Ŷ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

bv Williom E. Borker onJ Cecilio Sincloir
I. Anansi, oi Spiuei, Tales ................................................................................................................................................................... ŷ
ow We uot the Name ŐSpiuei TalesŐ .......................................................................................................................................ŷ
ow Wisuom Became the Piopeity of the aman Race .....................................................................................................ŷ
Anansi anu Nothing .........................................................................................................................................................................Ÿ
Thanuei anu Anansi ........................................................................................................................................................................Ź
Why the Lizaiu Noves is eau 0p anu Bown ......................................................................................................................Ż
Tit Foi Tat ...........................................................................................................................................................................................9
Why White Ants Always aim Nanŏs Piopeity .................................................................................................................. ŵŴ
The Sqaiiiel anu the Spiuei ....................................................................................................................................................... ŵŶ
Why We See Ants Caiiying Banules As Big As Themselves ............................................................................................ ŵŷ
Why Spiueis Aie Always Foanu in Coineis of Ceilings .................................................................................................... ŵŸ
Anansi anu the Blinu Fisheiman .............................................................................................................................................. ŵŹ
Auzanamee anu ei Nothei ...................................................................................................................................................... ŵź
The uiinuing-Stone That uioanu Floai By Itself ................................................................................................................ ŵŻ
Noining Saniise............................................................................................................................................................................. ŵ9
Why the Sea-taitle When Caaght Beats Its Bieast With Its Foielegs .......................................................................... ŵ9
ow Beasts anu Seipents Came into the Woilu.................................................................................................................. ŶŴ
onoaiable Nina ........................................................................................................................................................................... ŶŶ
Why the Noon anu the Stais Receive Theii Light Fiom the San ................................................................................... ŶŶ
II. Niscellaneoas Tales ...................................................................................................................................................................... ŶŸ
0hia anu the Thieving Beei........................................................................................................................................................ ŶŸ
ow the Toitoise uot Its Shell .................................................................................................................................................. ŶŻ
The antei anu the Toitoise ..................................................................................................................................................... Ŷ8
Kwofi anu the uous ....................................................................................................................................................................... ŷŴ
The Lion anu the Wolf .................................................................................................................................................................. ŷŴ
Naka Nawa anu Naka Fia: oi ŐI Will Bie uouŏs BeathŐ anu ŐI Will Bie the Kingŏs BeathŐ ................................... ŷŵ
The Robbei anu the 0lu Nan ..................................................................................................................................................... ŷŷ
The Leopaiu anu the Ram .......................................................................................................................................................... ŷŸ
Why the Leopaiu Can 0nly Catch Piey 0n Its Left Siue.................................................................................................... ŷŹ
0aaicoo Bah-Boni |The Bau Boy] ............................................................................................................................................ ŷź
King Chameleon anu the Animals ............................................................................................................................................ ŷ8
To Lose an Elephant Foi the Sake of a Wien Is a veiy Foolish Thing To Bo ............................................................. ŷ9
The 0ngiatefal Nan ...................................................................................................................................................................... ŸŴ
Why Tigeis Nevei Attack Nen 0nless They Aie Piovokeu ............................................................................................. Ÿŵ
The 0manhene Who Likeu Riuules ......................................................................................................................................... ŸŶ
ow Nashiooms Fiist uiew ...................................................................................................................................................... ŸŸ
Faimei Nybiow anu the Faiiies ............................................................................................................................................... Ÿź

ŷ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s



IN the oluen uays all the stoiies which men tolu weie stoiies of Nyankapon, the chief of the gous.
Spiuei, who was veiy conceiteu, wanteu the stoiies to be tolu aboat him.

Accoiuingly, one uay he went to Nyankapon anu askeu that, in fataie, all tales tolu by men might be
Anansi stoiies, insteau of Nyankapon stoiies. Nyankapon agieeu, on one conuition. e tolu Spiuei
(oi Anansi) that he mast biing him thiee things: the fiist was a jai fall of live bees, the seconu was a
boa-constiictoi, anu the thiiu a tigei. Spiuei gave his piomise.

e took an eaithen vessel anu set oat foi a place wheie he knew weie nambeis of bees. When he
came in sight of the bees he began saying to himself, ŐThey will not be able to fill this jaiŐ÷ŐYes,
they will be ableŐ÷ŐNo, they will not be able,Ő antil the bees came ap to him anu saiu, ŐWhat aie
yoa talking aboat, Ni. Anansi.Ő e theieapon explaineu to them that Nyankapon anu he hau hau a
gieat uispate. Nyankapon hau saiu the bees coalu not fly into the jai÷Anansi hau saiu they coalu.
The bees immeuiately ueclaieu that of coaise they coalu fly into the jai÷which they at once uiu. As
soon as they weie safely insiue, Anansi sealeu ap the jai anu sent it off to Nyankapon.

Next uay he took a long stick anu set oat in seaich of a boa-constiictoi. When he aiiiveu at the place
wheie one liveu he began speaking to himself again. Őe will jast be as long as this stickŐ÷ŐNo, he
will not be so long as thisŐ÷ŐYes, he will be as long as this.Ő These woius he iepeateu seveial times,
till the boa came oat anu askeu him what was the mattei. Ő0h, we have been having a uispate in
Nyankaponŏs town aboat yoa. Nyankaponŏs people say yoa aie not as long as this stick. I say yoa
aie. Please let me measaie yoa by it.Ő The boa innocently laiu himself oat stiaight, anu Spiuei lost
no time in tying him on to the stick fiom enu to enu. e then sent him to Nyankapon.

The thiiu uay he took a neeule anu thieau anu seweu ap his eye. e then set oat foi a uen wheie he
knew a tigei liveu. As he appioacheu the place he began to shoat anu sing so loauly that the tigei
came oat to see what was the mattei. ŐCan yoa not see.Ő saiu Spiuei. ŐNy eye is sewn ap anu now I
can see sach wonueifal things that I mast sing aboat them.Ő ŐSew ap my eyes,Ő saiu the tigei, Őthen I
too can see these saipiising sights.Ő Spiuei immeuiately uiu so. aving thas maue the tigei helpless,
he leu him stiaight to Nyankaponŏs hoase. Nyankapon was amazeu at Spiueiŏs cleveiness in
falfilling the thiee conuitions. e immeuiately gave him peimission foi the fataie to call all the olu
tales Anansi tales.


Anansi is one of the most impoitant chaiacteis of West Afiican anu Caiibbean folkloie. e is a spiuei, bat
often acts anu appeais as a man. e is akin to the tiicksteis Coyote, Raven oi Iktomi foanu in many Native
Ameiican caltaies. The Anansi tales aie believeu to have oiiginateu in the Ashanti people in uhana.
Ÿ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

TERE once liveu, in Fanti-lanu, a man nameu Fathei Anansi. e possesseu all the wisuom in the
woilu. People came to him uaily foi auvice anu help.

0ne uay the men of the coantiy weie anfoitanate enoagh to offenu Fathei Anansi, who
immeuiately iesolveu to panish them. Aftei mach thoaght he ueciueu that the seveiest penalty he
coalu inflict woalu be to hiue all his wisuom fiom them. e set to woik at once to gathei again all
that he hau alieauy given. When he hau sacceeueu, as he thoaght, in collecting it, he placeu all in
one gieat pot. This he caiefally sealeu, anu ueteimineu to pat it in a spot wheie no haman being
coalu ieach it.

Now, Fathei Anansi hau a son, whose name was Kweka Tsin. This boy began to saspect his fathei of
some seciet uesign, so he maue ap his minu to watch caiefally. Next uay he saw his fathei qaietly
slip oat of the hoase, with his piecioas pot hang ioanu his neck. Kweka Tsin followeu. Fathei
Anansi went thioagh the foiest till he hau left the village fai behinu. Then, selecting the highest anu
most inaccessible-looking tiee, he began to climb. The heavy pot, hanging in fiont of him, maue his
ascent almost impossible. Again anu again he tiieu to ieach the top of the tiee, wheie he intenueu to
hang the pot. Theie, he thoaght, Wisuom woalu inueeu be beyonu the ieach of eveiy one bat
himself. e was anable, howevei, to caiiy oat his uesiie. At each tiial the pot swang in his way.

Foi some time Kweka Tsin watcheu his fatheiŏs vain attempts. At last, anable to contain himself any
longei, he ciieu oat: ŐFathei, why uo yoa not hang the pot on yoai back. Then yoa coalu easily
climb the tiee.Ő

Fathei Anansi taineu anu saiu: ŐI thoaght I hau all the woiluŏs wisuom in this pot. Bat I finu yoa
possess moie than I uo. All my wisuom was insafficient to show me what to uo, yet yoa have been
able to tell me.Ő In his angei he thiew the pot uown. It stiack on a gieat iock anu bioke. The
wisuom containeu in it escapeu anu spieau thioaghoat the woilu.


NEAR Anansiŏs miseiable little hat theie was a fine palace wheie liveu a veiy iich man calleu
Nothing. Nothing anu Anansi pioposeu, one uay, to go to the neighboaiing town to get some wives.
Accoiuingly, they set off togethei.

Nothing, being a iich man, woie a veiy fine velvet cloth, while Anansi hau a iaggeu cotton one.
While they weie on theii way Anansi peisaaueu Nothing to change clothes foi a little while,
piomising to give back the fine velvet befoie they ieacheu the town. e uelayeu uoing this,
howevei, fiist on one pietext, then on anothei÷till they aiiiveu at theii uestination.

Anansi, being uiesseu in sach a fine gaiment, foanu no uifficalty in getting as many wives as he
wisheu. Pooi Nothing, with his iaggeu anu miseiable cloth, was tieateu with gieat contempt. At
Ź | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

fiist he coalu not get even one wife. At last, howevei, a woman took pity on him anu gave him hei
uaaghtei. The pooi giil was laagheu at veiy heaitily by Anansiŏs wives foi choosing sach a beggai
as Nothing appeaieu to be. She wisely took no notice of theii scoin.

The paity set off foi home. When they ieacheu the cioss-ioaus leauing to theii iespective hoases
the women weie astonisheu. The ioau leauing to Anansiŏs hoase was only half cleaieu. The one
which leu to Nothingŏs palace was, of coaise, wiue anu well maue. Not only so, bat his seivants hau
stiewn it with beaatifal skins anu caipets, in piepaiation foi his ietain. Seivants weie theie,
awaiting him, with fine clothes foi himself anu his wife. No one was waiting foi Anansi.

Nothingŏs wife was qaeen ovei the whole uistiict anu hau eveiything hei heait coalu uesiie,
Anansiŏs wives coalu not even get piopei foou: they hau to live on aniipe bananas with peppeis.
The wife of Nothing heaiu of hei fiienusŏ miseiable state anu inviteu them to a gieat feast in hei
palace. They came, anu weie so pleaseu with all they saw that they agieeu to stay theie.
Accoiuingly, they iefaseu to come back to Anansiŏs hat.

e was veiy angiy, anu tiieu in many ways to kill Nothing, bat withoat saccess. Finally, howevei, he
peisaaueu some iat fiienus to uig a ueep tannel in fiont of Nothingŏs uooi. When the hole was
finisheu Anansi lineu it with knives anu bioken bottles. e then smeaieu the steps of the palace
with okio to make them veiy slippeiy, anu withuiew to a little uistance.

When he thoaght Nothingŏs hoaseholu was safely in beu anu asleep, he calleu to Nothing to come
oat to the coaityaiu anu see something. Nothingŏs wife, howevei, uissaaueu him fiom going. Anansi
tiieu again anu again, anu each time she baue hei hasbanu not to listen. At last Nothing ueteimineu
to go anu see this thing. As he placeu his foot on the fiist step, of coaise he slippeu, anu uown he fell
into the hole. The noise alaimeu the hoaseholu. Lights weie fetcheu anu Nothing was foanu in the
uitch, so mach woanueu by the knives that he soon uieu. is wife was teiiibly giieveu at his
antimely ueath. She boileu many yams, masheu them, anu took a gieat uishfal of them ioanu the
uistiict. To eveiy chilu she met she gave some, so that the chilu might help hei to ciy foi hei
hasbanu. This is why, if yoa finu a chilu ciying anu ask the caase, yoa will often be tolu he is Őciying
foi nothing.Ő


TERE hau been a long anu seveie famine in the lanu wheie Anansi liveu. e hau been qaite anable
to obtain foou foi his pooi wife anu family. 0ne uay, gazing uespeiately oat to sea, he saw iising
fiom the miust of the watei, a tiny islanu with a tall palm-tiee apon it. e ueteimineu to ieach this
tiee÷if any means pioveu possible÷anu climb it, in the hope of finuing a few nats to iewaiu him.
ow to get theie was the uifficalty.

This, howevei, solveu itself when he ieacheu the beach, foi theie lay the means to his hanu, in the
shape of an olu bioken boat. It ceitainly uiu not look veiy stiong, bat Anansi ueciueu to tiy it.
ź | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

is fiist six attempts weie ansaccessfal÷a gieat wave uasheu him back on the beach each time he
tiieu to pat off. e was peiseveiing, howevei, anu at the seventh tiial was saccessfal in getting
away. e steeieu the batteieu olu boat as best he coalu, anu at length ieacheu the palm-tiee of his
uesiie. aving tieu the boat to the tiank of the tiee÷which giew almost stiaight oat of the watei÷
he climbeu towaiu the nats. Placking all he coalu ieach, he uioppeu them, one by one, uown to the
boat. To his uismay, eveiy one misseu the boat anu fell, insteau, into the watei antil only the last
one iemaineu. This he aimeu even moie caiefally than the otheis, bat it also fell into the watei anu
uisappeaieu fiom his hangiy eyes. e hau not tasteu even one anu now all weie gone.

e coalu not beai the thoaght of going home empty-hanueu, so, in his uespaii, he thiew himself
into the watei, too. To his complete astonishment, insteau of being uiowneu, he foanu himself
stanuing on the sea-bottom in fiont of a pietty little cottage. Fiom the lattei came an olu man, who
askeu Anansi what he wanteu so bauly that he hau come to Thanueiŏs cottage to seek it. Anansi tolu
his tale of woe, anu Thanuei showeu himself most sympathetic.

e went into the cottage anu fetcheu a fine cooking-pot, which he piesenteu to Anansi÷telling him
that he neeu nevei be hangiy again. The pot woalu always sapply enoagh foou foi himself anu his
family. Anansi was most giatefal, anu left Thanuei with many thanks.

Being anxioas to test the pot at once, Anansi only waiteu till he was again seateu in the olu boat to
say, ŐPot, pot, what yoa aseu to uo foi yoai mastei uo now foi me.Ő Immeuiately goou foou of all
soits appeaieu. Anansi ate a heaity meal, which he veiy mach enjoyeu.

0n ieaching lanu again, his fiist thoaght was to ian home anu give all his family a goou meal fiom
his wonueifal pot. A selfish, gieeuy feai pieventeu him. ŐWhat if I shoalu ase ap all the magic of the
pot on them, anu have nothing moie left foi myself! Bettei keep the pot a seciet÷then I can enjoy a
meal when I want one.Ő So, his minu fall of this thoaght, he hiu the pot.

e ieacheu home, pietenuing to be atteily woin oat with fatigae anu hangei. Theie was not a giain
of foou to be hau anywheie. is wife anu pooi chiluien weie weak with want of it, bat selfish
Anansi took no notice of that. e congiatalateu himself at the thoaght of his magic pot, now safely
hiuuen in his ioom. Theie he ietiieu fiom time to time when he felt hangiy, anu enjoyeu a goou
meal. is family got thinnei anu thinnei, bat he giew plampei anu plampei. They began to saspect
some seciet, anu ueteimineu to finu it oat. is eluest son, Kweka Tsin, hau the powei of changing
himself into any shape he chose: so he took the foim of a tiny fly, anu accompanieu his fathei
eveiywheie. At last, Anansi, feeling hangiy, enteieu his ioom anu closeu the uooi. Next he took the
pot, anu hau a fine meal. aving ieplaceu the pot in its hiuing-place, he went oat, on the pietence of
looking foi foou.

As soon as he was safely oat of sight, Kweka Tsin fetcheu oat the pot anu calleu all his hangiy
family to come at once. They hau as goou a meal as theii fathei hau hau. When they hau finisheu,
Nis. Anansi÷to panish hei hasbanu÷saiu she woalu take the pot uown to the village anu give
Ż | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

eveiybouy a meal. This she uiu÷bat alas! in woiking to piepaie so mach foou at one time, the pot
giew too hot anu melteu away. What was to be uone now. Anansi woalu be so angiy! is wife
foibaue eveiy one to mention the pot.

