A Book of Two Hundred
TINY TALES OF ANANSI
TINY TALES OF ANANSI
A Book of Two Hundred 100-Word Stories
Tiny Tales of Anansi by Laura Gibbs is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike
4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
About This Book
Story Title Index
More Tiny Tales
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Anansi the Spider is an African trickster. Enslaved
African storytellers brought Anansi’s stories to the
Americas, and the Anansi stories in this book come from
the Caribbean: from Jamaica, Antigua, Grenada, and
more. Anansi’s main enemies are Tiger and Lion (think
Caribbean big cats, like ocelots and mountain lions).
Anansi has friends too, like Dog and a character named
Tacoomah. But beware: it’s dangerous to be Anansi’s
friend. Anansi will trick his friends or even his family
to get what he wants. He is cunning and also cruel;
ingenious, but greedy. Musician, magician, fearless,
reckless: Anansi is full of surprises.
The paragraph you just read about the trickster Anansi is
100 words long, as is this paragraph, and that’s also the
length of each story in this book. The stories go fast, but
you can slow down when you find one you like. Read it
again. Let it sink in. Maybe even write your own version
of the story, using your imagination to add more details.
Meanwhile, if you don’t like a story, don’t get bogged
down; just move on to the next one. There are more
100-word stories about Anansi, along with stories from
other cultural traditions, at:
4 LAURA GIBBS
1. ANANSI AND TIGER IN THE PIT
nansi heard Tiger roaring.
He looked around.
There was Tiger, trapped in a deep pit!
Tiger was leaping and jumping, trying to escape.
Anansi looked down and smiled.
“Hello, Tiger!” he said. “Having trouble down there?”
That made Tiger mad! Inch by inch, he started clawing his
way up the pit.
“You can do it, Tiger!” Anansi shouted. “Come on! Come
Near the top, Tiger gasped, “No... more... strength...”
“Just pray!” said Anansi. “Put your paws together and pray
And when Tiger put his paws together, he slid all the way
Anansi ran off, laughing.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 5
2. ANANSI’S RIDING-HORSE
Anansi kept saying Tiger was his father’s riding-horse.
This made Tiger angry!
Tiger went to Anansi’s house.
“Come with me!” Tiger said. “You're going to tell
everybody the truth.”
“Tm sick!” groaned Anansi. “I’m too weak to walk.”
“Then get on my back,” said Tiger.
Anansi fetched his saddle and bridle and spurs.
“What do you need all that for?” asked Tiger.
“To keep from falling off,” Anansi said. “I feel so weak.”
Anansi got in the saddle, and he spurred Tiger.
“Just like I said!” Anansi shouted. “Tiger was my father’s
riding-horse. And now he’s mine too!”
6 LAURA GIBBS
3. ANANSI AND HIS GRANDMOTHER
Anansi killed his grandmother, put her body in his
wagon, and drove into town.
He told the barkeeper, “Take some whiskey to my
grandmother in the wagon. Wake her if she’s asleep.”
The barkeeper couldn't wake her.
Then Anansi came out and shouted, “You killed her!”
The barkeeper gave Anansi a sack of gold coins to keep
“How did you get that gold?” Tiger asked Anansi.
“T killed my grandmother and drove her to town,” said
So Tiger killed his grandmother and drove to town,
shouting, “Who wants to buy my dead grandmother?”
They locked Tiger in jail!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 7
4. ANANSI AND THE COCONUT
Anansi was eating a coconut, smacking his lips happily.
“What’s that?” Tiger asked him.
“It’s one of my balls!” said Anansi. “Balls are very sweet.’
Then Anansi smiled at Tiger. “Hey, Tiger, your balls are
much bigger than mine. | bet they are even sweeter than
mine are! Let’s go to the blacksmith. He can use his
hammer and anvil to break off one of your balls so you
can eat it.”
Tiger and Anansi went to the blacksmith.
Tiger lay down, and the blacksmith banged him with a
Then Anansi ate Tiger, balls and all.
8 LAURA GIBBS
5. ANANSI AND TIGER IN THE POT
Tiger came to see Anansi.
“Hard times!” said Anansi. “No food here.”
Tiger went away.
Then Tiger heard Anansi’s wife yell, “Dinner’s ready.”
Tiger returned. “Feed me!” he roared.
“Tll share the food,” said Anansi, “if you do what I tell you.”
“Okay,” said Tiger.
Anansi got in the pot. “Put the lid on. When I knock, let
Tiger put on the lid. Anansi knocked. Tiger let him out.
“Now you!” said Anansi.
Tiger got in. Anansi put on the lid.
Tiger knocked, but Anansi didn’t let him out.
“Got you now!”
Anansi cooked Tiger and ate him.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 9
6. ANANSI AND TIGER’S GOAT
Anansi and Tiger went hunting.
Tiger caught a goat, but Anansi didn’t catch anything.
Anansi didn’t like that, so he decided to trick Tiger.
“That’s a nice goat!” Anansi said.
“Tm going to take this goat home, kill it, and cook it,” said
“Did you say grace yet?” Anansi asked him.
Tiger looked ashamed. “No, Anansi, I didn’t say grace yet.”
“You better say grace right away!” said Anansi. “Put your
hands together and say: Thank the Lord.”
When Tiger put his hands together, the goat got free and
Tiger was left with nothing.
Anansi just laughed!
10 LAURA GIBBS
7. TIGER AND ANANSI’S KNIVES
Tiger and Anansi went walking together.
“T have a knife,” Anansi said. “Do you?”
“I do!” said Tiger.
Then Anansi said, “I’m scared of your knife, Tiger.’
“Tm scared of yours too, Anansi!”
“We should throw away our knives,” said Anansi. “I'll go
Anansi threw something away, but it wasn’t his knife; it
was a rock.
“Now you!” said Anansi.
Tiger threw away his knife.
Then they came to some pineapple.
Anansi shouted, “You need a knife to eat pineapple,” and
he started eating.
Tiger didn’t have a knife, so he couldn't eat pineapple.
Anansi had tricked Tiger again!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 11
8. ANANSI AND MR. MAN’S SHEEP
Mr. Man hired Anansi to guard his sheep, but Anansi was
stealing the sheep.
“Find out who’s stealing my sheep!” Mr. Man said.
“Tl catch the thief by holding a party,” said Anansi.
Then Anansi went to Tiger and gave him sheepskin
trousers and a sheepskin shirt. “Wear your new clothes to
the party,” Anansi said. “And sing this song: See my clothes
all made of sheep; see my sheepskin clothes.”
Tiger came to the party in his new clothes, singing the
“That’s him!” shouted Anansi. “That’s the sheep-thief!”
Mr. Man had Tiger arrested and locked up in jail.
12 LAURA GIBBS
9. ANANSI, TIGER, AND THE LADY’S SHEEP
Anansi kept stealing a lady’s sheep until there was only
one sheep left.
“Tl kill Anansi for you,” Tiger told her, “if you give me
Tiger killed the sheep and put on the sheepskin.
Anansi came to steal the last sheep, but he stole Tiger
“This sheep is heavy,” Anansi groaned.
He carried the sheep home and cut its throat.
“There’s no blood,” said Anansi, confused.
“There’s ME!” roared Tiger.
Anansi ran, and Tiger couldn’t catch him.
When the lady saw Tiger, she was mad. “Anansi’s still
She locked Tiger in jail for stealing her sheep.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 13
10. TIGER AND ANANSI EATING BREAKFAST
Tiger fed Anansi a good breakfast.
‘Tll feed you breakfast tomorrow!” Anansi told Tiger.
“Come when you hear dishes clattering.”
Tiger waited and waited. There were no dishes clattering.
Finally Tiger came anyway.
“Too late!” said Anansi. “Breakfast is over.”
“But the dishes didn’t clatter!” shouted Tiger.
“Try again tomorrow,’ said Anansi. “But when I say ‘Eat
eat eat!’ you must say ‘I don’t want to eat!”
So the next day Tiger came.
Anansi said, “Eat eat eat!” and Tiger said, “I don’t want to
Anansi laughed and told him to go away.
That’s how Anansi tricked Tiger twice.
14 LAURA GIBBS
11. TIGER HELPS ANANSI TO GET MEAT
Anansi kept tricking Tiger, and Tiger wanted revenge!
“Come eat breakfast with me,’ Tiger told Anansi, and he
fed Anansi lots of meat.
“How did you get all that meat?” Anansi asked.
“It’s easy!” said Tiger. “I go where the cows are. When a
cow lies down, I stick my hand inside and grab the cow’s
guts. Then I pull it out. You have to pull hard, and don’t
Anansi did what Tiger said, but the cow ran and dragged
Anansi over the rocks.
That’s why Anansi’s belly is white: his skin got scraped off
by the rocks!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 15
12. ANANSI AND TIGER GO HUNTING
Tiger and Anansi hunted Mr. Man’s pigs.
Every time Tiger shot, Anansi shot too.
Tiger hit the pigs.
Anansi didn’t hit anything, but he still claimed half the
This made Tiger mad, so he played a trick. “I hear Mr.
Man coming!” Tiger shouted.
They both hid.
CRACK! Tiger made a whip-sound. CRACK! Tiger made
the sound again.
“Who shot my pigs?” said Tiger in Mr. Man’s voice.
“Tiger shot the pigs!” Anansi shouted.
“Not me, Mister Man! I can’t shoot! Tiger shot those pigs.”
Tiger laughed at Anansi and took all the meat home.
Anansi got nothing.
16 LAURA GIBBS
13. ANANSI AND THE TAR-STUMP
Someone was stealing Tiger’s peanuts, so Tiger made a
He tarred a stump and put a hat on it.
When Anansi came to steal peanuts, he saw the stump.
“Who are you?” Anansi shouted.
Stump didn’t answer.
Anansi grabbed with one hand. Stuck. Other hand. Stuck.
Anansi butted with his head. Stuck. He kicked the stump.
Tiger came and laughed at Anansi.
“Now I'll burn you!” he said, pulling Anansi loose.
“Before burning me,’ Anansi shouted, “jump the fire
yourself. It’s good luck.”
Tiger jumped, and Anansi pushed Tiger into the fire.
Anansi got the peanuts.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 17
14. ANANSI IN THE GOURD
Tiger was chasing Anansi.
Anansi needed to hide, so he hid inside Tiger’s water-
Tiger didn’t see where Anansi had gone. He was angry
that Anansi had escaped!
Then Tiger picked up his water-gourd and went to fetch
Anansi had to get out, or else he would drown.
“Tiger’s mother is dead-dead-DEAD!” said Anansi from
inside the gourd, and his voice echoed.
Tiger listened and then kept walking.
“Tiger’s mother is dead- DEAD-DEAD!”
Tiger listened again.
“Tiger’s mother is DEAD-DEAD-DEAD!”
Tiger dropped the gourd and went running to his
Tiger’s mother wasn’t dead.
That’s how Anansi got away!
18 LAURA GIBBS
15. ANANSI AND TIGER GO FISHING
Anansi and Tiger went fishing.
When they caught a fish, Tiger grabbed it.
“This one’s mine!” he shouted.
Tiger tied a string to the fish and then tied that string to
his toe. “When I wiggle my toe, I'll know the fish is there.”
Then Tiger went to sleep, wiggling his toe to make sure
the fish was there.
Anansi carefully untied the fish and tied the string to a
Tiger kept wiggling his toe, and he thought the fish was
When Tiger woke up, he pulled the string.
Then Tiger knew Anansi had tricked him.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 19
16. ANANSI AND TIGER’S MANGO-TREE
Tiger had a mango-tree, and Anansi wanted some of
“Will you give me some mangoes?”
Tiger said, “No!”
“Can I buy some mangoes?”
Tiger said, “NO!”
Then Anansi said, “You know, there’s a big storm coming.
A real big storm. You better tie yourself to that tree before
the wind blows you away.”
“Tie me!” said Tiger.
Anansi tied Tiger to the tree, but no wind came.
“When’s that storm coming?” asked Tiger.
“No storm,” said Anansi. “I just wanted your mangoes.”
Anansi climbed the tree, took the mangoes, and left Tiger
behind, still tied to the tree.
20 LAURA GIBBS
17. ANANSI TIES TIGER
Anansi was carrying a basket of fish when he met Tiger.
Tiger grabbed the basket and ate the fish.
Anansi was angry but said nothing.
They kept walking.
Anansi saw a fruit-tree.
“Nice fruit there!” said Anansi.
“Get me some!” said Tiger.
Anansi climbed up and looked down. “I see lice in your
Tiger said, “Groom me!”
Anansi climbed down and he pulled Tiger’s fur and
whiskers, and with Tiger’s fur and whiskers he tied Tiger
to the tree!
Then Anansi ran off and left Tiger tied to the tree.
Tiger roared, and a hunter came and killed him.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 21
18. ANANSI, TIGER, AND THE FISH
To hide his fish from Tiger, Anansi put them in a coffin.
Tiger saw Anansi with the coffin. “Ill help bury your
friend!” he said.
They walked and walked.
Anansi got tired and confessed. “There are fish in the
“T love fish!” said Tiger. He ate the fish and left the fish-
bones in the coffin.
“Now I want dumplings!” said Tiger.
They went to Anansi’s house, and Anansi gave the fish-
bones to his wife. “Put the fish-bones in the dumplings,”
Tiger choked on the dumplings.
‘Tll help you!” said Anansi, whacking Tiger with a shovel.
22 LAURA GIBBS
19. ANANSI GOES TO TIGER’S WEDDING
Tiger didn’t invite Anansi to his wedding.
Anansi was mad, so he put cow-itch plant inside Tiger’s
Tiger put on the tuxedo and it itched.
It itched bad!
Tiger tore off his tuxedo. “Go get Anansi!” he yelled.
Anansi was excited to come to the wedding feast, but
when he got there, Tiger buried him in the cow-itch.
It itched bad!
Thinking quickly, Anansi yelled, “Did you see the Queen
coming behind me?”
“The Queen???!” Tiger didn’t think she would come to the
When Tiger ran to see the queen, Anansi escaped.
There was no queen, of course.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 23
20. ANANSI AND THE EGGS
Firefly and Anansi were gathering eggs at night.
“Little eggs for you,” said Anansi. “Big eggs for me.”
This made Firefly mad, so he flew away.
Stumbling in the dark, Anansi found Tiger’s house.
“Help me!” said Anansi. “I'll give you these eggs.”
Tiger let Anansi sleep in his house and, knowing Anansi,
he put scorpions around the egg-basket to protect the
When Anansi went to steal the eggs, the scorpions bit
Anansi started crying.
“Why are you crying?” asked Tiger.
Anansi lied. “I miss my family!”
And since Anansi couldn't steal the eggs, he stole Tiger’s
24 LAURA GIBBS
21. ANANSI AND TIGER’S BONE-HOLE
Tiger had a big pot of stew-meat, and he had a bone-hole
where he threw the bones.
Anansi and his family got in the pot to eat, but Tiger
came, so they hid in the hole.
Tiger ate and threw a bone. It hit Anansi’s child. “Hush!”
The second bone hit Anansi’s other child. “Hush!”
The third bone hit Anansi’s wife. “Hush!”
Finally Tiger threw a bone that hit Anansi.
“Everybody yell!” said Anansi.
So they yelled, and it scared Tiger.
Tiger yelled, “Ghosts in the bone-hole!” and ran off.
Then Anansi and his family ate the meat.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 25
22. ANANSI HELPS TIGER TAKE A BATH
Tiger and Anansi went to the river.
“Wash your guts!” Anansi told Tiger.
Tiger took out his guts and washed them.
“Now your head!”
When Tiger put his head in the water, Anansi stole Tiger’s
“Make this into stew!” Anansi told his wife.
Then Anansi prepared his children for Tiger’s funeral.
“Everybody shout: Poor Tiger’s dead!”
One child cried, “We ate Tiger!”
“No!” said Anansi. “You can’t go to the funeral.”
But that child went to the funeral anyway. When Anansi
saw the child coming, he ran and hid on the rooftop.
Spiders stay on the roof even now.
26 LAURA GIBBS
23. ANANSI’S FAMILY ON THE ROOFTOP
Anansi and his family were on the rooftop, hiding from
One of Anansi’s children complained, “I’m hungry.”
Anansi got angry! He threw the child down. Tiger ate
Next child. Next child. Next child. All the children.
Then Anansi fell asleep.
Mrs. Anansi sewed her skirt to Anansi’s trousers.
Anansi woke up, and he threw his wife down, but she
didn’t fall. She stayed tied tight to Anansi.
Then Anansi told Tiger, “Pile up a trash-heap for us to
Tiger piled up a trash-heap.
They jumped down and hid in the trash-heap.
Spiders are still hiding there.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 27
24. TIGER TRIES TO TRICK ANANSI
Tiger wanted to kill Anansi.
“Tell him I’m dead,” Tiger said to Mrs. Tiger. “T’ll lie here
and wait for him.”
Mrs. Tiger shouted, “Poor Tiger! Mr. Tiger is dead!”
Anansi was suspicious.
“Did you hear Tiger was sick?” he asked Dog. Dog said no.
He asked Monkey and Goat and all the animals. Nobody
had heard Tiger was sick.
Anansi went to Tiger’s house.
Mrs. Tiger sat there weeping, and Tiger was in the bed.
“Did he make the final groan?” Anansi asked Mrs. Tiger.
“The dead make a big final groan.”
Then Anansi ran off, laughing.
28 LAURA GIBBS
25. ANANSI’S STRONG HAND
Anansi and Tiger wanted to see whose hand was
Anansi hid a hammer up his sleeve and hit Tiger on the
Tiger was surprised. He didn’t know Anansi’s hand was
“‘Tll come hit you tomorrow!” Tiger said.
