Guide Silence of the Bunnies: Tales of Life, Love and Survival

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Soon, the spirits began singing their song again, and Anansi eventually heard it. He began to sing it again, and as soon as he finished, his skull fell off again like they'd warned him. Anansi picked his skull up in embarrassment and cried out to the spirits that his head had fallen off. The spirits heard him, and decided to return to him, to hear him explain himself.

Anansi begged them for help and apologized to them, asking them to restore his skull. The spirits said they would, but warned Anansi that if he disobeyed them again, they would not return to help him, and bade him leave before heading off on their own. Yet, just as soon as they'd left, Anansi heard them singing their song and repeated it himself.

Anansi's skull detached and fell again, having disobeyed the spirits another time. Before it hit the ground, he caught it with his rear-end and he fled from the riverside. So it is that Anansi has a small head and a large bottom, because of his hard-headedness. He raised them well and had them go out on their own.

While each successfully built their own village, Nyame considered Owia his favorite child and wished to make him a chief. He harvested a yam known as "Kintinkyi" in secret, and decided that the son who could guess it would become chief and receive his royal stool as proof.

Soon, Nyame blackened his royal stool and asked his subjects if any could guess what his thoughts were. Anansi happened to be there, and said that he knew. Nyame told Anansi to gather his sons from the villages, and Anansi left. However, Anansi didn't truly know, but secretly decided he would learn. Anansi gathered feathers from every bird known and covered himself with them, and then flew above Nyame's village, startling the villagers. Nyame saw Anansi but did not recognize him within his disguise, and mused to himself that if Anansi were present, he'd know the name the of the bird - because he'd said he knew that Nyame wished his son Owia to receive his stool and that he would give whomever could guess his yam's name the seat.

He continued to ponder in secret while Anansi overheard Nyame's plan and finally flew away, removing his disguise. He went to Esum's village first and told him that his father wished to see him, but kept Nyame's plans secret. Night gave him roasted corn to eat as thanks and Anansi soon went to Osrane's village.

Osrane was told the same, and he gave Anansi yam as thanks in return before the spider left for Owia's village, keeping the truth from Osrane as well. Soon, Anansi arrived and told Owia the same.

Owia mentioned that he wished his father could see what he did so that he could know Owia's true intent, but decided he would treat Anansi the same, for his father had chosen him as his messenger and he wanted to treat him as he would his father Nyame. Owia then prepared the best sheep for Anansi to eat as thanks, and in return Anansi decided to tell Owia of his father's intentions in secret, revealing the name of the yam he'd harvested. Anansi then made a pair of drums that would shout the yam's name so that Owia would remember the name of Nyame's yam, which was Kintinkyi, and the two returned to the other sons of Nyame.

Anansi brought them each before Nyame, and Nyame called an assembly together so they could welcome Anansi and Nyame's sons. Anansi said he'd completed Nyame's task, and the Sky-Father revealed his intentions to his three sons. He then told Esum, who was oldest, that he would be allowed to guess first. Yet, Esum did not know, and said its name was "Pona". The villagers booed him. Osrane, the second-oldest, was given a chance, but he also failed to guess the yam's name, assuming it was called "Asante".

The villagers booed him also. Owia, the youngest, was then given a chance to guess. Anansi played the drums as he had promised, and Owia remembered the true name of Nyame's yam, "Kintinkyi". The assembly cheered instead. Nyame then spoke to Esum, his eldest son, and punished him, for he had not paid attention to him while Nyame had raised him. Evil things thus would be done during Esum's time.

Next Nyame scolded Osrane, who had also not listened to him while he raised him. Only children would frolic during his time. Finally, Nyame spoke to his youngest son Owia, and praised him. Nyame made him chief and told him that any issue that needed to be settled would take place during his time. He gave him the rainbow to protect himself from his brothers if they ever wished to harm him, and promised that it would remind his subjects who saw it that danger would not befall them. Lastly, he gave Anansi his blessing for knowing his inner-thoughts, and said Anansi would be known as his messenger.

