Ananse and Crocodile
Ewe/ Akan people story from the Volta region in Ghana
Told by Kofi Dorvlo
Ananse and the crocodile were friends and they contributed their quota to the development of the village in which they reside.
The inhabitants in the village found crocodile to be good at block laying and entrusted most of the work in the village to him. At a point, they thought of entrusting apprentices to learn from him.
Ananse was a diligent farmer who had to struggle to provide for his family especially during periods of long drought. Because of this, he had to rely a number of times on a special skill in artwork with which he was endowed.
In Ananse’s interaction with crocodile, he told him how he had been able to improve on his art work to the extent that he could draw on buildings and artefacts.
According to him, he had developed the skill to the extent that he could design on eggs and he had found out that the beautiful images he designs on the eggs resulted in beautiful offspring when the eggs are hatched.
Crocodile looked at himself for a while and thought about his ugly outlook and asked Ananse if he thought the design and painting will modify his long mouth and rough skin from being passed on to at least his young ones when they are hatched. Ananse responded in the affirmative and explained that his focus is to help shape the outlook of his friends in the animal world and their generation to make them look more attractive.
Crocodile thought for some time about this and with an added encouragement from Ananse he decided to submit himself to Ananse and give the whole enterprise a try.
She had a couple of eggs in her possession and she gave it to Ananse.
Ananse made some beautiful designs on the eggs and when crocodile came, he asked her to stay behind the window and have a look at the eggs. Ananse skillfully showed crocodile the same egg the couple of times having used the other egg for omelet.
Crocodile continued to bring the eggs and as usual Ananse enjoyed the eggs and continued with his tricks. One day, she informed Ananse that she would come for the eggs on a particular day for hatching and the joy of seeing young new crocodiles with new handsome and beautiful looks.
Crocodile continued with her work as a bricklayer. Ananse was now faced with how he would get the eggs for crocodile. He then devised a plan to kill crocodile. He knew her place of work. As Ananse was passing he saw crocodile and offered to help her to carry the blocks on her head. As she was about to lift the blocks, he asked her which part of the head was deadly so that he would be careful when helping her to carry the blocks. Crocodile said there is a flat cartilage layer below the temple. As Ananse lifted the block to put on the head of crocodile, he allowed it to descend heavily on this particular spot of her temple. Ananse watched crocodile in his last moments as she was in great pain till the time of her death.
The people in the village came around but they were unaware that Ananse collected eggs from crocodile since crocodile did not give the eggs to Ananse in the presence of any witness.