So Anansi invited Deer to his house. “I’m going to take
a nap now,’ Anansi said, “but Tiger is bringing me good
food for dinner! When he knocks, let him in.”
Tiger knocked, and Deer opened the door.
Tiger hit him and ran off, thinking he had hit Anansi.
Deer was dead, so Anansi roasted Deer and ate him.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 29
26. TIGER, ANANSI AND GOAT
Tiger, Anansi, and Goat shared a house together, but
Tiger wanted the whole house for himself.
“Tm hungry!” Tiger roared. “I’m going to eat you both!”
Then Anansi and Goat ran away, and Tiger chased them.
They got to the river.
“T can’t swim!” cried Goat.
Anansi turned Goat into a small white stone, and then
Anansi jumped across the river.
“T bet you can’t hit me with that stone!” Anansi shouted at
Tiger threw the stone.
When it hit the ground on the other side, the stone turned
back into Goat.
Anansi and Goat were safe!
30 LAURA GIBBS
27. ANANSI’S MAGIC YAMS
Anansi’s yams were magic! Only Anansi could pull them
out of the ground.
Tiger was hungry. “Let me harvest your yams,’ he begged
Anansi laughed. “You can try!”
Tiger dug and dug. The yams wouldn’t come out.
Tiger got angry and started slicing yams with his
Then the yams jumped up and chased Tiger.
“Ticky-Picky-Boom-Boom!” they shouted. “TICKY-
Tiger ran. The yams ran too.
“Help me, Goat!” shouted Tiger. Goat butted the yams
into the river.
The yams drowned.
Tiger and Goat fished out the yams and ate them up.
But Tiger still has bad yam dreams: Ticky-Picky-BOOM-
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 31
28. KING TIGER AND ANANSI
King Tiger had one golden stool and four silver stools.
Anyone who counted all the stools would fall down dead,
but the animals didn’t know that.
“Win the golden stool!” Tiger said. “Just count the other
stools. That’s all you need to do!”
Cat came and counted: “One, two, three, four, five.”
Cat fell down dead. Tiger ate her.
Then Rabbit, Dog, Monkey, the same.
“One, two three, four,’ Anansi said, “and one more!”
Tiger got angry.
“That’s not how to count!” he shouted. “This is how you
count: One, two, three, four, five!”
Tiger fell down dead.
32 LAURA GIBBS
29. ANANSI, TIGER, AND SNAKE
“All the stories will be yours if you can catch Snake alive
and bring him here,” Tiger told Anansi.
So Anansi went to see Snake.
He stared hard at Snake until Snake asked, “What are you
“Tiger said you weren't as long as this stick!” Anansi
waved a stick at Snake. “But I said you were. You're the
longest animal, so you must be longer than this stick.”
“Yessssss!” said Snake. “I'll show you!”
Snake slithered up against the stick.
Then Anansi tied Snake tight and took him to Tiger.
“Now all the stories are mine!” Anansi shouted.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 33
30. ANANSI AND THE HORNETS
“All the stories will be yours if you bring me hornets in a
gourd,” Tiger told Anansi.
Anansi knew just what to do.
He cut a hole in a gourd.
He filled a bowl with water.
Then he found a swarm of hornets and threw water on
Holding the bowl over his head like an umbrella, Anansi
shouted, “It’s raining! Only fools stay out in the rain.
Come hide inside this nice dry gourd.”
Once the hornets were in the gourd, Anansi plugged the
hole and took the gourd to Tiger.
“Now all the stories are mine!” Anansi shouted.
34 LAURA GIBBS
31. ANANSI AND THE QUEEN-BEE
“All the stories will be yours if you bring me bees in a
gourd,” Tiger told Anansi.
Anansi took a gourd and went into the woods, muttering.
Queen-Bee asked, “What’s wrong, Anansi?”
“I made a bet with Tiger about how many bees this gourd
can hold,” said Anansi. “But I don’t know the answer.”
“I don't know either!” said Queen-Bee. “Let’s find out. You
can count us!”
Then the bees followed their queen, buzz-buzz-buzzing
into Anansi’s gourd.
When the gourd was full, Anansi plugged the hole and
took the gourd to Tiger.
“Now all the stories are mine!” Anansi shouted.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 35
32. ANANSI AND THE HONEY
Anansi was eating honey.
“What’s that?” Tiger asked him.
“Monkey piss!” said Anansi, smiling. “Try it!”
Tiger tasted the honey. “Monkey piss is sweet!”
Tiger ran to catch Monkey, and Anansi went along to
Tiger grabbed Monkey around the neck with one hand,
and he held out his other hand.
“Piss in my hand!” Tiger roared at Monkey.
Monkey obeyed, and Tiger drank the piss.
“Ugh! That’s not sweet at all!”
Anansi shouted at Tiger. “Don’t squeeze so tight! Loosen
your grip, and Monkey’s piss will be sweet.”
Tiger loosened his grip, and Monkey ran away.
Anansi just laughed.
36 LAURA GIBBS
33. ANANSI AND TIGER TAKE A BATH
Anansi and Tiger went to the river.
“Take out your guts before your bath!” Anansi told Tiger,
and Tiger did.
Then Anansi ate Tiger’s guts while Tiger took a bath.
“Where are my guts?” shouted Tiger.
“The monkeys took your guts to Monkey-Town,” said
Tiger ran to Monkey-Town, and the monkeys were all
singing: “All the monkeys swallowed them up! We ate Mister
Tiger got mad and started killing the monkeys.
One of the monkeys shouted, “Stop that, Tiger! It’s only a
song! Anansi taught us this song yesterday.”
So Tiger knew Anansi had tricked him again.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 37
34. ANANSI, MONKEY AND TIGER
Anansi and Monkey were friends.
“How many tricks do you know?” Anansi asked.
“I know plenty of tricks!” said Monkey.
“I know two,” said Anansi. “One for me, and one for you.”
They found Tiger in a hole. “Help me!” Tiger shouted.
“Lower your tail!” Anansi told Monkey.
Tiger climbed out.
“Now I’m going to eat you, Monkey!” Tiger said, and he
Anansi laughed. “Are you happy about eating Monkey?”
“Yes, | am!” roared Tiger.
“Tm happy too,” said Anansi. “Let’s clap our hands for
Anansi clapped his hands.
Tiger clapped his hands.
That’s how Monkey escaped!
38 LAURA GIBBS
35. ANANSI OWES MONKEY MONEY
Anansi owed Monkey money, but couldn’t pay, so
Monkey whipped Anansi.
The next day Monkey came and whipped Anansi again.
Anansi told his mother, “Build a fire, put me in a pot, and
hide me in the ashes.”
But Monkey was a witch who saw hidden things, and he
found Anansi in the ashes. He whipped Anansi again.
Another witch gave Anansi a magic rope.
Anansi climbed the magic rope.
Monkey climbed up the rope after him.
Anansi yelled, “Rope: be cut!”
Monkey fell down and broke his neck.
Then Anansi yelled, “Rope: be tied!” and he climbed down
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 39
36. ANANSI’S POT OF WATER
Anansi went to Monkey-Country, carrying a big pot.
He filled the pot with water and put it on the fire.
“Warm water feels good,” said Anansi. “When it gets too
hot, say “Bunya!” and I'll pull you out. Like this!” Anansi
got in the pot.
“Feels good.” Then after a while he said, “Bunya!” and
Monkey pulled him out.
“Now you!” said Anansi.
Monkey got in.
“Feels good,” he said. Then after a while he said, “Bunya!”
“No bunya yet!” said Anansi.
“Bunya!” yelled Monkey.
“No bunya yet!” said Anansi.
When Monkey was cooked, Anansi ate him up!
40 LAURA GIBBS
37. ANANSI’S CHRISTENING OVEN
Anansi went to Monkey-Country.
‘Tm here to christen you,’ he said, “and this is my
christening oven. I'll show you!”
Anansi lit the fire.
‘Tll get in, you close the door, and when I shout
“Christened!” you let me out.”
Anansi got in, and the Monkeys shut the oven door.
Then Anansi shouted “Christened!” and they let him out.
“Now you!” he said to the Monkeys.
The Monkeys got in, and Anansi shut the oven door.
“Christened!” they yelled.
“Not christened yet!” said Anansi.
“CHRISTENED!’ they yelled.
“Not christened yet!” said Anansi.
Then Anansi ate up all the roasted Monkeys.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 4]
38. MONKEY WEARS ANANSI’S NEW SUIT
Monkey used to be elegant and refined.
Elegant speech. Refined manners.
All the animals respected Monkey for his sophistication.
That made Anansi jealous, so Anansi got a fancy suit and
filled it with ants.
“Hey, Monkey!” Anansi shouted. “You know all about
sophisticated fashion. Will this suit look good on me?”
“What a fine suit!” said Monkey. “Tl be glad to model it
for you, Anansi.”
Monkey put on the suit, and he immediately started
twitching and scratching, jumping up and down, rolling
on the ground.
Ants were biting Monkey all over!
And Monkey has been acting foolish ever since.
42 LAURA GIBBS
39. ANANSI ARRANGES A FUNERAL
Anansi and his wife sat under a tree.
Monkey was in the tree, listening.
“We need meat!” Anansi said. “T'll take a barrel, wrap it in
a sheet, and invite everyone to your funeral.”
Sheep, Goat, Hog, and Monkey all came. Cow was the
“Come inside,’ Anansi said to the animals.
They went inside, but Monkey refused. He knew better!
“My grief is too great,” Monkey said, sobbing.
Then Anansi locked the door from the inside.
Cow sang a hymn.
“T don’t like that hymn!” Anansi shouted, and he killed the
animals with his machete.
Monkey sat outside, laughing.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 43
40. ANANSI AND THE YAM-HILLS
Saying the number five was bad luck. Anyone who said
“five” dropped down dead!
Anansi decided to play a trick. He dug five yam-hills, and
then he sat beside his yam-field, weeping.
Hog walked by. “What’s wrong?” Hog asked.
“I can’t count my yam-hills,” said Anansi.
“You fool!” said Hog. “I'll count: one-two-three-four-five.”
When Hog said “five” he dropped down dead.
Anansi ate him. Goat too. Dog. Cow.
Then Monkey came. “One-two-three-four,’ Monkey said,
“plus one more!”
“You fool!” shouted Anansi. “Can’t you count? It goes like
When Anansi said five, he fell down dead.
Monkey ate him.
44 LAURA GIBBS
41. ANANSI AND FLING-A-MILE
Anansi stuck his hand in a hole.
The hole said, “I’m Fling-a-Mile!” Then he flung Anansi
“Excellent!” said Anansi, and he put sharp stakes where he
Then Anansi led Hog to the hole. “Put your hand in!”
Fling-a-Mile flung Hog; Hog got impaled on a stake.
“Tll eat Hog later!” said Anansi, happily.
Monkey watched what Anansi did.
Then Anansi led Monkey to the hole.
“Look!” Monkey shouted. “There’s gold in the hole!”
Greedy Anansi reached for the gold.
Fling-a-Mile flung Anansi and he got impaled on a stake.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 45
42. ANANSI AND THE TREE BRANCHES
Tiger and Monkey were chasing Anansi.
“Help me, Banana-Tree!” shouted Anansi.
“Take this fiber!” said Banana-Tree.
Anansi climbed the tree and made a fiber bridge between
two branches. Anansi balanced on the fiber, but Monkey
and Tiger were too heavy; they had to stay on the
Everybody got hungry.
Tiger stood guard while Monkey went to eat, and then
Monkey did the same for Tiger.
Anansi was starving!
Then Anansi saw a fly, so he used the fiber strings to
weave a web and catch that fly.
Tiger and Monkey finally gave up.
And that’s how Anansi started weaving!
46 LAURA GIBBS
43. THE TIGER FAMILY, LION, AND ANANSI
Tiger stole cattle at night.
One night, by accident, he grabbed Lion, thinking it was a
“That’s not a cow!” screamed Mrs. Tiger. “That’s Lion!”
Anansi sat on the roof watching.
“Come up here!” Anansi shouted to the Tiger family.
But they were too heavy; one by one they slid off the roof
and Lion ate them.
“You next, Anansi!” shouted Lion.
“Tm so big my fall will crack the earth! Pull up that pot for
me to land in.”
The pot held Mrs. Tiger’s pepper sauce!
Anansi splashed down.
The pepper sauce blinded Lion, and Anansi got away.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 47
44. ANANSI’S KNIFE AND FORK
Anansi was in trouble again.
The master tied him up and went to get a whip.
Lion came by. “Who tied you up?” he asked.
“Master told me to use a knife and fork,’ said Anansi,
“but I don’t know how. He’s bringing some food, and he’s
going to make me use a knife and a fork.”
“I can use a knife and fork!” shouted Lion. “I'll eat the
So Lion untied Anansi, and Anansi tied Lion.
Then the master came back and he started whipping
“Wait!” shouted Lion. “Where’s my food?”
The master whipped Lion even more.
48 LAURA GIBBS
45. ANANSI AND LION PLAY A GAME
Lion had stolen Anansi’s fish, and Anansi wanted revenge.
“Let’s play a game!” said Anansi to Lion. “We'll tie each
other to a tree. Here’s some string; you tie me first.”
Anansi gave Lion some thread, and Lion tied Anansi to
Anansi easily broke the thread and got free.
Lion laughed. “This was fun! Now you tie me.”
Anansi got out a big thick rope and tied Lion to the tree.
Lion struggled with all his strength, but he couldn’t break
Anansi laughed. “This is fun!”
Then he beat Lion with a stick and left him there.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 49
46. BABY ANANSI AT THE LION’S FEAST
After Anansi left Lion tied to a tree, a woman found Lion
and freed him.
Grateful Lion invited her to a feast.
Anansi wanted to go too. “Take me with you!” he said, and
he turned himself into a baby.
The woman brought the baby to Lion’s house, and the
baby ate more than anybody else.
Lion got suspicious, so he followed the woman, but
Anansi turned himself into an old man.
“Which way did the woman and her baby go?” Lion asked
the old man.
“That way!” said Anansi, pointing the wrong way.
Lion ran off, and Anansi laughed.
50 LAURA GIBBS
47. ANANSI, LION AND THE RAIN-CHARM
Anansi brought food to Lion every day, but Lion was so
hungry one day that he couldn't wait. He went to Anansi’s
house and ate Anansi’s mother!
That made Anansi mad. Anansi wanted revenge on Lion.
“We need to do a charm to bring rain,” he said to Lion.
“Come with me to the crossroads.”
At the crossroads, Anansi pounded nails between his own
fingers. “That’s the charm,” he said to Lion. “Now I'll nail
When Anansi nailed Lion, he pounded the nails straight
into Lion’s fingers and toes. Lion screamed, but he was
That was Anansi’s revenge!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 51
48. ANANSI, LION, AND THE DONKEY-CART
Anansi and Lion bought supplies in town.
They were almost home when Anansi said, “I forgot
molasses! You go back and get it. I'll drive the cart home!”
When Lion was gone, Anansi hid the cart and donkey in
Next, he cut off the donkey’s tail.
Then he buried the tail sticking straight up out of the
When Lion came back, Anansi shouted, “The donkey ran
underground! Grab the tail before he gets away!”
Lion grabbed the tail and pulled.
“Oh no! I pulled the donkey’s tail off!” Lion groaned.
“Now we'll never get the cart back.”
52 LAURA GIBBS
49. ANANSI FINDS LION IN THE ROAD
Lion played dead in the road.
Anansi found him and carried him home to eat.
“Look at this!” Anansi shouted. “Lion’s dead!”
Anansi’s wife shook Lion’s tail; Lion shivered. “Lion’s not
dead!” she shouted.
“Yes, he is!” shouted Anansi.
Next, Anansi’s wife pulled Lion’s paw. “Lion’s not dead!”
“Yes, he is!” Anansi shouted.
Then Anansi’s wife saw Lion’s eyes were open. “Lion’s not
dead!” she shouted.
“ROAR!” yelled Lion.
“RUN!” yelled Anansi.
They ran to the rafters.
Anansi’s wife fell down; Lion ate her.
Anansi jumped out the window and set the house on
fire... with Lion inside!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 53
50. ANANSI AND GOAT’S PLANTAINS
Anansi stole the plantains from Goat's plantain-tree.
“Baaa-a-a, where are my plantains?” yelled Goat.
Goat ran to Anansi’s house.
Anansi and his family hid on the rooftop.
One child slid off. Goat caught the child, killed him, and
stuffed him in a sack. “Baaa-a-a, he’s my plantain now!”
One by one the children all slid off.
Then Mrs. Anansi slid off.
“Baaa-a-a, they’re all my plantains now!” said Goat. “You
“Make an ash-heap I can fall on,” said Anansi. “Then I'll
Goat heaped up ashes.
Anansi fell. Ashes scattered everywhere!
Goat couldn't see, and Anansi escaped.
54 LAURA GIBBS
51. POOR ANANSI’S DEAD
“We need food!” Anansi said to his wife. “I'll lie here, and
you'll shout that I’m dead.’
“My poor husband!” shouted Mrs. Anansi. “Anansi’s
Hawk came by. “Poor Anansi!” said Hawk, and he bowed
his head. Anansi jumped up and killed Hawk, and then
they ate him.
Then Bull came. “Poor Anansi!” he said, and he bowed his
head. They killed him and ate him.
Then Sheep. Then Fowl.
Then Ground-Dove came. “Is he really dead?” Ground-
Dove asked. “If he’s dead, he should make one last big
Anansi let loose a big fart.
Ground-Dove laughed and ran away.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 55
52. ANANSI AT THE FUNERAL
Anansi’s mother-in-law died, and Anansi went to the
funeral dressed in his fancy funeral-clothes.
He got hungry during the funeral service, so he snuck into
the kitchen. He smelled beans cooking!
Anansi had just scooped up some beans when the cook
Embarrassed, Anansi poured the beans into his hat to eat
later, and he put the hat on his head.
The burning beans made him dance.
“It’s my hat-shaking dance of grief!” Anansi shouted.
Anansi danced until he got away, but it was too late: the
beans burned off his hair, and that’s why Anansi is bald.
56 LAURA GIBBS
53. ANANSI AND THE PLANTAINS
Anansi and his family were starving.
At last, Anansi found some food: plantains.
There were four plantains, but five mouths to feed:
Anansi, Mrs. Anansi, two sons and a daughter.
Mrs. Anansi roasted the plantains, and Anansi gave one
each to the children and one to his wife.
“Don't you worry about me,” he said sadly.
“Aren't you hungry?” asked his daughter.
‘Tm starving, dear child,” said Anansi. “But never you
She broke her plantain and gave half to Anansi.
The two boys did the same.
And Mrs. Anansi.
So Anansi ended up with more food than anybody else.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 57
54. ANANSI AND THE PORK STEW
Anansi’s wife raised a pig.
“Let’s eat your pig!” Anansi said.
“No!” she said. “I’m going to sell it.”
Then Anansi pretended to be sick. “Fetch the doctor,’ he
Right after she left, Anansi dressed up as the doctor and
ran to meet her on the road.
“Tm too busy for house-calls,” he said, “but pork stew is
Anansi’s wife headed home, and Anansi ran to get there
“Doctor says you must eat pork stew,’ Anansi’s wife said.
“Tm too sick to eat...” Anansi moaned.
“You must eat pork stew,” she replied. “Doctor’s orders!”
58 LAURA GIBBS
55. ANANSI AND THE CHICKEN SOUP
“I’m so sick,” Anansi said to his wife. “Consult the doctor!”
When she left, Anansi ran to the doctor’s office and put
on the doctor’s clothes.
“Anansi’s sick!” she said.
“He needs chicken soup!” Anansi replied.
Anansi then ran home before his wife got there. Lying in
bed, he sang, “Chicken soup for me, for me, chicken soup for
Mrs. Anansi heard him.
She started cooking. “Ready soon!” she said.
Anansi smelled soup.
She called the village children. “Eat quietly!” she
They ate the soup.
“Ready now!” she said to Anansi.
Anansi came, but the soup was gone!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 59
56. ANANSI AND THE YAM-FOOFOO
Anansi planted a special yam named yam-foofoo, and it
He took some home and cooked it.
“Tell me this yam’s name,” Anansi said. “Otherwise, you
Nobody knew the yam’s name, so Anansi ate the whole
Next day, Anansi’s youngest son, Cunning-More-Than-
Father, mashed some okra and spread it on the ground.
Then he hid and watched.
Coming home, Anansi slipped on the okra and fell. “Oh! I
dropped my yam-foofoo!” he shouted.
Cunning-More-Than-Father ran home and_ told
When Anansi cooked the yam, his wife and children said,
“Give us yam-foofoo!” and Anansi had to share.
60 LAURA GIBBS
57. ANANSI AND THE MANGOES
Anansi climbed a mango tree by the river. He wanted to
eat all the mangoes by himself. Greedy Anansi didn’t want
to take any mangoes home for his wife or children.
As Anansi was eating the mangoes up in the tree, he
looked down into the river.
There was someone with mangoes in the water. Anansi
wanted those mangoes too! Anansi wanted ALL the
He dropped down into the water.
But it was only Anansi’s reflection.
Nobody else. No more mangoes.
The river currents carried Anansi away, and he drowned.
That was what happened to greedy Anansi.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 61
58. ANANSI’S GRAVE
Mrs. Anansi planted peas, but Anansi didn’t help.
He pretended he was dying.
“Bury me in the pea-field,” he said. “Make a coffin-hole so
I can watch the peas growing while I’m dead.”
Anansi pretended to die, and they buried him.
Every night Anansi got out of the grave and ate peas.
Anansi’s son made a tar-stump to catch him.
“These peas are mine!” Anansi shouted at the tar-stump.
Anansi fought with the tar-stump and got stuck.
Anansi’s family found him stuck to the tar-stump.
Anansi was so ashamed he ran up in the rafters, and that’s
where he stays.
62 LAURA GIBBS
59. TIGER IN THE PEPPER-PLANT
Anansi hated his son Cunning-More-Than-Father and
wanted to kill him.
While Anansi plotted with Tiger, Cunning-More-Than-
Father pretended to be asleep under the table, but he was
“Help me kill him!” Anansi said to Tiger.
“Tll hide in the pepper-plant,’ Tiger said. “Send your son
At suppertime, Anansi said, “Son, go pick peppers from
But Cunning-More-Than-Father took a stick from the
fire and poked the pepper-plant.
The fire-stick burned Tiger’s face! Tiger screamed and
Cunning-More-Than-Father then told Anansi, “The
pepper-plant screamed, so | didn’t pick any peppers.”
Anansi had to eat supper without any peppers.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 63
60. TIGER IN THE YAM-PATCH
Anansi wanted Tiger to kill his son.
‘Tll send Cunning-More-Than-Father to get yams,’
Anansi said. “You hide in the yam-patch and kill him.”
While Tiger and Anansi talked, Cunning-More-Than-
Father was under the table, listening.
Next day, Anansi told Cunning-More-Than-Father, “Go
Cunning-More-Than-Father went to the yam-patch, but
not too close.
“Hello, yams!” he shouted.
He shouted louder. “Hello there, yams!”
Tiger didn’t know what to do.
“Anansi wants me to get the talking yams,’ shouted
“Talking yams are here!” replied Tiger.
Cunning-More-Than-Father laughed and ran away
before Tiger could grab him.
And Anansi didn’t get any yams.
64 LAURA GIBBS
61. CUNNING-MORE-THAN-FATHER AND THE
Anansi wanted to kill his son Cunning-More-Than-
Cunning-More-Than-Father had gotten away twice, but
Anansi said to Tiger, “Let’s try again!”
Cunning-More-Than-Father pretended to be asleep, but
“‘Tll send Cunning-More-Than-Father up the coconut-
tree,’ Anansi told Tiger. “You catch him when he comes
So Cunning-More-Than-Father filled a bag with stinging
ants and hid it in the tree.
Next day Anansi said, “Son, go get coconuts.”
Cunning-More-Than-Father went up the coconut-tree.
Tiger came and waited below.
“Catch the coconuts, Tiger!” yelled Cunning-More-Than-
Father, and he threw the bag of ants on Tiger.
Tiger screamed and ran away.
Cunning-More-Than-Father had survived again.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 65
62. CUNNING-MORE-THAN-FATHER IN THE COFFIN
Tiger and Anansi finally caught Cunning-More-Than-
“Tl nail him inside this coffin,” said Anansi. “You throw it
in the sea.”
Tiger took the coffin and headed for the sea.
Along the way, Tiger took a nap.
Inside the coffin, Cunning-More-Than-Father started
shouting, “I’m not ready to go to heaven!”
A passing shepherd heard him and said, “Heaven's a good
place! I'll go if you don’t want to.’
The shepherd unnailed the coffin and got in.
Cunning-More-Than-Father nailed the coffin shut.
Tiger woke up, took the coffin, and threw it in the sea.
Cunning-More-Than-Father came home, bringing the
sheep with him.
66 LAURA GIBBS
63. ANANSI AND THE SEA-SHEEP
Tiger was supposed to throw Cunning-More-Than-
Father in the sea, but Cunning-More-Than-Father came
back home, and he brought a flock of sheep with him.
“But I threw him in the sea!” Tiger shouted.
“Yes, you did!” said Cunning-More-Than-Father. “These
are sea-sheep, and where the sea is deeper, the sheep are
“I want the big sheep!” shouted Anansi. “Tiger, put me in
a coffin and throw me in the deepest sea.”
Anansi got in the coffin and Tiger rented a boat to sail to
the deepest sea. He threw the coffin in the water.
That was the end of Anansi.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 67
64. LION, TACOOMAH, AND ANANSI
Anansi, Tacoomah, and Lion had an apple tree, and
Anansi ate all the apples.
“Who ate the apples?” roared Lion. “We'll let the fire
So they each had to jump over the fire.
Lion sang his Lion-song and jumped over the fire. “Fire
proved me innocent!”
Next, Tacoomah sang his Tacoomah-song and jumped.
“Fire proved me innocent!”
Next, Anansi sang his Anansi-song and jumped.
He fell in the fire, and the fire burned his shirt.
“Tll try again!”
The fire burned Anansi’s underpants. Now Anansi was
Anansi ran up the tree to hide, and he’s hiding there still.
68 LAURA GIBBS
65. TACOOMAH RIDES ANANSI
Anansi and Tacoomah were courting the same woman.
Tacoomah told her, “Anansi was my father’s riding-
Anansi heard about this and got angry.
“We'll go tell her the truth!” Anansi said.
“I can’t go now,’ said Tacoomah. “I’m sick.”
“We must go now!” said Anansi.
“Well,” said Tacoomah, “maybe you can carry me.”
Anansi let Tacoomah get on his back.
“Tm so weak...” said Tacoomah. “I need my walking-stick
to steady myself.”
When they got near the woman’s house, Tacoomah
started beating Anansi with the walking-stick.
“Look!” Tacoomah shouted. “Anansi was my father’s
riding-horse, and now he’s mine!”
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 69
66. ANANSI AND THE DOG-HEAD
Anansi and Tacoomah went hunting with their dogs.
On the way, Anansi got hungry. He ate his dog, but he
kept the head.
Tacoomah’s dog killed a cow.
Anansi ran up, chased Tacoomah’s dog away, and then put
his dog-head there.
“Look what my dog-head did!” Anansi shouted.
“That’s impossible!” said Tacoomah.
To trick Anansi, Tacoomah hid in the bushes, making the
sound of a whip cracking.
“No, sir,” Tacoomah shouted. “No, sir! My dog didn’t kill
your cow! Anansi’s dog-head did that!”
“No!” shouted Anansi. “Not true! Tacoomah’s dog did
Then Tacoomah came out and took the cow.
70 LAURA GIBBS
67. ANANSI SAYS TACOOMAH’S SICK
Anansi told Tacoomah, “We need meat!”
“Tve got a plan,” said Tacoomah. “Pretend I’m sick and call
for help. When the animals come in the house, I'll chop
them up and put them in this barrel.”
Anansi liked Tacoomah’s plan.
“Help!” Anansi shouted. “Tacoomah’s sick! Help!”
Animals came, and Tacoomah chopped, but the barrel
wasn't full yet.
Up on the hillside, Goat saw animals going in, but none
“Is Tacoomah sick?” Goat asked.
“Real sick!” said Anansi. “Please come in! Come help us!”
But Goat ran higher up the hill, and Goat stays on the
hillside even now.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 71
68. TACOOMAH MAKES A TAR-STUMP
Anansi and Tacoomah were neighbors.
During the night, somebody was stealing Tacoomah’s
It was Anansi! But Tacoomah didn’t know that.
Tacoomah made a tar-stump to trap the thief.
When Anansi found the tar-stump blocking his way to the
field, he got angry. “Move along!” Anansi shouted at the
Tar-stump didn’t move.
Anansi fought with the tar-stump and got stuck.
At dawn, Goat walked by.
“Help me fight this devil!” said Anansi.
Goat got stuck, and Anansi pushed himself loose.
Tacoomah came and found Goat. “You're the thief!”
Tacoomah killed Goat and shared the meat with Anansi.
72 LAURA GIBBS
69. ANANSI AND TACOOMAH’S FIRE
Anansi’s fire went out.
“Child,” said Anansi, “go to Tacoomah and get fire.’
Tacoomah gave the child some fire. “Take this beef-fat
too!” Tacoomah said.
The child came back with fire and beef-fat.
“What’s that nasty thing?” Anansi asked.
“Tacoomah gave it to me.”
“Ugh!” said Anansi. “I'll throw it away.’
Anansi was just pretending; he ate the beef-fat and
Anansi poured water on the fire.
“Go get more fire!” he said to his other child.
The child came back with fire and beef-fat.
Anansi played the same trick and ate the beef-fat, while
his children went hungry.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 73
70. ANANSI AND THE JUMBEE HOUSE
Anansi found a jumbee house. He heard the jumbees say
“Jollup-Jellup!” to open the door and “Jug-Up-Shollop” to
come back out.
Anansi waited till the jumbees left. Then he said, “Jollup-
Anansi went inside. The house was full of food. Anansi ate
the food, and then he said “Jug-Up-Shollop!” to get back
“You look fat, Anansi!” said Tacoomah.
“Te been eating jumbee food,’ Anansi said.
“I want jumbee food too!” Tacoomah said.
Anansi taught him “Jollup-Jellup” but not “Jug-Up-
Tacoomah was trapped when the jumbees came back, and
the angry jumbees turned Tacoomah to ashes.
Beware the jumbee house!
74 LAURA GIBBS
71. ANANSI GIVES TACOOMAH ADVICE ABOUT YAMS
Tacoomah was planting yams, and Anansi gave him some
advice. “You should boil those yams, put pork inside, and
then plant them. That will make the yams grow big and
Tacoomah did what Anansi said.
When it was night, Anansi came and took the cooked
yams full of pork, putting wild yams in their place. Then
Anansi feasted on Tacoomah’s yams and pork.
The wild yams Anansi left in Tacoomah’s field were big,
but they had no roots.
At first, Tacoomah rejoiced: the yams were so big!
But soon they shriveled up, and Tacoomah realized
Anansi had tricked him.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 75
72. TACOOMAH AND ANANSI’ EGGS
Tacoomah visited Anansi.
Anansi had one hundred eggs in a nest, and greedy
Tacoomah ate ninety-nine of Anansi’s eggs.
Then Anansi said, “I'll count my eggs!”
“You don’t need to,” said Tacoomah. “Ill count them for
“Hold each egg up high so I can see it,” said Anansi.
Tacoomah went out to the nest and lifted up one egg so
that Anansi could see it. “One!” Tacoomah said.
Then Tacoomah lowered the egg into the nest and lifted
the same egg up again. “Iwo!” he said.
So Tacoomah did that one hundred times... but there was
only one egg.
76 LAURA GIBBS
73. ANANSI’S CORN SONG
Someone was stealing Tacoomah’s corn during the night.
Tacoomah blamed Anansi. “You're stealing my corn!” he
“Tm no thief!” said Anansi. “I'll prove it to you by staying
here all night fiddling.”
Then Anansi told his gang. “When you hear me fiddling
tonight, go steal the corn.”
Here’s the song Anansi played, “Corn corn, harvest corn! Go
along, get corn, go along!”
Anansi sang and fiddled all night while Tacoomah
Then Tacoomah went to his field.
The corn was gone!
“You can’t blame me!” shouted Anansi. “You know I’m
Tacoomah got so angry he fell down dead.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 77
74. ANANSI AND THE CATS’ WEDDING
Anansi arrived early for the wedding feast of Mister Cat
and Miss Cat.
“Tl take care of the food,” Anansi said. “Leave it to me!”
But when the bride and groom returned from the
wedding, they found the wedding cake was gone, and the
wine was all gone too.
“You did this, Dog!” shouted the Cats.
Dog denied it.
Fly went looking for Anansi and found him walking
home, his face covered with cake crumbs.
“You're the thief!” shouted Fly.
Anansi swallowed Fly to silence him.
Since then Cat and Dog aren’t friends anymore; Fly and
Spider are enemies too.
78 LAURA GIBBS
75. ANANSI, DOG, AND AGOUTI
Anansi wanted to tease Dog and Agouti, so he told them
about a trip to Mango-Island. “Only horned animals can
board the ship,” Anansi said. “Not you!”
But Dog and Agouti both wanted to go, so they made
wooden horns, promising to help each other put the
horns on their heads.
But when Agouti put the horns on Dog, he ran off and
jumped on board, abandoning Agouti.
“Hey Cow, hey Goat, hey Ram!” Agouti shouted.
“Somebody doesn’t have real horns!”
Ram butted Dog overboard.
Then Dog chased Agouti and bit off his tail; that’s how
Agouti lost his tail.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 79
76. DOG AND ANANSI COMPARE SENSES
Dog was boasting to Anansi about his many senses.
“Te got sense in my nose,” Dog said, “and in my two ears,
two eyes, four feet, and I taste with my mouth. Plus brains
in my head. I’ve got eleven senses!”
“‘Tve just got two senses,” said Anansi. “I know me, and I
know my friend.”
The next day Tiger caught Dog.
Anansi saw them.
“Tm going to eat Dog now!” snarled Tiger.
“You better fold your paws and say grace,’ Anansi said.
Tiger folded his paws to say grace, and Dog got away.
Two senses are better than eleven!
80 LAURA GIBBS
77. TIGER COMES TO KILL ANANSI
Tiger was coming with his friends to kill Anansi.
Anansi’s only friend was Dog. “Help me, Dog!” said
Anansi, and he told Dog what to do.
When Tiger came to Anansi’s yard, he saw Dog holding
Anansi down, his head stretched out on a stump.
“Chop my head off now, Tiger!” shouted Anansi. “Just get
it over with!”
Tiger came rushing into the yard... and fell down into a
deep pit filled with rocks and sharp sticks.
Anansi and Dog had dug that pit.
As Tiger’s friends were getting him out of the pit, Anansi
and Dog ran off, laughing.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 81
78. ANANSI AND DOG AT THE DANCE
“like your fancy pants, Anansi!” said Dog. “Will you loan
them to me for the dance?”
“They’re too small for you,” said Anansi.
“No, they'll fit!” Dog insisted.
So Dog squeezed himself into Anansi’s pants, and then he
went to the dance.
Dog was a good dancer, and he liked to throw his legs up
But when Dog did that, he tore Anansi’s pants! They
ripped all the way from top to bottom.
