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Ananse and the Birds

Ananse and the Birds.

Once upon a time, long ago, there was a long drought and severe famine in the land, rivers dried up, the trees stood dry and denuded of leaves. Food was very scarce. Starvation stared in the faces of all around. Ananse was reduced to a bundle of bones.

Yet in the midst of all these hardships, the birds living in the tall trees around were growing fresh and fat, not at all affected by famine. For each day they flew to the high mountains far away where food was in abundance.

Day in, day out as Ananse watched these birds flying overhead, he lamented the fact that he couldn’t fly and envied them. Ananse’s throat was dry, he became light as a leaf. With a humble look on his face, he approached the birds to ask them for help.

“My dear friends, look at how hungry and thin I am. I have only a drop of water to drink, after which I am sure I am going to die. Please don’t worry about me, but think about my children. Give me some food to give to them” Ananse implored them almost weeping.

“We know you Ananse and your cunning tricks, it is because you are hungry that is why you look very humble. Any way take these soft succulent bones to your children” they said in a sympathetic mood. Ananse immediately hid the bones in his bag.” thanks a lot for your kindness, I feel I must show my gratitude to you by warning you of the evil spirits in the mountains” said Ananse.

“Tell us more Ananse” demanded the birds.

“On condition that each of you give me a feather to fly to the mountain top” demanded Ananse.

“Okay, Ananse, it shall be as you have asked” said the birds.

“The evil spirit is the sasabonsam who kills and eats everyone around. I am the only one with a charm against sasabonsam” said Ananse proudly.

“We shall give you a feather to fly to the mountain with us tomorrow” the birds said.

Ananse quickly went and hid somewhere and ate the soft bones meant for his children. He was a selfish and greedy person. He went with a sad countenance on his face and declined to eat the food reserved for him.

“Give my food to the children, their well being is more important” said Ananse. Early in the morning the following day, Ananse was ready waiting for the birds with very strange colours.

They flew over mountains and valleys, over rivers and streams, over forests and grasslands. It was a long tiresome journey, but Ananse’s first experience of flying was so interesting to him. Pride filled him and he started saying all kinds of big things. He even swore that he was the best among the lot in flying. The birds listened to Ananse without saying a word. Soon they came to the mountains and the sight of the delicious food made Ananse forget all about the “Sasabonsam”.

“How dare you come to feed on my great grandfathers land?” asked Ananse.

“Oh, is this your great grandfather’s land?” asked the birds in surprise.

“Don’t be rude to me. Stop asking questions! “ shouted Ananse.

All kinds of feed were there looking warmly delicious. Fufu, Ampesi, jollof rice, aprapransa, waakye and many more stood ready to be eaten. The aroma was so nice that Ananse was drunk with it. “No one should touch a thing here” commanded Ananse.

“Well, if that will pacify the sasabonsam we will oblige” said the birds. “Move away to the corner” commanded Ananse.

With that, he started eating the food alone using both hands. He ate a little bit of all the food there. Soon Ananse was a round fat ball of feathers.” You can eat now,” he shouted to the birds. The birds ate the bits of food left and licked the bones. They were full of hatred for Ananse, who was lying on the floor snoring after the heavy meal. His sleep was a very short one, for the birds shook him violently and demanded their feathers.

“O, my dear birds, it was all a mistake. Please forgive me, do not take away your feathers now, let me fly back home” implored Ananse in a very sober mood.

“Stay on your grandfather’s land and forget about flying down” said the birds. With that they collected their feathers, and flew away leaving Ananse alone.

In fact Ananse was torn between flying home to his family and staying on the mountain for everlasting feasting. He started feeling dizzy and very soon he slipped and started falling. Ananse fell lower and lower until he burst. That is why we have different kinds of food in the world.   This story teaches us not to be greedy.

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