In this tale [33] , Anansi went to the Sky-Father Nyame one day. He wanted to take one of Nyame's sheep, named Kra Kwame, and eat it. Anansi told Nyame that if he was allowed, he would bring Nyame a maiden as a gift from one of the villages in return. Nyame agreed and gave him the sheep, so Anansi left and set out for his home, later preparing the sheep.

Once he was finished preparing it, Anansi searched for a village and discovered one where only women lived; the Spider settled there and gave each of them some of the sheep he had killed, marrying every woman in the village and forsaking his promise to Nyame. Soon however, a hunter visited the village that Anansi had settled in and witnessed what he was doing. The hunter soon left and went to Nyame, reporting what he'd seen in the village.

Nyame became furious upon learning of Anansi's deception and ordered his messengers to go the village Anansi was living in and take every woman there. His messengers obeyed and took every woman, save one that was ill at that time, and presented them to Nyame. Disappointed, Anansi wasn't sure what he'd do as he now only had one remaining wife, as she was too sick to help him. He asked her and she simply told Anansi to gather a gourd and bathe her, filling up the gourd with the water he'd used afterward; that water would then house all of the diseases that had afflicted her.

Anansi obeyed his wife and she became incredibly beautiful; Anansi realized she was more beautiful than any of the other wives he'd taken on while living in the tribe, in fact, and smitten by her, Anansi remarried the woman. Yet, the hunter visited the village again. He saw Anansi's wife, now beautiful beyond comparison, and returned to Nyame to report what he'd discovered. The hunter told Nyame that Anansi had tricked him, because the women that Nyame had taken from Anansi were all hideous in comparison to the beautiful woman Anansi had as his current wife. Nyame was furious again, then ordered his messengers to send for her, and they went to Anansi's village looking for the woman.

Anansi met them and they told him of Nyame's wish. He complied, showed them where his wife was, and they took her with them to Nyame. Anansi however, had a plan of his own, and began his scheme once they left. Anansi searched for the gourd that had the water he'd bathed his wife with, and then took a skin and made a drum with it. He then made another drum and called for his son Ntikuma.

Together the two began beating the drums and dancing while singing vulgarities. Anene the crow, another messenger of Nyame, saw what Anansi was doing and told Nyame about the dance. Nyame then sent his messengers and asked them to bring Anansi to him, as he wanted the Spider to perform the dance for him. Anansi however, told them that he could only perform his dance around his wives and that he needed his drum.

He promised that he would dance before Nyame if he agreed to this, so the messengers informed Nyame and he agreed to Anansi's terms. The messengers then brought Anansi to the harem where his wives were kept and he began playing. Soon Nyame came and danced to the song while the former wives of Anansi joined in. Anansi's final wife however, recognized the gourd Anansi's drum was made from and decided not to dance, suspecting Anansi's trickery. Yet, she was coerced into joining Nyame in the performance.

Before she could begin however, Anansi opened the drum and tossed all the water from the gourd. All of the diseases that were once washed away returned and sickness fell upon the tribe. So it is that the Sky Father caused Anansi to bring all illnesses to the world.

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A long time ago, [34] Aso was not yet married to Anansi. Instead, she was married to another man, known as Akwasi-the-jealous-one. Befitting his name, he was very possessive of Aso and wanted no one else to see or interact with her, so he built a small village where only the two of them lived.

Akwasi-the-jealous-one was especially worried of losing Aso because he was sterile and knew that others would take her away from him if they lived among other people. One day, Nyame grew tired of Akwasi-the-jealous-one's failure and told young men in the other villages about his marriage with Aso. Nyame told the men that the first man to take Aso from Akwasi-the-jealous-one and sire a child could marry her. However, all of the men who accepted his challenge failed to capture Aso. Anansi watched all that transpired and soon went to Nyame himself; he promised Nyame that he could accomplish what other men had not.

The Sky-Father asked if Anansi was certain and the Spider answered that he would be able to as long as he was given the items he requested to help him, namely medicine to make guns as well as bullets. Nyame accepted his request and gave Anansi what he needed. Soon, Anansi went throughout many villages and told them that Nyame had told him to bring the powder and bullets to them so that they could go hunting for him. Anansi told them that he would return and then take the meat they collected so that he could give it to Nyame. They agreed to his request and he then distributed powder and bullets amongst them until all villages had some.

