This Ananse trickster myth explains the origin of why we now have wisdom today.

How would you define “wisdom”? That’s simply being wise, right? But as simple as you think it is, it isn’t. Being wise is having experience, knowledge, and of good judgement; and your ability to solve problems based on your situation at hand. So how does one become wise? That’s the story of how one mythical spider managed to disperse wisdom all over the universe. Dear friends, meet Kwaku Ananse and the pot of wisdom.

Once Upon A Pot

Legend has it that, the entire universe was fill with wisdom but no one anywhere in the universe was wise enough. The people as at the early universe were all not smart enough to make good thoughts of the universe and their place in it. Now imagine such a world fill with all dumb people. Ewww!

One fateful day, Kwaku Ananse suddenly realized that the world was way too dumb, with even himself. So he had a stroke of genius, he claimed, that he was going to search and find all the wisdom in the universe and have it all for himself alone. Ananse is really greedy when it come to how he wants stuff, always wanting to have it all without sharing anything; or at least that was what he thought.

Whence Cometh Wisdom

In attempts of gathering all the wisdom in the universe, Ananse took a very big pot with him and travelled all over the world in search of wisdom. In the pot Ananse placed all the wisdom he found in it. Now having all that wisdom with him, he was terrified that someone would steal the pot of wisdom from him. “What shall I do with my pot of wisdom?,” he thought to himself. 

Ananse had the idea of hiding the pot so that no one could find it. “I shall hide the pot on top of the tallest tree in the forest,” he thought to himself again. So he searched the entire forest until he found a very tall thorny tree, and there, he brought the pot to be hidden for good. Was this a wise idea? Hmmm!

So Ananse begun to climb the thorny tree with the pot hanging in front of him, hoping to hide the pot from all of humanity for good, but found it hard to climb up. While he was climbing the tree, his son saw him and asked, “Father, what are you doing?”

Ananse replied, “I have in this pot all the wisdom in the universe, and I am going to hang it on the top of the tallest tree away from everybody; thence I will be the wisest one in the whole universe.” 

“Really?!,” his son exclaimed! ”Then, I have an idea: why not hang the pot behind you instead of in front of you?,” he reasoned, “then will you be able to climb the tree.”

Image: Abynaa-Ansaa Adjei | Illustration of Kwaku Ananse climbing the tree with his pot of wisdom

Art Thou Really Wise? Ananse!

Ananse then did exactly as his son said by hanging the pot behind him, and then was he able to climb to the top of the tree with his pot. He then sat on a branch upon the tree and thought to himself, “I thought I had all the wisdom in the universe?”

That was the awkward moment Ananse realized that he had not all of the wisdom in the universe. “I thought I had it all in my pot, but my own son has wisdom not in my pot?,” he lamented.

He wanted to take the piece of wisdom from his son and into his pot of wisdom; but unfortunately, as he was coming down with his pot, it fell to the ground and broke into several piece and scattered all over the world.

Ananse was so sad that he had lost all the wisdom in the universe. “No one can have all the wisdom in the universe,” he finally thought to himself. And that’s why wisdom scattered all over the world for people. Have you had your share yet?

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Wed, Jul 01, 2020.


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