Anansi

African - A trickster-god of the Yoruba. Father of Ntikuma. He was originally a creator-god but was changed into a spider when a king kicked him for killing his huge ram, which had eaten Anansi's crops. Others say that he was defeated in a shape-changing contest by the chameleon and came down to earth on a rope. He now appears both as a spider and a man. He begged a single cob of corn from God, promising to provide him with 100 slaves. By pretending the cob had been stolen, he tricked a chief into giving him a basketful of cobs to keep him quiet. He swapped the cobs for a hen, the hen for some sheep and the sheep for a corpse. Pretending that this was a son of God who had been killed by the sons of a chief, he persuaded the chief to give him 100 young men whom he presented to God as slaves. To prove that he was as clever as God himself, he captured the sun, the moon and darkness in a bag. When he produced the sun from the bag some people were blinded. On one occasion he got stuck to the Gum Girl, on another an antelope carried him to safety from a bush fire. To repay this kindness he wove a web around the antelope's baby, so hiding it from the hunters. When he asked the sky-gods to sell him some stories he was told that the price would be a fairy, a hornet, a leopard and a python. The gods were so impressed when Anansi produced all these items that they gave him all their stories, which they called Anansesem. In one story he owned a pot that was always full of food, and when his children broke the pot he punished them with a whip. The inquisitive children examined the whip, which then started to beat them and would not stop. On another occasion he boasted that he could ride a tiger but the king asked the tiger, who said that this was a lie and tried to get Anansi to retract in the king's presence. By pretending to be ill the spider induced the tiger to carry him on his back and, of course, he needed a bridle, a saddle and a whip. When the king saw the spider riding the tiger, he welcomed him to the royal palace. On occassion, known as Anansi, Annancy, Annancy, Mr Spider, Mr Spider, Spider, Mr, Spider, Mr, Aunt Nancy, Aunt Nancy, Nansi, Nansi, Annency, Ti Malice, Ti Malice, Ashanti Kwaku Ananse, Ashanti Kwaku Ananse, Hausa Gizo, Hausa Gizo, West Indian Annency or West Indian Annency.

Nearby Myths