Anansi then left for a time and wove a palm-leaf basket, returning when he had finished to the villages he'd distributed hunting supplies to. In turn, he received all they'd hunted and soon headed for Akwasi-the-jealous-one's settlement. Eventually, Anansi came upon a river where Akwasi and Aso drank, then took some of the meat and placed it into the water. He then carried the basket with him, which still had more than enough meat, and reached Akwasi-the-jealous-one's village.

Aso noticed Anansi arrive and called out to her husband, surprised that Anansi had come. Kwasi-the-jealous-one came out and inquired who Anansi was, and the Spider replied that he'd come by the order of Nyame to rest on his journey. Akwasi-the-jealous-one came out praised Anansi and then welcomed Anansi to his village. Aso, on the other hand, noticed the meat Anansi had left in the river and told him what she'd discovered.

Anansi simply replied that she was welcome to have it as he didn't need it, and then informed Aso that she could feed any pets they possessed with it. Thus, Aso collected it, offering the meat to her husband. Anansi then asked Aso cook him some food, and she obliged, preparing to make Fufu.

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Soon, Aso began preparing Fufu for Anansi, but he told her it was not enough when he learned what she was making. Anansi then asked her to use a larger pot, and when Aso did so, Anansi offered more of the meat he'd collected, with one caveat: out of the meat he possessed, Aso could only cook the thighs, which numbered Aso obliged and she then placed the food alongside the rest she'd prepared when she finished cooking it.

Aso then collected her own portion and the rest began eating as well. Anansi, however, was not satisfied and complained, saying that the fufu Aso had prepared lacked salt. Akwasi-the-jealous-one then asked Aso to bring some to Anansi, but the Spider objected: he told Akwasi that it was rude to command her to gather the salt when she was eating and suggested that he get the salt instead. Akwasi-the-jealous-one accepted Anansi's advice and left to find more salt, while Anansi secretly snuck medicine from his pouch and put it into Akwasi's fufu.

Akwasi-the-jealous-one soon returned, but Anansi informed Aso's husband that he was full and no longer needed any; Akwasi sat the salt aside and began eating his fufu again, completely oblivious to what Anansi had done. Eventually, Akwasi-the-jealous-one realized he did not know Anansi's name, and asked the Spider what he was called.

Anansi replied that his name was "Rise-up-and-make-love-to-Aso," which startled Akwasi, so he asked his wife Aso if she'd heard his name as well. Aso acknowledged that she did, and Akwasi left to prepare a room for Anansi as a result. When he finished, he told Anansi to sleep there, but Anansi replied that he couldn't, because he was Nyame's Soul-washer and only slept in a room with an open veranda. His parents had also conceived him there, so he was forbidden from sleeping in closed rooms. Akwasi-the-jealous-one thus asked Anansi where he wished to sleep instead, but Anansi then made another excuse: the open room had to be in a house that belonged to Nyame.

To do otherwise would make Akwasi equal to Nyame and break the commandment Anansi'd been given. Thus, Anansi asked Akwasi-the-jealous-one to give him a sleeping mat so he could sleep in front of their room while they slept. Soon, Anansi laid upon the sleeping mat and waited for Akwasi and his wife Aso to sleep and then sang a song to the gods while he played his sepirewa, certain the plan he'd concocted would be successful: "Akuamoa Ananse, today we shall achieve something today.

Ananse, the child of Nsia, the mother of Nyame, the Sky-god; today, we shall achieve something, to-day. Ananse, the Soul-washer to the Nyame, the Sky-god, today, I shall see something,". Once Anansi finished, he put his sepirewa aside and fell asleep. Suddenly, Anansi awoke to hear Akwasi-the-jealous-one calling out to him. Akwasi, however, refused to call the Spider by the name he'd been given, so Anansi remained silent; the medicine Anansi'd poisoned Akwasi-the-jealous-one with had worked. Akwasi tried another time, but refused to call Anansi by the name he'd given him again, so Anansi did not answer him.

