HAPPY HUMPDAY P.O.U.!
We continue our series on Anansi the Spider Tales…
Anansi and the Ear of Corn
Anansi was one of God’s chosen, and he lived in human form before he became a spider. One day he asked God for a simple ear of corn, promising that he would repay God with one hundred servants. God was always amused by the boastful and resourceful Anansi, and gave him the ear of corn.
Anansi set out with the ear and came to a African village to rest. He told the chief of the village that he had a sacred ear of corn from God and needed both a place to sleep for the night and a safe place to keep the treasure. The chief treated Anansi as an honored guest and gave him a thatched-roof house to stay in, showing him a hiding place in the roof. During the night, while the entire village was fast asleep, Anansi took the corn and fed it to the chickens.
The next morning Anansi woke the village with his cries. “What happened to the sacred corn? Who stole it? Certainly God will bring great punishment on this village!” He made such a fuss that the villagers begged him to take a whole bushel of corn as a demonstration of their apologies. He then set down the road with the bushel of corn until it grew too heavy for him to carry. He then met a man on the road who had a chicken, and Anansi exchanged the corn for the chicken.
When Anansi arrived at the next village, he asked for a place to stay and a safe place to keep the “sacred” chicken. In this new village, Anansi was again treated as an honored guest, a great feast was held in his honor, and he was shown a house to stay in and given a safe place for the chicken. During the night Anansi butchered the chicken and smeared its blood and feathers on the door of the chief’s house. In the morning he woke everyone with his cries, “The sacred chicken has been killed! Surely God will destroy this village for allowing this to happen!” The frightened villagers begged Anansi to take ten of their finest sheep as a token of their sincere apology.
Anansi drove the sheep down the road until he came to a group of men carrying a corpse. He asked the men whose body they were carrying. The men answered that a traveller had died in their village and they were bearing the body home for a proper burial. Anansi then exchanged the sheep for the corpse and set out down the road. At the next village, Anansi told the people that the corpse was a son of God who was sleeping. He told them to be very quiet in order not to wake this important guest. The people in this village, too, held a great feast and treated Anansi as royalty.
When morning came, Anansi told the villagers that he was having a hard time waking the “son of God” from sleep, and he asked their help. They started by beating drums, and the visitor remained asleep.” Then they banged pots and pans, but he was still “asleep.” Then the villagers pounded on the visitor’s chest, and he still didn’t stir.
All of a sudden, Anansi cried out, “You have killed him! You have killed a son of God! Oh, no! Certainly God will destroy this whole village, if not the entire world!” The terrified villagers then told Anansi that he could pick one hundred of their finest young men as slaves if only he would appeal to God to save them.
So Anansi returned to God, having turned one ear of corn into one hundred slaves.
(SOURCE: African Fables & Myths)