Sunday, January 01, 2006

Culture: Ananse and the pot of wisdom

Through global voices I found this story from Ghana told by Reverend Peter E. Adotey Addo:


This is a very old story told when the world was young . It is about how Mr.. Ananse the Sly and greedy one among all the animals in the forest outsmarted himself.
As the story goes Ananse, that is still his name , but did you know that his first name was Kweku because he was born on a Wednesday ? One day Ananse collected all the wisdom in the world and decided to keep it all in a large pot for himself. Now he said “I have all the wisdom of the world for myself. At least that was what he thought being such a greedy person.
Kweku Ananse then tied the pot of wisdom around his neck with a strong vine rope and let the pot hang in front of him. But then he was afraid that someone would find the pot of wisdom and steal it.” What shall I do with my pot of wisdom” He thought and thought and at last he said,” I shall hide the pot on top of the the tallest tree in the forest.” So he searched the forest until he found the tallest tree which happened to be the thorny silk cotton tree and brought the pot of wisdom to the tree. While Ananse was trying to climb the thorny silk cotton tree his son was watching him.” Father,” he said,” “What are you doing” “Well” said Ananse , I have in this clay pot all the wisdom of the world and I am going to hang it on the top of the tallest tree away from everybody , then I will be the wisest in the whole wide world.” “I have an idea.” said his son ” Why not hang the pot behind you instead of in front of you. Then you will be able to climb the tree”. Well the sly one Ananse hung the pot behind him and to his surprise; he was able to climb to the top of the tree with his pot.
Finally Ananse sat on a branch of the tree holding the pot of wisdom. “I thought I had all the wisdom in the world” He thought to himself.
“I thought I had it all in my pot but my own son has wisdom not in my pot.” Then he made a statement that we still use today.” No one-person can have all the wisdom in the world.”On his way down he dropped the pot and it smashed into many pieces and scatted all the wisdom all over the world.

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