Anansi ietaineu, ieauy foi his sappei, anu, as asaal, went into his ioom, caiefally shatting the uooi.
e went to the hiuing-place÷it was empty. e lookeu aioanu in consteination. No pot was to be
seen anywheie. Some one mast have uiscoveieu it. is family mast be the calpiits: he woalu finu a
means to panish them.

Saying nothing to any one aboat the mattei, he waiteu till moining. As soon as it was light he
staiteu off towaius the shoie, wheie the olu boat lay. uetting into the boat, it staiteu of its own
accoiu anu gliueu swiftly ovei the watei÷stiaight foi the palm-tiee. Aiiiveu theie, Anansi attacheu
the boat as befoie anu climbeu the tiee. This time, anlike the last, the nats almost fell into his hanus.
When he aimeu them at the boat they fell easily into it÷not one, as befoie, uiopping into the watei.
e uelibeiately took them anu thiew them ovei-boaiu, immeuiately jamping aftei them. As befoie,
he foanu himself in fiont of Thanueiŏs cottage, with Thanuei waiting to heai his tale. This he tolu,
the olu man showing the same sympathy as he hau pievioasly uone.

This time, howevei, he piesenteu Anansi with a fine stick anu baue him goou-bye. Anansi coalu
scaicely wait till he got into the boat so anxioas was he to tiy the magic piopeities of his new gift.
ŐStick, stick,Ő he saiu, Őwhat yoa aseu to uo foi yoai mastei uo foi me also.Ő The stick began to beat
him so seveiely that, in a few minates, he was obligeu to jamp into the watei anu swim ashoie,
leaving boat anu stick to uiift away wheie they pleaseu. Then he ietaineu soiiowfally homewaiu,
bemoaning his many biaises anu wishing he hau acteu moie wisely fiom the beginning.


IN a town not veiy fai fiom Anansiŏs home liveu a gieat king. This king hau thiee beaatifal
uaaghteis, whose names weie kept a seciet fiom eveiybouy except theii own family. 0ne uay theii
fathei maue a pioclamation that his thiee uaaghteis woalu be given as wives to any man who coalu
finu oat theii names. Anansi maue ap his minu to uo so.

e fiist boaght a laige jai of honey, anu set off foi the bathing-place of the kingŏs uaaghteis. Aiiiveu
theie, he climbeu to the top of a tiee on which giew some veiy fine fiait. e pickeu some of this
fiait anu poaieu honey ovei it. When he saw the piincesses appioaching he uioppeu the fiait on
the gioanu anu waiteu. The giils thoaght the fiait uioppeu of its own accoiu, anu one of them ian
foiwaiu to pick it ap. When she tasteu it, she calleu oat to hei sisteis by name to exclaim on its
sweetness. Anansi uioppeu anothei, which the seconu piincess pickeu ap÷she, in hei tain, calling
oat the names of the othei two. In this fashion Anansi foanu oat all the names.

As soon as the piincesses hau gone Anansi came uown fiom the tiee anu haiiieu into the town. e
went to all the gieat men anu sammoneu them to a meeting at the Kingŏs palace on the moiiow.
8 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

e then visiteu his fiienu the Lizaiu, to get him to act as heialu at the Coait next uay. e tolu Lizaiu
the thiee names, anu the lattei was to soanu them thioagh his tiampet when the time came.

Eaily next moining the King anu his Coait weie assembleu as asaal. All the gieat men of the town
appeaieu, as Anansi hau ieqaesteu. Anansi stateu his basiness, ieminuing the King of his piomise to
give his thiee uaaghteis to the man who hau foanu oat theii names. The King uemanueu to heai the
lattei, wheieapon Lizaiu soanueu them on his tiampet.

The King anu coaitieis weie mach saipiiseu. is Najesty, howevei, coalu not bieak the piomise he
hau maue of giving his uaaghteis to the man who nameu them. e accoiuingly gave them to Ni.
Lizaiu. Anansi was veiy angiy, anu explaineu that he hau tolu the names to Lizaiu, so that he oaght
to get at least two of the giils, while Lizaiu coalu have the thiiu. The King iefaseu. Anansi then
beggeu haiu foi even one, bat that was also iefaseu. e went home in a veiy bau tempei, ueclaiing
that he woalu be ievengeu on Lizaiu foi stealing his wives away.

e thoaght ovei the mattei veiy caiefally, bat coalu not finu a way of panishing Lizaiu. At last,
howevei, he hau an iuea.

e went to the King anu explaineu that he was setting off next moining on a long joainey. e
wisheu to stait veiy eaily, anu so beggeu the Kingŏs help. The King hau a fine cock, which always
cioweu at uaybieak to waken the King if he wisheu to get ap eaily. Anansi beggeu that the King
woalu commanu the cock to ciow next moining, that Anansi might be saie of getting off in time.
This the King ieauily piomiseu.

As soon as night fell Anansi went by a back way to the cockŏs sleeping-place, seizeu the biiu qaickly,
anu killeu it. e then caiiieu it to Lizaiuŏs hoase, wheie all weie in beu. Theie he qaietly cookeu the
cock, placeu the featheis anuei Lizaiuŏs beu, anu pat some of the flesh on a uish close to Lizaiuŏs
hanu. The wickeu Anansi then took some boiling watei anu poaieu it into pooi Lizaiuŏs moath, thas
making him uamb.

When moining came, Anansi went to the King anu iepioacheu him foi not letting the cock ciow.
The King was mach saipiiseu to heai that it hau not obeyeu his commanus.

e sent one of his seivants to finu anu biing the cock to him, bat, of coaise, the seivant ietaineu
empty-hanueu. The King then oiueieu them to finu the thief. No tiace of him coalu be foanu
anywheie. Anansi then canningly saiu to the King: ŐI know Lizaiu is a iogae, becaase he stole my
thiee wives fiom me. Peihaps he is the thief.Ő Accoiuingly, the men went to seaich Lizaiuŏs hoase.

Theie, of coaise, they foanu the iemnants of the cock, cookeu ieauy to eat, anu his featheis anuei
the beu. They qaestioneu Lizaiu, bat the pooi animal was anable to ieply. e coalu only move his
heau ap anu uown helplessly. They thoaght he was iefasing to speak, so uiaggeu him befoie the
King. To the Kingŏs qaestions he coalu only ietain the same answei, anu his Najesty got veiy angiy.
9 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

e uiu not know that Anansi hau maue the pooi animal uamb. Lizaiu tiieu veiy haiu to speak, bat
in vain.

e was accoiuingly jaugeu gailty of theft, anu as a panishment his wives weie taken away fiom him
anu given to Anansi.

Since then lizaius have always hau a way of moving theii heaus helplessly backwaiu anu foiwaiu,
as if saying, Őow can any one be so foolish as to tiast Anansi.Ő


TERE hau been a gieat famine in the lanu foi many months. Neat hau become so scaice that only
the iich chiefs hau money enoagh to bay it. The pooi people weie staiving. Anansi anu his family
weie in a miseiable state.

0ne uay, Anansiŏs eluest son÷Kweka Tsin÷to his gieat joy, uiscoveieu a place in the foiest wheie
theie weie still many animals. Knowing his fatheiŏs wickeu ways, Kweka tolu him nothing of the
mattei. Anansi, howevei, speeuily uiscoveieu that Kweka was ietaining loaueu, uay aftei uay, to
the village. Theie he was able to sell the meat at a goou piice to the hangiy villageis. Anansi
immeuiately wanteu to know the seciet÷bat his son wisely iefaseu to tell him. The olu man
ueteimineu to finu oat by a tiick.

Slipping into his sonŏs ioom one night, when he was fast asleep, he cat a tiny hole in the coinei of
the bag which Kweka always caiiieu into the foiest. Anansi then pat a qaantity of ashes into the bag
anu ieplaceu it wheie he hau foanu it.

Next moining, as Kweka set oat foi the foiest, he thiew the bag, as asaal, ovei his shoaluei.
0nknown to him, at each step, the ashes weie spiinkleu on the gioanu. Conseqaently, when Anansi
set oat an hoai latei he was easily able to follow his son by means of the tiail of ashes. e, too,
aiiiveu at the animalsŏ home in the foiest, anu foanu Kweka theie befoie him. e immeuiately
uiove his son away, saying that, by the law of the lanu., the place belongeu to him. Kweka saw how
he hau been tiickeu, anu ueteimineu to have the meat back.

e accoiuingly went home÷maue a tiny image anu hang little bells ioanu its neck. e then tieu a
long thieau to its heau anu ietaineu towaiu the hanting-place.

When aboat half-way theie, he hang the image to a bianch of a tiee in the path, anu hiu himself in
the bashes neai by÷holuing the othei enu of the thieau in his hanu.

The gieeuy fathei, in the meantime, hau killeu as many animals as he coalu finu, being ueteimineu
to become iich as speeuily as possible. e then skinneu them anu piepaieu the flesh÷to caiiy it to
the neighboaiing villages to sell. Taking the fiist loau, he set off foi his own village. alf-way theie,
ŵŴ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

he came to the place wheie the image hang in the way. Thinking this was one of the gous, he
stoppeu. As he appioacheu, the image began to shake its heau vigoioasly at him. e felt that this
meant that the gous weie angiy. To please them, he saiu to the image, ŐNay I give yoa a little of this
meat.Ő Again the image shook its heau. ŐNay I give yoa half of this meat.Ő he then inqaiieu. The
heau shook once moie. ŐBo yoa want the whole of this meat.Ő he shoateu fieicely. This time the
heau nouueu, as if the image weie well pleaseu. ŐI will not give yoa all my meat,Ő Anansi ciieu. At
this the image shook in eveiy limb as if in a teiiible tempei. Anansi was so fiighteneu that he thiew
the whole loau on the gioanu anu ian away. As he ian, he calleu back, ŐTo-moiiow I shall go to
Ekabon÷yoa will not be able to take my meat fiom me theie, yoa thief.Ő

Bat Kweka hau heaiu wheie his fathei intenueu to go next uay÷anu set the image in his path as
befoie. Again Anansi was obligeu to leave his whole loau÷anu again he calleu oat the name of the
place wheie he woalu go the following uay.

The same thing occaiieu, uay aftei uay, till all the animals in the woou weie killeu. By this time,
Kweka Tsin hau become veiy iich÷bat his fathei Anansi was still veiy pooi. e was obligeu to go
to Kwekaŏs hoase eveiy uay foi foou.

When the famine was ovei, Kweka gave a gieat feast anu inviteu the entiie village. While all weie
gatheieu togethei, Kweka tolu the stoiy of his fatheiŏs canning anu how it hau been oveicome. This
caaseu gieat meiiiment among the villageis. Anansi was so ashameu that he ieauily piomiseu
Kweka to iefiain fiom his evil tiicks foi the fataie. This piomise, howevei, he uiu not keep long.


TERE came once sach a teiiible famine in the lanu that a giain of coin was woith fai moie than its
weight in golu. A hangiy spiuei was wanueiing thioagh the foiest looking foi foou. To his gieat joy
he foanu a ueau antelope.

Knowing that he woalu not be alloweu to ieach home in safety with it, he wiappeu it ap veiy
caiefally in a long mat anu boanu it secaiely.

Placing it on his heau, he staiteu foi home. As he went, he wept bitteily, telling eveiy one that this
was his ueau gianufatheiŏs bouy. Eveiy one he met sympathizeu heaitily with him.

0n his way he met the wolf anu the leopaiu. These two wise animals saspecteu that this was one of
Spiueiŏs tiicks. They knew that he was not to be tiasteu. Walking on a little way, they uiscasseu
what they coalu uo to finu oat what was in the banule.

They agieeu to take a shoit cat acioss the coantiy to a tiee which they knew Coasin Spiuei mast
pass. When they ieacheu this tiee they hiu themselves veiy caiefally behinu it anu waiteu foi him.

ŵŵ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

As he passeu the place they shook the tiee anu atteieu fiightfal noises. This so fiighteneu Ni.
Spiuei that he uioppeu his loau anu ian away.

The two gentlemen openeu the banule anu, to theii gieat joy, uiscoveieu the flesh of the antelope in
it. They caiiieu it off to theii own home anu began to piepaie sappei.

When Ni. Spiuei iecoveieu fiom his feai he began to wonuei who coalu have been at the tiee to
make the noises. e ueciueu that his enemies mast be Wolf anu Leopaiu. e maue ap his minu he
woalu get his meat back fiom them.

e took a small lizaiu anu fileu his teeth to fine, shaip points. e then sent him to spy apon the wolf
anu leopaiu÷by begging fiie fiom them. e was to get the fiie anu qaench it as soon as he left theii
cottage. e coalu then ietain anu ask a seconu time. If they askeu him qaestions, he mast smile anu
show his teeth.

The lizaiu uiu as he was tolu, anu eveiything taineu oat jast as Spiuei hau expecteu. Wolf anu
Leopaiu eageily askeu the lizaiu wheie he hau hau his teeth fileu so beaati- fally. e ieplieu that
ŐFiling SpiueiŐ hau uone it foi him.

Wolf anu Leopaiu uiscasseu the mattei anu ueciueu to have theii teeth fileu in the same way. They
coalu then easily bieak the bones of theii foou.

Accoiuingly, they went to the hoase of the uisgaiseu spiuei anu askeu him to make theii teeth like
Lizaiuŏs. Spiuei agieeu, bat saiu that, to uo it piopeily, he woalu fiist have to hang them on a tiee.
They maue no objection to this.

When he hau them safely hang, Spiuei anu his family came anu mockeu them. Spiuei then went to
theii cottage anu bioaght away the bouy of the antelope. The whole village was inviteu to the feast,
which was helu in fiont of the two pooi animals on the tiee. Baiing this festival eveiy one maue fan
of the wolf anu leopaiu.

Next moining White Ant anu his chiluien passeu the place on theii way to some fiienus. Ni.
Leopaiu beggeu them to set him anu his fiienu fiee. White Ant anu his family set to woik, uestioyeu
the tiee anu set them at libeity. Leopaiu anu Wolf piomiseu the ants that on theii ietain they
woalu spieau a feast foi them.

0nfoitanately, Spiuei heaiu the invitation anu maue ap his minu to benefit by it. 0n the thiiu uay
(which was the veiy time set by the wolf anu leopaiu) Spiuei uiesseu ap his chiluien like the ants.
They set oat, singing the antsŏ choias, in oiuei to ueceive Leopaiu.

Wolf anu Leopaiu welcomeu them heaitily anu spieau a splenuiu feast foi them, which the spiueis
thoioaghly enjoyeu.

ŵŶ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Soon aftei theii uepaitaie the ieal ants aiiiveu. The two hosts, thinking these mast be Spiuei anu
his family, poaieu boiling watei ovei them anu killeu them all except the fathei.

White Ant, on ieaching home again, in gieat angei, voweu that he woalu nevei again help any one.
e woalu take eveiy oppoitanity to haim piopeity. Fiom that uay to this white ants have been a
peifect pest to man.


A ARB-W0RKINu sqaiiiel hau, aftei mach laboai, sacceeueu in caltivating a veiy fine faim. Being
a skilfal climbei of tiees, he hau not tioableu to make a ioauway into his faim. e aseu to ieach it
by the tiees.

0ne uay, when his haivests weie veiy neaily iipe, it happeneu that Spiuei went oat hanting in that
neighboaihoou. Baiing his tiavels, he aiiiveu at Sqaiiielŏs faim. uieatly pleaseu at the appeaiance
of the fielus, he soaght foi the ioauway to it. Finuing none, he ietaineu home anu tolu his family all
aboat the mattei. The veiy next uay they all set oat foi this fine place, anu set to woik immeuiately
to make a ioau. When this was completeu Spiuei÷who was veiy canning÷thiew pieces of
eaithenwaie pot along the pathway. This he uiu to make believe that his chiluien hau uioppeu
them while woiking to piepaie the faim.

Then he anu his family began to cat uown anu caiiy away sach of the coin as was iipe. Sqaiiiel
noticeu that his fielus weie being iobbeu, bat coalu not at fiist finu the thief. e ueteimineu to
watch. Saie enoagh Spiuei soon ieappeaieu to steal moie of the haivest. Sqaiiiel uemanueu to
know what iight he hau on these fielus. Spiuei immeuiately askeu him the same qaestion. ŐThey aie
my fielus,Ő saiu Sqaiiiel. Ő0h, no! They aie mine,Ő ietoiteu Spiuei. ŐI uag them anu soweu them anu
planteu them,Ő saiu pooi Sqaiiiel. ŐThen wheie is yoai ioauway to them.Ő saiu ciafty Spiuei. ŐI
neeu no ioauway. I come by the tiees,Ő was Sqaiiielŏs ieply. Neeuless to say, Spiuei laagheu sach an
answei to scoin, anu continaeu to ase the faim as his own.

