The marriage of Ananse’s daughter to the snake.

Ananse had four daughters. When it was time for the oldest of them to get married, she declined to marry any of the young men of her village, passing derogatory remarks about them. These insults displeased the young men of the village, most of whom were wealthy enough to make the girl happy and comfortable in their homes. But the girl was proud and had no respect for them.

In the next village, there was a magician who heard Ananse’s daughter, so he decided to punish her by making use of his magic art. Since the magician came from another village, this time the maiden did not hesitate to accept his proposal. Ananse was delighted that at long last his daughter was going to be married. He summoned all his friends and relations who put on their best clothes and formed a bridal procession from Ananse’s house to the other village. Other people who were gorgeously dressed joined the procession and all the people danced excitedly and merrily to the tune of a brass band.

No sooner had all the pomp and pageantry of the marriage celebration died down than the husband and the wife dismissed the drummers and the musicians and entered their hut for the night. The husband entered the chamber to undress and soon the unsuspecting lady was to see a terrible spectacle that sent her tumbling over in great panic. A coarse, rippling figure began to appear while the girl was crouched timorously against the mud wall. As the mighty snake coiled itself up at the door she uttered a disgusted and fearful scream and, in a fraction of a second, she found herself rolling over and shouting for help.

The husband had turned out to be a snake. She managed to pull herself together and hastily made for the road that led to her father’s village, trudging along the sandy paths in a great horror, shock and disappointment. Soon she reached home, perspiring profusely, and sat down dejectedly. She began to relate a horrible and shocking story which cast a spell of gloom over the whole family, while the young men of the town laughed uproariously at her for jilting them. Some openly jeered at her and told her that whatever had happened served her right. On that day the maiden swore never to give in again to any suitor that came from outside her father’s village for, after all, the devil you know is better than the angel you do not know.

Ananse Stories Retold: Some Common Traditional Tales (Paperback)
Author: Luke Gyesi- Appiah
Illustrator: Vesta Wuddah- Marktey
Publisher: Heinemann International Literature & Textbooks

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