Eventually, Akwasi succumbed and finally pleaded "Rise-up-and-make-love-to-Aso," falling for Anansi's scheme. Anansi responded to Akwasi-the-jealous-one and opened his door, asking Akwasi what troubled him. Akwasi said that he needed to leave for a moment, and then left. Once Akwasi-the-jealous-one was gone, the Spider went into the man's room and saw Aso was awake. Anansi asked her if she'd heard what Akwasi had said, and she instead asked him to tell her. Thus Anansi repeated the name he'd given to them, implying that he was to make love to her.

Aso accepted Anansi's answer and the two made love, going back to sleep once they finished. Akwasi-the-jealous-one returned, completely unaware of what had happened, and soon went to sleep as well. However, his stomach would trouble him again and he'd call Anansi out for help using the same name Anansi had given him.

Akwasi-the-jealous-one would leave while Anansi snuck into their bedroom to make love with Aso, for a total of nine times before morning came. Anansi left Akwasi's village when the next day arrived and did not return. Two moons eventually passed and Aso's pregnancy became visible. Akwasi-the-jealous-one asked his wife how she'd gotten pregnant, because he was sterile and could not sire children with her.

Aso told Akwasi that he in fact had told her to make love to Anansi, explaining that the child she'd conceived was his. Akwasi thus decided to take her to Nyame's village and the two left. However, Aso gave birth on the way, so she rested a moment. The two took the child to the village of Nyame afterward and told him what had taken place.

Nyame did not believe the two's story and said that no one had left his village, urging them to point out the culprit among the villagers. Aso agreed to do so and soon saw Anansi sitting on a ridgepole in the distance. She pointed to Anansi and told Nyame that he was the one who'd impregnated her. He moved further down on the ridgepole in an attempt to hide again, but Aso found him there.

However, this caused Anansi to fall over, dirtying himself, and in return Anansi complained that their actions had defiled him, for he was Nyame's Soul-washer and Nyame's wishes had been ignored. As a result, Akwasi-the-jealous-one was seized by Nyame's subjects for disobeying the god's command and ordered to sacrifice a sheep as penance. Utterly embarrassed, Akwasi finished his sacrifice and then told the Sky-Father that Anansi could have Aso, giving her to the Spider to become his wife.

Yet there was another cost for what had transpired: the child Anansi had sired through Aso was taken and killed; what remained of its body was scattered throughout Nyame's village as a reminder. So it is that Aso became Anansi's wife, and jealousy came into the tribe. Sometime after they were married, it is said Kwaku Anansi the Spider and his wife Aso were living together.

Anansi approached the messenger and asked him why he'd come, and the man responded that Anansi's mother-in-law had died the previous day. In response Anansi told his wife Aso what had taken place, and told Aso that they would go to the village to mourn her mother, as the funeral would take place within a few days. Soon the messenger left, and the next morning came. Anansi told them of his mother-in-law's passing and asked if they could accompany him to her funeral, and they agreed. Anansi thanked them, and then returned to his home to prepare.

Anansi made clothes to wear to the funeral, sewing a hat from leopard's skin; he dyed his cloth russet, and had the attire he wished to wear prepared. Thursday eventually came and it was time to head out toward the village where the funeral of Aso's mother would take place. He called those who'd agreed to accompany him, and they left the village, but not without supplies - guns, drums, palm-wine , and other things first so they would have things to share with the rest of those who attended as they celebrated his mother-in-law's memory.

Soon, Anansi reached his mother-in-law's village and fired their guns in the air to signal they had arrived, and went to the home where her wake was taking place. Anansi shared all that he'd brought, giving palm-wine to those mourning. He then presented an offering to help pay for the funeral: six peredwan packets of gold dust, a velvet pillow, two cloths, a wool blanket, shell money to barter with ghosts , a sheep, and more palm-wine.

They accepted his offer, and the others matched it. The next morning, everyone ate and invited Anansi to eat as well. However, Anansi said that he was not allowed to, as it was his mother-in-law's funeral and he would not eat until the eighth day. Instead, Anansi said he'd gather some for his neighbors who'd accompanied him and remain while they left. True to his word, Anansi asked Aso to find them food and she brought it to them.

