Once upon a time there lived a very great and honourable chief called Gbeyor. He had a daughter called Gbeofia, meaning queen of beauty. