This is a story about a boy. His name is Anansi.
There was a great famine in the country where Anansi lived. Anansi and his little brothers and sisters were very hungry. The boy could not think of anything but food.
“This hunger will kill me!” he often said.
One day he went out of the house and walked to the seashore.
“I shall try to catch a little fish,” he thought.
He sat on the seashore watching, watching, watching, but nothing came. Then suddenly he saw a green island in the sea. Anansi climbed into a little red boat, and soon he came to the green island.
He got out of the boat, stood under the tree and looked up at big nuts high above him. He tried to climb up the tree and get the nuts, but that was not easy. He tried again and again, but he could not get the nuts. The nuts were laughing at him!
“I will get you, my dear nuts!” he said. And he tired again and again to get the nuts. At last he got one nut.
“Now I have you!” he cried. He tried to throw it into his little boat, but the nut fell into the sea.
“Well, there are many more nuts in the tree,” said Anansi, but the second nut fell into the sea too. Seven times that happened, seven good, big nuts were in the sea! The wind carried them far, far away. The boy cried and cried, but nuts have no ears! They did not come back.
Then Anansi went to the forest. He saw a little house there. An old man came out of the house.
“What do you want here, my boy?” asked the old man. “Do not be afraid of me. Tell me everything.”
So Anansi told him about the famine and about his hungry people. Then he told the old man about the nuts and cried again. The old man took Anansi’s hand and said: “Do not cry, my boy! I have something to tell you. It is better than nuts.” He went into his house and brought a little pot.
“Take this home and give it to
your mother. Now you and your people will never be hungry. When your mother wants to make dinner for her family, she must only say: ‘Pot, pot, what you did for the old man, please do for me!’
Anansi thanked him and went quickly away. He came to the little boat, got in, and said at once: “Pot, pot, what you did for the old man, please do for me!”
And the pot gave him a good dinner. Anansi ate it all and was strong again. He soon came home. But he did not want to give the pot to his mother. “It is my pot. I shall have it and eat when I want to.”
So Anansi put the pot in some dark place of the house and spoke to it when nobody was at home.
Every day his mother and his brothers and sisters went out to look for food. Anansi did not go with them. He said: “Oh, I am ill, I cannot go.”
When he was at home alone, he ran to his pot, and the pot gave him a good dinner.
Anansi’s brothers and sisters grew thinner and thinner every day, but Anansi grew fatter and fatter.
“Why is he so fat?” one of his brothers asked one day. “I think he has a secret. I shall find it out.”
And the next day he did not go out to look for food with his mother. He stayed at home. Anansi thought that nobody was at home, took his pot and said: “Pot, pot, what you did for the old man, please do for me!”
And the pot gave him a good dinner.
His brother listened to the words. Now he knew about the pot, and he told his mother about it. The poor woman began to cry.
“I have a bad son!” she cried.
That day she told Anansi to go out of the house together with the other children. She stayed at home and asked the pot to give her dinner.
“How happy my children will be when they come home!” she thought.
Anansi came home with the other children.