Anansi bade them farewell, and he remained at the home. Days passed and he resisted eating, but when the fourth day came, he was too hungry to resist eating, and went to search for food inside the home where he was staying. He went into the kitchen and saw that there was a fire going, and at that fire there were beans boiling in a pot. Anansi decided he would eat those, so he took his leopard hat and scooped some of the beans inside once he was sure no one was watching him.

However, just as soon as he placed on his hat to hide the beans, he saw Aso enter the room. Startled, Anansi hatched up another plan and told Aso that a hat-shaking festival was taking place in his father's village; he intended to go there himself. Aso became suspicious and asked Anansi why he had not told her of the festival before; she reminded him that he had not eaten anything and advised the Spider to wait until the next day.

However, Anansi refused to listen to his wife's advice and she stormed off. Aso gathered the people in the village and told them what Anansi was planning so they could hopefully keep him from leaving, and then headed back to her husband. Anansi saw Aso returning with the crowd and grabbed his hat, singing: "Just now at my father's village they are shaking hats! Saworowa, they are shaking hats! E, they are shaking hats, o, they are shaking hats!

Anansi left, but the villagers followed him, even when he told them to leave. In panic he sang again, "Turn back, because: Just now at my father's village they are shaking hats!


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Now, the beans were unbearably hot upon his head, so Anansi threw his hat with its beans away. When Aso realized what Anansi had done, she and the villagers booed him and he ran away down the road. He promised the road that he would thank it if it helped him escape, and it agreed to, leading him away from the villagers and to medicine he could use. So it is that Anansi has a bald head, from the airs he gave himself during his mother-in-law's funeral. One day, Kwaku Anansi went to Okraman the Dog and told him he wished to build a new village to live in.

Anansi would do the same, and the two would then meet together. Anansi told Okraman that he would gather a gourd and fill it with water and wished the Dog to do so also; the pair would have water in case their destination lacked it. Okraman agreed again and the two both prepared once the Sunday Adae began; Anansi even put honey into his gourd for extra measure. Then, the two traveled the next Monday. Okraman and Anansi had reached the half-way point on their journey when the two became exhausted, and the Dog recommended they both rest for a moment and drink some of the water they'd prepared.

Then, Anansi suggested that they play a game to pass the time while they rested. Okraman asked the Spider which type of game he wished to play, and Anansi replied that he wished to play a binding game. Anansi then explained the rules of the game: Okraman would tie Anansi, and then Anansi would tie Okraman. Anansi would give Okraman a signal, and the Dog would try to escape his bindings. Okraman however wanted Anansi to tie him first.

Anansi disagreed, scolding the Dog, and reminded Okraman that he was his elder, causing Okraman to accept Anansi's terms in their game. Thus, the two began and Okraman tied Anansi first. However, Anansi did not know that Okraman was also hungry and had no true desire to play Anansi's game.

Instead, the Dog bound Anansi and carried him away, hoping to sell the Spider for food. Once Anansi realized Okraman's plan, he began mourning, but the Dog paid him no mind, continuing to carry Anansi away until they both reached a stream. Soon, someone else noticed Anansi's cries and came to investigate them: Odenkyem the Crocodile. He asked Okraman about the matter but the Dog was too frightened to respond. Instead, Okraman dropped Anansi and fled, while Odenkyem freed Anansi from his bindings. Anansi thanked the Crocodile and asked if there was a means he could repay him for his kindness, but Odenkyem said that he didn't want anything in return.

Yet, Anansi was insistent and told Odenkyem that if he had children he would come and style them, dressing their hair so that they could be very beautiful. Odenkyem accepted this, and did not suspect Anansi's deception. Anansi returned home after speaking to the Crocodile and told his wife Aso that he needed palm-nuts and onions for a stew he planned to make; he'd bring a crocodile back to supply meat for it. Aso did so, while Anansi gathered a knife, sharpening it.

