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Anansi and the Witch Named Five

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In a village near to where Anansi lived, there lived a witch. She was a very old, grumpy witch who had many great powers and who didn’t like people very much. So nobody annoyed her just in case! This witch was called (Shh, now whisper this name just in case!) Five. The grumpy old witch hated her name and Anansi had overheard her say, “If anyone dare say my name I’ll make them disappear in a puff of smoke.

Now it was known by all that Anansi was a lazy creature and would not go hunting for food if he didn’t have to. He preferred it came to him or he took it from others. So he was often trying to come up with clever ways to feed himself and his family with as little work as possible. So when he heard the witch saying she would make anyone disappear who said her name, he came up with a clever plan.

Anansi busied himself by collecting five pieces of corn, which did not take him very long at all. Wrapping the corn in a piece of cloth he walked to the main road, which led to the market. It was market day, which meant the road was very busy. Anansi sat in the shade of a tree and opened the cloth and placed the corn in a row.  One, two, three, four, (Shhh), five!

He watched as the world passed him. “I wonder what I’ll be eating for my tea tonight?” he asked himself.

After an hour or so of sitting and watching Rabbit stopped to talk to Anansi.

Now Rabbit was carrying a large sack of fresh, ripe yams, cassava, and plantain. They were all ready for sale at the market. “What have you got there, Anansi?” asked Rabbit.

“Oh, just some corn. Would you like some?” replied Anansi.

“I only have this to sell, I don’t have any money,” said Rabbit, holding up his large sack.

Making it look like he was thinking hard Anansi said, “Well, if you tell me how many pieces of corn I have, I’ll give you one.”

“You’re trying to trick me!”

“No, no! Just count how many pieces of corn I have and I promise to give you the last one you count.”

Wondering what Anansi was up to Rabbit counted the pieces of corn. He was sure simply counting pieces of corn could do no harm, and after all Anansi had just promised.

“One, two, three, four, five.”

Puff!

In a large ball of smoke Rabbit disappeared and the food he’d been carrying in the sack fell out and lay on the ground, scattered around Anansi’s feet.

“Now I know what I’m having for tea,” said Anansi, rubbing his hands together with glee. Anansi picked up the food and put it on the cloth with the corn. Wrapping all the food up Anansi returned home and his wife was soon busy in the kitchen cooking.

Within a few days the food was eaten and Aso, was complaining there was nothing for her to cook.

“Don’t worry, I’ll go and earn myself some food, so you can cook me a wonderful meal,” he told her.

Anansi collected his five pieces of corn wrapped in the cloth and walked to the main road, which led to the market. It was market day again so the road was very busy. Anansi sat in the shade of a tree, opened the cloth and placed the corn in a row.  One, two, three, four, (Shhh), five.

Anansi watched as the world passed him by. Within a few minutes Rhino passed, carrying food in a large sack, which he was going to sell at the market.

“Hello Anansi, what do you have there?” he asked.

“Just some corn. Would you like some?” replied Anansi.

“I don’t have any money, I’m going to market to sell not buy,” said Rhino.

“Well, if you tell me how many pieces of corn I have, I’ll give you a piece,” replied Anansi.

“You’re trying to trick me!”

“No, no! Just count how many pieces of corn I have and I promise to give you the last one you count.”

So Rhino counted the number of pieces of corn he saw lying on the cloth. “One, two, three, four, five.”

Whoosh!

Rhino disappeared in a large ball of smoke and the food he’d been carrying lay on the ground scattered all around. Anansi picked up the food and put it on the cloth with the corn. Wrapping the food up Anansi returned home and his wife was soon busy in the kitchen cooking.

Again within a few days the food was gone and Aso was complaining there was nothing for her to cook.

“I’ll go and earn myself some food for you to cook. Don’t worry,” Anansi told her. Anansi collected his five pieces of corn wrapped in the cloth and walked to the main road, which led to the market.

It was market day again so the road was very busy. Anansi sat himself in the shade of a tree and opened the cloth and placed the corn in a row next to him.  One, two, three, four (Shhh), five.

“I wonder who I’ll be able to trick today?” he asked himself. After ten minutes or so Goat passed by and stopped to talk to Anansi. She was carrying a sack full of food.

“Hello Anansi, what have you there?” she asked.

“Just some corn I can’t be bothered to carry to market.” he replied. “Would you like to buy some?”

“Oh, I’m not buying today, Anansi. I’m going to market to sell.”

“Well if you can count my corn I’ll give you the last piece you count,” Anansi told her.

Knowing Anansi was not only lazy but also liked to play tricks on people, Goat knew he was up to something.

“Well, let me see,” she said. “You have one piece, two pieces, three, four and that piece right next to you,” she pointed.

“No, no. You have to count them all, one at a time.”

Goat smiled. “Well, let me try again. You have one, two, three, four and the piece of corn by your foot.”

“No, no. Did you not hear me just count them all, one at a time.”

Goat smiled an even bigger smile. “Let me try one more time. One, two, three, four and the piece of corn by your foot.”

Anansi was now very annoyed that Goat could not count. “No! Don’t you see, there are one, two three, four, FIVE…”

Whoops!!!!

NOTE: This story is taken from my eBook 'Anansi The Trickster Spider - Volume One which contains eight retold traditional stories.

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