Brother Anansi - Tales and Stories
by Denise Salmon
Brother Anansi (Brer Anancy Jamaican Tales)
Anancy the famous spider has been known in Jamaica for a long time. Back in the days when there was no television, parents and grandparents would tell Ananci stories and the children would enjoy listening as they would talk like Anancy and act like him too!
Anancy story telling in Jamaica was said to have derived from its roots in Africa (see history of Jamaica).
The stories told about him are always about how tricky he is. Sometimes he would seem to be really smart, but sometimes he would be caught and he would look foolish.
An example of a story where he looked foolish in the end was that story with Brer Turtle, after Brer Anancy tricked Brother Turtle by telling him to go wash his hand before dinner. And when Brer Turtle was gone Anancy ate all the food. But Brer Turtle invited Anancy to dinner too and found a way to send Anancy home hungry.
Another day he entered a porridge drinking competition with Brer Tiger, Brer Lion and Brer Dog. They wanted to see who could drink the hot porridge fastest. So Brer Anansi put his porridge out in the sun and said he wanted his porridge to be hotter than the rest.
So all the other contestants hurried and drank their hot porridge, it was so hot it burned them and they took a long time to drink it . They didn't know that Brer Ananci's porridge was not getting hotter.
When it was Brer Anancy's time to drink, he finished drinking in a shorter time than the rest and won the competition.
There was also a time when he tricked someone and he was caught and the tied him up in a bag and was about to kill him. But they stopped somewhere and put down the bag. When Brer Anancy realized that the man was gone, he started shouting and said he did not want to go to God.
But Brer Dog heard what he was saying and said he was being stupid, because going to God would be a good thing. So he took Brer Anancy out of the bag and asked him to tie him up in there instead.
There was another time when he got four plantains for him and his for 4 friends, so he gave his friends the plantains and then they were so sorry he didn't have anything to eat , so they all gave Anancy a half of their plantain and He ended up with 2 plantains and they only got a half each.
Telling Anansi stories is still a part of out culture here in Jamaica and children still enjoy hearing them. As Anancy found a way out every time, even when the situation was really bad
See also Jamaican Poems
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