Sqaiiiel appealeu to the law, bat the coait ueciueu that no one hau evei hau a faim withoat a ioau
leauing to it, theiefoie the fielus mast be Spiueiŏs.

In gieat glee Spiuei anu his family piepaieu to cat uown all the haivest that iemaineu. When it was
cat they tieu it in gieat banules anu set off to the neaiest maiket-place to sell it. When they weie
aboat half-way theie, a teiiible stoim came on. They weie obligeu to pat uown theii baiuens by the
ioausiue anu ian foi sheltei. When the stoim hau passeu they ietaineu to pick ap theii loaus.

As they appioacheu the spot they foanu a gieat, black ciow theie, with his bioau wings oatspieau
to keep the banules uiy. Spiuei went to him anu veiy politely thankeu him foi so kinuly taking caie
of theii piopeity. ŐYoai piopeity!Ő ieplieu Fathei Ciow. ŐWho evei heaiu of any one leaving
banules of coin by the ioausiue. Nonsense! These loaus aie mine.Ő So saying, he pickeu them ap
ŵŷ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

anu, went off with them, leaving Spiuei anu his chiluien to ietain home soiiowfal anu empty-
hanueu. Theii thieving ways hau bioaght them little piofit.


KWEK0 ANANSI anu Kweka Tsin÷his son÷weie both veiy clevei faimeis. ueneially they
sacceeueu in getting fine haivests fiom each of theii faims. 0ne yeai, howevei, they weie veiy
anfoitanate. They hau sown theii seeus as asaal, bat no iain hau fallen foi moie than a month aftei
anu it lookeu as if the seeus woalu be anable to spioat.

Kweka Tsin was walking sauly thioagh his fielus one uay looking at the baie, uiy gioanu, anu
wonueiing what he anu his family woalu uo foi foou, if they weie anable to get any haivest. To his
saipiise he saw a tiny uwaif seateu by the ioausiue. The little hanchback askeu the ieason foi his
sauness, anu Kweka Tsin tolu him. The uwaif piomiseu to help him by biinging iain on the faim. e
baue Kweka fetch two small sticks anu tap him lightly on the hamp, while he sang:

Ő0 watei, go ap! 0 watei, go ap, Anu let iain fall, anu let iain fall!Ő

To Kwekaŏs gieat joy iain immeuiately began to fall, anu continaeu till the gioanu was thoioaghly
well soakeu. In the uays following the seeus geiminateu, anu the ciops began to piomise well.

Anansi soon heaiu how well Kwekaŏs ciops weie giowing÷whilst his own weie still baie anu haiu.
e went stiaightway to his son anu uemanueu to know the ieason. Kweka Tsin, being an honest
fellow, at once tolu him what hau happeneu.

Anansi qaickly maue ap his minu to get his faim wateieu in the same way, anu accoiuingly set oat
towaiu it. As he went, he cat two big, stiong sticks, thinking, ŐNy son maue the uwaif woik with
little sticks. I will make him uo twice as mach with my big ones.Ő e caiefally hiu, the big sticks,
howevei, when he saw the uwaif coming towaiu him. As befoie, the hanchback askeu what the
tioable was, anu Anansi.tolu him. ŐTake two small sticks, anu beat me lightly on the hamp,Ő saiu the
uwaif. ŐI will get iain foi yoa.Ő

Bat Anansi took his big sticks anu beat so haiu that the uwaif fell uown ueau. The gieeuy fellow
was now thoioaghly fiighteneu, foi he knew that the uwaif was jestei to the King of the coantiy,
anu a veiy gieat favoaiite of his. e wonueieu how he coalu fix the blame on some one else. e
pickeu ap the uwaifŏs ueau bouy anu caiiieu it to a kola-tiee. Theie he laiu it on one of the top
bianches anu sat uown anuei the tiee to watch.

By anu by Kweka Tsin came along to see if his fathei hau sacceeueu in getting iain foi his ciops.
ŐBiu yoa not see the uwaif, fathei.Ő he askeu, as he saw the olu man sitting alone. Ő0h, yes!Ő ieplieu
Anansi: Őbat he has climbeu this tiee to pick kola. I am now waiting foi him.Ő ŐI will go ap anu fetch
him,Ő saiu the yoang man÷anu immeuiately began to climb. As soon as his heau toacheu the bouy
ŵŸ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

the lattei, of coaise, fell to the gioanu. Ő0h! what have yoa uone, yoa wickeu fellow.Ő ciieu his
fathei. ŐYoa have killeu the Kingŏs jestei!Ő ŐThat is all iight,Ő qaietly ieplieu the son (who saw that
this was one of Anansiŏs tiicks). ŐThe King is veiy angiy with him, anu has piomiseu a bag of money
to any one who woalu kill him. I will now go anu get the iewaiu.Ő ŐNo! No! No!Ő shoateu Anansi.
ŐThe iewaiu is mine. I killeu him with two big sticks. I will take him to the King.Ő Őveiy well,Ő was
the sonŏs ieply. ŐAs yoa killeu him, yoa may take him.Ő

0ff set Anansi, qaite pleaseu with the piospect of getting a iewaiu. e ieacheu the Kingŏs coait,
only to finu the King veiy angiy at the ueath of his favoaiite. The bouy of the jestei was shat ap in a
gieat box anu Anansi was conuemneu÷as a panishment÷to caiiy it on his heau foi evei. The King
enchanteu the box so that it coalu nevei be set uown on the gioanu. The only way in which Anansi
coalu evei get iiu of it was by getting some othei man to pat it on his heau. This, of coaise, no one
was willing to uo.

At last, one uay, when Anansi was almost woin oat with his heavy baiuen, he met the Ant. ŐWill yoa
holu this box foi me while I go to maiket anu bay some things I neeu bauly.Ő saiu Anansi to Ni. Ant.
ŐI know yoai tiicks, Anansi,Ő ieplieu Ant. ŐYoa want to be iiu of it.Ő Ő0h, no, inueeu, Ni. Ant,Ő
piotesteu Anansi. ŐInueeu I will come back foi it, I piomise.Ő

Ni. Ant, who was an honest fellow, anu always kept his own piomises, believeu him. e took the
box on his heau, anu Anansi haiiieu off. Neeuless to say, the sly fellow hau not the least intention of
keeping his woiu. Ni. Ant waiteu in vain foi his ietain÷anu was obligeu to wanuei all the iest of
his life with the box in his heau. That is the ieason we so often see ants caiiying gieat banules as
they haiiy along.


EuYA ANANSI was a veiy skilfal faimei. e, with his wife anu son, set to woik one yeai to piepaie a
faim, mach laigei than any they hau pievioasly woikeu. They planteu in it yams, maize, anu
beans÷anu weie iewaiueu by a veiy iich ciop. Theii haivest was qaite ten times gieatei than any
they hau evei hau befoie. Egya Anansi was veiy well pleaseu when he saw his wealth of coin anu

e was, howevei, an exceeuingly selfish anu gieeuy man, who nevei likeu to shaie anything÷even
with his own wife anu son. When he saw that the ciops weie qaite iipe, he thoaght of a plan
wheieby he alone woalu piofit by them. e calleu his wife anu son to him anu spoke thas: ŐWe have
all thiee woikeu exceeuingly haiu to piepaie these fielus. They have well iepaiu as. We will now
gathei in the haivest anu pack it away in oai bains. When that is uone, we shall be in neeu of a iest.
I piopose that yoa anu oai son shoalu go back to oai home in the village anu iemain theie at yoai
ease foi two oi thiee weeks. I have to go to the coast on veiy aigent basiness. When I ietain we will
all come to the faim anu enjoy oai well-eaineu feast.Ő

ŵŹ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Anansiŏs wife anu son thoaght this a veiy goou, sensible plan, anu at once agieeu to it. They went
stiaight back to theii village, leaving the canning hasbanu to stait on his joainey. Neeuless to say he
hau not the slightest intention of so uoing.

Insteau, he bailt himself a veiy comfoitable hat neai the faim÷sapplieu it with all mannei of
cooking atensils, gatheieu in a laige stoie of the coin anu vegetables fiom the bain, anu piepaieu
foi a solitaiy feast. This went on foi a foitnight. By that time Anansiŏs son began to think it was time
foi him to go anu weeu the faim, lest the weeus shoalu giow too high. e accoiuingly went theie
anu woikeu seveial hoais on it. While passing the bain, he happeneu to look in. uieat was his
saipiise to see that moie than half of theii magnificent haivest hau gone. e was gieatly uistaibeu,
thinking iobbeis hau been at woik, anu wonueieu how he coalu pievent faithei mischief.

Retaining to the village, he tolu the people theie what hau happeneu, anu they helpeu to make a
iabbei-man. When evening came they caiiieu the sticky figaie to the faim, anu placeu it in the
miust of the fielus, to fiighten away the thieves. Some of the yoang men iemaineu with Anansiŏs son
to watch in one of the bains.

When all was uaik, Egya Anansi (qaite anawaie of what hau happeneu) came, as asaal, oat of his
hiuing-place to fetch moie foou. 0n his way to the bain. he saw in fiont of him the figaie of a man,
anu at fiist felt veiy fiighteneu. Finuing that the man uiu not move, howevei, he gaineu confiuence
anu went ap to him. ŐWhat uo yoa want heie.Ő saiu he. Theie was no answei. e iepeateu his
qaestion with the same iesalt. Anansi then became veiy angiy anu uealt the figaie a blow on the
cheek with his iight hanu. 0f coaise, his hanu stack fast to the iabbei. Őow uaie yoa holu my
hanu!Ő he exclaimeu. ŐLet me go at once oi I shall hit yoa again.Ő e then hit the figaie with his left
hanu, which also stack. e tiieu to uisengage himself-by pashing against it with his knees anu bouy,
antil, finally, knees, bouy, hanus, anu heau weie all fiimly attacheu to the iabbei-man. Theie Egya
Anansi hau to stay till uaybieak, when his son came oat with the othei villageis to catch the iobbei.
They weie astonisheu to finu that the evil-uoei was Anansi himself. e, on the othei hanu, was so
ashameu to be caaght in the act of gieeuiness that he changeu into a spiuei anu took iefage in a
uaik coinei of the ceiling lest any one shoalu see him. Since then spiueis have always been foanu in
uaik, uasty coineis, wheie people aie not likely to notice them.


ANANSI, in his olu age, became a fisheiman. veiy soon aftei that his sight began to fail. Finally, he
giew qaite blinu. owevei, still being veiy stiong, he continaeu his fishing÷with the help of two
men. The lattei weie exceeuingly kinu to him, anu aiueu him in eveiy possible way. They leu him,
each moining, to the beach anu into the canoe. They tolu him wheie to spieau his net anu when to
pall it in. When they ietaineu to lanu they tolu him jast wheie anu when to step oat, so that he uiu
not even get wet.

ŵź | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Bay aftei uay this went on, bat Anansi÷insteau of being in the least giatefal to them÷behaveu
veiy bauly. When they tolu him wheie to spieau his net, he woalu ieply shaiply, ŐI know. I was jast
aboat to pat it theie.Ő When they weie uiiecting him to get oat of the boat, he woalu say, Ő0h, I
know peifectly well we aie at the beach. I was jast getting ieauy to step oat.Ő

This went on foi a long time, Anansi getting iauei anu iauei to his helpeis eveiy uay, antil they
coalu beai his tieatment no longei. They ueteimineu when oppoitanity offeieu to panish him foi
his ingiatitaue.

The next uay, as asaal, he came with them to the beach. When they hau got the canoe ieauy, they
baue him step in. ŐBo yoa think I am a fool.Ő saiu he. ŐI know the canoe is theie.Ő They maue no
answei, bat got in anu patiently palleu towaiu the fishing-place. When they tolu him wheie to
spieau his net, he ieplieu with so mach abase that they ueteimineu, theie anu then, to panish him.

By this time the canoe was fall of fish, so they taineu to iow home. When they hau gone a little way
they stoppeu anu saiu to him, Őeie we aie at the beach.Ő e piomptly tolu them that they weie
veiy foolish÷to tell him a thing he knew so well. e auueu many iaue anu insalting iemaiks, which
maue them thoioaghly angiy. e then jampeu pioauly oat, expecting to lanu on the beach. To his
gieat astonishment he foanu himself sinking in ueep watei. The two men ioweu qaickly away,
leaving him to stiaggle.

Like all the men of that coantiy he was a goou swimmei, bat, of coaise, being blinu, he was anable
to see wheie the lanu lay. So he swam antil he was completely tiieu oat÷anu was uiowneu.


TERE once liveu a woman who hau one gieat uesiie. She longeu to have a uaaghtei÷bat alas! she
was chiluless. She coalu nevei feel happy, becaase of this anfalfilleu wish. Even in the miust of a
feast the thoaght woalu be in hei minu÷ŐAh! if only I hau a uaaghtei to shaie this with me!Ő

0ne uay she was gatheiing yams in the fielu, anu it chanceu that she palleu oat one which was veiy
stiaight anu well shapeu. ŐAh!Ő she thoaght to heiself, Őif only this fine yam weie a uaaghtei, how
happy I shoalu be!Ő To hei astonishment the yam answeieu, ŐIf I weie to become yoai uaaghtei,
woalu yoa piomise nevei to iepioach me with having been a yam.Ő She eageily gave hei piomise,
anu at once the yam changeu into a beaatifal, well-maue giil. The woman was oveijoyeu anu was
veiy kinu to the giil. She nameu hei Auzanamee. The lattei was exceeuingly asefal to hei mothei.
She woalu make the bieau, gathei the yams, anu sell them at the maiket-place.

She hau been uetaineu, one uay, longei than asaal. ei mothei became impatient at hei non-
appeaiance anu angiily saiu, ŐWheie can Auzanamee be. She uoes not ueseive that beaatifal name.
She is only a yam.Ő

ŵŻ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

A biiu singing neai by heaiu the motheiŏs woius anu immeuiately flew off to the tiee anuei which
Auzanamee sat. Theie he began to sing:

ŐAuzanamee! Auzanamee!
Yoai mothei is ankinu÷she says yoa aie only a yam,
Yoa uo not ueseive yoai name!
Auzanamee! Auzanamee!Ő

The giil heaiu him anu ietaineu home weeping. When the woman saw hei she saiu, ŐNy uaaghtei,
my uaaghtei! What is the mattei.Ő Auzanamee ieplieu:

Ő0 my mothei! my mothei!
Yoa have iepioacheu me with being a yam.
Yoa saiu I uiu not ueseive my name.
0 my mothei! my mothei!Ő

With these woius she maue hei way towaiu the yam-fielu. ei mothei, filleu with feai, followeu
hei, wailing:

ŐNay, Auzanamee! Auzanamee!
Bo not believe it÷uo not believe it.
Yoa aie my uaaghtei, my ueai uaaghtei

Bat she was too late. ei uaaghtei, still singing hei sau little song, qaickly changeu back into a yam.
When the woman aiiiveu at the fielu theie lay the yam on the gioanu, anu nothing she coalu uo oi
say woalu give hei back the uaaghtei she hau uesiieu so eainestly anu tieateu so inconsiueiately.


TERE hau been anothei gieat famine thioaghoat the lanu. The villageis lookeu thin anu pale foi
lack of foou. 0nly one family appeaieu healthy anu well. This was the hoaseholu of Anansiŏs coasin.

Anansi was anable to anueistanu this, anu felt saie his coasin was getting foou in some way. The
gieeuy fellow ueteimineu to finu oat the seciet.

What hau happeneu was this: Spiueiŏs coasin, while hanting one moining, hau uiscoveieu a
wonueifal stone. The stone lay on the giass in the foiest anu gioanu floai of its own accoiu. Neai
by ian a stieam of honey. Kofi was uelighteu. e sat uown anu hau a goou meal. Not being a gieeuy
man, he took away with him only enoagh foi his familyŏs neeus.

