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JAMAICAN STORIES – ANANSI & SNAKE (PART TWO)

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Next day…

Anansi made a square trap out of sticks, with spaces on three sides, and a door on the other. He put some mangoes inside. Soon a piglet came along and went straight for the mangoes. He didn’t notice when Anansi shut the door behind him. Anansi figured that Snake could get inside the trap through the spaces, but that he would be too fat to get out after he had eaten the piglet.

Snake came along and saw the piglet. The creature was so terrified when he saw Snake that he went berserk, squealing at the top of his lungs and smashing the trap into pieces. The piglet fled into the bushes, and Snake’s mouth did not even get the chance to water. Anansi muttered to himself, “Fool-fool, good for nuttn pig.”

Next day…

It was Friday, the end of the week, and Anansi was still Snake less. He went directly to Snake’s house, and sat outside, looking dejected. Snake came out and looked at Anansi in surprise. “But you bright, eeh? All week long you trying to catch me, and now you are sitting here barefaced in mi yard?”

Anansi looked at Snake and sighed. “Yes, is true. But I was trying to catch you for a worthy cause. Now the other animals will continue to talk behind your back.”

“What you talking about, Anansi? What they saying about me?”

Anansi said, “Well, I really shouldn’t be telling you, but they saying that you believe you are the longest thing around, and that you think you are God’s gift to longness, when even the shortest bamboo around here is longer than you!”

Snake was outraged. “Measure me, Anansi, measure me! Cut down the longest bamboo you can find and let me shut up those backbiters!”

Anansi ran and cut down the longest bamboo. He rested it on the ground and Snake stretched out beside it. “Call them, Anansi. Let them see that nothing around here can test me!”

Anansi scratched his chin. “Well, Snake, there’s a problem. You look longer than the bamboo, but how do I know that when I go up by your head you not crawling up to look longer, and when I go down by your tail you not shifting down on that end?”

“Tie mi tail, then Anansi. if you don’t believe me.”

By this time curious animals were gathering around to watch.

Anansi tied Snake’s tail tightly to the bamboo with some vines. Then he said to Snake, “Stretch, Snake, Stretch. You almost there. Stretch till you eyes shut and you can’t stretch no more.”

Anansi had never seen a snake sweat. Snake stretched till his eyes were squeezed shut, and in a flash, Anansi tied his head to the pole, then his middle.

The animals who had been watching were silent. There was no laughing at Anansi this time. He had said he would capture Snake, and he did.

And from that day to this, the stories have been called Anansi stories.

Jack Mandora, mi nuh choose none!

(More authentic Jamaican stories found here.)

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