you’ve been in my head for a good three years now. It’s time to get out of this arachnophobe’s mind.
As if, Anansi replied, you don’t even have a story with me in it to tell.
I know, Anansi, I know. Yet, I just decided for you to be the answer to my writer’s block.
Come on, silly spider, you’re the god of all knowledge of stories! Before you bought them from the sky-god Nyame we didn’t even have stories. You brought them into our world.
Bring me a story, Anansi. I beg you. Do you drink tea?
I am a spider, why on earth would I drink tea?
Fine. Then just sit down and let me tell you a story first.
You had a writer’s block.
I’m just telling you about my lack of inspiration.
Sounds like a story and not a writer’s block to me.
Oh just shut up and listen.
I always was inspired. I belong to the last generation to grow up without the internet and my childhood had a small dull village as its stage. My parents wouldn’t give much space for exploration and instead of friends I had bullies.
To survive there was no other option but to create my own world, both in my room and my head. It was another reality in which I lived whenever I needed it, with inspiration being its source. Yes, inspiration was never there to fuel my creativity but a means to stay alive. Creativity, however, was the result.
Looking back I didn’t have a happy childhood, anything but, yet what I am grateful for is that my childhood taught me to listen to myself and the world around me. It taught me to take cues from just about anything and transport them into my own world.
Really? This is what you want to tell me? How boring is this?
now that’s a story you will want to hear. He was part of the price I had to pay to Nyame. Onini was a python, you see, and if I wanted to bring you stories it was up to me to capture him. Now, a python is not easily caught but I got it done. And all I had to do was to crunch his ego a little bit.
As I had descended back to earth I sat under a palm tree knowing Onini was just nearby enough to hear me. Out loud I debated whether the claim of my wife Aso was right: Onini was not as tall as a palm branch. Of course he was convinced he was way taller than the branch and quickly came to me and offered to prove for himself.
I explained to him the only way to do so would be for him to lay next to the branch and Onini agreed. Yet, as he slid his way to have his ego stroked he struggled to keep his body straight making it impossible to compare him with the branch. I knew this and told Onini the only way we can be certain was for me to tie him to the branch. He agreed and I tied him up.
Minutes later the first part of the price for stories was paid.
are really that stupid, Anansi? I find it hard to believe.
Please, Anansi, help me out.
Recently I returned to the world which brought me incredible despair but also taught me the magic of imagination. This time, however, it is quite something different.
There’s almost twenty years in between, y’know?
My old school is no longer there. Dozens of new houses have been built. The park has matured. My pal in adventure, my dog, is no longer with us.
And… I became an adult.
When I walked through the park again it was the first time I consciously thought about the beauty of the place. It was pretty back then, and I knew, but I never truly thought about it. It is a difference I only understand on some subconscious level, yet it is rather significant. It holds relevance but I cannot explain how.
In the past here I created my stories, I explored the park. Today I find its reminiscence and am left to explore my past.
I don’t know what to do, Anansi. It feels like I have nothing left to create, that I am dwelling in the past; wandering through long forgotten glory.
Just don’t wander like Osebo.
The leopard. Wandered right into my cobwebs. Second part of the price paid.
Let me tell you about the Mmoboro too.
Anansi, I need your help to tell a new story. You, the god of all knowledge of stories, should be able to help me, right?
Why don’t you just listen?
The Mmoboro are hornets. Nasty beasts, but part of the price I had to pay. It took me a while to figure out how to catch them but then I remembered how much they hate the rain.
I hollowed out a calabash and filled it with water. With aid of a banana leaf I poored some water over my head and the Mmoboro’s nest. Rain!, I shouted, Rain! The hornets I invited to seek shelter in the calabash. Trapped!
That was the third part.
Right, so you had collected everything that sky-god wanted from you. Great. You bought the stories and now you can give me one of them.
Hold on, laddie. I still had to catch Mmoatia too.
Who is Mmoatia and how did you catch him?
Her. Not sure if I want to tell you, you hardly seem interested in my story.
That’s only because I need your help to create a new story.
You need to learn to listen…
But I am listening!
Fine… So I spoke with my wife Aso to figure out how to capture Mmoatia. You see, Mmoatia is a bad tempered fairie, and no one has ever seen her.
We decided Aso to make ano for the fairie, a paste of yams mashed with eggs and oil. It’s quite delicious, really. I took some wood from a gum tree and carved it into a doll and covered it in sticky threads.
We knew where the fairies came to dance and I sneaked to the place and put the doll next to the yam paste in the grass. I climbed up a tree and waited.
Finally, by nightfall I heard a voice: “Hello, gum baby, could I have some of your ano?” I pulled the silken thread I had attached to the doll’s head so it seemed she nodded in agreement.
I could not see Mmoatia but I did see the ano disappear and once she finished it all she said “Thank you.” I remained silent but the fairy got angry: “I said thank you!” “I said thank you! Answer me or I’ll slap you!” I told you she was a bad tempered fairy…
As the doll didn’t answer Mmoatia got angry and slapped the doll in her face. And then her hand got stuck. As she got more angry she tried to pull her hand from the doll’s face and even used her feet against the doll’s tummy to pull her separate but now she was completely stuck.
There I had the final part of the price for stories and I took the screaming fairy with me to Nyame.
So, congratulations, you bought the stories. Now, please, Anansi, help me and give me one of them.
turned them all away, y’know, great princes and rich villages; all have tried to collect the price for stories and all failed. No one but I managed to get it done, there’s a reason they’re called Spider Stories today. And you, you barely listen, you only want something for your own good.
Anansi, please, I am listening, I am, but I am also just desperate for a story. This writer’s block has got to end.
When I saw people not knowing what to do with their time, sitting around the fire together but being bored out of their minds, I took action. I just told you. I brought stories to the world, that’s a story right there!
I give up.