Folk tales are the traditional beliefs, myths, customs, and stories, relating to a community, or a group of people; it is passed through generations, by word of mouth.
Today on our folk tales, we present to you an Ashanti story; “Ananse and the pot of wisdom”. Ananse is a popular Akan folk tale character. He often takes the shape of a spider and is sometimes considered to be a god of all knowledge of stories. He also takes the role of trickster; he is considered one of the most important characters of West African, African American and Caribbean folk tales.
Sit back and enjoy, ANANSE and The Pot Of Wisdom.
THE SUN GOD
One day, Ananse the greedy one, who regards himself as the wisest of all, collected all the wisdom in the world from the sun God, because he wants to know everything! So he goes to the house of the Sun God and echoed; “Oh, mighty Sun God! You see everything and everyone! Won’t you share your great wisdom with me? I’ll use it wisely to spice up the world with awesome tales of wonders and I’ll make everyone happy.”
The Sun God said, “I will put all the wisdom in the world here in this clay pot. You must share this wisdom with everyone. Keep to your words.” Ananse promised to do so.
THE POT OF WISDOM
Ananse, was mandated to share the wisdom, but being Ananse, he decided to keep it in the large clay pot to himself. He said, ” now I have all the wisdom of the world to myself.” Ananse tied the pot of wisdom firmly around his neck, and let the pot hang in front of him. He was still not satisfied, and was afraid that someone would find the pot of wisdom and steal it.
ANANSE CLIMBS THE TREE
“What shall I do with my pot of wisdom”? He questioned himself. Ananse buried in thoughts and at last he thought up what seemed like a solution; he said, “I shall hide the pot on top of the the tallest tree in the forest.” So he searched the forest until he found the tallest tree which happened to be the thorny silky cotton tree and while Ananse was trying to climb the cotton tree, his son, who was watching, asked; ” father, what are you doing?”
Ananse replied; “Well, I have in this clay pot all the wisdom of the world and I am going to hang it on the top of the tallest tree away from everybody; then I will be the wisest man in the whole wide world.”
Ananse’s son smiled and said, “father, I’ve a special idea. Why not hang the pot behind you, to enable you climb the tree faster”. Ananse hung the pot behind him and to his surprise; he was able to climb to the top of the tree with his pot.
ANANSE BREAKS THE POT
Finally, Ananse sat on a branch of the tree, holding the pot of wisdom. “But I thought I had all the wisdom in the world? I thought I had it all in my pot? but why is my son’s wisdom not in my pot?”
The greedy one thought he had all the wisdom in the world. After building up different thoughts, he made a statement; “Nobody can have all the wisdom in the world”. With that statement, Ananse started climbing down, halfway down, he angrily dropped the pot and it smashed into many pieces and the wisdom scattered all over the world.
It is believed Ananse’s statement, which has become an every day sentence in the African society ,was derived from Ananse.
Truly, “Nobody has the monopoly of wisdom”.