Anansi was mad and took back his pants there at the
dance, and everyone laughed at Dog.
Ever since then, Dog doesn’t wear any clothes.
82 LAURA GIBBS
79. ELEPHANT AND ANANSI’S DANCE PARTY
Elephant and Anansi were hungry, so they invited Goat
and Dog to a dance.
Elephant sang, “Ill guard the door; you know what for!”
Anansi sang, “I'll tell you when! Do it then!”
Dog sang, “Hear that song? There’s something wrong!”
Goat sang, “Time for running; time for cunning!”
“Now!” shouted Anansi, but Elephant was slow: Goat and
Dog swam the river, but Goat couldn’t swim.
Goat turned into a rock.
“You can’t hit me!” shouted Dog, so Anansi threw the
Goat sprang up on the other side, laughing.
Elephant was so mad that he ate Anansi!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 83
80. ANANSI AND GOAT AT THE RIVER
Goat was running, and Anansi was chasing.
Goat ran and ran, and then he came to the river.
Goat couldn’t swim.
Dog was on the other side of the river.
“Help me, Dog!” said Goat, and then Goat turned himself
into a stone.
Anansi ran up. “Did you see Goat come this way?” he
“Tl tell you if you throw me that stone,” said Dog.
Anansi grabbed the stone and threw it to Dog.
When the stone hit the ground, it turned back into Goat.
“I had Goat in my hand,” Anansi groaned, “but then I let
84 LAURA GIBBS
81. ANANSI AND DOG AT THE RIVER
Anansi, carrying a sack of food, had to cross a river, but
he was scared of the alligators.
“Help me, Dog!” shouted Anansi. “Tll give you half my
Dog ran down the river and barked so the alligators swam
Then Dog raced back to Anansi and carried him across
before the alligators knew what happened.
“Thank you, Dog!” said Anansi.
Then, when Dog wasn’t looking, Anansi threw a rock in
the river. “Oh no! I dropped my sack!” Anansi yelled.
Dog jumped in. As he splashed around trying to find
Anansi’s sack, alligators ate him.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 85
82. ANANSI AND SNAKE
“Be my postman!” Anansi said to Snake.
“What will you pay me?” asked Snake.
“You can have a bite of my head tonight!”
Anansi put Rabbit in his bed that night, but Rabbit was
suspicious; he dug a hole and escaped.
Snake came calling, “Anansi! Where’s your head?”
Anansi called for Rabbit, but there was no answer.
Then Anansi went looking for Rabbit and couldn't find
Snake was coming, so Anansi decided to put a pot on his
Snake bit the pot. “Ouch!” Biting the pot hurt his mouth.
Snake wasn’t friends with Anansi after that.
86 LAURA GIBBS
83. ANANSI, RABBIT, AND HORSE-FLY
Anansi visited Godfather Rabbit and Godmother Rabbit.
When Godmother Rabbit went to fetch water, Anansi hit
Godfather Rabbit on the head and killed him.
Godmother Rabbit came back and found her husband
“You must bury him, Anansi!” she said.
“T will,’ said Anansi. “Just give me some lard and a frying
pan. Horse-Fly will help me.”
Anansi and Horse-Fly took Rabbit into the woods where
they cooked him and ate him.
“Tl tell Mrs. Rabbit he was delicious!” said Horse-Fly.
“No, you won't!” shouted Anansi.
Then Anansi cut out Horse-Fly’s tongue, which is why
Horse-Fly only says bzzz-bzzz-bzzz now.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 87
84. ANANSI AND THE FISH-POT
Anansi was catching fish in the river with a fish-pot.
But Tacoomah kept stealing Anansi’s fish!
Anansi hid and waited to catch the thief.
When he saw Tacoomah opening the pot, Anansi
slammed it shut and trapped Tacoomah inside.
Tacoomah drowned inside the fish-pot.
Then Anansi went to Rabbit. “I caught a big fish! But I’m
feeling poorly and I dare not put my feet in the cold water.
Please come drag the fish-pot for me!”
So Rabbit dragged the fish-pot to shore.
When they found Tacoomah dead inside, Anansi yelled,
“You killed Tacoomah!”
The police arrested Rabbit for murder.
88 LAURA GIBBS
85. ANANSI COMBS LION’S HAIR
Anansi invited Lion to come with him to the king’s feast,
and Lion accepted.
“You better let me comb your hair,” Anansi said. “You look
Lion wanted to look his best for the feast, so he agreed.
Everything was going just as Anansi planned!
“Lean here against this tree,” Anansi said, and Rabbit was
already hiding in a hole there.
Then Anansi combed Lion’s hair back, tying it around the
“Now, Rabbit!” Anansi shouted, and Rabbit bit Lion.
Lion leaped and twisted and finally strangled in his own
Together, Anansi and Rabbit celebrated the end of Lion.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 89
86. ANANSI DIVES FOR BANANAS
Rabbit, Anansi, and Bouki were sailing home. They had
some bananas and were arguing about how to divide
Anansi threw the bananas into the water. “Whoever
brings up the most gets the most!”
Rabbit dived first and brought up four bananas.
Bouki dived next; he brought up two.
Anansi dived... and Anansi just floated.
“Let’s try again!” said Anansi, and he threw all the bananas
into the water. “Tie the anchor to me this time! And I'll go
They tied the anchor to Anansi and threw him in the
Anansi sank and never came back up again.
90 LAURA GIBBS
87. ANANSI AND THE RABBIT IN THE ROAD
Anansi was carrying a basket of fish.
Rabbit wanted those fish, so he lay down in the road and
“I don’t need a dead rabbit,’ Anansi thought to himself.
“Te got fish!”
Anansi kept walking.
Rabbit ran through the grass to get ahead of Anansi and
lay down again.
“Maybe I should take these rabbits!” Anansi thought. He
put down his fish and ran to get the first rabbit.
But that rabbit was gone.
When Anansi ran back, the second rabbit was gone.
And so was his basket of fish!
Rabbit had fooled Anansi and taken his fish.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 91
88. THE LAW AGAINST INSULTS
“No insults!” said the king. “If you insult someone, you'll
That gave Anansi an idea!
He got a hoe and dragged it back and forth across some
Hog was watching. “What are you doing?” Hog asked
“Tm planting crops!” Anansi said.
“Crops won't grow on rocks,” Hog said. “You're an idiot!”
Hog dropped dead, and Anansi ate him. “Delicious!”
Anansi dragged his hoe across the rocks again.
This time, Duck was watching. “What are you planting?”
“Who plants crops on rocks?” replied Anansi. “You're an
Anansi dropped dead, so Duck ate Anansi. “Delicious!”
92 LAURA GIBBS
89. ANANSI AND THE WELL
There was a drought.
The animals dug a well, but Anansi was lazy. He didn’t
“No water for you!” the animals said to Anansi when the
well was done.
To guard the well, they made a tar-baby.
Anansi came to drink at the well.
“Hello there, gal!” he said when he saw the tar-baby. The
tar-baby said nothing.
“Give me a kiss!” Anansi said. The tar-baby said nothing.
Anansi slapped the tar-baby. His hand stuck.
Again. Other hand stuck.
Anansi butted the tar-baby with his head. Stuck!
Both feet: stuck!
And then the animals came and caught Anansi there.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 93
90. ANANSI AND RAM GO THIEVING
Anansi and Ram were stealing, and the watchman chased
They jumped in a hole, but Ram’s horns stuck out.
The watchman tripped on the horns. Ram was going to
scream but Anansi hissed, “Shush!”
The watchman kicked the horns. “That hurts,” Ram said.
“Quiet!” said Anansi.
Then the watchman sawed off the horns. “I can’t stand it!”
The watchman grabbed Ram and took him to court.
“Anansi was thieving too!” said Ram.
“I was not!” shouted Anansi.
Ram and Anansi fought, and Ram butted Anansi up on the
Spiders stay up on the roof even now.
94 LAURA GIBBS
91. ANANSI AND THE STOLEN PIG
Anansi stole a pig.
Then he went to the river for water to make stew, and
River-Snake grabbed him.
‘Tl let you go if you share your stew with me,” said River-
They went to where Anansi had tied the pig.
River-Snake said, “Tll soften the pig up for you!” He
swallowed the pig in one gulp.
Anansi called to Crow, “Hey Crow! Carry River-Snake
away from here!”
Crow carried River-Snake away, but River-Snake was
heavy and Crow dropped him.
River-Snake fell down, burst open, and the pig jumped
Anansi made the stew and ate it all.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 95
92. ANANSI, SNAKE, AND THE ROCK
Snake was trapped under a big rock.
“Save me!” Snake shouted when Anansi walked by.
“No!” said Anansi. “You'll eat me.”
“I won't eat you, I promise!” shouted Snake. “T'll be your
Anansi rolled away the rock.
“Now I’m going to eat you!” said Snake.
“That’s not fair!” said Anansi.
Agouti walked by. “Be our judge, Agouti!” they said.
“Well,” said Agouti, “you better show me what happened.”
“I was under this rock,” said Snake, and then Anansi rolled
the rock back on Snake.
“Leave him!” said Agouti. “He'll have to find some other
fool who trusts him.”
96 LAURA GIBBS
93. ANANSI, AGOUTI AND THE FISH-TRAPS
Anansi and Agouti were fishing partners.
They checked their fish-traps: there were many fish, but
the fish were small.
“There will be bigger fish tomorrow,’ said Anansi. “You
“You take them,” said Agouti. “Tl take the bigger fish
The next day, there were bigger fish, but only a few.
“There will be more fish tomorrow,’ said Anansi. “You
“You take them,’ said Agouti. “Ill take more fish
So it went, day after day: Anansi got all the fish, and
Agouti got none because he preferred the fish of
tomorrow to the fish of today.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 97
94. ANANSI CHASING THE GOAT
“Tm going to eat you, Goat!” said Anansi.
“You can’t catch me!” said Goat.
So Goat ran, and because Goats run fast, he got away.
A few days later, it rained, and Goat ran to the nearest
It was Anansi’s house!
Anansi opened the door and sang:
“Rain made this meat run here for me to eat!
Thank you, Rain! I'll sing it again...”
When Goat heard this song, he knew to stand back.
Anansi kept singing; Goat kept backing away.
Then Goat began running, and Anansi ran after him.
For all I know, Anansi is chasing him still!
98 LAURA GIBBS
95. ANANSI AND BABOON
“Tm fatter than you!” Anansi said to Baboon.
“No!” said Baboon. “I’m fatter!”
They stood before the fire to see who melted the most fat.
Anansi didn’t melt any fat, but Baboon oozed lots of fat.
Baboon’s fat smelled so good that Anansi ate Baboon, but
the bits in his stomach turned back into Baboon. Anansi
The doctor told Anansi to put a banana in his mouth.
“Baboon will come out to get the banana and run out your
Anansi was glad to get Baboon out of his stomach.
And even now Baboons love bananas.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 99
96. ANANSI AND RAT
Rat liked to dress up in fine clothes, acting like he was
better than everyone else.
Rat’s proud ways made Anansi angry.
So, at the next big dance, when Anansi’s band was playing,
Anansi got his revenge.
“Strut your stuff, Rat!” shouted Anansi. “Show us what
you ve got!”
Rat started to dance.
Then Anansi played faster. And Rat danced faster.
Anansi played even faster. And Rat danced even faster,
jumping and leaping, twirling and whirling.
Rat’s pants tore right down the middle.
Anansi laughed. Everybody laughed.
Rat ran and hid in his hole, and that’s where Rat stays
100 LAURA GIBBS
97, ANANSI AND ELEPHANT
Elephant was boss of the work-gang.
“Go fetch water!” Elephant said to one of the workmen.
Anansi was there at the water-hole, playing his fiddle:
Zing a ting-ting! Zing a ting-ting!
The music made the man start dancing.
He couldn't stop dancing.
Elephant came looking. “Where’s that water?” he shouted.
Anansi stopped playing. The man stopped dancing.
“Give me that gourd!” said Elephant. “T’'ll fill it myself!”
Then Anansi started playing. Elephant dropped the gourd
and started dancing.
Anansi played and Elephant danced ... until Elephant
Then Anansi cut off his head and made it into a drinking
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 101
98. ANANSI AND THE GUN
Anansi borrowed Gun from Hunter.
“Rejoice!” Anansi shouted. “Gun is dead!”
Then Anansi invited all the animals to come to Gun’s
Gun had killed many animals, so this was good news. All
the animals were glad that Gun was dead.
Anansi carried Gun up to the top of a ladder. “I will
conduct Gun’s funeral now!” Anansi said to the animals.
“Come line up and bow your heads.”
The animals bowed their heads, waiting for the funeral to
begin, and then Anansi fired Gun at the animals.
He killed and ate them all.
Beware of Anansi: he’s very cunning!
102 LAURA GIBBS
99. ANANSI AND BLACKSNAKE
Anansi and Blacksnake used to be friends.
“Share your food with me,” said Anansi.
‘Tll share,’ said Blacksnake. “But you must pay: I’ll lash
you with my tail later.”
Then Anansi prepared a feast. “Who wants a feast?” he
“T do!” said Goat.
Goat enjoyed Anansi’s feast.
Then they heard a knock at the door.
“Answer the door,’ Anansi told Goat.
Goat answered the door.
It was Blacksnake! His tail lashed out and cut Goat in two.
Then Blacksnake slithered off into the dark, thinking he
had killed Anansi.
But Anansi was alive, and he ate Goat for dessert.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 103
100. ANANSI AND THE SKINNY SHEEP
There was a famine.
There wasn’t any food to eat, and the animals were
getting thinner and thinner.
Anansi met Sheep and said, “You're looking very skinny,
“It’s the famine, Anansi,” said Sheep. “There’s no food to
“T bet you're so light now I could carry you,” said Anansi.
So Sheep got on Anansi’s back.
Then Anansi carried Sheep to his house and threw Sheep
into the stew pot.
Anansi and his wife ate Sheep.
The same with Goat.
The same with Dog.
That’s how Anansi and his wife got food to eat during the
104 LAURA GIBBS
101. ANANSI AND COW
Anansi put cane-liquor in a gourd and went walking.
He met Cow and offered him a taste.
“Delicious!” said Cow.
“Come live with me!” Anansi said. “I'll give you liquor!
Just let me put this willow-rope over your horns and lead
you to my house.”
Anansi led Cow home and tied the rope to a tree.
‘Tll go get you more liquor!” Anansi said.
Anansi came back with a machete, but when he went to
cut Cow’s head off, he accidentally cut the rope and Cow
“Cow! Come back! I was just joking!”
Cow never trusted Anansi again.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 105
102. ANANSI AND SHEEP AND THEIR SPOONS
Anansi and Sheep were out walking. They each carried a
“Your spoon sure looks heavy!” Anansi said. “Bury it here.
You can come fetch it when we find food.”
Sheep buried his spoon.
Finally they found a house with food.
“Go get your spoon!” said Anansi.
Then, when Sheep was gone, Anansi ate all the food.
Sheep came back. “I’m hungry! And I’m tired from
carrying my spoon!”
“Well, leave the spoon here,” said Anansi.
They found another house at dinnertime. Sheep went
back to get his spoon, and Anansi ate all the dinner.
Sheep didn’t get anything again.
106 LAURA GIBBS
103. ANANSI AND HORSE SHARE PLANTAINS
Anansi and Horse harvested some plantains.
“Tm hungry!” said Horse.
“Me too!” said Anansi. “But we need a cooking-fire. See
that fire?” Anansi pointed at a distant house. “Go get fire
Horse galloped off.
Then Anansi got his tinder-box, made a fire, and roasted
the plantains. He ate and ate; just four were left when
Horse came back.
“A man came, gave me fire, but then he stole the roasted
plantains!” said Anansi. “I fought him and saved these
four. You take two and I'll take two.”
“You're a good friend, Anansi!” said Horse, and they
shared the plantains.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 107
104. ANANSI AND THE BROTHERS
Anansi had a vision. “We can all be brothers!” he shouted.
Anansi got a wagon and went to all the animals, preaching
the gospel of brotherhood. “Brother Dog! Brother Hog!
Brother Rabbit! Brother Hawk! Brother Monkey! Brother
Tiger! Let’s celebrate our brotherhood. I'll carry food for
the party in my wagon. Come to my house tomorrow!”
The animals loaded Anansi’s wagon with food and drink.
“See you tomorrow!” said Anansi.
That night Anansi ate and drank till he couldn’t eat or
The animals came the next day, not guessing how much
Anansi stole for himself the night before.
108 LAURA GIBBS
105. ANANSI AND THE CHICKEN
Anansi was hungry.
He put his mother up in a tree, giving her a rope and a
Then Anansi sat at the foot of the tree, grinning.
Chicken walked by. “Why are you grinning?” she asked.
“Tm grinning because my treehouse is nice and cool, and
it’s full of food”
‘Tm so hungry!” said Chicken. “Let me visit your
“Okay,” said Anansi.
Then he sang, “Mama, Mama, drop the rope.”
Anansi tied Chicken to the rope. “Mama, Mama, haul her
Then Anansi shouted, “Mama, Mama, use the stick!”
Anansi’s mother killed Chicken, and they ate her.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 109
106. ANANSI AND SCREECH-OWL
Anansi organized a dance and asked Screech-Owl and his
band to play.
Screech-Owl can only go out at night, so he brought
Rooster to warn him when dawn came.
But Anansi had a plan: he wanted to catch Screech-Owl at
dawn and eat him for breakfast. So Anansi soaked corn in
rum and fed that corn to Rooster.
Rooster got drunk and passed out.
Dawn was coming; Rooster didn’t sing out.
Dawn came; Rooster didn’t sing out.
Anansi grabbed Screech-Owl, strangled him, and ate him.