ŵ8 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Each moining he ietaineu to the stone anu got safficient foou foi that uay. In this mannei he anu
his family kept well anu plamp, while the saiioanuing villageis weie staiveu anu miseiable-

Anansi gave him no peace till he piomiseu to show him the stone. This he was most anwilling to
uo÷knowing his coasinŏs wickeu ways. e felt saie that when Anansi saw the stone he woalu not
be content to take only what he neeueu. owevei, Anansi tioableu him so mach with qaestions that
at last he piomiseu. e tolu Anansi that they woalu stait next moining, as soon as the women set
aboat theii woik. Anansi was too impatient to wait. In the miuule of the night he baue his chiluien
get ap anu make a noise with the pots as if they weie the women at woik. Spiuei at once ian anu
wakeneu his coasin, saying, Ő0aick! It is time to stait.Ő is coasin, howevei, saw he hau been
tiickeu, anu went back to beu again, saying he woalu not stait till the women weie sweeping. No
soonei was he asleep again than Spiuei maue his chiluien take biooms anu begin to sweep veiy
noisily. e ioaseu Kofi once moie, saying, ŐIt is time we hau staiteu.Ő 0nce moie his coasin iefaseu
to set off÷saying it was only anothei tiick of Spiueiŏs. e again ietaineu to beu anu to sleep. This
time Spiuei slippeu into his coasinŏs ioom anu cat a hole in the bottom of his bag, which he then
filleu with ashes. Aftei that he went off anu left Kofi in peace.

When moining came the coasin awoke. Seeing no sign of Spiuei he veiy glauly set off alone to the
foiest, thinking he hau got iiu of the tiiesome fellow. e was no soonei seateu by the stone,
howevei, than Anansi appeaieu, having followeu him by the tiail of ashes.

ŐAha!Ő ciieu he. Őeie is plenty of foou foi all. No moie neeu to staive.Ő Őash,Ő saiu his coasin. ŐYoa
mast not shoat heie. The place is too wonueifal. Sit uown qaietly anu eat.Ő

They hau a goou meal, anu Kofi piepaieu to ietain home with enoagh foi his family. ŐNo, no!Ő ciieu
Anansi. ŐI am going to take the stone.Ő In vain uiu his fiienu tiy to oveicome his gieeu. Anansi
insisteu on patting the stone on his heau, anu setting oat foi the village.

ŐSpiuei, Spiuei, pat me uown, saiu the stone.
The pig came anu uiank anu went away,
The antelope came anu feu anu went away:
Spiuei, Spiuei, pat me uown.Ő

Spiuei, howevei, iefaseu to listen. e caiiieu the stone fiom village to village selling floai, antil his
bag was fall of money. e then set oat foi home.

aving ieacheu his hat anu feeling veiy tiieu he piepaieu to pat the stone uown. Bat the stone
iefaseu to be moveu fiom his heau. It stack fast theie, anu no effoits coalu uisplace it. The weight of
it veiy soon giew too mach foi Anansi, anu gioanu him uown into small pieces, which weie
completely coveieu ovei by the stone. That is why we often finu tiny spiueis gatheieu togethei
anuei laige stones.

ŵ9 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s


A NAN in one of the villages hau a veiy beaatifal uaaghtei. She was so lovely that people calleu hei
ŐNoining Saniise.Ő Eveiy yoang man who saw hei wanteu to maiiy hei. Thiee, in paiticalai, weie
veiy anxioas to have hei foi theii wife. ei fathei foanu it uifficalt to ueciue among them. e
ueteimineu to finu oat by a tiick which of the thiee was most woithy of hei.

e baue hei lie uown on hei beu as if she weie ueau. e then sent the iepoit of hei ueath to each of
the thiee loveis, asking them to come anu help him with hei faneial.

The messengei came fiist to ŐWise Nan.Ő When he heaiu the message, he exclaimeu, ŐWhat can this
man mean. The giil is not my wife. I ceitainly will not pay any money foi hei faneial.Ő

The messengei came next to the seconu man. is name was ŐWit.Ő The lattei at once saiu, Ő0h ueai,
no! I shall not pay any money foi hei faneial expenses. ei fathei uiu not even let me know she was
ill.Ő So he iefaseu to go.

ŐThinkei,Ő the thiiu yoang man÷when he ieceiveu the message÷at once got ieauy to stait.
ŐCeitainly I mast go anu moain foi Noining Saniise,Ő saiu he. Őau she liveu, saiely she woalu have
been my wife.Ő So he took money with him anu set oat foi hei home.

When he ieacheu it hei fathei calleu oat, ŐNoining Saniise, Noining Saniise. Come heie. This is
yoai tiae hasbanu.Ő

That veiy uay the betiothal took place, anu soon aftei the weuuing followeu. ŐThinkeiŐ anu his
beaatifal wife liveu veiy happily togethei.


NANY centaiies ago, the people of this eaith weie mach tioableu by floous. The sea aseu at times
to oveiflow its asaal boanuaiies anu sweep acioss the low, sanuy stietches of lanu which boiueieu
it. Time anu again this happeneu, many lives being lost at each floou. Nankinu was veiy tioableu to
finu an escape fiom this oft-iepeateu uisastei. e coalu think of no way of avoiuing it.

Foitanately foi him the wise taitle came to his help. ŐTake my auvice,Ő saiu she, Őanu plant iows of
palms along the sea-coast. They will binu the sanu togethei anu keep it fiom being washeu so easily
away.Ő e uiu so, with gieat saccess. The ioots of the palms kept the sanu fiimly in its place. When
the time came again foi the sea to oveiflow, it washeu jast to the line of tiees anu came no faithei.
Thas many lives weie saveu annaally by the kinu foiethoaght of the taitle.

In ietain÷one woalu think÷mankinu woalu piotect anu cheiish this pooi animal. Bat no! Each
time a taitle comes to the seashoie to lay hei eggs among the sanu, she is caaght anu killeu foi the
ŶŴ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

sake of hei flesh. It is the thoaght of the ingiatitaue of mankinu to hei, which makes hei beat hei
bieast with hei foielegs when she is caaght. She seems to be saying, ŐAh! this is all the ietain I get
foi my kinuness to yoa.Ő


TE famine hau lasteu neaily thiee yeais. Kweka Tsin, being veiy hangiy, lookeu uaily in the foiest
in the hope of finuing foou. 0ne uay he was foitanate enoagh to uiscovei thiee palm-keinels lying
on the gioanu. e pickeu ap two stones with which to ciack them. The fiist nat, howevei, slippeu
when he hit it, anu fell into a hole behinu him. The same thing happeneu to the seconu anu to the
thiiu. veiy mach annoyeu at his loss, Kweka ueteimineu to go uown the hole to see if he coalu finu
his lost nats.

To his saipiise, howevei, he uiscoveieu that this hole was ieally the entiance to a town, of which he
hau nevei befoie even heaiu. When he ieacheu it he foanu absolate silence eveiywheie. e calleu
oat, ŐIs theie nobouy in this town.Ő anu piesently heaiu a voice in answei. e went in its uiiection
anu foanu an olu woman sitting in one of the hoases. She uemanueu the ieason of his appeaiance÷
which he ieauily gave.

The olu woman was veiy kinu anu sympathetic, anu piomiseu to help him. ŐYoa mast uo exactly as I
tell yoa,Ő saiu she. Őuo into the gaiuen anu listen attentively. Yoa will heai the yams speak. Pass by
any yam that says, ŏBig me oat, uig me oat!ŏ Bat take the one that says, ŏBo not uig me oat!ŏ Then
biing it to me.Ő

When he bioaght it, she uiiecteu him to iemove the peel fiom the yam anu thiow the lattei away.
e was then to boil the iinu, anu while boiling, it woalu become yam. It uiu actaally uo so, anu they
sat uown to eat some of it. Befoie beginning theii meal the olu woman ieqaesteu Kweka not to look
at hei while she ate. Being veiy polite anu obeuient, he uiu exactly as he was tolu.

In the evening the olu woman sent him into the gaiuen to choose one of the uiams which stoou
theie. She waineu him: ŐIf yoa come to a uiam which says ŏBing-uingŏ on being toacheu÷take it.
Bat be veiy caiefal not to take one which soanus ŏBong-uong.ŏŐ e obeyeu hei uiiection in eveiy
uetail. When he showeu hei the uiam, she lookeu pleaseu anu tolu him, to his gieat uelight, that he
hau only to beat it if at any time he weie hangiy. That woalu biing him foou in plenty. e thankeu
the olu woman heaitily anu went home.

As soon as he ieacheu his own hat, he gatheieu his hoaseholu togethei, anu then beat the uiam.
Immeuiately, foou of eveiy uesciiption appeaieu befoie them, anu they all ate as mach as they

Ŷŵ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The following uay Kweka Tsin gatheieu all the people of the village togethei in the Assembly Place,
anu then beat the uiam once moie. In this way eveiy family got safficient foou foi theii wants, anu
all thankeu Kweka veiy mach foi thas pioviuing foi them.

Kwekaŏs fathei, howevei, was not at all pleaseu to see his son thas able to feeu the whole village.
Anansi thoaght he, too, oaght to have a uiam. Then the people woalu be giatefal to him insteau of
to Kweka Tsin. Accoiuingly, he askeu the yoang man wheie the wonueifal uiam hau come fiom.
is son was most anwilling to tell him, bat Anansi gave him no peace antil he hau heaiu the whole
stoiy. e then wasteu no time, bat set off at once towaiu the entiance hole. e hau taken the
piecaation to caiiy with him an olu nat which he pietenueu to ciack. Then thiowing it into the hole,
he jampeu in aftei it anu haiiieu along to the silent village. Aiiiveu at the fiist hoase, he shoateu,
ŐIs theie no one in this town.Ő The olu woman answeieu as befoie, anu Anansi enteieu hei hoase.

e uiu not tioable to be polite to hei, bat auuiesseu hei most iauely, saying, Őaiiy ap, olu woman,
anu get me something to eat.Ő The woman qaietly uiiecteu him to go into the gaiuen anu choose the
yam which shoalu say, ŐBo not uig me oat.Ő Anansi laagheu in hei face anu saiu, ŐYoa saiely take
me foi a fool. If the yam uoes not want me to uig it oat I will ceitainly not uo so. I will take the one
which wants to be gatheieu.Ő This he uiu.

When he bioaght it to the olu woman she tolu him, as she tolu his son, to thiow away the insiue anu
boil the iinu. Again he iefaseu to obey. ŐWho evei heaiu of sach a silly thing as thiowing away the
yam. I will uo nothing of the soit. I will thiow away the peel anu boil the insiue.Ő e uiu so, anu the
yam taineu into stones. e was then obligeu to uo as she fiist saggesteu, anu boil the iinu. The
lattei while boiling taineu into yam. Anansi taineu angiily to the olu woman anu saiu, ŐYoa aie a
witch.Ő She took no notice of his iemaik, bat went on setting the table. She placeu his uinnei on a
small table, lowei than hei own, saying. ŐYoa mast not look at me while I eat.Ő e iauely ieplieu,
ŐInueeu, I will look at yoa if I choose. Anu I will have my uinnei at yoai table, not at that small one.Ő
Again she saiu nothing÷bat she left hei uinnei antoacheu. Anansi ate his own, then took heis anu
ate it also.

When he hau finisheu she saiu, ŐNow go into the gaiuen anu choose a uiam. Bo not take one which
soanus ŏBong-uongŏ: only take one which says ŏBing-uing.ŏŐ Anansi ietoiteu, ŐBo yoa think I will
take yoai auvice, yoa witch. No, I will choose the uiam which says ŏBong-uong.ŏ Yoa aie jast tiying
to play a tiick on me.Ő

e uiu as he wisheu. aving secaieu the uiam he maicheu off withoat so mach as a Thank yoa to
the olu woman.

No soonei hau he ieacheu home, than he longeu to show off his new powei to the villageis. e
calleu all to the Assembly Place, telling them to biing uishes anu tiays, as he was going to pioviue
them with foou. The people in gieat uelight haiiieu to the spot. Anansi, pioauly taking his position
in the miust of them, began to beat his uiam. To his hoiioi anu uismay, insteau of the maltitaue of
ŶŶ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

foou-staffs which Kweka hau sammoneu, Anansi saw, iashing towaiu him, beasts anu seipents of
all kinus. Sach cieataies hau nevei been seen on the eaith befoie.

The people fleu in eveiy uiiection÷all except Anansi, who was too teiiifieu to move. e speeuily
ieceiveu fitting panishment foi his uisobeuience. Foitanately, Kweka, with his mothei anu sisteis,
hau been at the oatei euge of the ciowu, so easily escapeu into sheltei. The animals piesently
scatteieu in eveiy uiiection, anu evei since they have ioameu wilu in the gieat foiests.


IT happeneu one uay that a pooi Akim-man hau to tiavel fiom his own little village to Accia÷one
of the big towns on the coast. This man coalu only speak the langaage of his own village÷which
was not anueistoou by the men of the town. As he appioacheu Accia he met a gieat heiu of cows.
e was saipiiseu at the nambei of them, anu wonueieu to whom they coalu belong. Seeing a man
with them he askeu him, ŐTo whom uo these cows belong.Ő The man uiu not know the langaage of
the Akim-man, so he ieplieu, ŐNinaŐ|I uo not anueistanu]. The tiavellei, howevei, thoaght that
Nina was the name of the ownei of the cows anu exclaimeu, ŐNi. Nina mast be veiy iich.Ő

e then enteieu the town. veiy soon he saw a fine laige bailuing, anu wonueieu to whom it might
belong. The man he askeu coalu not anueistanu his qaestion, so he also answeieu, ŐNina.Ő ŐBeai
me! What a iich fellow Ni. Nina mast be!Ő ciieu the Akim-man.

Coming to a still finei bailuing with beaatifal gaiuens ioanu it, he again askeu the owneiŏs name.
Again came the answei, ŐNina.Ő Őow wealthy Ni. Nina is!Ő saiu oai wonueiing tiavellei.

Next he came to the beach. Theie he saw a magnificent steamei being loaueu in the haiboai. e was
saipiiseu at the gieat caigo which was being pat on boaiu anu inqaiieu of a bystanuei, ŐTo whom
uoes this fine vessel belong.Ő

ŐNina,Ő ieplieu the man. ŐTo the onoaiable Nina also! e is the iichest man I evei heaiu of!Ő ciieu
the Akim-man.

aving finisheu his basiness, the Akim-man set oat foi home. As he passeu uown one of the stieets
of the town he met men caiiying a coffin, anu followeu by a long piocession, all uiesseu in black. e
askeu the name of the ueau peison, anu ieceiveu the asaal ieply, ŐNina.Ő ŐPooi Ni. Nina!Ő ciieu the
Akim-man. ŐSo he has hau to leave all his wealth anu beaatifal hoases anu uie jast as a pooi peison
woalu uo! Well, well÷in fataie I will be content with my tiny hoase anu little money.Ő Anu the
Akim-man went home qaite pleaseu to his own hat.


Ŷŷ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

0NCE apon a time theie was gieat scaicity of foou in the lanu. Fathei Anansi anu his son, Kweka
Tsin, being veiy hangiy, set oat one moining to hant in the foiest. In a shoit time Kweka Tsin was
foitanate enoagh to kill a fine ueei÷which he caiiieu to his fathei at theii iesting-place. Anansi
was veiy glau to see sach a sapply of foou, anu ieqaesteu his son to iemain theie on gaaiu, while he
went foi a laige basket in which to caiiy it home. An hoai oi so passeu withoat his ietain, anu
Kweka Tsin became anxioas. Feaiing lest his fathei hau lost his way, he calleu oat loauly, ŐFathei,
fathei!Ő to gaiue him to the spot. To his joy he heaiu a voice ieply, ŐYes, my son,Ő anu immeuiately
he shoateu again, thinking it was Anansi. Insteau of the lattei, howevei, a teiiible uiagon appeaieu.
This monstei bieatheu fiie fiom his gieat nostiils, anu was altogethei a uieaufal sight to beholu.
Kweka Tsin was teiiifieu at his appioach anu speeuily hiu himself in a cave neai by.

The uiagon aiiiveu at the iesting-place, anu was mach annoyeu to finu only the ueeiŏs bouy. e
venteu his angei in blows apon the lattei anu went away. Soon aftei, Fathei Anansi maue his
appeaiance. e was gieatly inteiesteu in his sonŏs tale, anu wisheu to see the uiagon foi himself. e
soon hau his uesiie, foi the monstei, smelling haman flesh, hastily ietaineu to the spot anu seizeu
them both. They weie caiiieu off by him to his castle, wheie they foanu many othei anfoitanate
cieataies also awaiting theii fate. All weie left in chaige of the uiagonŏs seivant÷a fine, white
cock÷which always cioweu to sammon his mastei, if anything anasaal happeneu in the latteiŏs
absence. The uiagon then went off in seaich of moie piey.

