1. Anansi the Spider and His Children

It was a feast-day, and all the town’s cooks were cooking.
Anansi wanted to eat everything, but which food would be ready first?
Anansi summoned his children and gave each one a rope, tying the ropes around his waist. “Go watch!” he told them. “When the food’s ready, tug on the rope and pull me there.”
Anansi waited.
Pepper-soup: ready!
Pumpkin-stew: ready!
Fry-fry, foo-foo, binch-beans: all ready!
Anansi’s children were all pulling at once: this way, that way!
Pulled in every direction, Anansi didn’t get to eat anything, and his waist is still narrow from being squeezed by those ropes.

[a Temne story from Sierra Leone]

Inspired by: "Why Mr. Spider's Waist Is Small." in Cunnie Rabbit, Mr. Spider, and the Other Beef: West African Folk Tales by Florence M. Cronise and Henry W. Ward, with illustrations by Gerald Sichel, 1903.
Notes: You can read the original story online; it's told in Sierra Leone creole. 

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