The story of Kweku Ananse and the trap

Once upon a time, famine broke out in a certain village so the Chief and people of the village met to think of what best to do in the crisis. Many suggestions were made but it was finally decided that it was finally decided that all the people of the village should begin a community farm.

Everybody accepted the idea and the next day all the men and their wives as well as the children and the old assembled for the work. They weeded a vast area and worked on it three times a week until at long last they had plenty of food. But while they were clearing the bush, one person was conspicuously absent and was Kweku Ananse. The Chief sent for him but Kweku always made excuses. At long last he said that he was not interested in making a farm and that he would manage to find food to eat. Kweku’s attitude annoyed everybody in the village but there was nothing that anybody could do. They just left Kweku to his own devices.

Soon the plantains, the cocoyam and the yam as well as the cassava became plentiful and there was abundant food for everybody. There was abundant food for everybody. There was great joy among the people as every day the Chief sent workers who brought him enough food for all to eat. The young men were divided into groups and these groups went to the farm each in turn. The people decided that Kweku Ananse who did not join in the communal labour should not be given any of the foodstuffs brought home everyday. Not many days later, it was discovered by some of the groups that somebody was eating their food with them. For every morning, when they went to the farm, there was evidence that somebody had visited the farm in the night. This matter was reported to the Chief who felt greatly disturbed by this unpatriotic action of the unknown person.

After a meeting of the Chief and elders, it was decided that a trap be set in the farm. So they installed a rubber man somewhere on the farm. In the night, Old Kweku Ananse made his way to the farm walking on tiptoes and looking left and right. When he reached the farm, he thought that the rubber man was a real human being. So Kweku Ananse asked who that person was, but there was no response. He became more and more irritated as the ‘man’ refused to answer his questions. Therefore he decided to slap the ‘man’. After the slap Kweku could not pull his hand away. He gave the ‘man’ another slap and as he could not pull back the other hand, he became painfully aware that he had fallen into a trap.

The next morning, there stood Kweku Ananse, in disgrace and shame. He was immediately arrested and sent to the Chief’s palace. All the inhabitants gathered there together with the Chief and his Counselors. Kweku had nothing to say but to make a clean breast of his nocturnal activities. After that, he went down on his knees pleading for mercy. The Chief and people rebuked Kweku for such audacious nonchalance and, for his punishment, the Chief ordered him to be flogged. Kweku was whipped with utmost rigidity and mercilessness until he almost fainted with exhaustion.

When those who were inflicting the punishment rested their hands a little, Kweku quickly took advantage of their laxity and struggled out of their grip. Before they could pounce on him, he had jumped up high into the ceiling. That is why Kweku Ananse, up to now, has been living in the ceiling of buildings.

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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