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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 135 pages of information about Folk Tales Every Child Should Know.

So he took another hammer a little bigger, but that wasn’t heavy enough either.

Then he took one bigger still, but it was still the same story; and so the smith got wroth, and grasped his great sledge-hammer.

“Now, I’ll crack you to bits,” he said, and let drive at the nut with all his might and main.  And so the nut flew to pieces with a bang that blew off half the roof of the smithy, and the whole house creaked and groaned as though it were ready to fall.

“Why! if I don’t think the Deil must have been in that nut,” said the smith.

“So he was; you’re quite right,” said the lad, as he went away laughing.

V

ANANZI AND THE LION

Once on a time Ananzi planned a scheme.  He went to town and bought ever so many firkins of fat, and ever so many sacks, and ever so many balls of string, and a very big frying pan, then he went to the bay and blew a shell, and called the Head-fish in the sea, “Green Eel,” to him.  Then he said to the fish, “The King sends me to tell you that you must bring all the fish on shore, for he wants to give them new life.”

So “Green Eel” said he would, and went to call them.  Meanwhile Ananzi lighted a fire, and took out some of the fat, and got his frying pan ready, and as fast as the fish came out of the water he caught them and put them into the frying pan, and so he did with all of them until he got to the Head-fish, who was so slippery that he couldn’t hold him, and he got back again into the water.

When Ananzi had fried all the fish, he put them into the sacks, and took the sacks on his back, and set off to the mountains.  He had not gone very far when he met Lion, and Lion said to him: 

“Well, brother Ananzi, where have you been?  I have not seen you a long time.”

Ananzi said, “I have been travelling about.”

“Oh!  But what have you got there?” said the Lion.

“Oh!  I have got my mother’s bones—­she has been dead these forty-eleven years, and they say I must not keep her here, so I am taking her up into the middle of the mountains to bury her.”

Then they parted.  After he had gone a little way, the Lion said:  “I know that Ananzi is a great rogue; I dare say he has got something there that he doesn’t want me to see, and I will just follow him;” but he took care not to let Ananzi see him.

Now, when Ananzi got into the wood, he set his sacks down, and took one fish out and began to eat; then a fly came, and Ananzi said, “I cannot eat any more, for there is some one near;” so he tied the sack up, and went on farther into the mountains, where he set his sacks down, and took out two fish which he ate; and no fly came.  He said, “There is no one near;” so he took out more fish.  But when he had eaten about half a dozen the Lion came up and said: 

“Well, brother Ananzi, a pretty tale you have told me.”

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