Then Anansi took over Screech-Owl’s band.
That’s how Anansi got to be the best music-man.
110 LAURA GIBBS
107. ANANSI AND JOHN CROW
Anansi threw a big party, and John Crow was the best
John Crow danced even better than Anansi, and that
made Anansi mad.
As soon as the porridge was hot, Anansi said, “Dance on
up here, John Crow, and I'll give you some of this hot
So John Crow went strutting up to the porridge pot.
Then Anansi grabbed the ladle and poured hot porridge
on John Crow’s head, and it stripped his head feathers
That’s why John Crow has a bald head to this day: Anansi
burned his feathers off with the hot porridge!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 111
108. ANANSI AND DOVE
Dove was planting peas.
“Peas grow strong if you burn the roots,” said Anansi.
Dove burned the roots, and the plants died.
Dove wanted revenge.
He put his mother in a coffin and gave her a bag of money.
Then he began sobbing. “My mother died!”
Anansi came running.
“Mother, send me something from heaven!” said Dove.
Dove’s mother threw the money out of the coffin.
Anansi ran home and killed his mother, put her in a
coffin, and said, “Mother, send me something from
No money came out of the coffin.
That’s how Dove got revenge on Anansi.
112 LAURA GIBBS
109. ANANSI AND THE PELICANS
The Pelicans invited Anansi to a party on Pelican Island.
‘Td like to go with you, but I can’t fly,” said Anansi.
“We can make you wings with our feathers,” said the
Each of the Pelicans contributed a few feathers, and they
made a beautiful pair of wings for Anansi.
Anansi flew to the island with the Pelicans.
When Anansi got to the party, he ate all the food and he
drank all the drinks.
This made the Pelicans angry, and they took back all their
Then the Pelicans flew away, and Anansi was trapped on
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 113
110. ANANSI AND DOVE’S WINGS
“You're so fat!” Anansi said to Dove. “Show me where you
Dove made wings for Anansi, and they flew to the
feeding-trees by the river.
Dove landed on a tree and started eating, but Anansi said,
“That tree’s mine!” and ate all the fruit.
Dove flew to another tree.
“That’s mine!” Anansi said and ate all the fruit.
Finally Anansi ate so much he fell asleep.
Dove was angry, so she took Anansi’s wings off and then
she flew away.
When Anansi woke up, he said, “Hey, where are my
Greedy Anansi then fell into the river and drowned.
114 LAURA GIBBS
111. ANANSI AND DUNG-BEETLE
Anansi and Dung-Beetle both had some money.
Anansi said, “Let’s buy some plantains.”
Beetle said, “And butter!”
Then they argued: Anansi wouldn't share the plantains,
and Beetle wouldn't share the butter.
Finally Anansi hit Beetle and killed him.
“Uh-oh!” said Anansi, and he ran off.
But Beetle wasn’t really dead: he had fooled Anansi! Then
Beetle ate everything.
Next, Beetle found Anansi in the woods. He hid in the
bushes, shouting, “Heard the news? Heard the news?”
“What news?” said Anansi.
“Anansi killed Beetle! They’re coming to get him!”
Anansi ran away into Dead Man Country; there he stays.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 115
112. BUTTERFLY’S REVENGE
Butterfly was tired of Anansi’s tricks. He wanted revenge,
so he hid in Anansi’s basket.
When Anansi got home and opened the basket, Butterfly
flew out and landed on Anansi’s son’s head.
“Stand still!” Anansi shouted. “Don’t move!”
Anansi hit his son on the head and killed him, but not
Then Butterfly flew on Anansi’s wife’s head.
Anansi hit her on the head and killed her too, but not
Then Butterfly landed on Anansi’s head, so Anansi ran to
the roof and threw himself down headfirst.
Anansi killed himself, but not Butterfly.
Butterfly flew away, laughing.
116 LAURA GIBBS
113. ANANSI AND COCKROACH
One day Anansi and Cockroach made a bargain to work
all day together weeding the vegetable garden.
But when Cockroach knocked at the door, Anansi
groaned, “I’m too sick to go, Cockroach. I’ve got a fever!”
Then, after Cockroach was gone, Anansi started to sing:
“Garden too far, too hot, rikity-tikity-tot. Garden too hot, too
Cockroach stopped when he heard Anansi singing and
shouted, “You can’t fool me, Anansi!”
Anansi shouted back, “No, it’s the fever, Cockroach, I
And while Cockroach was shouting, Cat heard him.
Then Cat came and ate Cockroach.
Nobody weeded the vegetable garden.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 117
114. ANANSI AND BEETLE
Anansi and Beetle were both courting the king’s daughter.
“Bring your jars full of money,” said the king. “She will
marry the one with the most money.’
Beetle filled a jar with money, but Anansi filled his jar
with dung. Then he waited for Beetle.
“It’s hot today,” said Anansi. “Have a beer!”
“Thanks, Anansi!” said Beetle.
While Beetle was drinking, Anansi swapped the jars.
Then at the palace, Anansi poured out money from his jar,
but Beetle just poured out dung.
“Disgusting!” shouted Anansi. “Clean it up, Beetle!”
And that’s why Dung-Beetle is still rolling dung to this
118 LAURA GIBBS
115. ANANSI AND THE BULLFROGS
You've seen how Bullfrogs are always jumping.
That’s Anansi’s fault, because he tricked the Bullfrogs
Anansi went to the pond one day and shouted, “Hey there,
Bullfrogs! I’ve got good news: I caught Alligator. You
don’t have to worry about him anymore.”
Anansi was lying, but the Bullfrogs believed him. “Thank
you, Anansi!” they said. “Thank you so much!”
The next day Anansi told them, “Watch out! Alligator
got away.” Then Anansi pointed. “Look there! He’s right
Anansi was lying, but the Bullfrogs believed him.
The Bullfrogs started jumping.
And they’re still jumping to this day!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 119
116. ANANSI, WHALE, AND ELEPHANT
“Tm so strong!” boasted Whale.
‘Tm stronger!” boasted Anansi. “T'll pull you onto the
Whale just laughed. “T’d like to see that!”
Then Anansi went to Elephant. “I'll pull you into the
Elephant just laughed. “I'd like to see that!”
Anansi tied a rope to Elephant’s tail. “I'll tell you when I’m
Next, he tied the rope to Whale’s tail. “Tl tell you when
Anansi hid in the bushes. “I’m going to pull now!”
So Elephant pulled.
And Whale pulled.
“Anansi really is strong!” they thought.
Whale and Elephant both pulled so hard they died.
120 LAURA GIBBS
117. ANANSI AND WHALE
Anansi was stuck on an island.
“Help!” he yelled.
“‘Tll carry you to shore,’ said Whale. “Jump on!”
Anansi jumped on.
“Tm hungry!” said Anansi. “I want fish!”
Whale tossed a fish up to Anansi.
Then Anansi muttered to himself, “My children will kill
Whale and we'll eat him on shore.”
“What’s that?” asked Whale.
“T just said I want some more!”
Whale threw Anansi more fish.
They got to shore, and Anansi yelled, “Children, come kill
This made Whale angry. He threw Anansi down, smashed
him, and filled Anansi’s body with sand.
That was the end of Anansi.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 121
118. ANANSI, SHARK, AND THE FISH
Anansi was talking with Shark in the sea.
“You catch the fish,” said Anansi, “and I'll cook them for
you. Then I'll bring the cooked fish back to you in the
“T like cooked fish,” said Shark, and he caught lots of fish.
“Cook us a good fish soup!”
Then Anansi made a fire and put the fish in boiling water.
“Come dance and sing while I cook!” Anansi said to
When Shark started dancing on the beach, Anansi threw
the boiling water on him.
Then Anansi ate all the fish by himself, and he ate Shark
122 LAURA GIBBS
119. ANANSI, ALLIGATOR, AND THE PEPPER-POT SOUP
Alligator and Anansi cooked a pot of pepper-pot soup.
Then Alligator challenged Anansi to a diving contest.
“Whoever wins gets all the soup!”
“Okay,” said Anansi. “You go first.’
Alligator dived deep deep deep down into the river.
Meanwhile, Anansi ate the soup.
When Alligator emerged, Anansi shouted, “Monkeys
came and ate the soup!”
Then Anansi ran to Monkey-Town; he was faster than
Alligator, so he got there first.
He taught the Monkeys a song: “We love pepper-pot, we love
The Monkeys sang the song.
When Alligator heard them singing, he shouted
Alligator ate all the Monkeys!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 123
120. ANANSI AND THE CRABS
Anansi dressed up in a black preaching-gown and
preached to the Crabs in Crab Town.
But the Crabs ignored Anansi.
The next time Anansi went to Crab Town, he brought Rat
with his drum, Blackbird with his fiddle, and Toad with
Anansi preached while Rat, Blackbird and Toad played,
and the Crabs all danced, shouting “Hallelujah!”
Next Anansi said, “It’s baptizing time!”
First Anansi baptized Rat, Toad, and Blackbird with cold
water. “Hallelujah!” they shouted.
“Now baptize us!” said the Crabs, but this time Anansi
used boiling water.
Then Anansi and his band ate up all the Crabs.
124 LAURA GIBBS
121. ANANSI AND THE FISH-CHILDREN
“Our mother’s sick!” said the Fish-children.
‘Tll cure her,’ Anansi said. “Give me a frying pan and
some oil. I'll tell you when she’s cured.”
The Fish-children agreed, and Anansi fried the mother
and ate her.
“Come in now!” he said.
“Where’s our mother?” said the Fish-children.
“I ate her!” said Anansi.
The Fish were angry. “We're going to kill you!” they said,
and they grabbed Anansi.
“Just don’t burn me in the trash-heap!” shouted Anansi.
“Whatever you do, don’t burn me in the trash-heap!”
When the Fish-children put him in the trash-heap, Anansi
scurried away, laughing at the Fish-children.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 125
122. ANANSI IN FISH-COUNTRY
Anansi went to Fish-Country, pretending to be a doctor.
A fat mama-fish came to see him. “My eyes hurt,” she said.
“I can cure that!” said Anansi.
Anansi accompanied her home and locked her in a room.
Next, he taught her children a song: “Bim-Bam-Bye, heal
my mother’s eye.”
Anansi entered the locked room, fried the fish, and ate
her. Then he arranged her bones on the bed.
“Keep on singing, but leave her alone for two hours!” he
said to the children. “I'll check on her tomorrow.”
The fish-children even paid Anansi.
“Bim-Bam-Bye!” Anansi sang as he ran away.
126 LAURA GIBBS
123. ANANSI AND THE BARREL OF EGGS
Anansi fell in the river, and the Fish found him. They took
him to their home.
There was a barrel of eggs in their kitchen.
In the night, Anansi ate the eggs; he only left one.
In the morning, the Fish-Mother said, “Children, bring
me the eggs to count.”
“Let the Fish-Children sleep,” said Anansi. “I'll bring the
So Anansi brought one egg, and she marked it with ash.
“Bring another,’ she said.
Anansi wiped off the ash-mark and brought the same egg
When the Fish-Mother was done counting she said,
“Thank you, Anansi! You're a good helper.”
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 127
124. ANANSI AND THE FISH-CHILDREN’S CANOE
Anansi ate the eggs in the Fish-Mother’s barrel, but she
didn’t know it.
“Take me home now” he said to the Fish-Children.
So Anansi and the Fish-Children got in a canoe and began
crossing the river.
Meanwhile, the Fish-Mother discovered what Anansi had
done. “HE ATE ALL THE EGGS!” she yelled. “COME
“What did she say?” asked the Fish-Children.
“She said: Squall’s coming! Row fast!”
When they came ashore, Anansi grabbed the Fish-
“HELP! HELP!” yelled the Fish-Children, but their
mother couldn’t hear them.
Then Anansi fried the fish and ate them.
That’s how people learned to eat fish.
128 LAURA GIBBS
125. TURTLE AND ANANSI’ YAMS
Anansi was roasting yams, but he did not want to share
them, so he scattered ashes in the path leading to his
Turtle smelled the yams, and he was hungry. He came to
“May I share your dinner?” Turtle asked.
“Yes,” said Anansi, “but you must wash your hands in the
Turtle washed his hands carefully and came back through
“Your hands are still dirty!” said Anansi. “Go wash again!”
Turtle went and washed, but again his hands got dirty
walking to Anansi’s house.
Turtle never got to eat the yams!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 129
126. TURTLE INVITES ANANSI TO DINNER
Turtle wanted revenge on Anansi, so he invited him for
When Anansi came to the pond, Turtle told him, “Dive
down! Dinner’s in my house at the bottom of the pond.”
Turtle dived in, and Anansi dived in. But Anansi was so
light he couldn’t swim down like Turtle could. Anansi
pushed as hard as he could, but he bobbed to the surface.
Then Anansi put rocks in his pockets.
That helped, but not enough.
So he gathered more rocks.
And more rocks.
And when he got to Turtle’s house, dinner was over:
Turtle had eaten all the food!
130 LAURA GIBBS
127. TURTLE AND ANANSI MAKE A BET
Turtle got rich, and Anansi was jealous.
Anansi put what little money he had in the bank and went
to see Turtle.
“We've both got money in the bank,” said Anansi. “Let’s
race along the river! The winner will take all the money.”
Turtle agreed. Then he arranged with the Turtle family to
hide themselves in the river-grass. They all looked alike!
The race started, and Turtles were popping up ahead of
Anansi at every turn.
The last one was Mr. Turtle hiding by the finish line.
“Tm the winner!” he said.
Anansi never figured out how Turtle did it.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 131
128. ANANSI AND TURTLE MAKE ANOTHER BET
After Turtle won the race, Anansi and Turtle went to the
The banker gave Turtle a sack with all the money: Turtle’s
money, and Anansi’s too.
They walked home together. “How did he win that race?”
Anansi wondered. “He’s so slow!”
When they reached the pond, Anansi said, “Let’s make a
new bet: whoever dives longest gets the money.”
Turtle knew he could win this time too: he was a good
So Turtle jumped in and swam down down down deep.
After a long time, he came back up.
Anansi was gone. And so was all the money!
132 LAURA GIBBS
129. ANANSI TAKES ADVICE FROM TURTLE
Anansi caught Turtle in a trap.
“Tll cook you for supper!” said Anansi.
“Just be sure to take me out of the water as soon as it starts
boiling,” said Turtle. “Otherwise, my fat will melt away.”
Anansi put Turtle in a pot of water, and then he put the
pot on the fire.
Turtle blew as hard as he could, making bubbles.
Anansi thought the water was boiling, so he took Turtle
out of the pot and went to set the table, singing, “Turtle
When Anansi returned, Turtle was gone.
Turtle went home singing, “Fooled Anansi, ha-ha-ha!”
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 133
130. ANANSI AND THE KING’S COW
Anansi accidentally killed the king’s cow.
Not wanting to be blamed, he put the cow in a mango
“Let’s pick mangoes!” he then told Tacoomah. “Whack the
tree with your stick.”
The cow fell down!
“You must tell the king you killed his cow,’ Anansi said.
But Tacoomah decided to trick Anansi.
“I confessed,” Tacoomah said later, “and the king
rewarded my honesty by giving me the beef.”
Anansi ran to the king. “I killed the cow! It should be mine
The king kicked Anansi, breaking him into thousands of
That’s where little spiders come from!
134 LAURA GIBBS
131. ANANSI THE PREACHER AND COCKROACH’S
Anansi was the king’s preacher, and the king gave him a
Anansi was proud of his preacher-suit.
Cockroach was Anansi’s neighbor, and Cockroach’s
coconut tree grew near Anansi’s house. There was a
coconut dangling from a branch hanging over Anansi’s
land. Anansi took that coconut!
“That was mine!” shouted Cockroach.
“Tt was on my side!” shouted Anansi.
Cockroach waited till Anansi put his preacher-suit on the
clothesline to dry.
When the wind blew it to Cockroach’s side, he snipped
the suit in half.
Anansi was embarrassed!
He couldn't preach on Sunday, and the king threw him in
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 135
132. THE KING BANISHES ANANSI
Anansi kept playing tricks on the king.
Finally the king shouted, “I don’t ever want to see your
Anansi left the palace in disgrace.
Later there was a royal parade. Anansi wanted to go to the
parade, so he put a pot on his head, hiding his face.
As the king passed, Anansi stuck his butt in the air
towards the king.
“Whose butt is that?” shouted the king. “That looks like
“You told me you never wanted to see my face again,”
shouted Anansi from inside the pot. “You never said
anything about my butt!”
136 LAURA GIBBS
133. ANANSI AND THE FIRE IN THE KING’S PALACE
Anansi set fire to the king’s palace.
“Who set fire to my palace?” shouted the king. “I'll reward
whoever finds the criminal!”
“You need to have a party,” Anansi said to the king. “That’s
how you will find the criminal.”
Then Anansi went to see Goat.
“Let’s go to the king’s party together, Goat!” he said. “T’'ll
play while you sing this song: J set the fire, O, I set the fire,
Goat was happy to go to the party.
Anansi played and Goat sang, “I set the fire, O!”
The king locked Goat in prison and rewarded Anansi.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 137
134. ANANSI AND THE WATERMELON
Anansi made a hole in Goat’s watermelon and feasted.
Then Anansi was too fat to get out!
“Hello, Goat!” said Anansi from inside the watermelon.
“The king will want this talking watermelon!” said Goat,
and he carried the watermelon to the king’s palace.
“I brought you a talking watermelon,” said Goat.
“Show mel” said the king.
The watermelon said nothing.
“Talk, you stupid watermelon!” shouted the king.
“Tm not stupid!” said Anansi. “You're the one talking to a
The king grabbed the watermelon and threw it against
Out popped Anansi, and he ran away, laughing.
