title: Anansi and the Magic Pot
Category: Folk Tales
A very long time ago, in a land long swallowed by the angry oceans, there was a clever fellow named Anansi. Now some may say that Anansi was a man, whilst others hold that he was a Spider. In truth, he was one of the Elder, Spirit-folk who could take the form of either human or a creature of the world of which they were the principal member. I like to think that this is indeed the truth for who can name a spider of such amazing and ancient deeds?! None, I should think...
Not long after Anansi and his wife Marita has sailed through harsh storms across the Sea of Golden Eels, and settled on the great land of Sun and Plenty--very near the place we would today call Africa--Anansi had another of his famous adventures. You see, spiders are very curious by nature and tend to get themselves into every kind of difficulty. Even today you will find spiders creeping and sneaking into all sorts of unlikely places, but none could ever match Anansi! Just going down to the shore to collect shells for Marita could be an adventure for Anansi...
On the occasion of which I speak, Anansi's wife Marita had become very angry because her husband was somewhat greedy and would sneak into the dinner pot to help himself before anyone else got there. This was very frustrating for Marita, because she had to cook twice as much so that everyone would get dinner. Even so, Anansi grew heavier and heavier and his family and friends grew thinner and thinner.
But Marita was clever and had a plan! She would not tell Anansi what was for dinner--he was especially bad about meat and beans--they were his favorite--and she would wait until he went out to collect sea shells and what not before she started cooking. This would have worked well enough, but Anansi could smell meat cooking a mile off, and snuck back to grab a snack. So...Anansi grew heavier...and his family and friends...grew thinner...
Marita was desperate for a way to solve her problem, so she went to visit the High Favah, who listened to her plight, nodding every once in a while. After she was done explaining, the High Favah cleared his mighty throat in a deafening roar and spoke to her.
"Woman. Take you this pouch of magic dust and sprinkle some into your cooking pot just before you put it on the fire. No one but you may serve out of the pot without paying the penalty. Now go away and let me sleep!"
Well, Marita was more than pleased at this and went home to fix dinner. Today she would test the magic powder by making meat and beans--Anansi's favorite! At first she was nervous about putting the pot on the fire with the sparkling dust swirling in it, but it didn't seem to do anything at all that strange, so she gave it a try. Nothing happened.
"Well, " she though, "that Favah isn't so smart after all!" And she went about her chores.
Now Anansi was down near the yam hills when he smelled the heavenly fragrance of meat and beans cooking. His stomach growled a low greedy growl, as only his could, and he began to get hungry. But how could he sneak some early dinner without Marita catching him? Well Anansi was a very clever fellow and grabbed some tools from his shed.
"I'm going to fix that leaky cistern!" he announced as he trundled past Marita, who was busy with her chores. But did Anansi go anywhere _near_ the cistern? Not likely. Instead, he crept into the kitchen and lifted the lid of the cooking pot. Marita's cooking had never before smelled so tasty and exotic! Well, being *very* hungry, Anansi thought he would just grab a quick handful of meat and beans and sneak out of the back window. The very instant he touched the meat, the pot developed a face and a mouth. And the mouth began to scream!
"HEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPP!" cried the pot. Anansi jerked his hand out of the pot quick, and the screaming stopped at once. Marita called out from the other room where she was folding socks. This took a long time as Anansi needed eight socks at a time.
"Whats going on in there?!" Anansi thought fast and called back.
"Nothing I stubbed my toe on the cistern!"
"Well be careful!"
"Yes dear one!"
Anansi could tell this was going to take a little more doing than he first had thought, so he took off his floppy had and ran his hands through his long curly hair--which was Anansi's pride and joy. Then he got an idea! The hat would make a nice bowl, if he could shut that leering pot up for a bit. Then Anansi giggled at his own cleverness, for he took up a great jar of honey and shoved an immense spoon of it into the Pot's mouth. Well the pot could not very well scream with a mouth full of honey and no way to swallow it. That's how Anansi was able to scoop up a great mount of meat and beans into his hat.
Unfortunately...that was when Marita came into the kitchen, just as the pot spat out the honey and began to scream again. Well Anansi had no choice but to pull his hat back onto his head in order to hide his snack.
Marita saw the grinning face on the pot and fixed Anansi with a stare as only Marita could fix. "Have you been diddling in my dinner pot again?!"
Well Anansi was not generally a liar, but his wife looked *very* fierce and he decided to evade. "Do you _see_ any meat and beans out of the pot? All I did was lift the lid and the thing started yelling."
Marita was still not pleased, "Mess with my pot again and *you'll* be what's cooking!" At that she stomped outside into the garden.
Just about now, Anansi realized that meat and beans, fresh off the fire are really *very* hot. And his head was now burning terribly, because he had taken a great hatfull of dinner. Out the window he fled, down to the stream, where he ripped off the hat and was startled at his reflection in the water. All of his beautiful, curly hair was burned clean off, and he was bald for life. And since that very day, no creature under the sun has ever seen a spider with hair, and Anansi's family finally got dinner!