Anansi (also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, Anancy, and Aunt Nancy in the Southern U.S.) is a trickster god originating from the Ashanti tradition. He is most commonly shown as a spider, and is the god of stories.
How Anansi Got His Stories
Once, the sky god Nyame had all the stories, and none were in the world. Anansi asked Nyame to buy the stories. Nyame told Anansi that he had to bring him Onini the Python, Osebo the Leopard, the Mmoboro hornets, and Mmoatia the dwarf.
To get these creatures, Anansi:
- Tricked Onini into being tied to a branch
- Trapped Osebo in a hole and restrained him in webs
- Convinced the hornets to hide in a gourd, which Anansi sealed
- And tricked a dwarf into punching a sticky doll under the Tree of Life
Anansi gave these prisoners to Nyame and was paid with the stories.
Anansi and the Yam Hills
Once the land was ruled by a witch named Five. Five declared that no one was allowed to say the word "five", or else they would be killed. Now it was a time of famine in the land, so Anansi came up with a plan to get food for his family. He planted five yam hills, and waited for someone to come along. Presently, Guinea Fowl passed by Anansi's house, and Anansi said,
"Excuse me, I can't count very well. How many yam hills do I have?"
So Guinea Fowl sat down and said, "One, Two, Three, Four, and the one I'm sitting on."
Anansi became upset and shouted, "You don't know how to count! Try again!"
So Guinea Fowl said, "How should I count, then?"
And Anansi shouted, "I have one, two, three, four, Five!" and dropped down dead. And Guinea Fowl ate him.