He mashed some eto, and carried it with him to the stream where Odenkyem lived. Next, Anansi called out to Odenkyem and told the Crocodile that he'd prepared a reward for him, sitting the eto in the water. Odenkyem heard Anansi and soon came, ready to accept Anansi's gift. However, the Spider had tricked him; Anansi withdrew his knife and cut the Crocodile with it, but the blow he dealt to Odenkyem was not fatal; Anansi didn't realize this however, and left for home without a second thought.

Aso noticed Anansi didn't have the crocodile he'd promised to bring home to prepare stew and asked him where it was, but Anansi became defensive, scolding his wife for bothering him when he'd just returned home. Aso however, saw through Anansi's attitude, and told her husband that she could tell he had not gotten Odenkyem like he'd planned. Anansi could only remain silent, and said nothing else about the matter for the remainder of the evening.

Morning began and Aso told Anansi she was going to the river. The Crocodile was still laying there when she arrived, and flies now surrounded him; Aso took note of this, and told Anansi what she'd observed when she returned to their home. Anansi explained to Aso that he'd used a special medicine to kill Odenkyem and thus had to wait until the next day before he collected his kill; he then thanked her for confirming the crocodile had died and set about for the stream on his own, with a stick he'd prepared for defense.

Anansi soon arrived and noticed Odenkyem was still laying in the riverbank. He carefully strode over to the Crocodile's body, poking him with his stick. Then, Anansi prodded Odenkyem's body and asked the Crocodile if he was dead, shifting his body over as he examined him, but Odenkyem did not respond. Little did Anansi know that the Crocodile may have been motionless, but he was far from deceased.

Anansi eventually stopped prodding the Crocodile with his stick, convinced he was dead, and edged closer to Odenkyem's body, stretching his hand out to check the Crocodile a final time. Yet, Anansi's action would prove to be a mistake, for he immediately found himself trapped between the Crocodile's jaws when he clasped the Spider unexpectedly.

After a great contest between the two, Anansi wiggled himself free from Odenkyem and fled the river, rushing back home. So it is that Anansi always runs while crossing the water, careful to never give Odenkyem another chance to capture him again. It came about that Anansi became friends with Dew, and that they both helped each other develop their own crops. Anansi became very jealous of Dew and craved the corn that Dew had grown more than his own, so he decided he would trick Dew.

Anansi approached Dew and bragged, saying that his corn was better than Dew's, and suggested that Dew cut his corn so it would be as fine as his. Anansi promised Dew that if he cut his own crop, his corn would grow back and be the same quality as Anansi's corn was. Anansi however, was lying. Nonetheless, Dew fell for the Spider's schemes and agreed to cut his corn crop in the mistaken belief that his corn would grow again.

Later that evening, neighbors in their village saw Dew's corn had been cut down and wondered why he did so, noting that the corn he had was very fine once. They asked Dew who'd convinced him to cut down his corn crop, and he replied that Anansi had convinced him to do so, in the hopes that his corn crop would be better than it was before. The neighbors sighed and told Dew that he'd been tricked, for his corn would not grow again. This upset Dew, but he promised them that he would trick Anansi just as he had tricked him.

Dew, however, would trick Anansi with his mother instead of with corn like Anansi had him. As time passed, Dew worked especially hard and tirelessly to build up a large amount of wealth. He bought a scythe, hoe, axe, new clothes, and other equipment. Dew then told his mother his plan: he would tell Anansi that she had died and would then make a mock coffin in which to bury her. In the meanwhile, Dew wished for his mother to hide in their home upstairs while he prepared, so she did.

Dew then made a coffin and announced her death to the village, inviting them to come see her burial. Once they had arrived, he snuck his mother from upstairs and had her hide underneath the floor where the mock coffin lay, as well as the many things he'd purchased, as he knew Anansi's greed would spurn him to steal from Dew if he saw them laying around. Now that the plan was in order, it was time for the mock burial to begin.

Dew began to cry and lament that his mother had died so suddenly and left him nothing to remember her by, not even a single tool.

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On-cue, Dew's mother extended the scythe and other tools he'd purchased through the plank in the floor. Anansi saw what was happening and grew jealous of Dew, wishing his very own mother was dead so he could get what Dew was getting from his own mother as well.