Anansi the spider knows he's clever, but he wishes to be wise so badly that he decides to take others' wisdom and keep it all for himself. Going door to door, Anansi fills a gourd with his neighbors' wisdom, plotting to hide it in the top of a tree. But when he can't climb the tree while holding his gourd, his son suggests Anansi tie the gourd to his back. Grateful for his son's idea, Anansi realizes wisdom is best used when it's shared with others.
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Anansi, which means “spider” in the
African language of Akan, prided
himself on being clever, but knew
that he was not very wise.
So one day he came up with a
clever idea to become wise easily.
He picked up a hollow gourd, and
thought to himself:
“If I fill this gourd with wisdom, then
I can keep it all to myself, and I’ll be
wiser than anyone in the world!”
Excited about his new scheme,
he went from door to door
asking for advice and wisdom.
He thought he was being clever by
stealing everyone’s wisdom, but
everyone he met happily shared
their advice with him, for they could
see that Anansi needed wisdom
more than anybody.
Finally when he had filled his gourd
with all the advice, ideas and
wisdom he could carry, he scuttled
back to his home excitedly.
But then, he had a thought:
“What if someone else comes
and tries to steal all my wisdom?”
He decided that he would hide
his wisdom in a safe place.
So he saw a tall tree, and figured
that it would be a good hiding spot.
He clutched the gourd close to his
body with two of his legs, and tried
to use the other six to climb the
tree. But the gourd was too big!
Every time he went to try to climb
the tree, the gourd got in his way.
Just as he was growing frustrated,
his young son came by and said,
“Why don’t you just tie the gourd to
your back, daddy?”
His son’s wise words made Anansi realize
that wisdom was best used if shared with
So he tied the gourd to his back,
climbed up to the very top
of the tree, and held the gourd
up to the sky.
All of the wisdom in the gourd
spilled out into the wind and flew
away, far and wide, and that is how
wisdom came to the land.