Kweka Tsin now sammoneu all his fellow-piisoneis togethei, to aiiange a way of escape. All feaieu
to ian away÷becaase of the wonueifal poweis of the monstei. is eyesight was so keen that he
coalu uetect a fly moving miles away. Not only that, bat he coalu move ovei the gioanu so swiftly
that none coalu oatuistance him. Kweka Tsin, howevei, being exceeuingly clevei, soon thoaght of a

Knowing that the white cock woalu not ciow as long as he has giains of iice to pick ap, Kweka
scatteieu on the gioanu the contents of foity bags of giain which weie stoieu in the gieat hall.
While the cock was thas basily engageu, Kweka Tsin oiueieu the spinneis to spin fine hempen
iopes, to make a stiong iope lauuei. 0ne enu of this he intenueu to thiow ap to heaven, tiasting
that the gous woalu catch it anu holu it fast, while he anu his fellow-piisoneis moanteu.

While the lauuei was being maue, the men killeu anu ate all the cattle they neeueu÷ieseiving all
the bones foi Kweka Tsin at his expiess uesiie. When all was ieauy the yoang man gatheieu the
bones into a gieat sack. e also piocaieu the uiagonŏs fiuule anu placeu it by his siue.

Eveiything was now ieauy. Kweka Tsin thiew one enu of the lauuei ap to the sky. It was caaght anu
helu. The uiagonŏs victims began to moant, one aftei the othei, Kweka iemaining at the bottom.

By this time, howevei, the monsteiŏs poweifal eyesight showeu him that something anasaal was
happening at his aboue. e hasteneu his ietain. 0n seeing his appioach, Kweka Tsin also moanteu
the lauuei÷with the bag of bones on his back, anu the fiuule anuei his aim. The uiagon began to
ŶŸ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

climb aftei him. Each time the monstei came too neai the yoang man thiew him a bone, with which,
being veiy hangiy, he was obligeu to uescenu to the gioanu to eat.

Kweka Tsin iepeateu this peifoimance till all the bones weie gone, by which time the people weie
safely ap in the heavens. Then he moanteu himself, as iapiuly as possible, stopping eveiy now anu
then to play a tane on the wonueifal fiuule. Each time he uiu this, the uiagon hau to ietain to eaith,
to uance÷as he coalu not iesist the magic masic. When Kweka was qaite close to the top, the
uiagon hau veiy neaily ieacheu him again. The biave yoath bent uown anu cat the lauuei away
below his own feet. The uiagon was uasheu to the gioanu bat Kweka was palleu ap into safety by
the gous.

The lattei weie so pleaseu with his wisuom anu biaveiy in giving fieeuom to his fellowmen, that
they maue him the san the soaice of all light anu heat to the woilu. is fathei, Anansi, became the
moon, anu his fiienus the stais. Theieaftei, it was Kweka Tsinŏs piivilege to sapply all these with
light, each being uall anu poweiless withoat him.



TERE once liveu apon the eaith a pooi man calleu 0hia, whose wife was nameu Awiieha. This
anfoitanate coaple hau saffeieu one tioable aftei anothei. No mattei what they took in hanu
misfoitane seemeu to lie in wait foi them. Nothing they uiu met with saccess. They became so pooi
that at last they coalu scaicely obtain a cloth with which to covei themselves.

Finally, 0hia thoaght of a plan which many of his neighboais hau tiieu anu foanu saccessfal. e
went to a wealthy faimei who liveu neai, anu offeieu to hew uown seveial of his palm-tiees. e
woalu then collect theii sap to make palm wine. When this shoalu be ieauy foi the maiket, his wife
woalu caiiy it theie anu sell it. The pioceeus woalu then be uiviueu eqaally between the faimei,
0hia, anu Awiieha.

This pioposal having been laiu befoie the faimei, he pioveu qaite willing to agiee to it. Not only so,
bat he gianteu 0hia a sapply of eaithen pots in which to collect the sap, as the miseiable man was
fai too pooi to bay any.

In gieat uelight 0hia anu his wife set to woik. They cat uown the tiees anu piepaieu them÷setting
the pots anueineath to catch the sap. Befoie cock-ciow on maiket-uay, 0hia set off, with a lighteu
toich, to collect the wine anu piepaie it foi his wife to take into the town. She was almost ieauy to

ŶŹ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

To his gieat uistiess, on aiiiving at the fiist tiee, insteau of finuing his eaithen pot filleu with the
sweet sap, he saw it lying in pieces on the gioanu÷the wine all gone. e went on to the seconu anu
thiiu tiees÷bat theie, anu at all the otheis, too, the same thing hau happeneu.

is wife, in high spiiits anu ieauy foi maiket, joineu him at this moment. She saw at once by his face
that some misfoitane hau again befallen them. Soiiowfally, they examineu the mischief, anu agieeu
that some wickeu peison hau stolen the wine anu then bioken the pots to hiue the theft. Awiieha
ietaineu home in uespaii, bat 0hia set to woik once moie. e fetcheu a seconu sapply of pots anu
placeu them all ieauy to catch the sap.

0n his ietain next moining, he foanu that the same behavioai hau been iepeateu. All his wine was
again stolen anu his pots in fiagments. e hau no iesoaice bat to go to the faimei anu tell him of
these fiesh misfoitanes. The faimei pioveu to be veiy kinu anu geneioas anu gave oiueis that 0hia
might have as many pots as he shoalu ieqaiie.

0nce moie the pooi fellow ietaineu to the palm-tiees, anu set his pots ieauy. This thiiu attempt,
howevei, met with no bettei iesalt than the two pievioas. 0hia went home in uespaii. is wife was
of the opinion that they shoalu give ap tiying to oveicome theii evil foitanes. It was qaite eviuent
that they coalu nevei attain saccess. The hasbanu, howevei, ueteimineu that, at least, he woalu finu
anu panish the calpiit, if that weie possible.

Accoiuingly, he biavely set his pots in oiuei foi the last time. When night came, he iemaineu on
gaaiu among the tiees. Niunight passeu anu nothing happeneu, bat towaiu two oŏclock in the
moining a uaik foim gliueu past him to the neaiest palm-tiee. A moment aftei he heaiu the soanu
of a bieaking pot. e stole ap to the foim. 0n appioaching it he foanu that the thief was a bash-ueei,
caiiying on its heau a laige jai, into which it was poaiing the wine fiom 0hiaŏs pots. As it emptieu
them it thiew them caielessly on the gioanu, bieaking them in pieces.

0hia ventaieu a little neaiei, intenuing to seize the calpiit. The lattei, howevei, was, too qaick foi
him anu escapeu, uiopping his gieat pot on the gioanu as he ian. The ueei was veiy fleet, bat 0hia
hau fally ueteimineu to catch him÷so followeu. The chase continaeu ovei many miles antil miu-
uay aiiiveu, at which time they hau ieacheu the bottom of a high hill. The ueei immeuiately began
to climb, anu 0hia÷thoagh almost tiieu oat÷still followeu. Finally, the sammit of the hill was
ieacheu, anu theie 0hia foanu himself in the miust of a gieat gatheiing of qaauiapeus. The ueei,
panting, thiew himself on the gioanu befoie King Tigei. (Footnote: Tigei in West Afiican stoiies is a
leopaiu.) is Najesty commanueu that 0hia shoalu be bioaght befoie him to be panisheu foi this
intiasion into sach a seiioas meeting.

0hia beggeu foi a heaiing befoie they conuemneu him. e wisheu to explain fally his piesence
theie. King Tigei, aftei consalting with some of the othei animals, agieeu to listen to his tale.
Theieapon 0hia began the stoiy of his anfoitanate life. e tolu how one tiial aftei anothei hau
faileu, anu how, finally, he hau thoaght of the palm wine. e uesciibeu his feelings on uiscoveiing
the fiist theft aftei all his laboai. e ielateu his seconu, thiiu, anu foaith attempts, with the iesalt of
Ŷź | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

each. e then went on to tell of his chase aftei the thief, anu thas explaineu his piesence at theii

The qaauiapeus listeneu veiy attentively to the iecital of 0hiaŏs tioables. At the conclasion they
ananimoasly agieeu that the ueei was the calpiit anu the man blameless. The foimei was
accoiuingly sentenceu to panishment, while the lattei ieceiveu an apology in the name of the entiie
confeience. King Tigei, it appeaieu, hau each moining given Beei a laige sam of money wheiewith
to paichase palm wine foi the whole assembly. The ueei hau stolen the wine anu kept the money.

To make ap to 0hia foi his losses, King Tigei offeieu him, as a gift, the powei of anueistanuing the
conveisation of all animals. This, saiu he, woalu speeuily make 0hia a iich man. Bat he attacheu one
conuition to the gift. 0hia mast nevei÷on pain of instant ueath÷tell any one aboat his wonueifal

The pooi man, mach uelighteu, set off foi home. When it was ieacheu, he lost no time in setting to
woik at his palm-tiees again. Fiom that uay his tioables seemeu ovei. is wine was nevei
inteifeieu with anu he anu Awiieha became moie anu moie piospeioas anu happy.

0ne moining, while he was bathing in a pool qaite close to his hoase, he heaiu a hen anu hei
chickens talking togethei in his gaiuen. e listeneu, anu uistinctly heaiu a chicken tell Nothei en
aboat thiee jais of golu baiieu in 0hiaŏs gaiuen. The hen baue the chicken be caiefal, lest hei
mastei shoalu see hei sciaping neai the golu, anu so uiscovei it.

0hia pietenueu to take no notice of what they weie saying, anu went away. Piesently, when Nothei
en anu hei bioou hau gone, he came back anu commenceu uigging in that pait of the gaiuen. To
his gieat joy, he soon foanu thiee laige jais of golu. They containeu enoagh money to keep him in
comfoit all his life. e was caiefal, howevei, not to mention his tieasaie to any one bat his wife. e
hiu it safely insiue his hoase.

Soon he anu Awiieha hau become one of the iichest coaples in the neighboaihoou, anu owneu
qaite a laige amoant of piopeity. 0hia thoaght he coalu affoiu now to keep a seconu wife, so he
maiiieu again. 0nfoitanately, the new wife uiu not at all iesemble Awiieha. The lattei hau always
been a goou, kinu, honest woman. The new wife was of a veiy jealoas anu selfish uisposition. In
auuition to this she was lame, anu continaally imagineu that people weie making fan of hei uefect.
She took the iuea into hei heau that 0hia anu Awiieha÷when togethei÷weie in the habit of
laaghing at hei. Nothing was faithei fiom theii thoaghts, bat she iefaseu to believe so. Whenevei
she saw them togethei she woalu stanu anu listen oatsiue the uooi to heai what they weie saying.
0f coaise, she nevei sacceeueu in heaiing anything aboat heiself.

At last, one evening, 0hia anu Awiieha hau gone to beu. The lattei was fast asleep when 0hia heaiu
a conveisation which amaseu him veiy mach. A coaple of mice in one coinei of the ioom weie
aiianging to go to the laiuei to get some foou, as soon as theii mastei÷who was watching them÷
was asleep. 0hia, thinking this was a goou joke, laagheu oatiight. is lame wife heaiu him, anu
ŶŻ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

iasheu into the ioom. She theieapon accaseu him of making fan of hei again to Awiieha. The
astonisheu hasbanu, of coaise, uenieu this, bat to no paipose. The jealoas woman insisteu that, if he
weie laaghing at an innocent joke, he woalu at once tell it to hei. This 0hia coalu not uo, withoat
bieaking his piomise to King Tigei. is iefasal fally confiimeu the lame womanŏs saspicions anu
she uiu not iest till she hau laiu the whole mattei befoie the chief. e, being an intimate fiienu of
0hia, tiieu to peisaaue him to ieveal the joke anu set the mattei at iest. 0hia nataially was most
anwilling to uo anything of the soit. The peisistent woman gave the chief no peace till he
sammoneu hei hasbanu to answei hei chaige befoie the assembly.

Finuing no way of escape fiom the uifficalty: 0hia piepaieu foi ueath. e fiist calleu all his fiienus
anu ielatives to a gieat feast, anu baue them faiewell. Then he pat his affaiis in oiuei÷beqaeatheu
all his golu to the faithfal Awiieha, anu his piopeity to his son anu seivants. When he hau finisheu,
he went to the Assembly Place wheie the people of the neighboaihoou weie gatheieu togethei.

e fiist took leave of the chief, anu then commenceu his tale. e ielateu the stoiy of his many
misfoitanes÷of his auventaie with the ueei, anu of his piomise to King Tigei. Finally, he explaineu
the caase of his laaghtei which hau annoyeu his wife. In so speaking he fell ueau, as the Tigei hau
waineu him.

e was baiieu amiu gieat moaining, foi eveiy one hau likeu anu iespecteu him. The jealoas woman
who hau caaseu hei hasbanuŏs ueath was seizeu anu baint as a witch. ei ashes weie then
scatteieu to the foai winus of heaven, anu it is owing to this anfoitanate fact that jealoasy anu
selfishness aie so wiuespieau thioagh the woilu, wheie befoie they scaicely existeu.


A FEW hanuieu yeais ago, the chief Naaii |uou] ueteimineu to have a splenuiu yam festival. e
theiefoie sent his messengeis to invite all his chiefs anu people to the gatheiing, which was to take
place on Fiua |Fiiuay].

0n the moining of that uay he sent some of his seivants to the neighboaiing towns anu villages to
bay goats, sheep, anu cows foi the gieat feast. Ni. Klo |the toitoise], who was a tall anu hanusome
fellow was sent to bay palm wine. e was uiiecteu to the palm-fielus of Koklovi |the chicken].

At that time Klo was a veiy poweifal tiavellei anu speeuily ieacheu his uestination althoagh it was
many miles uistant fiom Naaiiŏs palace.

When he aiiiveu Koklovi was taking his bieakfast. When they hau exchangeu polite salatations
Koklovi askeu the ieason of Kloŏs visit. e ieplieu, ŐI was sent by is Najesty Naaii, the ialei of the
woilu, to bay him palm wine.Ő ŐWhethei heŏs ialei of the woilu oi not,Ő answeieu Koklovi, Őno one
can bay my wine with money. If yoa want it yoa mast fight foi it. If yoa win yoa can have it all anu
the palm-tiees too.Ő
Ŷ8 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

This answei uelighteu Klo as he was a veiy stiong fightei. Koklovi was the same, so that the fighting
continaeu foi seveial hoais befoie Klo was able to oveicome Koklovi. e was at last saccessfal,
howevei, anu secaiely boanu Koklovi befoie he left him.

Then, taking his gieat pot, he filleu it with wine. Finuing that theie was moie wine than the pot
woalu holu, Klo foolishly uiank all the iest. e then pileu the palm-tiees on his back anu set oat foi
the palace with the pot of wine. The amoant which he hau uiank, howevei, maue him feel so sleepy
anu tiieu that he coalu not walk fast with his loau. Auueu to this, a teiiible iain began to fall, which
maue the gioanu veiy slippeiy anu still moie uifficalt to tiavel ovei.

By the time, Klo sacceeueu in ieaching his masteiŏs palace the gates weie shat anu lockeu. Naaii,
finuing it so late, hau conclaueu that eveiy one was insiue.

Theie weie many people packeu into the gieat hall, anu all weie singing anu uancing. The noise of
the conceit was so gieat that no one heaiu Kloŏs knocking at the gate, anu theie he hau to stay with
his gieat loau of wine anu palm-tiees.

The iain continaeu foi neaily two months anu was so teiiible that the people all iemaineu in the
palace till it hau finisheu. By that time Klo hau uieu, anuei the weight of his loau÷which he hau
been anable to get off his back. Theie he lay, befoie the gate, with the pile of palm-tiees on top of

When the iain ceaseu anu the gates weie openeu the people weie amazeu to see this gieat moanu
in fiont of the gate, wheie befoie theie hau been nothing. They fetcheu spaues anu began to shovel
it away.

When they came to the bottom of the pile theie lay Klo. is eaithenwaie pot anu the uast hau cakeu
togethei anu foimeu qaite a haiu covei on his back.

e was taken into the palace÷anu by the ase of many wonueifal meuicines he was iestoieu to life.
Bat since that uate he has nevei been able to stanu apiight. e has been a cieeping cieataie, with a
gieat shell on his back.


A vILLAuE hantei hau one uay gone faithei afielu than asaal. Coming to a pait of the foiest with
which he was anacqaainteu, he was astonisheu to heai a voice singing. e listeneu: this was the

ŐIt is man who foices himself on things,
Not things which foice themselves on him.Ő
Ŷ9 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The singing was accompanieu by sweet masic÷which entiiely chaimeu the hanteiŏs heait.

When the little song was finisheu, the hantei peepeu thioagh the bianches to see who the singei
coalu be. Imagine his amazement when he foanu it was none othei than a toitoise, with a tiny haip
slang in fiont of hei. Nevei hau he seen sach a maivelloas thing.

