Ashanti folk tales

Anansi had six sons, each of whom possessed a special powah!

There were Akakai, whose name meant “Able to see Trouble”;

Twa Akwan, meaning “Road Builder”;

Hwe Nsuo, meaning “Able to Dry up Rivers”;

Adwafo, meaning “Skinner of Game”;

Toto Abuo, meaning “Stone Thrower”; and

Da Yi Ya, meaning “Lie on the Ground Like a Cushion

One day Kwaku Anansi went on a long journey. Several weeks passed, and he failed to return. Akakai, the son who had the ability to see trouble, announced that Anansi had fallen into a distant river in the middle of a dense jungle, and the brothers passed through it to the edge of the river. Hwe Nsuo, who had the powah! to dry up rivers, dried up the river and they found there a great fish which had swallowed Anansi.

Adwafo, the skinner of game, cut into the fish and released his father. But as soon as they brought Anansi to the edge of the river, a large hawk swooped down out of the sky, caught Anansi in his mouth, and soared into the air with him. Toto Abuo, the stone thrower, threw a rock into the sky and hit the hawk, which let go of Anansi. And as Anansi dropped toward the earth, Da Yi Ya threw himself on the ground like a cushion to soften his father’s fall. Thus, Kwaku Anansu was saved by his six sons and brought home to his village.

Then one day when he was in the forest, Anansi found a bright and beautiful object called Moon. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. It was the most magnificent object he had ever seen. He resolved to give it to one of his children.

He sent a message to Nyame, the Sky God, telling him about his discovery. He asked Nyame to come and hold the moon, and to award it as a prize to one of Anansi’s sons – the one who had done the most to rescue him when he was lost in the river. The Sky God came and held the Moon. Anansi sent for his sons.

When they saw the Moon, each of them wanted it. They argued The one who had located Anansi in the river said he deserved the prize. The one who had built the road said he deserved it.The one who had dried up the river said he deserved it. The one who had cut Anansi out of the fish said he deserved it. The one who had hit the hawk with the stone said he deserved it. The one who had cushioned Ashanti’s fall said he deserved

it. They argued back and forth, and no one listened to anybody else. The argument went on and on, and became a violent squabble.

Nyame, the Sky God, didn’t know who should have the prize. He listened to the arguments for a long time. Then he became impatient. He got up from where he sat and went back to the sky, taking the Moon along with him. And that is why the Moon is always seen in the heavens, where Nyame took it, and not on the earth where Anansi found it.

Another version of the same folktale, from Ayiti to Mama Afreeka, with big love …..

Nananbouclou and the Piece of Fiya!

In ancient times only the deities lived in the world. There were Shango…Ogun…Agwe….Legba…. and others. Their motha was Nananbouclou; she was the first of all the God(desse)s.

One day Elegba came to the city and said: “ A strange thing has happened. A piece of fiya has fallen from the sky.” The deities went out with Elegba, and he showed them where the piece of fiya lay, scorching the land on all sides. Because Agwe was the deity of the sea, he brought the ocean in to surround the piece of fiya and began to discuss how they could take it back to the city. Because Ogun was the deity of ironsmiths, he forged a chain around the piece of fiya and captured it. But there remained a problem of how to transport it. So Shango, fastened it to a thunderbolt and hurled it to the city. Then they returned.

Nananbouclou, the motha of the gods, admired what they had found. And she said,

“This is  indeed a great ting.” But the gods began to quarrel over who should have it.

Elegba, the messenger, said: :It was I who discovered it. Therefore it belongs to me.”

Agwe said: I brought the ocean to surround it, and keep it from eating up the earth. Therefore, it should be mine.”

Ogun said: Did I not forge a chain to wrap around the fiya and capture it? Therefore, I am the proper owner.”

And Shango said: who brought the piece of fiya home? It was I who transported it on a thunderbolt. Therefore, there is no doubt whatsoever, it is mine. They argued this way back and forth. They became angry with one another.

At last Nananbouclou halted the argument. She said: “ This ting that has been brought back is beautiful. Bu

t before it came, there was harmony, and now there are bad words. This person claims it, that person claims it. Therefore, shall we continue to live with it in our midst?

Nananbouclou took hold of the piece of fiya en hurled it high into the sky.

There it has remained ever since. It is known by the name of Baia-cou. It is the evening star.

[revised excerpts from: A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore: The Oral Literature, Traditions, Recollections, Legends, Tales, Songs, Religious Beliefs, Customs, Sayings and Humour of Peoples of African Descent in the Americas]

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