138 LAURA GIBBS
135. ANANSI AND ANTEATER
Anansi was sneaking into the king’s elephant park at
night, crawling into the elephant’s stomach and nibbling
on the elephant meat.
Anteater saw that Anansi was getting fat this way.
“Take me with you!” said Anteater.
“Only if you promise to just nibble,” said Anansi.
“T promise!” said Anteater.
They went together inside the elephant and nibbled.
“It’s time to go,” said Anansi.
But Anteater would not go. “Just a little more,” he said.
Anansi left, and Anteater kept eating.
Then the elephant fell down dead.
The king was angry. He cut open the elephant, found
Anteater, and killed him.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 139
136. ANANSI, TIGER, AND THE KING’S DAUGHTER
Anansi had made the king angry.
“Tll boil you to death!” said the king, and he tied Anansi to
a tree while he went to get the soup-pot.
Tiger came by. “Who tied you up?” he asked.
“The king tied me up!” said Anansi. “He’s going to force
me to marry his daughter.”
“I want to marry the king’s daughter!” shouted Tiger. “You
tie me there!”
So Tiger untied Anansi, and Anansi tied Tiger.
Then the king came back. “This pot’s not big enough!” he
said when he saw Tiger there, so he beat Tiger with the
soup ladle instead.
140 LAURA GIBBS
137. THE CONTEST FOR THE KING’S DAUGHTER
The king had a beautiful daughter.
“Whoever can dance this big stone into smoke will marry
the princess,” said the king.
Men came and danced on the stone, but they couldn't
make it smoke.
Anansi gathered ashes and put them in his pockets, and
then he went to the palace.
“Tm going to marry the princess!” he shouted.
Anansi danced on the big stone, singing “Ying-ee-ding-ee-
ding, princess for me,’ and he let the ashes fly.
“Ying-ee-ding-ee-ding, princess for me,’ Anansi sang, letting
more ashes fly.
Everyone thought Anansi was dancing the stone to
That’s how Anansi married the princess!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 141
138. THE KING’S DAUGHTER AND ANANSI
The king had a daughter who didn’t talk.
“Whoever can make the princess talk will marry her,” said
Anansi wanted to marry the princess, so he asked Hog for
help. “Oink-oink!” said Hog.
“You're no help!” said Anansi.
Same with Goat who said “Baaaaaah!” and Chicken who
Then Anansi asked Peacock, and Peacock shrieked,
“Chirry-way! Chirry-way! Chirry-way!”
“Come with me!” said Anansi happily.
They went to the palace. Peacock sang and Anansi
The princess smiled, then she hummed, then she sang and
Anansi got the princess, and the king painted Peacock
142 LAURA GIBBS
139. ANANSI AND BALLINDER BULL
“We need a hero to kill Ballinder Bull!” proclaimed the
A little boy took his seven arrows and shot that bull: an
arrow in each foot and ear, and one for the head. He took
the bull’s golden teeth and tongue as proof.
Anansi then found the dead bull, and he cut off the bull’s
“Tm the hero!” Anansi sang, waving the bull’s head.
“But I’ve got the bull’s tongue and the teeth!” shouted the
“You are the hero!” said the king to the boy.
Anansi ran and hid under the woodpile, and he’s hiding
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 143
140. ANANSI AND THE TIMBER
“Bring my timber from the woods!” commanded the king.
Nobody could move the timber except one old man.
He had a magic spell that made the timber leap.
Mile by mile by mile, the old man made the timber leap.
Finally the timber landed in the palace.
Anansi ran there first. “I brought the timber!” he shouted.
“Put the timber there in the corner,” said the king.
Anansi couldn’t move the timber.
The old man came and used his magic to move the timber.
To escape the angry king, Anansi hid under a rock, and
he’s still hiding there now.
144 LAURA GIBBS
141. ANANSI THE ANGEL
Anansi wanted the priest’s ring, so he dressed up like an
When the priest saw a light in the church that night, he
came to investigate.
“Tm an angel!” said Anansi. “I'll take you to heaven. Just
get in this sack!”
Anansi then flew around with the sack. “You have an
earthly possession that’s holding you back,” he said.
“Tt must be my ring,” said the priest, and he gave the ring
Then Anansi flew to the chicken-coop and left the priest
The priest’s housemaid was surprised when she found the
priest there in the morning.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 145
142. ANANSI AND THE SIX SONS
A mother had six sons.
When she got sick, her sons looked for a doctor.
“Tm a doctor!” said Anansi. “To cure your mother, I need
yams, plantains, and butter.’
The six sons brought Anansi yams, plantains, and butter.
“Now lock me and your mother in the kitchen for seven
days,” said Anansi.
Anansi ate the yams, plantains, and butter. He ate the
That was the first day. Then Anansi ran off.
After seven days, the sons opened the door.
No Anansi, no mother.
No yams, no plantains, no butter.
Just the mother’s bones lying on the floor.
146 LAURA GIBBS
143. ANANSI AND THE POT OF WISDOM
Anansi gathered all the wisdom and put it in a pot.
“All for me!” he said.
Next, Anansi wanted to hide the pot in a tree. He hung the
pot around his neck and went to the tallest tree, but the
pot was in the way. He couldn’t reach his arms around the
tree to climb it.
A boy saw Anansi and laughed. “Sling the pot around your
back, fool!” he said.
This made Anansi mad, and he realized he didn’t have all
the wisdom after all.
Anansi threw down the pot. It broke, and the wisdom
inside spread everywhere.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 147
144. ANANSI AND THE COOKS
Anansi went walking.
He smelled yams cooking. Anansi wanted yams!
“Tie this string around my waist,’ Anansi said to the cook.
“Then tug when the yams are ready.”
Anansi kept walking.
Next, Anansi smelled beans cooking. Anansi wanted
“Tie this string around my waist,’ Anansi said, “and tug
when the beans are ready.”
Then Anansi smelled greens. Another string around his
Stew. Another string around his waist.
Finally the yam-cook pulled the string.
The bean-cook pulled too!
And the greens-cook. And the stew-cook.
All the strings pulled tight around Anansi’s waist. That’s
why his waist is narrow today!
148 LAURA GIBBS
145. ANANSI AND THE MAN’S HORSES
Anansi was working in a man’s stable.
The man came to inspect his horses. “Where’s my
“He’s grazing in the pasture,” said Anansi, but Anansi had
already eaten that horse.
The man came another day. “Where’s my black horse?”
“He’s grazing,’ said Anansi.
Another day: “Where’s my sorrel horse?”
Finally the man realized Anansi had eaten his horses.
“TIL kill you!” the man said.
“Kill me!” shouted Anansi. “I don’t care. Just don’t throw
me in that spiderweb.”
The angry man threw Anansi in the web, and Anansi just
laughed. “I spun this web!” Anansi said.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 149
146. QUANQUA AND ANANSI'S OX
There was a man named Quanqua who lived by the river.
He saw Mrs. Anansi driving an ox-cart, but the ox
wouldn't cross the river.
“I must get Anansi to help me!” she said, and she ran back
After she was gone, Quanqua killed the ox and cut off the
tail. He then buried the tail sticking up out of the ground
and carried away the rest.
When Anansi came, Quanqua shouted, “Your ox jumped
down into the ground!”
Anansi grabbed the tail and pulled, and the tail came out.
“The ox must have gotten away!” said Quanqua, laughing.
150 LAURA GIBBS
147. WHITE YAMS AND RED
Quanqua stole Anansi’s ox, and Anansi wanted revenge.
Pretending to be friendly, Anansi invited Quanqua to a
“You bring white yams, and I'll bring red,” said Anansi.
“We'll cook a great feast together.”
Quanqua brought lots of white yams.
“T’ve just got one red yam,” said Anansi, “but I’m not very
hungry. One will be enough for me.”
They put the yams in the pot to cook.
“White for you, and red for me!” said Anansi, and when
they opened the pot, Anansi’s red yam had turned the
whole porridge red!
Anansi ate everything, and Quanqua went away hungry.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 151
148. ANANSI AND GOOLIN’S WIFE
There was a man named Goolin, and his wife stopped
Goolin offered a reward if someone could make his wife
Anansi said, “Make a coffin, lie down inside, and get some
men to carry the coffin.”
Then Anansi told Goolin’s wife, “Your husband’s dead!”
She cried, but didn’t speak.
Then the men came with the coffin, and Anansi sang,
“Goolin gone, t’'de-e-e! Goolin gone home t'da-a-a!
The wife hummed softly.
Anansi sang louder; Goolin’s wife sang softly.
Anansi sang louder; she sang louder too!
Then Goolin jumped out, his wife started speaking, and
Anansi got his reward.
152 LAURA GIBBS
149. TAMANTY AND ANANSI AND THE LITTLE GIRL
A wealthy woman had no children, and she wanted a
Walking by the river one day, she found a baby.
She hired a nurse named Tamanty to take care of the baby,
and she set Anansi to watch over Tamanty.
Anansi didn’t like Tamanty, so he told her, “Hit the child
with the broomstick.”
Tamanty hit the child.
The little girl cried and then ran for the river, singing,
“No-na-no, Tamanty! No-na-no, Anansi! I’m a river crawfish,
without any mama. Poor me, river crawfish! River is my
The child ran right into the river and became a crawfish.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 153
150. ANANSI AND THE SPOTTED COW
A man had itch-bean plant in his field.
“If someone cuts down the itch-bean without scratching,”
he said, “I'll give him a cow.”
People tried to cut it down; they all scratched.
Anansi started cutting.
“IT hope he gives me a spotted cow,” Anansi said. “I had
a spotted cow once. She had a spot here—” Anansi
scratched his arm. “And a spot here—” He scratched his
leg. And so on.
Anansi kept on cutting and talking till he finished.
Anansi hadn't scratched; he was just talking about his old
The man had to give Anansi a cow.
154 LAURA GIBBS
151. ANANSI AND THE PEANUT-PATCH
The master put a guard by his peanut-patch.
The guard was a fool who couldn't read, so Anansi found
a piece of paper and took it to the guard.
“I can’t read that!” he said.
Anansi laughed. “It says: The master commands you to let
Anansi go in.”
Then the guard let Anansi go in, and Anansi ate all the
Next, the master came. “Who ate all the peanuts?” he
“T let Anansi in,” said the guard, “just like you told me.”
The master beat the guard. “Don’t you listen to that lying
Anansi ever again!” he said.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 155
152. ANANSI’S SICK CHICKEN
Anansi had a sick chicken. Knowing it would die soon, he
took the chicken to a neighbor.
“Please take care of my chicken while I go to town,’
The neighbor agreed.
The chicken died.
Anansi returned for the chicken.
“Your chicken died,” said the neighbor. “Just take one of
“No!” yelled Anansi. “My chicken would have laid eggs.
Those eggs would have become chickens and laid more
eggs that would also become chickens. You owe me for all
“Well, go take a sheep then,” said the neighbor.
That’s how Anansi turned a chicken into a sheep.
156 LAURA GIBBS
153. ANANSI AND MOSQUITO
A lady said, “If someone guesses my daughter’s name, I'll
pay a hundred dollars!”
Anansi wanted that money.
“Go buzz in the daughter’s ear tonight,’ he told Mosquito.
“Tl hide in the mother’s room listening.”
So Mosquito buzzed and the girl moaned.
“Zegrady, Zegrady, what’s wrong?” asked the mother.
“It’s just Mosquito,” said the daughter.
The next day Anansi came singing, “Zegrady, Zegrady,
Zegra, Zegrady! Come shake Anansi’s hand, my dear.”
So the mother gave Anansi the money.
But Anansi was greedy: he didn’t share with Mosquito. So
Mosquito still buzzes in people’s ears: he’s complaining
about Anansi even now!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 157
154. ANANSI AND THE TWO SISTERS
There were two sisters, and nobody knew their names.
‘Tll find out!” said Anansi, and he bet big money on it.
Anansi dressed up as a baby.
“Put me in a basket,” he told his wife, “and leave it by their
The sisters squealed when they saw him. “So sweet!” they
said. “So adorable!”
Then Anansi smiled, and the sisters screamed.
“Sister Agumma, have you ever seen a baby’s mouth so
full of teeth?”
“T have not, Sister Agumme, I have not!”
And that’s how Anansi found out their names were
Agumma and Agumme, so he won the bet.
158 LAURA GIBBS
155. ANANSI AND THE PRINCESS
When the princess was born, the queen kept her name
“Whoever learns the princess’s name will marry her!” she
Only the queen and her servants knew the name.
“Help me, Dog!” said Anansi, and Dog agreed, so Anansi
dressed Dog in smelly, ragged clothes.
Then they went to the royal swimming hole. The royal
family was swimming; their clothes were on the bank.
“Grab the princess’s dress!” said Anansi.
Dog grabbed the dress and started chewing.
“Stop it, you mangy dog!” yelled the queen. “Stop chewing
Princess Basamwe’s dress!”
So Anansi learned the name and married Princess
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 159
156. ANANSI AND DOG’S NEW NAME
Everybody called Dog “Thieving-Dog,” and Dog didn’t
Dog asked Anansi for help. “I don’t want to be Thieving-
Dog. I need a new name!”
Anansi agreed. “I'll give you a name if you'll watch this
roast for me. Turn the spit, but don’t eat the meat. I'll be
Dog tried to resist, but the meat smelled so good.
Dog ate the meat!
Anansi came back and laughed. “Okay,” he said, “your new
name is Same-As-Ever.”
Dog was very grateful!
He ran through the village, and some boys shouted.
“There’s that Thieving-Dog!”
“No!” barked Dog. “I’m Same-As-Ever! Same-As-Ever!”
160 LAURA GIBBS
157. ANANSI GOES TO THE CHRISTENING
Anansi and Tiger found some butter.
“Let’s hide it for later!” said Tiger.
Next day Anansi said, “I’m going to a christening.” But he
was really going to eat butter.
Tiger asked the child’s name.
“Top-Take-Off,” said Anansi.
Next day, another christening. This time: “Now-in-the-
Again the next day. “This child is Lick-Clean,” said
Next day Tiger was hungry. “Let’s eat butter!”
“First let’s sleep,” said Anansi.
Then Anansi took the last of the butter and smeared it on
Tiger’s mouth and tail.
“Tiger, you thief!” Anansi shouted. “I see you ate the
butter: you're oozing butter all over!”
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 161
158. ANANSI, LION, AND THE LIQUOR
Anansi wanted to take Lion’s house for himself, so he
came to visit Lion, singing this song: “Killed a thousand
lions yesterday; how many today-oh, today-oh, today?”
This worried Lion.
“Anansi and I need some liquor!” he said to his first cub.
“Get some Never-Come-Back liquor.’
The cub didn’t come back.
“We need liquor!” he said to his other cub. “Get some
The cub didn’t come back.
“We need liquor!” he said to Mrs. Lion. “Get some Stay-
Mrs. Lion didn’t come back.
“Tll go see what’s taking so long!” said Lion, and he didn’t
162 LAURA GIBBS
159. ANANSI’S NEW NAME
Anansi, Tiger, and Parrot all changed their names: Anansi
was Che-che-bun-da, Tiger was Yellow-prissenda, and
Parrot was Green-corn-ero. If someone’s mother didn’t
use the new name, they would eat her!
When Tiger’s mother forgot to say “Yellow-prissenda,”
they ate her.
That night Anansi went secretly to his mother.
“Remember: I’m Che-che-bun-dal” he said.
The next day Parrot’s mother forgot to say “Green-corn-
ero” and they ate her.
That night, Anansi went to his mother again. “Hello,
Anansi!” she said.
“No! I’m Che-che-bun-da! Che-che-bun-da!”
The next day they went to Anansi’s mother.
“Hello, Che-che-bun-da!” she said.
So they didn’t eat Anansi’s mother.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 163
160. ANANSI INSIDE THE COW
“Show me where you get your beef!” Anansi told
Tacoomah took Anansi to a cow.
“Say Open Sesame and go in,’ Tacoomah explained.
“Then Shut Sesame. Take the fat, but don’t cut the back-
string. Then Open Sesame, come out, and Shut Sesame to
close the cow.”
Tacoomah went into the cow and came out with a basket
Anansi went in, but he got greedy and cut the back-string.
The cow died. Anansi was stuck!
Finally the cowboy came and cut open the cow.
When he washed the entrails in the river, Anansi jumped
out and ran away.
164 LAURA GIBBS
161. ONE-TWO-THREE TAKING NO LIVER!
Blackbird knew where the butcher kept his meat, and
he knew the magic words to open the door: “One-Two-
Three Taking No Liver!”
“Let’s get meat!” Blackbird said to Anansi. Blackbird used
the words and went in. Anansi used the words and went
They put meat in their bags.
But Anansi was greedy and took liver too.
“One-Two-Three Taking No Liver!” Blackbird said. The
“One-Two-Three Taking No Liver!” Anansi said. The
door didn’t open.
Blackbird shouted, “I told you: no liver!”
“T didn’t take any liver!” Anansi lied.
Blackbird left him, and the butcher came and killed
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 165
162. CROW’S MAGIC HOUSE
Crow had a magic house.
To get in you had to say: “Liver me-yum-yum!” Then the
liver in the house opened the door.
Anansi saw Crow go in the house and heard the words.
He waited till Crow came out and went away.
Anansi said, “Liver me-yum-yum!” The door opened for
Anansi closed the door and ate the liver so Crow couldn't
Then he ate all Crow’s food.
Crow came back. “Liver me-yum-yum!”
Nothing happened. The door stayed shut.
Anansi came out, and Crow caught Anansi and beat him,
but never could get back inside his house.
166 LAURA GIBBS
163. ANANSI’S TREE-HOUSE
Anansi lived in a tree.
He’d go robbing and come sing this song: “Send down rope!
Anansi-O! Send down rope! Anansi-O!”
Nobody knew who the robber was or where he went.
