How the hoe came into the world.

There was once only one hoe in the world. It belonged to the Porcupine. The Porcupine went to live in the forest and made a very big farm from which he obtained all types of foodstuffs. It was not long before famine broke out and people started looking for a place where they could get food. They heard that the Porcupine had plenty of food and they went to him to buy some of his food.

One day Kweku Ananse told his wife that he was going to wander about to see if he could get any food. He heard of the Porcupine during his wanderings and made for his house. Having been directed to the Porcupine’s farm by one of the Porcupine’s children, Kweku arrived to find the Porcupine busy at work with his hoe. The hoe alone did the weeding as the Porcupine sang a song. Ananse was surprised at what was happening and decided to learn the song by whose magic powers the hoe was able to weed so thoroughly and at such fantastic speed.

Before the Porcupine became aware of Ananse’s presence, Ananse had learned the magic song. Ananse then bought enough food from the Porcupine and praised him for the beautiful song he was singing. Ananse wanted to make sure of the words of the song said the Porcupine should teach him so that he might let his children sing it for him at dusk. The Porcupine was pleased to teach him but, while Ananse was leaving, he snatched the Porcupine’s hoe unnoticed and took it to his house.

Kweku Ananse brought great joy to his house when he told his family about the magic find – the hoe. He taught his children the song and later sent them to the farm to let the hoe weed. As soon as the children started singing the song, the hoe started weeding and it cleared the whole land which Ananse had marked for the farm. Kweku then wanted the hoe to stop weeding. But he had not learned the words which could let the hoe stop. Kweku did everything that he thought he ought to do or say, but the hoe would not stop weeding because he had not uttered the appropriate words. The hoe went on weeding until it reached a town called Suram and turned around and went on as far as Tobasa.

When it reached a village where a blacksmith was working, the man seized it, having become fascinated by the wonderful work that the hoe was doing. He sent it into hi smithy and produced thousands of its kind which flourished in the markets around the whole world. That is why we have hoes everywhere.

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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