Ananse and the Pot of Wisdom

Ananse and the Pot of Wisdom is a folktale. It is told to teach about wisdom and its benefits.

Ananse and the Pot of Wisdom

Ananse and the Pot of Wisdom

Once upon a time, Nyame, the god of wisdom, stored up all the wisdom in the world in a pot, and he wanted someone who would keep it safe.

“Who will I give this pot to?” He asked and indulged himself in thoughts. The god of wisdom kept thinking for a very long time, but he could not find anyone to give the pot to. Then suddenly, he looked down and saw Ananse, the spider crawling around.

“Ah, I now know! I will give the pot to Ananse. He is already wise, and he would keep the pot safe. Also, from my wisdom, I know that Ananse can be very selfish so he will not share the pot with anyone.” 

Nyame, the god of wisdom, finally decided to give the pot of wisdom to Ananse, so he called Ananse aside.

“Ananse,” he said.

“Yes, my god of wisdom,” Ananse replied.

“I have been noticing that you are really wise, and you know how to keep a secret,” the god of wisdom said.

“Yes, my god of wisdom. I am extremely wise. In fact, I have helped Tortoise, who is considered a very cunny animal, so many times. Most of his skills, he got from me. So I am very wise,” Ananse said, smiling.

“Good. That is exactly what I need. I need someone that will help me do something. This person has to be very wise and selfish.”

“You can trust me, my god of wisdom. I am all those things,” Ananse kept smiling as he spoke.

“Okay. You see this pot that I have been holding?” Nyame asked, and Ananse immediately saw the pot on his lap.

“This pot contains so much wisdom in it. You know that people do not know how to plant, sew or do anything else. This pot contains wisdom that will help them do just that. But the world is not ready for this type of wisdom yet. They will use this wisdom to kill themselves if they should lay hold of it. So I want you to take this wisdom and store it in a place that one would know.”

Ananse was very pleased to be given such a task, so he happily agreed to do it. He took the pot, and after promising he would not fail the god of wisdom, he went on his way.

When Ananse got home, he kept thinking about what he would do with the pot. He was so selfish with the pot that he didn’t even allow anyone to know the content, not even his own family. But that was a good thing because the god of wisdom had requested that he shouldn’t allow anyone to have the pot. According to him, half of the world would be destroyed if people got to have all the wisdom the pot held.

“Where can I hide this pot? I must hide it in a place that no one would know so that I do not disappoint my god of wisdom,” Ananse said to himself.

After pondering for a long time, Ananse finally decided that the best place to hide the pot of wisdom was on top of a very tall tree.

“Yes, I will hide it on that tree. That very tall one that people rarely climb. That way, no one would know that the pot is up there, and all the wisdom of the world would be safe,” Ananse said to himself.

So he took the pot and tied a rope around it; he then tied the rope to his body and started climbing the tree. The process was hectic and annoying because the weight kept dragging him down.

Ananse’s son, who stood on the ground watching, finally said, “but father, won’t it be better if you tied the pot to your back?”

Ananse took his advice and came back down and tied the pot with the rope to his back. This made the process of climbing the tree very easy for him.

When Ananse finally got to the top of the tree, he thought to himself, “I am holding the pot of wisdom on my back. How is it then possible that this little spider has so much wisdom to tell me what to do, and it worked?”

This angered Ananse so much that he threw the pot on the ground. The pot broke into different pieces. Just like that, wisdom spread to the entire world.

It is because of this wisdom that people can cook, sew, draw, and create new things.


Moral Lesson

  • It is not good to be selfish 
  • Never fully judge a book by its cover. 


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