~ 167. Anansi and the Handsome Calabash ~


Anansi saw a calabash tree.
When he grabbed a calabash, it said, "I'm handsome! I do handsome!"
"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.
No food!
Instead, Handsome Calabash whipped Anansi and ran back into the woods.


Inspired byJamaica Anansi Stories by Martha Warren Beckwith
Notes: This is story 25a in the book. Beckwith heard this story from Moses Hendricks; additional information in Beckwith's notes. I had to shorten this story: in the full version, Anansi goes on to plant the whipping calabash in the house so that when his family things they're getting food, they get whipped. In other versions of this story, Anansi gets a magic pot (or tablecloth) which he is not supposed to wash, but his wife washes it, and the magic power is gone. There are many versions of this story; here is an illustration from Pamela Colman Smith's version:





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