But Tiger followed one night and heard the song.
Next, Tiger needed Anansi’s voice. He told the goldsmith,
“Hammer my tongue! Make it fine!”
Then Tiger went and sang Anansi’s song.
Anansi’s wife let down the rope.
Anansi saw from a distance Tiger going up on the rope,
so he sang: “Cut the rope! Tiger-O! Cut the rope! Tiger-O!”
Anansi’s wife cut the rope and Tiger fell down dead.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 167
164. ANANSI AND TIGER’S HOE
Long ago, farmers dug their fields with pointed sticks.
Nobody had a hoe, except for Tiger.
Tiger had a magical hoe, and it did the digging for him.
Anansi spied on Tiger and saw the hoe. He learned the
magic words Tiger used to make the hoe start digging.
Then he stole Tiger’s hoe to use for himself.
The hoe dug and dug, and Anansi was happy.
But Anansi did not know how to stop the magic hoe.
It kept on digging!
The hoe dug all the land and then disappeared into the
sea, and it is digging there still.
168 LAURA GIBBS
165. ANANSI, HIS BROTHER, AND THE MAGIC POT
When Anansi was climbing a tree, he found a hole in the
tree. In the hole he found a magic pot that filled with food
at his command.
Anansi’s brother Tacoomah saw this pot and was jealous.
“Te got more children than you to feed,” he said. “I need
that pot more than you!”
Anansi told Tacoomah about the hole in the tree.
Tacoomah climbed the tree and looked in the hole.
Instead of a pot, he found a piece of leather. He took the
leather home to his family.
The leather didn’t feed them. Instead, it whipped them all!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 169
166. ANANSI AND THE AVOCADO TREE
Breeze knocked over Anansi’s avocado tree.
“Breeze must pay!” shouted Anansi, and he went to
“l apologize,’ Breeze said. “Take this magic tablecloth. Just
say Cloth-mine-dinnertime. But don’t wash it.”
When Anansi did this, food appeared! Anansi and his
family had all they wanted to eat.
But Anansi’s wife washed the tablecloth, and it lost its
Anansi went back to Breeze, who gave him a stick. “Just
say Round-about-club-out!” Breeze told Anansi.
Anansi hoped the stick would feed him too, but when he
got home and said Round-about-club-out, the stick beat
Anansi and all his family too!
170 LAURA GIBBS
167. ANANSI AND THE HANDSOME CALABASH
Anansi saw a calabash tree.
When he grabbed a calabash, it said, “I’m handsome! I do
“Show me, Handsome Calabash!” said Anansi.
A table covered with food appeared. Anansi ate, and then
the table disappeared.
Anansi took Handsome Calabash home, hid it in the attic,
and ate in secret.
But Anansi’s wife spied on him.
When Anansi left, she said “Show me, Handsome
Calabash!” But she dropped the calabash and it cracked.
Anansi came home and went to the attic. “Show me,
Handsome Calabash!” he said.
Instead, Handsome Calabash whipped Anansi and ran
back into the woods.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 171
168. ANANSI’S FORK
Anansi dropped his ax in the river. He dived in.
No ax, but he found a fork. “T'll feed youl” it said.
“Feed me!” Anansi yelled, and there was food. Anansi ate
Anansi invited everybody to a party.
“Feed me!” he yelled. There was food for everybody.
Then the fork stopped working.
Anansi threw another ax in the river and dived in. No ax,
no fork, but he found a whip.
“Feed me!” Anansi yelled. But the whip just beat him.
Anansi invited everybody to another party.
“Feed me!” he yelled, and the whip beat all the people.
172 LAURA GIBBS
169. ANANSI AND THE ROBBER BARGAINING
Anansi had a magic cooking pot.
“Sell me that!” said a robber.
“No!” said Anansi. “But I'll sell you my money tree. Come
to my house at midnight.”
Anansi went home and put all his money up in a tree.
The robber came, and Anansi spread out a sheet beneath
the tree. Anansi shook the tree, and money came falling
“Give me all your money and you can have the tree,” said
The robber paid Anansi, ripped the tree out of the
ground, and took it home.
The tree never gave money and, without its roots, it died.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 173
170. ANANSI AND THE SHIRT
Anansi went to Overseer’s party. Goat went too.
People danced; then they slept.
Anansi didn’t sleep. He stole Overseer’s shirt.
Overseer woke up. His shirt was gone! “Where are you,
Shirt shouted, “Anansi took me!”
“Goat, let’s trade shirts!” Anansi said. Goat agreed.
“Where are you, Shirt?” Overseer yelled.
“Now Goat's got me!” shouted Shirt.
Goat hid in a hole, but his horn stuck out.
Overseer tripped. “I'll saw this root!” he said.
Overseer started sawing. “Hey!” he yelled. “This root is
Then Overseer recognized Goat. He took his shirt back
and beat Goat.
Anansi was long gone.
174 LAURA GIBBS
171. ANANSI AND THE WITCH’S SWORD
Anansi stole the king’s treasure and fled to the witch’s
‘Tll give you lots of treasure to protect me!” said Anansi.
The witch agreed.
The king’s soldiers arrived. “We seek Anansi!”
“Tll see if he’s inside,” said the witch, and she fetched her
“Kill!” she said. The sword killed the soldiers.
Then the witch stopped the sword.
When the witch went to town, she gave Anansi the sword.
“The soldiers might return,” she said.
The soldiers did return, and Anansi said, “Kill!”
The sword killed the soldiers.
But Anansi couldn't stop the sword. It killed Anansi too!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 175
172. ANANSI AND THE WITCH’S NAME
“Guess my name, get my gold!” said the Old-Witch.
Only Crab knew the witch’s secret name.
Anansi dressed in girl’s clothes and became the witch’s
When Anansi was washing clothes by the river, he flirted
with Crab. “You're so handsome!”
Crab had never heard that before!
Then Anansi started crying.
“What’s wrong, girl?” Crab asked.
“T need to know the witch’s name.”
Crab said the name.
Anansi ran back to the witch’s house. “Your name’s
Cantinny, Cantinny’s your name!”
The witch gave her gold to Anansi, and she threw a
calabash at Crab: that’s how Crab got his shell.
176 LAURA GIBBS
173. ANANSI AND OLD-WITCH’S GARDEN
Old-Witch had a beautiful garden, and Anansi wanted
When the witch’s gardener sang, everybody had to dance.
Even the witch had to dance. The gardener would sing
and the witch would dance.
Then she'd tell him to stop.
Anansi told the Kling-Kling bird, “Listen, and learn that
Next, he told Tacoomah to lure the gardener away.
Then Old-Witch came to the garden.
Kling-Kling sang, and the Old-Witch danced.
“Enough now!” she said, but Kling-Kling kept singing,
and the witch kept dancing.
She danced until she died.
But then the whole garden died with her.
Anansi got nothing.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 177
174. ANANSI’S WEDDING CLOTHES
Anansi was getting married, and he needed wedding
Old-Witch could help, but he had to pay her, so he stole a
gold coin from Old-Witch’s own treasure.
“Help me!” Anansi said. “I'll pay!”
‘Tll help you, Anansi,” she said, but she recognized the
Old-Witch used magic to conjure clothes for Anansi, and
a carriage and coachmen.
Anansi rode to the palace.
The princess smiled. Then she blinked; the coachmen
Next blink: carriage.
Next blink: Anansi’s top-hat.
Then Anansi’s clothes disappeared piece by piece until he
Anansi ran away, ashamed. He didn’t get married after all.
178 LAURA GIBBS
175. ANANSI WANTS A WIFE
Anansi wanted a wife. He asked Flower to marry him.
“IT won't!” Flower laughed.
He asked Rainbow.
“I can’t!” Rainbow laughed.
Then he asked Fire. “Will you marry me?”
“Yes!” said Fire.
Anansi made a trail of twigs to lead Fire to his house.
Fire came. She ate the twigs. She got bigger! Fire came
roaring to Anansi’s house.
Anansi was scared. “Go back!” he shouted. “Get away!”
Fire kept coming.
Anansi quickly made another trail of twigs leading to the
Fire followed that trail and disappeared in the pond.
Anansi had discovered how to fight fire with water!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 179
176. ANANSI AND FIRE
Anansi and Fire were friends, so Anansi went to visit Fire
in Fire’s house.
They ate dinner together, and then Anansi invited Fire to
come visit him in his house.
“T can’t walk,” said Fire, “but maybe if you lay down a trail
of dry brush leading to your house, then I could travel
along that path.”
Anansi’s wife was Dove, and she said, “No! Don’t let Fire
But Anansi laid out the path.
Fire came running.
He burned down Anansi’s house, and he burned Anansi,
and then Fire himself burned out.
Only Dove survived because she flew away.
180 LAURA GIBBS
177. ANANSI, FIRE, AND THE DAMP CLOTHES
Fire was angry at Anansi, but he pretended to be Anansi’s
‘Td like to visit you,” he told Anansi.
“You can help dry my clothes,” said Anansi. “Look for
clothes hanging outside; that will be my house.”
Then Anansi went to Tiger, who was washing clothes.
“Put your clothes out in the sun to dry!” said Anansi, so
Tiger hung his damp clothes on the line.
Then Fire came, with Breeze blowing.
“That’s Anansi’s house!” said Fire when he saw the
clothes. “Blow me there, Breeze!”
So Breeze blew, and Fire burned Tiger’s clothes to ashes.
Anansi just laughed.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 181
178. FIRE, GRASS, AND ANANSI
Fire was angry at Grass.
“Tm going to burn that Grass!” Fire said to Anansi, not
knowing that Anansi and Grass were friends.
“When you go to burn Grass, tell me, and I'll blow my
horn to make Grass afraid,” said Anansi.
Next, Anansi went to his friend Water and said, “I need
you to rain down when I blow my horn.”
“Okay,” said Water.
When Fire went to burn Grass, Anansi blew his horn.
Then Water came raining down and saved the Grass.
From that day on, Fire was angry with Anansi because of
how Anansi had tricked him!
182 LAURA GIBBS
179. ANANSI AND MR. WHEELER
Anansi found a honey-stump.
He reached in.
The stump said, “I’m Wheeler!” and it wheeled Anansi
around and threw him. Anansi landed some leaves.
“‘Tll make a trap!” said Anansi, and he put rocks under the
“Come get honey!” Anansi said to Peacock. Peacock
reached for the honey, Wheeler wheeled him, and then
Anansi ate Peacock.
Rat reached for the honey, Wheeler wheeled him, and
then Anansi ate Rat.
But Puss said, “I don’t see the honey. Show me!”
So Anansi reached in, Wheeler wheeled him, and Anansi
fell on the rocks.
That’s how Anansi got his limp!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 183
180. ANANSI AND THE ROCK BY THE RIVER
Anansi sat down on a rock by the river and started eating.
“Give me some food, Anansi!” said the rock. “I’m hungry!”
“Don't bother me, Rock!” said Anansi. “This is my food.”
Anansi ate all the food, but when he went to stand up, he
was stuck. The rock wouldn't let go.
“Help!” Anansi yelled.
A man walked by and heard him. “What’s wrong, Anansi?”
“Rock’s got me! Pull me off!”
The man pulled, but part of Anansi’s skin stayed stuck.
That’s why moss grows on the river side of the rocks: that
is Anansi’s skin he left behind there.
184 LAURA GIBBS
181. THE GHOST’S HOUSE IN THE SKY
Duppy (Ghost) lived in the sky.
Anansi wanted to eat Duppy’s food, so he watched how
Duppy called the house down. “Come down, me chin-chin!”
Then Duppy sent the house up. “Go up, me chin-chin!”
Next day Anansi waited for Duppy to come down and
send the empty house back up.
Then Anansi called, “Come down, me chin-chin!”
Anansi entered the house. “Go up, me chin-chin!”
Anansi was in the sky! He ate and ate.
But he couldn’t remember the going-down song. He was
Duppy brought the house down and found Anansi.
Then Duppy boiled Anansi and ate him!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 185
182. ANANSI AND DRY-HEAD
Anansi stole a cow, but he didn’t want to share with his
family; he made a fire right there to roast the cow.
Anansi wanted yams too, so he went digging.
Then he saw two eyes in the dirt. He kept digging: he dug
up old devil Dry-Head!
Anansi tried to put Dry-Head back in the ground, but he
“Take me to the fire,’ said Dry-Head, “or I’ll burn you!”
Anansi tried to run, but his body started burning, so he
came back and carried Dry-Head to the fire.
Dry-Head ate the whole cow; Anansi didn’t get anything.
186 LAURA GIBBS
183. ANANSI, DRY-HEAD, AND THE HOG
Anansi was roasting a hog when he heard something hit
the ground: PLOP.
Anansi thought it was a coconut. He picked it up: it was
“You picked me up,” Dry-Head said. “Now carry me!”
Dry-Head saw the hog. “I’m hungry!” he said.
Dry-Head ate the hog.
Anansi only got a bone. “The bone’s sweet, sir!” said
Then Petchary-Bird flew by.
“Come pick up this good coconut!” said Anansi, pointing
Petchary picked Dry-Head up, but he wasn’t strong
enough to carry him.
Dry-Head fell down and smashed.
Anansi ate him up. “I’m eating my hog after all!”
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 187
184. BUTTERFLY AND ANANSI IN THE FIELDS
“Did you hear about the new law?” Butterfly asked
Anansi. “No badmouthing! If you badmouth somebody,
you ll drop down dead!”
Anansi laughed. “I can keep my mouth shut. We'll see
Then Anansi and Butterfly went to work in their fields.
Dry-Head-Skull-Man walked by, talking to himself,
rattling his skeleton bones as he danced. “All dressed up,
going to the barber, getting ready for the party tonight!”
Butterfly didn’t say anything.
Anansi said, “What’s Dry-Head-Skull-Man going to a
barber for? There’s no hair on that fool’s head!”
Anansi dropped down dead for badmouthing, and
Butterfly ate him up. “Delicious!”
188 LAURA GIBBS
185. THE DEVIL'S HONEY-DRAM
Anansi’s son was stealing from the Devil’s honey-dram
and getting drunk.
“Don’t steal from the Devil!” Anansi warned him, but the
boy kept on drinking.
Finally the Devil’s mother caught the boy and took him to
the Devil’s house.
“The Devil will kill you when he comes back,” she said,
and she set the boy to work.
Anansi came looking for his son, and he sang a song that
made the Devil’s mother dance and dance till she fell
Then Anansi grabbed his son and set the Devil’s house on
Anansi also took the Devil’s honey-dram for himself!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 189
186. ANANSI IN DEATH’S CAMP
Anansi went hunting, but he had caught nothing. He was
Then he found Death’s camp. Death had so much food.
“Please feed me!” said Anansi.
Death fed Anansi, and Anansi ate until he was full.
“Who are you?” Anansi asked.
“Don't you recognize me? I’m Death!”
“Thank you, Death,” Anansi said.
Then Anansi went home, but he kept returning to Death’s
camp to steal food.
When Death saw Anansi stealing, he chased Anansi all the
way back to town.
“Watch out, people!” shouted Anansi. “Death is coming!”
And that’s how Death came to where people live: it’s
190 LAURA GIBBS
187. ANANSI ROBS DEATH’S HOUSE
Anansi decided to rob Death’s house.
To get through Death’s Gate, he rubbed grease on the
“Delicious!” said the Gate. “Thank you, Anansi!” The Gate
swung open and then closed.
Anansi filled up his sacks with Death’s things. He didn’t
know Death was watching!
Anansi started to leave, but Death shouted at Gate, “Open
But the Gate was grateful and opened for Anansi.
Death jumped on Anansi’s back and rode him all the way
Anansi threw Death down in the yard and went to get his
When he came back with the axe, Death was gone.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 19]
188. DEATH WANTS REVENGE ON ANANSI
Anansi robbed Death’s house, and Death wanted revenge.
So Death came to Anansi’s house at night, and he crawled
under the ground.
Then in the morning Death grew from the ground in
the form of a callaloo plant. He knew that Anansi loved
In the morning Anansi saw the callaloo plant.
“Let’s make stew!” he said to his wife.
“No!” said Mrs. Anansi. “There’s something wrong with
“There’s nothing wrong with this plant!” protested
Anansi, and he started eating the callaloo.
As soon as he did, he fell down dead.
Death had his revenge on Anansi.
192 LAURA GIBBS
189. ANANSI AND DEATH’S FIELD OF YAMS
Anansi had a field next to Death’s field.
Death planted yams, but Anansi was lazy. He didn’t plant;
he just watched Death.
“You're sure working hard, Death!” he said.
“Lazy people go hungry, Anansi!” Death replied.
Death’s yams grew ripe, and Anansi came in the night to
steal them, but Death was there, waiting for him.
Death chased Anansi!
Anansi ran home, Death on his heels. “Close the door!”
Anansi shouted at his wife.
Death stood outside, waving his machete.
Anansi ran up the stairs into the dusty attic. Anansi is still
there now, hiding from Death and weaving webs.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 193
190. ANANSI AND DEATH’S BARBECUE
Anansi saw someone barbecuing meat. It was Death!
“Can I eat?” Anansi asked.
Death said nothing.
Anansi took some meat. “My daughter can cook for you,”
Anansi said, and Anansi brought his daughter to Death.
Later, Anansi saw his daughter wearing Death’s ring.
Anansi was angry! He grabbed Death’s long hair and tied
him to a tree. He lit a fire, but the fire just burned Death’s
Death got loose and chased Anansi.
Anansi’s family hid from Death, but Death grabbed them
one by one.
Only Anansi escaped; he hid in the dirt. Anansi still lives
in the dirt.
194 LAURA GIBBS
191. GOD AND ANANSI’S THREAD
God used to be close to the people, just above their heads.
This meant people were always asking God for things.
