The story of Ananse and the Grasshopper.

Ananse and the Grasshopper were, long ago, staying in the same village as very intimate friends. When the father of the Grasshopper was dying at the advanced age of eighty-five, he prophesied that there would be famine in the land for two years. So the Grasshopper and Ananse decided to make a big farm which would save them from the impending starvation.

Accordingly, both Ananse and the Grasshopper, having consulted on the issue of a common farm, were determined to leave no stone unturned in achieving their purpose. Every morning they made their way across country full of boulders thorn bushes to the place where they were making their farms. They worked very hard and made a very large farm full of all kinds of food crops.

Soon the harvest came and with it great famine throughout the whole land. Except for Ananse and the Grasshopper, people from all the villages in the district had no food to eat. They travelled long distances looking for where they could get food to buy. At long last, it became known that it was Ananse and the Grasshopper alone who had food, so people came to them from far and near to buy maize and other food, so people came to them from far and near to buy maize and other foodstuffs. Ananse and his friend kept their money together and in no time they had become very rich. Suddenly an idea occurred to Ananse one day as he and The Grasshopper were counting the total money obtained from the day’s sales of foodstuffs. It would be a very good idea if all the money they had was for him alone. So he decided to get rid of his dear friend the Grasshopper.

At the far end of their farm, there was a very steep precipice which went into a deep valley full of huge and tall trees and of wild animals. It was a place which nobody in the surrounding villages had ever dared to go into except veteran hunters of wild animals. An evil thought came to Ananse that he should find a way of pushing the Grasshopper down the precipitous slope into the valley. There would be no way by which he could return and, besides, he stood in danger of being devoured by wild animals. Even if he did not die from the fall, he would certainly perish at the foot of the precipice.

A few days later, Ananse cunningly suggested that instead of waiting to come home in the evening from the farm before they drank their wine, they should take the wine to the farm so that after working for sometime they might relax with it. The Grasshopper unsuspectingly consented to this idea which he thought was brilliant and so they took to the farm enough wine that could make both of them intoxicated. When the time came for them to relax, they began to drink. But Ananse, knowing that he was up to something mischievous, pretended he was drinking deeply while, in fact, he was sipping the wine taking great care not to drink in excess. But his friend the Grasshopper was completely soaked after quaffing heavily. Soon he lost control of himself, having been completely overwhelmed by the effects of the wine. The time had come for Ananse to execute his evil plan. He just pretended to help the Grasshopper to a place where he could rest comfortably and eventually managed to push him over, down into the deep and steep valley; it was a dastardly deed ruthlessly perpetrated by Ananse in order to become the richest person in the land.

But the gods know how best to punish those who commit atrocities and seek to run away unscathed. By the time Ananse arrived home, all the money that he and the Grasshopper had saved in Ananse’s room had been stolen after some thieves had broken into the house. In anguish, Ananse did not know where he put the money which he had brought from the farm that day; that too was lost and Ananse decided that the only thing left for him to do was to commit suicide. He therefore killed himself with a sharp knife which he pierced through his heart and died instantly, leaving the foodstuffs on the farm as booty for the people in the village.

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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