleman.
Then the old man said, What are you after now? And the Lion asked if he had seen Ananzi pass that way; but the old man said, No; that fellow Ananzi is always meddling with some one. What mischief has he been up to now?