After a while, God got tired of all their requests. “The
people are going to wear me out!” he thought.
So God decided to go higher, much higher, in the sky.
To keep a connection between his new home in heaven
and the people down below, God told Anansi to spin a
thread, a thread that reached from earth to heaven.
Anansi spun the thread.
God rewarded Anansi with great powers, and then went
to live up in heaven.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 195
192. ANANSI AND GOD’S CATTLE
Lion stole God’s cattle, and God offered a reward for the
return of the cattle.
Anansi wanted that reward.
“Just give me some rope, and make the clouds go dark,”
said Anansi. God agreed.
Then Anansi went into the woods. “Where can I tie
myself? Where? Where?”
“What are you talking about?” shouted Lion.
“Hurricane’s coming!” said Anansi. “Just look at the sky!
I need to tie myself to a tree before the winds blow me
“Tie me first!” roared Lion. “NOW!”
Anansi tied Lion to a tree, left him there, and took God’s
cattle back up to heaven.
196 LAURA GIBBS
193. ANANSI AND GOD’S YAMS
Anansi was hungry! He saw yams growing in God’s field,
and he stole God’s yams.
God didn’t know who stole his yams, but he was mad. He
made a man of wood and covered it with tar, and then he
put it in the field.
Anansi came back for more yams and saw the man.
“You can’t stop me from taking these yams!” Anansi
shouted, and he hit the man. His hand stuck. Other hand:
stuck. Foot: stuck. Other foot: stuck. Then Anansi butted
the man with his head: stuck.
That’s how God found out who was stealing his yams!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 197
194. ANANSI AND THE TAR-MAN
Anansi was stealing God’s yams.
God made a tar-man to stand guard, and Anansi got stuck
on God’s tar-man.
“I need to get away before God finds me!” thought Anansi.
Rooster walked by.
“Help me!” cried Anansi.
“Tm not messing with you!” replied Rooster.
Sheep walked by, but Sheep wouldn't help Anansi either.
Then Goat walked by.
“Tll help you!” said Goat. He butted the tar-man, and then
Goat was stuck. Anansi used Goat’s horns to pull himself
loose, and then he skinned Goat and took the skin home.
So Anansi got God’s yams and a goatskin all for himself.
198 LAURA GIBBS
195. ANANSI READS GOD’S MIND
“I can read your mind!” Anansi said to God.
“Go tell the blacksmith to make what I’m thinking,” said
Anansi then lurked near God’s house, listening.
A bird asked God, “What is the blacksmith making?”
“Sun, Moon, and Stars,” said God.
Anansi ran to the blacksmith and told him to make Sun,
Moon, and Stars, and then Anansi brought them to God.
As soon as they got there, the Sun and Moon started
fighting. Sun was throwing fire, and Moon was throwing
water, so God threw the Sun and the Moon, and the Stars
too, up in the sky.
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 199
196. ANANSI AND THE PEA
Anansi found a pea and planted it.
Goat ate Anansi’s pea-plant.
“Pay me!” said Anansi.
Goat gave Anansi his horn.
Anansi washed the horn in River, and River took the
“Pay me!” said Anansi.
River gave him a fish.
Anansi met a starving boy. “Give me your fish,” the boy
said. “Take my whip.’
Anansi took the whip.
“Help me!” shouted Tacoomah. “I need a whip to herd my
“Give me a cow,’ said Anansi.
Anansi got a cow.
From the cow, he got milk; then cheese.
Anansi sold cheese and bought more cows.
All from a pea!
200 LAURA GIBBS
197. ANANSI AND HUNTER’S DEBT
Hunter had a debt that he could not pay.
Anansi wanted to eat Hunter’s guavas, so Hunter said,
“Whoever eats my guavas takes my debt!”
Anansi ate Hunter’s guavas.
Then Anansi said, “Whoever eats my corn takes my debt.”
Guinea-Fowl ate Anansi’s corn.
“Whoever breaks my eggs takes my debt,” said Guinea-
Tree-Branch broke the Guinea-Fowl’s eggs. “Whoever
plucks my flowers takes my debt.”
Monkey plucked the flowers. “Whoever kills me takes my
Then Tiger killed Monkey. “Whoever eats me takes my
debt!” roared Tiger.
Hunter killed Tiger, and everybody ate Tiger’s meat.
Everybody ended up with Hunter’s debt!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 201
198. ANANSI OWES MONEY
Anansi owed money to Hog, Dog, Monkey, and Tiger.
Knock-knock! Anansi let Hog in.
Knock-knock! “That’s Dog. He hates you!” said Anansi.
Anansi let Dog in.
Knock-knock! “That’s Monkey. He hates you! Hide
upstairs. Hog’s up there; go on and kill him!”
Anansi let Monkey in.
Knock-knock! “That’s Tiger. He hates you! Hide upstairs.
Dog’s up there; go on and kill him!”
Anansi let Tiger in.
“Monkey’s upstairs; go on and kill him!”
Tiger ran upstairs.
Anansi removed the stairs.
When Tiger came down, he broke his neck.
So Anansi ate Tiger, Monkey, Dog, and Hog for dinner.
202 LAURA GIBBS
199. ANANSI TAKES PIG HOME
Anansi was taking Pig home, but Pig wouldn't cross the
“T refuse!” said Pig.
“Dog, bite Pig!” Dog refused.
“Stick, beat Dog!” Stick refused.
“Fire, burn Stick!” Fire refused.
“Water, douse Fire!” Water refused.
“Cow, drink Water!” Cow refused.
“Butcher, kill Cow!” Butcher refused.
“Rope, hang Butcher!” Rope refused.
“Rat, gnaw Rope!” Rat refused.
“Cat, eat Rat!”
“Gladly!” said Cat, and Cat scared Rat who scared Rope
who scared Butcher who scared Cow who scared Water
who scared Fire who scared Stick who scared Dog who
bit Pig, who jumped the stream.
Anansi didn’t pay anybody for helping either!
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 203
200. ANANSI AND THE GRAIN OF CORN
Anansi was stealing from Monkey and Tiger’s corn-field.
“Catch him!” shouted Monkey and Tiger.
They chased him, but Anansi hid inside a grain of corn.
Rooster ate that corn.
Then Alligator ate Rooster.
Monkey and Tiger asked the oracle-drum, “Where’s
“In the earth-grain in the sky-bird in the river-beast,” said
Monkey saw Alligator in the river. “Aha!” he shouted,
He cut Alligator open; there was Rooster.
He cut Rooster open; there was the grain.
Tiger raised his paw while Monkey cut the grain, but
Anansi was faster than Tiger with his paw, so Anansi
STORY TITLE INDEX
1. Anansi and Tiger in the Pit
2. Anansi’s Riding-Horse
3. Anansi and his Grandmother
4. Anansi and the Coconut
5. Anansi and Tiger in the Pot
6. Anansi and Tiger’s Goat
7. Tiger and Anansi’s Knives
8. Anansi and Mr. Man’s Sheep
9. Anansi, Tiger, and the Lady’s Sheep
10. Tiger and Anansi Eating Breakfast
11. Tiger Helps Anansi to Get Meat
12. Anansi and Tiger Go Hunting
13. Anansi and the Tar-Stump
14. Anansi in the Gourd
15. Anansi and Tiger Go Fishing
16. Anansi and Tiger’s Mango-Tree
17. Anansi Ties Tiger
18. Anansi, Tiger, and the Fish
19. Anansi Goes to Tiger’s Wedding
20. Anansi and the Eggs
21. Anansi and Tiger’s Bone-Hole
22. Anansi Helps Tiger Take a Bath
23. Anansi’s Family on the Rooftop
24. Tiger Tries to Trick Anansi
25. Anansi’s Strong Hand
26. Tiger, Anansi and Goat
27. Anansi’s Magic Yams
28. King Tiger and Anansi
29. Anansi, Tiger, and Snake
30. Anansi and the Hornets
31. Anansi and the Queen-Bee
32. Anansi and the Honey
33. Anansi and Tiger Take a Bath
TINY TALES OF ANANSI 205
34. Anansi, Monkey and Tiger
35. Anansi Owes Monkey Money
36. Anansi’s Pot of Water
37. Anansi’s Christening Oven
38. Monkey Wears Anansi’s New Suit
39. Anansi Arranges a Funeral
40. Anansi and the Yam-Hills
41. Anansi and Fling-a-Mile
42. Anansi and the Tree Branches
43. The Tiger Family, Lion, and Anansi
44. Anansi’s Knife and Fork
45. Anansi and Lion Play a Game
46. Baby Anansi at the Lion’s Feast
47. Anansi, Lion and the Rain-Charm
48. Anansi, Lion, and the Donkey-Cart
49. Anansi Finds Lion in the Road
50. Anansi and Goat’s Plantains
51. Poor Anansi’s Dead
52. Anansi at the Funeral
53. Anansi and the Plantains
54. Anansi and the Pork Stew
55. Anansi and the Chicken Soup
56. Anansi and the Yam-Foofoo
57. Anansi and the Mangoes
58. Anansi’s Grave
59. Tiger in the Pepper-Plant
60. Tiger in the Yam-Patch
61. Cunning-More-Than-Father and the Coconuts
62. Cunning-More-Than-Father in the Coffin
63. Anansi and the Sea-Sheep
64. Lion, Tacoomah, and Anansi
65. Tacoomah Rides Anansi
66. Anansi and the Dog-Head
67. Anansi Says Tacoomah’s Sick
68. Tacoomah Makes a Tar-Stump
69. Anansi and Tacoomah’s Fire
70. Anansi and the Jumbee House
71. Anansi Gives Tacoomah Advice about Yams
72. Tacoomah and Anansi’s Eggs
73. Anansi’s Corn Song
74. Anansi and the Cats’ Wedding
75. Anansi, Dog, and Agouti
76. Dog and Anansi Compare Senses
77. Tiger Comes to Kill Anansi
206 LAURA GIBBS
78. Anansi and Dog at the Dance
79. Elephant and Anansi’s Dance Party
80. Anansi and Goat at the River
81. Anansi and Dog at the River
82. Anansi and Snake
83. Anansi, Rabbit, and Horse-Fly
84. Anansi and the Fish-Pot
85. Anansi Combs Lion’s Hair
86. Anansi Dives for Bananas
87. Anansi and the Rabbit in the Road
88. The Law against Insults
89. Anansi and the Well
90. Anansi and Ram Go Thieving
91. Anansi and the Stolen Pig
92. Anansi, Snake, and the Rock
93. Anansi, Agouti and the Fish-Traps
94. Anansi Chasing the Goat
95. Anansi and Baboon
96. Anansi and Rat
97. Anansi and Elephant
98. Anansi and the Gun
99. Anansi and Blacksnake
100. Anansi and the Skinny Sheep
101. Anansi and Cow
102. Anansi and Sheep and their Spoons
103. Anansi and Horse Share Plantains
104. Anansi and the Brothers
105. Anansi and the Chicken
106. Anansi and Screech-Owl
107. Anansi and John Crow
108. Anansi and Dove
109. Anansi and the Pelicans
110. Anansi and Dove’s Wings
111. Anansi and Dung-Beetle
112. Butterfly’s Revenge
113. Anansi and Cockroach
114. Anansi and Beetle
115. Anansi and the Bullfrogs
116. Anansi, Whale, and Elephant
117. Anansi and Whale
118. Anansi, Shark, and the Fish
119. Anansi, Alligator, and the Pepper-Pot Soup
120. Anansi and the Crabs
121. Anansi and the Fish-Children
TINY TALES OF ANANSI
122. Anansi in Fish-Country
123. Anansi and the Barrel of Eggs
124. Anansi and the Fish-Children’s Canoe
125. Turtle and Anansi’s Yams
126. Turtle Invites Anansi to Dinner
127. Turtle and Anansi Make a Bet
128. Anansi and Turtle Make Another Bet
129. Anansi Takes Advice from Turtle
130. Anansi and the King’s Cow
131. Anansi the Preacher and Cockroach’s Coconut
132. The King Banishes Anansi
133. Anansi and the Fire in the King’s Palace
134. Anansi and the Watermelon
135. Anansi and Anteater
136. Anansi, Tiger, and the King’s Daughter
137. The Contest for the King’s Daughter
138. The King’s Daughter and Anansi
139. Anansi and Ballinder Bull
140. Anansi and the Timber
141. Anansi the Angel
142. Anansi and the Six Sons
143. Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom
144. Anansi and the Cooks
145. Anansi and the Man’s Horses
146. Quanqua and Anansi’s Ox
147. White Yams and Red
148. Anansi and Goolin’s Wife
149. Tamanty and Anansi and the Little Girl
150. Anansi and the Spotted Cow
151. Anansi and the Peanut- Patch
152. Anansi’s Sick Chicken
153. Anansi and Mosquito
154. Anansi and the Two Sisters
155. Anansi and the Princess
156. Anansi and Dog’s New Name
157. Anansi Goes to the Christening
158. Anansi, Lion, and the Liquor
159. Anansi’s New Name
160. Anansi inside the Cow
161. One-Two-Three Taking No Liver!
162. Crow’s Magic House
163. Anansi’s Tree-House
164. Anansi and Tiger’s Hoe
165. Anansi, His Brother, and the Magic Pot
208 LAURA GIBBS
166. Anansi and the Avocado Tree
167. Anansi and the Handsome Calabash
168. Anansi’s Fork
169. Anansi and the Robber Bargaining
170. Anansi and the Shirt
171. Anansi and the Witch’s Sword
172. Anansi and the Witch’s Name
173. Anansi and Old-Witch’s Garden
174. Anansi’s Wedding Clothes
175. Anansi Wants a Wife
176. Anansi and Fire
177. Anansi, Fire, and the Damp Clothes
178. Fire, Grass, and Anansi
179. Anansi and Mr. Wheeler
180. Anansi and the Rock by the River
181. The Ghost’s House in the Sky
182. Anansi and Dry-Head
183. Anansi, Dry-Head, and the Hog
184. Butterfly and Anansi in the Fields
185. The Devil’s Honey-Dram
186. Anansi in Death’s Camp
187. Anansi Robs Death’s House
188. Death Wants Revenge on Anansi
189. Anansi and Death’s Field of Yams
190. Anansi and Death’s Barbecue
191. God and Anansi’s Thread
192. Anansi and God’s Cattle
193. Anansi and God’s Yams
194. Anansi and the Tar-Man
195. Anansi Reads God’s Mind
196. Anansi and the Pea
197. Anansi and Hunter’s Debt
198. Anansi Owes Money
199. Anansi Takes Pig Home
200. Anansi and the Grain of Corn
Some of the authors cited in the bibliography below give
credit by name to the storytellers from whom they
learned these tales, and so I want to start with the names
of those storytellers, keepers of the tradition: Alexander
Archibald, Vivian Bailey, Thomas Bailly, Sherman Adolphus
Ballantyne, George Barrett, Frederik Bekker, Johan Bekker,
Magdalena Bekker, Edwin Bundel, John Alexander Burleigh,
Len Cabral, Samuel Christie, Benjamin Collins, Anderson
Cook, William Cooper, Grace Doran, George Edwards, Simeon
Falconer, William Forbes, Julia Gentle, Alexander Hazel, Moses
Hendricks, Emile Heyward, Elizabeth Hilton, Adolphus Iron,
Emanuel Johnson, Stanley Jones, Matilda Josepha, Hilton
Libert, Rennie Macfarlane, Joseph Macfarlane, Richard
Morgan, George Parkes, Richard Pottinger, Mrs. Ramtalli,
Michael “Boss Mike” Richard, Evelyn Smith, Henry Spence,
Charles Thompson, Harold Tulloch, Sarah Vassel, Rafael
Weeks, Thomas White, and Charles Wright.
For story-specific bibliography and notes, visit:
Abrahams, Roger D. African American Folktales: Stories
from Black Traditions in the New World.
Beckwith, Martha Warren. Jamaica Anansi Stories.
Berry, James. Spiderman Anancy.
Charles, Faustin. Under the Storyteller’s Spell: Folk-Tales
210 LAURA GIBBS
from the Caribbean.
Courlander, Harold. The Drum and the Hoe: Life and Lore of
the Haitian People.
D’Oyley, Enid F. Animal Fables and Other Tales: African
Tales in the New World.
Dance, Daryl C. Folklore from Contemporary Jamaicans.
Dasent, George Webbe. Popular Tales From the Norse:
Denham, Bish. Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales.
Edwards, Charles L. Bahama Songs and Stories.
Elswit, Sharon Barcan. Caribbean Story Finder.
Grannum-Solomon, Victorine. Anansi Folktales in the
Hallworth, Grace. Listen to This Story.
Herskovits, Melville J. and Frances S. Herskovits.
Hull, Robert. Caribbean Stories.
Ishmael, Odeen. The Magic Pot: Nansi Stories from the
Jagendorf, M. A. and R. S. Boggs. The King of the
Mountains: A Treasury of Latin American Folk Stories.
Jekyll, Walter. Jamaican Song and Story.
Johnson, John H. Folklore from Antigua, British West Indies.
London, Clement B. G. Caribbean Visions in Folktales.
McKenzie, Everal. Anancy Stories.
Parsons, Elsie Clews. Folklore of the Antilles.
Sherlock, Philip. Anansi the Spider Man.
Sherlock, Philip. West Indian Folk-Tales.
Smith, Pamela Colman. Annancy Stories.
Steele, Beverley A. and Bruce St John. Tim Tim Tales from
Wona. A Selection of Anancy Stories.
Young, Richard and Judy Dockrey Young. African-
American Folktales for Young Readers.
MORE TINY TALES
Tiny Tales of Nasruddin
Tiny Tales from India
Tiny Tales from Aesop
Tiny Tales Teaching Guide
Tiny Tales from the Sufis
Tiny Tales of Anansi
You can find them all at