Time aftei time he ietaineu to the same place in oiuei to listen to this wonueifal cieataie. At last
he peisaaueu hei to let him caiiy hei back to his hat, that he might enjoy hei singing uaily in
comfoit. This she peimitteu, only on the anueistanuing that she sang to him alone.

The hantei uiu not iest long content with this aiiangement, howevei. Soon he began to wish that he
coalu show off this wonueifal toitoise to all the woilu, anu theieby thoaght he woalu gain gieat
honoai. e tolu the seciet, fiist to one, then to anothei, antil finally it ieacheu the eais of the chief
himself. The hantei was commanueu to come anu tell his tale befoie the Assembly. When, howevei,
he uesciibeu the toitoise who sang anu playeu on, the haip, the people shoateu in scoin. They
iefaseu to believe him.

At last he saiu, ŐIf I uo not speak tiath, I give yoa leave to kill me. To-moiiow I will biing the
toitoise to this place anu yoa may all heai hei. If she cannot uo as I say, I am willing to uie.Ő Őuoou,Ő
ieplieu the people, Őanu if the toitoise can uo as yoa say, we give yoa leave to panish as in any way
yoa choose.Ő

The mattei being then settleu, the hantei ietaineu home, well pleaseu with the piospect. As soon as
the moiiow uawneu, he caiiieu toitoise anu haip uown to the Assembly Place÷wheie a table hau
been placeu ieauy foi hei. Eveiy one gatheieu ioanu to listen. Bat no song came. The people weie
veiy patient, anu qaite willing to give both toitoise anu hantei a chance. oais went by, anu, to the
hanteiŏs uismay anu shame, the toitoise iemaineu mate. e tiieu eveiy means in his powei to coax
hei to sing, bat in vain. The people at fiist whispeieu, then spoke oatiight, in scoin of the boastei
anu his claims.

Night came on anu bioaght with it the hanteiŏs uoom. As the last iay of the setting san faueu, he
was beheaueu. The instant this hau happeneu the toitoise spoke. The people lookeu at one anothei
in tioableu wonuei: Ő0ai biothei spoke tiath, then, anu we have killeu him.Ő The toitoise, howevei,
went on to explain. Őe bioaght his panishment on himself. I leu a happy life in the foiest, singing
my little song. e was not content to come anu listen to me, e hau to tell my seciet (which uiu not
at all concein him) to all the woilu. au he not tiieu to make a show of me this woalu nevei have

ŐIt is man who foices himself on things,
Not things which foice themselves on him.Ő

ŷŴ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s


KW0FI was the eluest son of a faimei who hau two wives. Kwofiŏs mothei hau no othei chiluien.

When the boy was thiee yeais olu his mothei uieu. Kwofi was given to his stepmothei to minu.
Aftei this she hau many chiluien. Kwofi, of coaise, was the eluest of all.

When he was aboat ten yeais olu his fathei also uieu. Kwofi hau now no ielative bat his
stepmothei, foi whom he hau to woik.

As he giew oluei, she saw how mach moie clevei anu hanusome he was than hei own chiluien, anu
giew veiy jealoas of him. e was sach a goou hantei that uay aftei uay he came home lauen with
meat oi with fish.

Eveiy uay she tieateu him in the same way. She cookeu the meat, then poitioneu it oat. She gave to
each a laige helping, bat when it came to Kwofiŏs tain she woalu say, Ő0h, my son Kwofi, theie is
none left foi yoa! Yoa mast go to the fielu anu get some iipe paw-paw.Ő Kwofi nevei complaineu.
Nevei once uiu he taste any of the meat he hau hanteu. At eveiy meal the otheis weie seiveu, bat
theie was nevei enoagh foi him.

0ne evening, when the asaal thing hau happeneu, Kwofi was piepaiing to go to the fielu to fetch
some paw-paw foi his sappei. All at once one of the gous appeaieu in the village, caiiying a gieat
bag ovei his shoaluei. e sammoneu all the villageis togethei with these woius: Ő0h, my villageis, I
come with a bag of ueath foi yoa!Ő

Theieapon he began to uistiibate the contents of his bag among them. When he came to Kwofi he
saiu: Ő0h, my son Kwofi, theie was nevei safficient meat foi yoa, neithei is theie any ueath.Ő

As he saiu these woius eveiy one in the village uieu except Kwofi. e was left to ieign theie in
peace, which he uiu veiy happily.


A CERTAIN olu lauy hau a veiy fine flock of sheep. She hau feu anu caieu foi them so well that they
became famoas foi theii fatness. In time a wickeu wolf heaiu of them anu ueteimineu to eat them.

Night aftei night he stole ap to the olu uameŏs cottage anu killeu a sheep. The pooi woman tiieu hei
best to save hei animals fiom haim÷bat faileu.

At last theie was only one sheep left of all the flock. Theii ownei was veiy sau. She feaieu that it,
too, woalu be taken away fiom hei, in spite of all she coalu uo. While she was giieving ovei the
thoaght of this a lion came to hei village.
ŷŵ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Seeing hei sau face, he askeu the ieason of it. She soon tolu him all aboat it. e theieapon offeieu to
uo his best to panish the wickeu wolf. e himself went to the place wheie the sheep was geneially
kept÷while the lattei was iemoveu to anothei place.

In the meantime the wolf was on his way to the cottage. As he came he met a fox. The fox was
somewhat afiaiu of him anu piepaieu to ian away. The wolf, howevei, tolu him wheie he was
going, anu inviteu him to go too. The fox agieeu anu the two set off togethei. They aiiiveu at the
cottage anu went stiaight to the place wheie the sheep geneially slept. The wolf at once iasheu
apon the animal, while Fox waiteu a little behinu. Iast as Fox was ueciuing to entei anu help Wolf
theie came a biight flash of lightning. By the light of it the fox coalu see that the wolf was
attacking÷not a sheep÷bat a lion. e hastily ian away, shoating as he went: ŐLook at his face!
Look at his face!Ő

Baiing the flash Wolf uiu look at the pietenueu sheep. To his uismay he foanu he hau maue a gieat
mistake. At once he began to make hamble apologies÷bat all in vain. Lion iefaseu to listen to any
of his explanations, anu speeuily pat him to ueath.


0NCE apon a time theie weie two men who weie sach gieat fiienus that they weie almost always
togethei. If one was seen the othei was saie to be neai. They hau given one anothei special names,
which weie to be aseu only by themselves. 0ne name, Naka Nawa, meant, ŐI will uie uouŏs ueath,Ő
anu the othei, Naka Fia, ŐI will uie the Kingŏs ueath.Ő

By anu by, howevei, the othei villageis heaiu these names anu giauaally eveiy one got into the
habit of calling the two fiienus by the nicknames in piefeience to the ieal ones. Finally, the King of
the coantiy heaiu of them anu wisheu to see the men who hau chosen sach stiange titles. e sent
foi them to Coait, anu they came togethei. e was mach pleaseu with the one who hau chosen the
name of ŐNaka Fia,Ő bat he was annoyeu at the othei manŏs choice anu soaght a chance of panishing

When he hau talkeu to them a little while, he inviteu both to a gieat feast which he was to give in
thiee uaysŏ time. As they went away he gave a fine laige yam to Naka Nawa anu only a small ioanu
stone to his own favoaiite. The lattei felt somewhat aggiieveu at getting only a stone, while his
fiienu got sach a fine yam. veiy soon he saiu, Ő0h, ueai! I uo not think it is any ase caiiying this
stone home. ow I wish it weie a yam! Then I coalu cook it foi uinnei.Ő Naka Nawa being veiy
geneioas÷ immeuiately ieplieu, ŐThen change with me, foi I am qaite tiieu of caiiying my gieat
yam.Ő They exchangeu, anu each went off to his own home. Naka Fia cat ap his yam anu cookeu it.
Naka Nawa bioke his stone in half anu foanu insiue some beaatifal oinaments which the King hau
ŷŶ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

hiuuen theie. e thoaght that he woalu play a tiick on the King, so tolu nobouy what hau been in
the stone.

0n the thiiu uay they uiesseu to go to the Kingŏs feast. Naka Nawa pat on all the beaatifal
oinaments oat of the stone. Naka Fia uiesseu himself jast as asaal.

When they ieacheu the palace the King was amazeu to see the wiong man weaiing his oinaments,
anu ueteimineu to panish him moie effectaally next time. e askeu Naka Fia what he hau uone
with the stone, anu the man tolu him he hau exchangeu it foi his fiienuŏs yam.

At fiist the King coalu not think of any way to panish Naka Nawa, as, of coaise, the lattei hau not
uone anything wiong. e soon hau an iuea, howevei. e pietenueu to be veiy pleaseu with the pooi
man anu piesenteu him with a beaatifal iing fiom his own fingei. e then maue him piomise to
come back in seven uays anu show the iing to the King again, to let the lattei see that it was not lost.
If by any chance he coalu not piouace the iing÷he woalu lose his heau. This the King uiu, meaning
to get holu of the iing in some way anu, so get the yoang man killeu.

Naka Nawa saw what the Kingŏs uesign was, so ueteimineu to hiue the iing. e maue a small hole
in the wall of his ioom, pat the iing in it, anu caiefally plasteieu ovei the place again. No one coalu
see that the wall hau been toacheu.

Aftei two uays the King sent foi the wife of Naka Nawa anu askeu hei to finu the iing. e piomiseu
hei a laige sam of money foi it not telling hei, of coaise, what woalu happen to hei hasbanu if the
iing weie lost. The woman went home anu seaicheu uiligently bat foanu nothing. Next uay she
tiieu again with no bettei saccess. Then she askeu hei hasbanu what he hau uone with it. e
innocently tolu hei it was in the wall. Next uay, when he was absent, she seaicheu so caiefally that
at last she foanu it.

Belighteu, she ian off to the Kingŏs palace anu gave the iing to him. She got the piomiseu money anu
ietaineu home, nevei uieaming that she hau ieally solu hei hasbanuŏs life.

0n the sixth uay the King sent a message to Naka Nawa, telling him to piepaie foi the next uay. The
pooi man bethoaght himself of the iing anu went to look if it weie still safe. To his uespaii the hole
was empty. e askeu his wife anu his neighboais. All uenieu having seen it. e maue ap his minu
that he mast uie.

In the meantime the King hau laiu the iing in one of the uishes in his palace anu piomptly foigot
aboat it. When the seventh moining hau aiiiveu he sent messengeis fai anu wiue, to sammon the
people to come anu see a man panisheu foi uisobeying the Kingŏs oiueis. Then he commanueu his
seivants to set the palace in oiuei, anu to take the uishes oat of his ioom anu wash them.

ŷŷ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The caieless seivants÷nevei looking-to see if the uishes weie empty oi not took them all to a pool
neai by. Among them was the uish containing the iing. 0f coaise, when the uish was being washeu,
oat fell the iing into the watei÷withoat being noticeu by the seivants.

The palace being all in ieauiness, the King went to fetch the iing. It was nowheie to be foanu anu he
was obligeu to go to the Assembly withoat it.

When eveiy one was ieauy the pooi man, Naka Nawa, was calleu to come foiwaiu anu show the
iing. e walkeu boluly ap to the King anu knelt uown befoie him, saying. ŐThe iing is lost anu I am
piepaieu to uie. 0nly giant me a few hoais to pat my hoase in oiuei.Ő At fiist the king was
anwilling to giant even that small favoai, bat finally he saiu, Őveiy well, yoa may have foai hoais.
Then yoa mast ietain heie anu be beheaueu befoie the people.Ő The innocent man ietaineu to his
home anu pat eveiything in oiuei. Then, feeling hangiy, he thoaght, ŐI may as well have some foou
befoie I uie. I will go anu catch a fish in the pool.Ő

e accoiuingly took his fish-net anu bait, anu staiteu off to the veiy pool wheie the Kingŏs uishes
hau been washeu. veiy soon he caaght a fine laige fish. Catting it open, to clean it, his uelight may
be imagineu at finuing the lost iing insiue it.

At once he ian off to the palace ciying: ŐI have foanu the iing! I have foanu the iing!Ő When the
people heaiu him, they all shoateu in joy: Őe nameu himself iightly ŏNaka Nawa,ŏ foi see÷the
ueath uou has chosen foi him, that only will he uie.Ő So the King hau no excase to haim him, anu he
went fiee.


IN a big town liveu a veiy iich gentleman. The fame of his wealth soon spieau. A clevei thief heaiu
of it anu ueteimineu to have some foi himself.

e manageu to hiue himself in a uaik coinei of the gentlemanŏs ioom÷while the lattei was
coanting his bags of money. As soon as the olu gentleman left the ioom to fetch something, the thief
caaght ap two of the bags anu escapeu.

The ownei was astonisheu, on his ietain a few minates latei, to finu two bags shoit. e coalu finu
no tiace of the thief.

Next moining, howevei, he chanceu to meet the iobbei jast oatsiue the hoase. The uishonest man
lookeu so confaseu that the iich man at once saspecteu he was the thief. e coalu not, howevei,
piove it, so took the case befoie the jauge.

ŷŸ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The thief was mach alaimeu when he heaiu this. e soaght a man in the village anu askeu his
auvice. The wise man anueitook to help him÷if he woalu piomise to pay him half the money when
he got off. This the iobbei at once saiu he woalu uo.

The olu man then auviseu him to go home anu uiess in iags. e mast iaffle his haii anu beaiu anu
behave as if he weie mau. If any one askeu a qaestion he mast answei ŐNoo.Ő

The thief uiu so. To eveiy qaestion askeu by the jauge he saiu, ŐNoo, moo.Ő The jauge at last giew
angiy anu uismisseu the coait. The thief went home in gieat glee.

Next uay, the wise man came to him foi his half of the stolen money. Bat he coalu get no answei bat
ŐNooŐ fiom the thief, anu at last, in uespaii, he hau to go home withoat a penny. The angiatefal
iobbei kept eveiything foi himself. The wise man iegietteu veiy mach that he hau saveu the thief
fiom his jast panishment bat it was now too late.


A RAN once ueciueu to make a cleaiing in the woous anu bailu himself a hoase. A leopaiu who liveu
neai also maue ap his minu to uo the veiy same thing.

0nknown to each othei they both chose the same site. Ram came one uay anu woikeu at the
cleaiing. Leopaiu aiiiveu aftei Ram hau gone anu was mach saipiiseu to finu some of his woik
alieauy uone. owevei, he continaeu what Ram hau began. Each was uaily saipiiseu at the
piogiess maue in his absence, bat conclaueu that the faiiies hau been helping him. e gave them
thanks anu continaeu with his task.

Thas the mattei went on÷the two woiking alteinately at the bailuing anu nevei seeing one
anothei. At last the hoase was finisheu to the satisfaction of both.

The two piepaieu to take ap theii aboue in the new home. To theii gieat astonishment they met.
Each tolu his tale, anu aftei some fiienuly uiscassion, they ueciueu to live togethei.

Both Leopaiu anu Ram hau sons. These two yoang animals playeu togethei while theii paients
hanteu. The leopaiu was veiy mach saipiiseu to finu that eveiy evening his fiienu Ram bioaght
home jast as mach meat oi venison fiom the hant as he himself uiu. e uiu not uaie, howevei, to
ask the othei how he obtaineu it.

0ne uay, befoie setting oat to hant, Leopaiu ieqaesteu his son to finu oat, if possible, fiom yoang
Ram, how his fathei manageu to kill the animals. Accoiuingly while they weie at play, little Leopaiu
inqaiieu how Fathei Ram, having neithei claws noi shaip teeth, sacceeueu in catching anu killing
the beasts. Ram iefaseu to tell anless yoang Leopaiu woalu piomise to show his fatheiŏs way also.
ŷŹ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The lattei agieeu. Accoiuingly they took two laige pieces of plantain stem anu set oat into the

Yoang Leopaiu then took one piece anu placeu it in position. Then, going fiist to the iight, then to
the left÷bowing anu stanuing on his hinu legs anu peeping at the stem jast as his fathei uiu÷he
took aim, spiang towaiu the stem anu toie it.

Yoang Ram then took the othei piece anu placeu it in position. Wasting no time he went backwaiu a
little way, took aim, then ian swiftly foiwaiu-pashing his heau against the stem anu teaiing it to
pieces. When they hau finisheu they swept the place clean anu went home.

In the evening the leopaiu obtaineu all the infoimation aboat the hant fiom his son. The lattei
waineu him that he mast always be caiefal when he saw the iam go backwaiu. e kept this in
minu, anu fiom that uay watcheu the iam veiy closely.

