The story of Ananse and the Vulture

One day Kweku Ananse who was wiser than the Rabbit used some ingenious strategy to take the Rabbit’s farm from him. Kweku became very happy on taking possession of the farm and decided to sell some of the produce. He put the huge amount of money he had got from the sale of the maize into a basket with some maize to eat and started home with the basket on his head.

While going home, Kweku was thinking of what to do with the money. He would start building a house and also he would be able to buy clothes for his wife and children. All of the sudden, he noticed that rain clouds were gathering. There were no towns or villages nearby where he could go to take shelter; also, there was no house or hut on the way.

Kweku was still thinking of how he was going to spend his money and also of the imminent rain when it started raining. At first he was determined to walk through the rain but he soon realised that it was impossible to do so because the rain was falling in torrents. He therefore put his basket containing the maize and the money by the road and left to stand under a tree where he could still keep surveillance over his basket.

After some time, Kweku could not bear the intensity of such torrential rain and went down to hide in a big hole under the tree. It was not possible to see his basket from there but he thought that, while it was raining so heavily, nobody would come along and take it away.

Not long after, the Vulture came along through the heavy rain and found the basket. Wishing to keep the contents of the basket dry, the Vulture bent over the basket and covered it with his wings until the rain stopped. Kweku then came out of his hiding place to take his basket away but to his amazement, there was the Vulture over the basket.

Kweku Ananse thanked the Vulture for keeping watch over his basket for him and for keeping the maize dry from the rain. But Kweku had the shock of his life when the Vulture claimed ownership of the basket and the things in it, saying that it was inconceivable that a reasonable human being would leave his basket full of maize and money by the road and disappear.

Ananse, after a violent argument and finding the Vulture obdurate in his stand, reported the case to the Chief and the elders of the town who immediately sent for the Vulture. Kweku told his side of the case and the Vulture also told his. The Vulture claimed that he was coming from his own farm with a basket half full of maize and some very important items. Because it was raining so heavily and desiring to keep the things in the basket dry, since they were so important to him, he put down the basket and covered it with his wings. After the rain, before he could continue his journey, Ananse came from nowhere to claim ownership of the basket, which was to him very strange behaviour.

The Vulture made a passionate appeal to the Chief and his elders to consider whether anybody had ever done a thing of the sort as Kweku was claiming he did. The Chief then selected some people among the arbitrators to go out and give the matter further thought and after that to decide who had won the case. The jurors, as they were called returned a verdict of guilty for Ananse who they contended was not very likely to put a basket containing money and maize by the roadside and leave the scene completely.

Ananse nearly broke down and found the decision a hard pill to swallow. It was when he turned round to go away that the Rabbit who was present at the arbitration told him that anyone who cheats another of his belongings loses them as quickly as he got them. The Rabbit continued to taunt Ananse with contemptuous remarks until he moved away in disgust.

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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