In the previous issue, I shared three African mythological stories explaining death's origin. As promised, we also published four more stories on the Lughayangu platform. You can find the complete series here.

Today, I will be sharing two trickster folktales:

✅ Anansi and the Turtle.
✅ The Hare and the Elephant.

Trickster tales help us understand human behaviour and also how to think on our feet.

🕷️ Anansi and the Turtle

One day Anansi, the spider, harvested some of the best yam and vegetables from his back garden and prepared them for lunch. The sweet smell emanating from the pot made Anansi very hungry, but this time he restrained himself from eating directly from the pot as he was used to. He wanted to eat the food in style. Do justice to it 🙂. He meticulously prepared the table and got ready to "judge" the food by doing some crunches.

Just as he took the first morsel, he heard a knock on the door.

"Who might this be?" cursed Anansi.

On the door stood the Turtle looking tired and hungry. It was the custom of the land to share food with visitors. Anansi had no choice but to invite the Turtle in for lunch.

"Welcome, Turtle. You are just in time for lunch", said Anansi reluctantly.

"Thanks, Anansi. How are you? " asked the Turtle as he reached for the bowl of yams.

"Mayoo! I am fine", answered Anansi.

"But your hands are very dirty! You must wash your hands before you eat."

The Turtle looked sadly at his hands. They had become dirty during the long journey to Anansi's house.

"Aaah! You are right. I'll be right back", admitted the Turtle.

The Turtle slowly crawled to the washing basin at the back of Anansi's hut and thoroughly cleaned his hands.

As soon as the Turtle was out of sight, Anansi started eating as fast as he could. He gobbled and munched the food like nobody's business. It was as if the spirit of hunger had possessed him.

When the Turtle got back, only a small portion of food remained.

Disappointed, the Turtle exclaimed, " You have eaten almost all the food!"

"You see...", stummered Anansi.

"I had to eat before the food got cold. Anyway, there is still plenty of food, help yourself."

The Turtle reached for the bowl of vegetable soup.

"Ala! Stop!" shouted Anansi.

"Your hands are still dirty. Please go back and rewash them."

The Turtle looked at his hands and confirmed that they were indeed dirty again. They got dirty as he crawled through Anansi's unkempt house. Despite the tiredness and hunger, he returned to the basin and washed his hands. Only this time, he covered his hands with a piece of cloth, determined not to make them dirty again.

He hurriedly crawled back only to find that Anansi had finished all the food except for a mouthful of vegetables he had left for him. The Turtle grudgingly ate the leftover but swore to pay back for the humiliation.

"Thank you for the lovely meal. I would love to invite you over to my place for a feast on the day of the full moon.", said the Turtle.

Anansi gladly accepted the invitation. It was common knowledge that the Turtle was the best cook. He could already imagine eating the magnific meal.

When the day finally came, Anansi the spider arrived on time. He went by the riverbank under which the Turtle lived.

"Welcome, dear friend. Supper is ready. Come on down", called the smiling Turtle. He had already laid out the table with all sorts of delectable food.

"Splash", Anansi excitedly jumped into the river. He was eager to devour the sumptuous meal after being hit by the sweet aroma. However, he could not sink to the bottom due to his weight. He kicked and swam as best as he could, but still, he floated.

"Hurry! hurry! Dinner is getting cold! " shouted the Turtle as he watched with amusement as Anansi struggled to reach his house.

Finally, an idea struck him. He put some rocks in the pocket of his jacket and jumped into the river. The weight of the rocks made him sink to the Turtle's house.

"Mhmm, this sure does look good", acknowledged Anansi as he reached for a bowl of food.

"Wait", cried the Turtle.

"You know you cannot sit down for dinner with your jacket on. It is a taboo in our land. Please take it off."

"But turtle, if I take it off..."

"You must take it off if you want to eat. I did not make the rules", cut the Turtle.

As soon as he took off the jacket, Anansi shot back to the top of the river. He could only admire the Turtle as he ate every bite of the feast. Dejected, Anansi started walking back home. It immediately occurred to him that the Turtle had tricked him just as he had done to him earlier. As Wahenga always say, what goes around, comes around.


🐰The Hare and the Elephant(Maasai)

A herd of elephants went to gather honey to take to their in-laws. On the way, they met a hare about to cross the river. She said to one of them: "Please help me get across the river." The Elephant agreed to this request and asked the hare to jump on his back. Sitting on his back, she immediately noticed the two bags full of honey the Elephant was carrying.

She started eating honey from one of the bags and, when it was finished, asked the Elephant to hand him a stone to play with. However, she put the stone in the empty bag and started eating the honey from the second bag.

After eating it, she also asked for another stone claiming she wanted to throw it at the birds. The Elephant handed her the stone and then another. The cycle continued until she filled both bags.

On realising the elephants were approaching their destination, the hare pretended to have arrived and went on her way.

Later, when the Elephant looked at his bags, he realised that they were full of stones! He exclaimed to the others: "Oh my goodness! The hare has finished all my honey!"

The hare was leaping away at a distance, and they immediately set off after her. They caught up with her within no time, but as the elephants were about to grab her, she disappeared into a hole.

However, the Elephant managed to get hold of her tail, and the skin peeled off. Elephant next grabbed her by the leg. The hare laughed loudly, saying: "You have held a root mistaking it for me!" Subsequently, the Elephant let go of the hare's leg and got hold of a root instead.

Hare screamed and said: "Oh, you have broken my leg!" As Elephant struggled with the root, she manipulated her way out and ran as fast as possible.

By this time, the Elephant had managed to pull out the root, only to realise it was not the hare's leg. The hare leapt over the bushes in a bid to escape, and he followed her.

In her escape, she came across some herdsmen and said to them: "Do you see that Elephant from yonder? You better run, for he is coming after you."

The men scampered and went their separate ways. When Elephant saw them running, he thought they were after the hare and followed them. When he caught up with them, he asked if they had seen a hare with a skinned tail. The herdsmen told him that she had gone in the opposite direction.

Next, the hare came upon some women sewing outside the homestead and said to them: "Hey mothers, do you see that Elephant coming this way? Run away, for he is coming after you."

On hearing this, the women scampered for the safety of their houses. However, the Elephant caught up with them and asked if they had seen a hare with a skinned tail. The women pointed in the direction the hare went.

All the hares quickly skinned their tails. At the same instant, the Elephant arrived and asked them: "Hey you, hares, have you seen a hare with a skinned tail going in this direction?"

The hares replied: "Don't you see that all our tails are skinned?" They displayed their tails confidently. The Elephant realised the hare had tricked him after noticing that their tails were skinned. He could not find the culprit, for all of them were alike. And that is how the hare escaped his wrath.


We will publish more trickster stories on the Lughyangu platform throughout the week. Remember to signup, and don't forget to leave a thumbs up.
 
Do you know of any related stories? Please share, and we will gladly publish and credit you.

Special thanks to Stephanie for editing this issue.
Talk to you soon. Remember, it is time to tell our stories.
Mike