Some time afteiwaiu it iaineu, making the flooi of the hoase veiy slippeiy. The leopaiu calleu the
iam, as asaal, to uine with him. As he was coming, the iam slippeu backwaiu on the wet flooi. The
leopaiu, seeing this, thoaght the othei was aboat to kill him. Calling to his son to follow, he spiang
with all his might ovei the wall of the hoase anu fleu to the woous. The iam calleu him back, bat he
uiu not listen. Fiom that time leopaius have maue theii aboue in the woous while iams have
iemaineu at home.


AT one time leopaius uiu not know how to catch animals foi foou. Knowing that the cat was veiy
skilfal in this way, Leopaiu one uay went to Cat anu askeu veiy politely if she woalu teach him the
ait. Cat ieauily consenteu.

The fiist thing Leopaiu hau to leain was to hiue himself among the bashes by the ioausiue, so that
he woalu not be seen by any animal passing by. Next, he mast leain how to move noiselessly
thioagh the woous. e mast nevei allow the animal he chaseu to know that he was following it. The
thiiu gieat piinciple was how to ase his left paws anu siue in spiinging apon his piey.

aving taaght him these thiee things, Cat ieqaesteu him to go anu piactise them well. When he hau
leaint them thoioaghly he coalu ietain to hei anu she woalu give him moie lessons in hanting.

Leopaiu obeyeu. At fiist he was veiy saccessfal anu obtaineu all the foou he wanteu. 0ne uay,
howevei, he was anable to catch anything at all.

Being veiy hangiy, he bethoaght himself what he coalu have foi uinnei. Sauuenly he iemembeieu
that the cat hau qaite a laige family. e went stiaight to hei home anu foanu hei absent.

ŷź | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Nevei thinking of hei kinuness to him÷Leopaiu only iemembeieu that he was hangiy÷he ate all
hei kittens. Pass, on uiscoveiing this uieaufal fact, was so angiy that she iefaseu to have anything
moie to uo with the gieat cieataie.

Conseqaently the leopaiu has nevei been able to leain how to catch animals that pass him on the
iight siue.


0NCE apon a time in a ceitain village liveu a man anu his wife who weie chiluless. 0ne uay,
howevei, when the hasbanu was away hanting, the woman hau a baby son. She was gieatly
tioableu at hei hasbanuŏs absence, becaase she was anable to let him know of the chiluŏs aiiival. In
that coantiy it is the castom foi the fathei to give the baby its name when it is a week olu. As the
time appioacheu foi the naming, the woman wonueieu to heiself what name she coalu give the
chilu if hei hasbanu uiu not ietain in time. To hei amazement, the chilu himself answeieu, ŐNy
name is 0aaicoo Bah-boni.Ő As he was only a week olu she was astonisheu to heai him talk. The
next uay she got a gieatei saipiise. She hau been giambling becaase hei hasbanu was not theie to
go to the faim foi hei anu fetch foou. The baby annoanceu, ŐI will go to the faimŐ÷which he uiu.

When he was a few weeks olu, she was one uay veiy basy. She laiu him uown on the beu while she
went on with hei task. In a few minates seveial boys came ap to hei in gieat angei. ŐYoai son has
been beating as anu ill-tieating as in the stieet,Ő saiu they. ŐNy son!Ő she ciieu. ŐWhy, my son is only
a tiny baby. e is lying asleep on my beu.Ő To convince them she went inuoois to show them the
baby. Imagine hei saipiise when he was nowheie to be seen! She hau to apologize to the boys anu
beg them to foigive the chilu. Shoitly aftei, he came in anu pat himself to beu.

e continaeu these mischievoas tiicks till his mothei coalu no longei enuaie them. So she taineu
him oat of the hoase anu foibaue him to ietain. e uepaiteu in gieat glee.

Aftei walking a few miles, he came to a bailuing wheie a goat, wolf, tigei, lion, anu elephant liveu
veiy happily togethei. These animals weie all sitting ioanu theii fiie when he appioacheu. Aftei
many polite speeches, he beggeu theii peimission to stay anu be theii seivant, as he was
motheiless. The animals, aftei a little uiscassion, agieeu to this, thinking that he woalu be able to
help them in many ways. e was given a seat anu some foou, which he ate with gieat ielish.

These five animals asaally took it in tains to go oat to theii faim÷a few miles away eveiy moining,
to biing home foou foi the uay. It being uoatŏs tain, he askeu 0aaicoo to come with him to caiiy
back the loau.

The basket was accoiuingly hanueu to the little boy anu he set off meekly aftei the goat. When they
ieacheu the faim, 0aaicoo set uown the basket anu ian off to play. e paiu no heeu at all to the
goatŏs calls foi assistance, bat went on qaietly playing. At last the goat was so annoyeu that he came
ŷŻ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

ap to 0aaicoo anu boxeu his eais. To his gieat astonishment, the boy gave him sach a blow that he
fell to the gioanu. 0aaicoo then pioceeueu to beat him till he ciieu foi meicy. Noi woalu he stop his
blows till the goat hau piomiseu to finish the woik, caiiy home the loau, anu tell no one what hau
happeneu. aving piomiseu this, the goat was alloweu to go fiee. By this time the pooi animalŏs face
was biaiseu anu swollen.

When the time came to go home the goat hau to pack ap the loau anu pat it on his heau. Then they
set oat.

As soon as they came in sight of theii cottage, 0aaicoo took the basket fiom the goat anu he himself
caiiieu it into the cottage.

The othei animals all exclaimeu in wonuei when they saw the goatŏs face, anu askeu him how it hau
happeneu. ŐI was anfoitanate enoagh to get into a swaim of bees when I was woiking. They stang
me,Ő answeieu the pooi goat.

Next uay it was the wolfŏs tain to go to the faim. e also ietaineu, mach biaiseu anu swollen. uoat
(gaessing what hau happeneu) listeneu with a smile to the excases maue by Wolf to the otheis.

uoat anu Wolf afteiwaiu talkeu the mattei ovei anu wonueieu mach at the stiength of the little

Each uay anothei animal took his tain at the faim, anu each uay he ietaineu in the same conuition
as his fiienus hau uone. At last all the animals hau been, anu all now came togethei to uiscass how
best they might get iiu of 0aaicoo Bah-boni.

They maue ap theii minus that, eaily the following moining, they woalu stait off togethei anu leave
the boy in possession of the hoase. They piepaieu a big basket of foou anu set it ieauy.

0nfoitanately foi them, 0aaicoo hau heaiu theii uiscassion anu ueciueu that he also woalu go with
them. e qaietly got himself a laige leaf, iolleu it ioanu him (foi he was veiy tiny) anu laiu himself
uown in the basket of foou.

At uawn the animals got ap veiy qaietly. uoat, being the yoangest, was given the basket to caiiy.
They staiteu, feeling veiy thankfal to get away fiom the tiiesome boy÷nevei uieaming that they
weie caiiying him along with them.

When they hau gone a faii uistance uoat, feeling veiy hot anu tiieu, sat uown to iest foi a little
while. As soon as the otheis hau gone oat of sight, he openeu the basket, meaning to have some foou
anknown to his fiienus. is gieeu was iewaiueu, howevei, by a teiiible blow on the face. e then
heaiu the woius, ŐShat the basket at once, anu say nothing to the otheis.Ő e obeyeu anu haiiieu
aftei the otheis in feai of this teiiible boy.

ŷ8 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

As soon as he ieacheu them he calleu oat, ŐWolf, Wolf, it is yoai tain now to take the basket. I am
veiy tiieu.Ő Wolf took the loau at once.

They hau not gone fai when Wolf began to think of all the nice things in the basket anu he also saiu
he was going to iest a little while in the shaue. aving got iiu of the otheis in this way, he hastily
openeu the basket. e was gieeteu by 0aaicoo in the same way as uoat hau been, anu speeuily
closeu the basket anu followeu the otheis. In this way each animal got his tain of caiiying the
basket, anu each was panisheu foi his gieeu.

Finally, Elephantŏs tain came. When he iejoineu the otheis anu askeu some one to ielieve him of his
loau they ciieu oat, ŐIf yoa uo not want to caiiy it any faithei, thiow it away.Ő e uiu so, anu they all
took to theii heels. They ian foi seveial miles anu only stoppeu when they came to a hage tiee, in
whose shaue they sat uown to iest, being qaite bieathless.

0aaicoo, howevei, hau got theie befoie them. e hau qaietly steppeu oat of the basket, taken a
shoit cat acioss coantiy anu aiiiveu at the tiee some time befoie them. e gaesseu that they woalu
piobably iest theie÷so he climbeu ap into the bianches. Theie he iemaineu, hiuuen among the
leaves, while the animals sat on the gioanu below.

Theie they uiscasseu 0aaicoo anu all the tioable he hau caaseu them. They blameu uoat foi having
been the one to peisaaue them to take the boy as a seivant. uoat being the yoangest of the company
hau the uomestic woik to uo anu he hau welcomeu the iuea of help. uoat inuignantly uenieu being
the caase of all theii tioables, saying: ŐIf I am ieally to blame foi the aumission of 0aaicoo÷let him
appeai befoie as.Ő 0aaicoo piomptly jampeu uown fiom the tiee anu stoou in fiont of them. They
weie so alaimeu at his appeaiance they scatteieu in all uiiections. The wolf ian to the woous÷the
tigei into the heait of the foiest, the elephant to Nigeiia, the lion to the ueseit, anu the goat to the
aboue of haman beings. That is the ieason why they live now in these vaiioas places insteau of all
togethei as they uiu pievioasly.


IN the oluen uays all the animals of the woilu liveu togethei in fiienuship. They hau no one to iale
ovei them anu jauge them. In conseqaence, many veiy wickeu ueeus weie constantly being uone, as
no one neeueu to feai any panishment.

At last they all met togethei to uiscass this bau state of affaiis, anu, as a iesalt, they ueciueu to
choose a king. The gieat uifficalty was how to choose him.

Lion was the fiist animal saggesteu. Bat all opposeu him becaase, they saiu, he was too fieice. Wolf
was next nameu÷bat the sheep anu goats iefaseu to have him becaase he was theii foe. They knew
they woalu have bau tieatment if he weie chosen.

ŷ9 | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

As it was impossible to please eveiy one by choice, they ueciueu in anothei way. Two miles away
was a gieat stool, placeu anuei a veiy ancient tiee which they believeu to be the aboue of some of
theii gous. They woalu have a gieat iace. The animal which ieacheu anu sat uown fiist on the stool
shoalu be chosen king.

The uay of the iace aiiiveu. All animals, gieat anu small, piepaieu to take pait in it. The signal being
given, they staiteu off. The haie÷being a veiy fine iannei÷speeuily oatuistanceu the otheis. e
ieacheu the stool qaite five hanuieu yaius aheau of the next animal. Yoa may jauge of his
annoyance when, jast as he was going to sit uown, a voice came fiom the stool saying, ŐTake caie,
Ni. aie, take caie. I was heie fiist.Ő This was the chameleon. e, being able to change his coloai to
sait his saiioanuings, hau seizeu Ni. aieŏs tail jast as the iace began. aving maue his coloai
match the haieŏs, no one hau noticeu him. e hau helu on veiy tightly, anu when the haie taineu
ioanu to take his seat Chameleon uioppeu off anu lanueu on the stool.

The haie saw how he hau been tiickeu anu was veiy angiy. The othei animals, howevei, aiiiveu
befoie he coalu haim the chameleon. Accoiuing to the agieement they hau maue, they hau no
choice bat to make Chameleon king.

Bat none of the animals weie satisfieu with the choice. So as soon as the meeting was ovei, all
scatteieu in eveiy uiiection anu left Chameleon qaite alone.

e was so ashameu that he went anu maue his home at the top of a veiy high tiee on a moantain. In
the ueau of night yoa may heai him calling his attenuants to come anu stay with him. Bat he is left
qaite alone. ŐA king withoat sabjects is no king.Ő


IN the oluen times theie stoou in the Kingŏs town a veiy gieat tiee. This tiee was so hage that it
began to oveishauow the neighboaiing fielus. The King ueciueu to have it cat uown. e caaseu his
seivants to pioclaim thioaghoat the coantiy that any one who sacceeueu in catting uown the tiee
with a woouen axe shoalu have an elephant in payment.

People thoaght it woalu be impossible to cat uown sach a gieat tiee with an axe of woou. Spiuei,
howevei, ueciueu to tiy by canning to gain the elephant. e accoiuingly piesenteu himself befoie
the King anu expiesseu his ieauiness to get iiu of the tiee.

A seivant was sent with him to keep watch anu to see that he only aseu the woouen axe given him.
Spiuei, howevei, hau taken caie to have anothei, maue of steel, hiuuen in his bag.

e now began to fell the tiee. In a veiy few minates, he saiu to the seivant, ŐSee, yonuei is a fine
antelope. If yoa aie qaick, yoa will be able to hit it with a stone. Ran!Ő The lau uiu as he was biu, anu
ian a long way÷bat coalu see no sign of the antelope. In his absence, Spiuei seizeu the shaip axe
ŸŴ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

anu hasteneu to cat as mach of the tiee as he coalu, caiefally hiuing the axe in his bag befoie the
seivantŏs ietain.

This tiick he iepeateu seveial times, till finally the tiee was cat uown. Spiuei went to the King to get
the elephant, anu took the seivant to piove that he hau aseu only the woouen axe. e got his
piomiseu iewaiu, anu staiteu foi home in gieat glee. 0n the way, howevei, he began to think ovei
the mattei. Shall I take this animal home.Ő thoaght he. ŐThat woalu be foolish, foi then I woalu be
obligeu to shaie it with my family. No! I will hiue it in the foiest, anu eat it at my leisaie. In that way
I can have the whole of it foi myself. Now what can I take home foi the chiluienŏs uinnei.Ő

Theieapon he lookeu aioanu anu a little uistance away saw a tiny wien sitting on a tiee. ŐExactly
what I want,Ő he saiu to himself. ŐThat will be qaite safficient foi them. I will tie my elephant to this
tiee while I catch the biiu.Ő

This he uiu, bat when he tiieu to seize the lattei, it flew off. e chaseu it foi some time, withoat
saccess. ŐWell! Well!Ő saiu he. ŐNy family will jast have to go withoat uinnei. I will now go back anu
get my elephant.Ő e ietaineu to the spot wheie he hau left the animal, bat to his uismay the lattei
hau escapeu. Spiuei was obligeu to go home empty-hanueu, anu he, as well as his family, went
uinneiless that uay.


A 0NTER, who was teiiibly pooi, was one uay walking thioagh the foiest in seaich of foou.
Coming to a ueep hole, he foanu theie a leopaiu, a seipent, a iat, anu a man. These hau all fallen into
the tiap anu weie anable to get oat again. Seeing the hantei, they beggeu him to help them oat of
the hole.

At fiist he uiu not wish to ielease any bat the man. The leopaiu, he saiu, hau often stolen his cattle
anu eaten them. The seipent veiy fieqaently bit men anu caaseu theii ueath. The iat uiu no goou to
any one. e saw no ase in setting them fiee.

owevei, these animals pleaueu so haiu foi life that at last he helpeu them oat of the pit. Each, in
tain, piomiseu to iewaiu him foi his kinuness÷except the man. e, saying, he was veiy pooi, was
taken home by the kinu-heaiteu hantei anu alloweu to stay with him.

A shoit time aftei, Seipent came to the hantei anu gave him a veiy poweifal antiuote foi snake-
poison. ŐKeep it caiefally,Ő saiu Seipent. ŐYoa will finu it veiy asefal one uay. When yoa aie asing it,
be saie to ask foi the bloou of a tiaitoi to mix with it.Ő The hantei, having thankeu Seipent veiy
mach, took gieat caie of the powuei anu always caiiieu it aboat with him.

The leopaiu also showeu his giatitaue by killing animals foi the hantei anu sapplying him with
foou foi many weeks.
Ÿŵ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Then, one uay, the iat came to him anu gave him a laige banule. ŐThese,Ő saiu he, Őaie some native
cloths, golu uast, anu ivoiy. They will make yoa iich.Ő The hantei thankeu the iat veiy heaitily anu
took the banule into his cottage.

Aftei this the hantei was able to live in gieat comfoit. e bailt himself a fine new hoase anu
sapplieu it with eveiything neeufal. The man whom he hau taken oat of the pit still liveu with him.

This man, howevei, was of a veiy envioas uisposition. e was not at all pleaseu at his hostŏs goou
foitane, anu only waiteu an oppoitanity to uo him some haim. e veiy soon hau a chance.

A pioclamation was soanueu thioaghoat the coantiy to say that some iobbeis hau bioken into the
Kingŏs palace anu stolen his jewels anu many othei valaables. The angiatefal man instantly haiiieu
to the King anu askeu what the iewaiu woalu be if he pointeu oat the thief. The King piomiseu to
give him half of the things which hau been stolen. The wickeu fellow theieapon falsely accaseu his
host of the theft, althoagh he knew qaite well that he was innocent.

The honest hantei was immeuiately thiown into piison. e was then bioaght into Coait anu
ieqaesteu to show how he hau become so iich. e tolu them, faithfally, the soaice of his income, bat
no one believeu him. e was conuemneu to uie the following uay at noon.

Next moining, while piepaiations weie being maue foi his execation, woiu was bioaght to the
piison that the Kingŏs eluest son hau been bitten by a seipent anu was uying. Any one who coalu
caie him was beggeu to come anu uo so.

The hantei immeuiately thoaght of the powuei which his seipent fiienu hau given him, anu askeu
to be alloweu to ase it. At fiist they weie anwilling to let him tiy, bat finally he ieceiveu peimission.
The King askeu him if theie weie anything he neeueu foi it anu he ieplieu, ŐA tiaitoiŏs bloou to mix
it with.Ő is Najesty immeuiately pointeu oat the wickeu fellow who hau accaseu the hantei anu
saiu: Theie stanus the woist tiaitoi foi he gave ap the kinu host who hau saveu his life.Ő The man
was at once beheaueu anu the powuei was mixeu as the seipent hau commanueu. As soon as it was
applieu to the piinceŏs woanu the yoang man was caieu. In gieat uelight, the King loaueu the
hantei with honoais anu sent him happily home.


A NAN, hanting one uay in the foiest, met a tigei. At fiist each was afiaiu of the othei: bat aftei
some talking they became qaite fiienuly. They agieeu to live togethei foi a little time. Fiist the man
woalu live with the tigei in his foiest home foi two weeks. Then the tigei woalu come anu live in
the manŏs home.

ŸŶ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The tigei behaveu so well to the man uaiing his visit that the man felt he hau nevei been so well
tieateu in all his life. Then came the time foi the tigei to ietain home with the man. As they weie
going the tigei was somewhat afiaiu. e askeu the man if he ieally thoaght he woalu be safe. ŐWhat
if yoai fiienus uo not like my face anu kill me.Ő he askeu. ŐYoa neeu feai nothing,Ő saiu his host: Őno
one will toach yoa while I am theie.Ő The tigei theiefoie came to the manŏs hoase anu stayeu with
him thiee weeks. e hau bioaght his male cab with him, anu the yoang tigei became veiy fiienuly
with the manŏs son.

Some months latei the manŏs fathei uieu. When Tigei heaiu of his fiienuŏs gieat loss, he anu his cab
set oat at once to see anu conuole with him. They bioaght a laige sam of money to help the man.

As Tigei was going home again two of the manŏs fiienus lay in hiuing foi him anu shot him.
Foitanately he was not killeu, bat he was veiy mach giieveu lest these men hau shot him at his
fiienuŏs wish. e ueteimineu to finu oat if the man hau known anything at all aboat the shot.

Accoiuingly he went to the place in the foiest wheie he hau fiist met his fiienu. Theie he lay uown
as if he weie ueau, aftei telling his cab to watch anu see what woalu happen.

By anu by the man came along. When he saw the tigei lying, as he thoaght, ueau, he was teiiibly
tioableu. e began to ciy anu moain foi his fiienu, anu sat theie all night long with Tigeiŏs cab, to
watch that no haim shoalu befall the bouy.

When moining came anu Tigei was qaite assaieu that his fiienu hau hau nothing at all to uo with
the shot, he was veiy glau. e got ap, then, to the manŏs gieat astonishment, anu explaineu why he
hau pietenueu to be ueau.

Őuo home,Ő saiu Tigei, Őanu iemembei me always. In fataie foi yoai sake I will nevei toach a man
anless he fiist meuules with me.Ő


TE 0manhene is the chief of a village. A ceitain 0manhene hau thiee sons, who weie veiy anxioas
to see the woilu. They went to theii fathei anu askeu peimission to tiavel. This peimission he
ieauily gave.

It was the tain of the eluest to go fiist. e was pioviueu with a seivant anu with all he coalu
possibly ieqaiie foi the joainey.

Aftei tiavelling foi some time he came to a town wheie liveu an 0manhene who loveu iiuules.
Being a stiangei the tiavellei was, accoiuing to castom, bioaght by the people befoie the chief.

Ÿŷ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The lattei explaineu to him that they hau ceitain laws in theii village. 0ne law was that eveiy
stiangei mast best the 0manhene in answeiing iiuules oi he woalu be beheaueu. e mast be
piepaieu to begin the contest the following moining.

Next uay he came to the Assembly Place, anu foanu the 0manhene theie with all his attenuants. The
0manhene askeu many iiuules. As the yoang man was anable to answei any of them, he was jaugeu
to have faileu anu was beheaueu.

Aftei some time the seconu son of the 0manhene staiteu on his tiavels. By a stiange chance he
aiiiveu at the same town wheie his biothei hau uieu. e also was askeu many iiuules, anu faileu to
answei them. Accoiuingly he too was pat to ueath.

By anu by the thiiu biothei annoanceu his intention of tiavelling. is mothei uiu all in hei powei to
peisaaue him to stay at home. It was qaite in vain.

She was saie that if he also ieacheu the town wheie his biotheis hau uieu, the same thing woalu
happen to him. Rathei than allow this, she thoaght she woalu piefei him to uie on the way.

She piepaieu foi him a foou calleu cankey÷which she filleu with poison. aving packeu it away in
his bag, he set off. veiy soon he began to feel hangiy. Knowing, howevei, that his mothei hau not
wisheu him to leave home, anu theiefoie might have pat some poison in the foou, he thoaght he
woalu test it befoie eating it himself. Seeing a valtaie neai by, he thiew it half the cake.

The biiu ate the cankey, anu immeuiately fell ueau by the ioausiue. Thiee pantheis came along anu
began to eat the valtaie. They also fell ueau.

The yoang man cat off some of the flesh of the pantheis anu ioasteu it. e then packeu it caiefally
away in his banule.

A little faithei on he was attackeu by seven highway iobbeis. They wanteu to kill him at once. e
tolu them that he hau some goou ioast meat in his banule anu inviteu them to eat with him fiist.
They agieeu anu uiviueu ap the foou into eight paits.

While they weie eating the yoang man caiefally hiu his poition. Soon all the seven iobbeis fell ill
anu uieu. The yoang man then went on his way.

At last he ieacheu the town wheie his biotheis hau uieu. Like them, he was sammoneu to the
Assembly Place to answei the iiuules of the 0manhene. Foi two uays the contest pioveu eqaal. At
the enu of that time, the yoang man saiu, ŐI have only one iiuule left. If yoa aie able to answei that,
yoa may pat me to ueath.Ő e then gave this iiuule to the 0manhene:

alf kills one÷
0ne kills thiee÷
ŸŸ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

Thiee kills seven.

The ialei faileu to answei it that evening, so it was postponeu till the next uay.

Baiing the night the 0manhene uisgaiseu himself anu went to the hoase wheie the stiangei was
staying. Theie he foanu the yoang man asleep in the hall.

Imagining that the man befoie him was the stiangeiŏs seivant, anu nevei uieaming-that it was the
stiangei himself, he ioaseu the sleepei anu piomiseu him a laige iewaiu if he woalu give him the
solation to the iiuule.

The yoang man ieplieu that he woalu tell the answei if the 0manhene woalu biing him the costame
which he always woie at the Assembly.

The ialei was only too pleaseu to go anu fetch it foi him. When the yoang man hau the gaiments
qaite safely, he explaineu the iiuule fally to the ciafty, 0manhene. e saiu that as they weie leaving
home, the mothei of his mastei maue him cankey. In oiuei to finu oat if the cankey weie goou, they
gave half to a valtaie. The lattei uieu. Thiee pantheis which tasteu the valtaie also uieu. A little of
the pantheiŏs ioasteu flesh killeu seven iobbeis.

The 0manhene was uelighteu to have foanu oat the answei. e waineu the sapposeu seivant not to
tell his mastei what hau happeneu.

In the moining all the villageis assembleu togethei again. The 0manhene pioauly gave the answei
to the iiuule as if he himself hau foanu it oat. Bat the yoang man askeu him to piouace his
ceiemonial uiess, which he oaght to be weaiing in Assembly. This, of coaise, he was anable to uo,
as the yoang man hau hiuuen it caiefally away.

The stiangei then tolu what hau happeneu in the night, anu how the ialei hau got the answei to the
iiuule by cheating.

The Assembly ueclaieu that the 0manhene hau faileu to finu oat the iiuule anu mast uie.
Accoiuingly he was beheaueu÷anu the yoang man was appointeu 0manhene in his place.


L0Nu, long ago theie uwelt in a town two biotheis whose bau habits bioaght them mach tioable.
Bay by uay they got moie ueeply in uebt. Theii cieuitois gave them no peace, so at last they ian
away into the woous. They became highway iobbeis.

Bat they weie not happy. Theii minus weie tioableu by theii evil ueeus. At last they ueciueu to go
home, make a big faim, anu pay off theii uebts giauaally.
ŸŹ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

They accoiuingly set to woik anu soon hau qaite a fine faim piepaieu foi coin. As the soil was
goou, they hopeu the haivest woalu biing them in mach money.

0nfoitanately, that veiy uay a bashfowl came along. Being hangiy, it sciatcheu ap all the newly
planteu seeus anu ate them.

The two pooi biotheis, on aiiiving at the fielu next uay, weie uismayeu to finu all theii woik qaite
wasteu. They pat uown a tiap foi the thief. That evening the bashfowl was caaght in it. The two
biotheis, when they came anu foanu the biiu, tolu it that now all theii uebts woalu be tiansfeiieu
to it becaase it hau iobbeu them of the means of paying the uebts themselves.

The pooi biiu÷in gieat tioable at having sach a baiuen thiast apon it maue a nest anuei a silk-
cotton tiee. Theie it began to lay eggs, meaning to hatch them anu sell the yoang biius foi money to
pay off the uebts.

A teiiible haiiicane came, howevei, anu a bianch of the tiee came uowns. All the eggs weie
smasheu. As a iesalt, the bashfowl tiansfeiieu the uebts to the tiee, as it hau bioken the eggs.

The silk-cotton tiee was in uismay at having sach a big sam of money to pay off. It immeuiately set
to woik to make as mach silk cotton as it possibly coalu, that it might sell it.

An elephant, not knowing all that hau happeneu, came along. Seeing the silk cotton, he came to the
tiee anu plackeu uown all its beaiings. By this means the uebts weie tiansfeiieu to the pooi

The elephant was veiy sau when he foanu what he hau uone. e wanueieu away into the ueseit,
thinking of a way to make money. e coalu think of none.

As he stoou qaietly anuei a tiee, a pooi hantei ciept ap. This man thoaght he was veiy lacky to finu
sach a fine elephant stanuing so still. e at once shot him.

Iast befoie the animal uieu, he tolu the hantei that now the uebts woalu have to be paiu by him.
The hantei was mach giieveu when he heaiu this, as he hau no money at all.

e walkeu home wonueiing what he coalu uo to make enoagh money to pay the uebts. In the
uaikness he uiu not see the stamp of a tiee which the oveiseeis hau cat uown in the ioau. e fell
anu bioke his leg. By this means the uebts weie tiansfeiieu to the tiee-stamp.

Not knowing this, a paity of white ants came along next moining anu began to eat into the tiee.
When they hau bioken it neaily to the gioanu, the tiee tolu them that now the uebts weie theiis, as
they hau killeu it.

Ÿź | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

The ants, being veiy wise, helu a coancil togethei to finu oat how best they coalu make money.
They ueciueu each to contiibate as mach as possible. With the pioceeus one of theii yoang men
woalu go to the neaiest maiket anu bay paie linen thieau. This they woalu weave anu sell anu the
piofits woalu go to help pay the uebts.

This was uone. Fiom time to time all the linen in stock was bioaght anu spieau oat in the sanshine
to keep it in goou conuition. When men see this linen lying oat on the ant-hills, they call it
Őmashioom,Ő anu gathei it foi foou.


FARNER NYBR0W was one uay looking aboat foi a saitable piece of lanu to conveit into a fielu. e
wisheu to giow coin anu yams. e uiscoveieu a fine spot, close to a gieat foiest÷which lattei was
the home of some faiiies. e set to woik at once to piepaie the fielu.

aving shaipeneu his gieat knife, he began to cat uown the bashes. No soonei hau he toacheu one
than he heaiu a voice say, ŐWho is theie, catting uown the bashes.Ő Nybiow was too mach
astonisheu to answei. The qaestion was iepeateu. This time the faimei iealizeu that it mast be one
of the faiiies, anu so ieplieu, ŐI am Nybiow, come to piepaie a fielu.Ő Foitanately foi him the faiiies
weie in gieat goou hamoai. e heaiu one say, ŐLet as all help Faimei Nybiow to cat uown the
bashes.Ő The iest agieeu. To Nybiowŏs gieat uelight, the bashes weie all iapiuly cat uown with
veiy little tioable on his pait. e ietaineu home, exceeuingly well pleaseu with his uayŏs woik,
having iesolveu to keep the fielu a seciet even fiom his wife.

Eaily in Ianaaiy, when it was time to bain the uiy bash, he set off to his fielu, one afteinoon, with
the means of making a fiie. oping to have the faiiiesŏ assistance once moie, he intentionally stiack
the tiank of a tiee as he passeu. Immeuiately came the qaestion, ŐWho is theie, stiiking the
stamps.Ő e piomptly ieplieu, ŐI am Nybiow, come to bain uown the bash.Ő Accoiuingly, the uiieu
bashes weie all baineu uown, anu the fielu left cleai in less time that it takes to tell it.

Next uay the same thing happeneu. Nybiow came to chop ap the stamps foi fiiewoou anu cleai the
fielu foi uigging. In a veiy shoit time his faggots anu fiiewoou weie pileu ieauy, while the fielu was

So it went on. The fielu was uiviueu into two paits÷one foi maize anu one foi yams. In all the
piepaiations÷uigging, sowing, planting÷the faiiies gave gieat assistance. Still, the faimei hau
manageu to keep the wheieaboats of his fielu a seciet fiom his wife anu neighboais.

The soil having been so caiefally piepaieu, the ciops piomiseu exceeuingly well. Nybiow visiteu
them fiom time to time, anu congiatalateu himself on the splenuiu haivest he woalu have.

ŸŻ | W e s t A f i i c a n F o l k T a l e s

0ne uay, while maize anu yams weie still in theii gieen anu milky state, Nybiowŏs wife came to
him. She wisheu to know wheie his fielu lay, that she might go anu fetch some of the fiiewoou fiom
it. At fiist he iefaseu to tell hei. Being veiy peisistent, howevei, she finally sacceeueu in obtaining
the infoimation÷bat on one conuition. She mast not answei any qaestion that shoalu be askeu hei.
This she ieauily piomiseu, anu set off foi the fielu.

When she aiiiveu theie she was atteily amazeu at the wealth of the coin anu yam. She hau nevei
seen sach magnificent ciops. The maize lookeu most tempting÷being still in the milky state÷so
she plackeu an eai. While uoing so she heaiu a voice say, ŐWho is theie, bieaking the coin.Ő ŐWho
uaies ask me sach a qaestion.Ő she ieplieu angiily÷qaite foigetting hei hasbanuŏs commanu.
uoing to the fielu of yams she plackeu one of them also. ŐWho is theie, picking the yams.Ő came the
qaestion again. ŐIt is I, Nybiowŏs wife. This is my hasbanuŏs fielu anu I have a iight to pick.Ő 0at
came the faiiies. ŐLet as all help Nybiowŏs wife to plack hei coin anu yams,Ő saiu they. Befoie the
fiighteneu woman coalu say a woiu, the faiiies hau all set to woik with a will, anu the coin anu
yams lay aseless on the gioanu. Being all gieen anu aniipe, the haivest was now atteily spoileu.
The faimeiŏs wife wept bitteily, bat to no paipose. She ietaineu slowly home, not knowing what to
say to hei hasbanu aboat sach a teiiible catastiophe. She ueciueu to keep silence aboat the mattei.

Accoiuingly, next uay the pooi man set off gleefally to his fielu to see how his fine ciops weie going
on. is angei anu uismay may be imagineu when he saw his fielu a complete iain. All his woik anu
foiesight hau been absolately iaineu thioagh his wifeŏs foigetfalness of hei piomise.

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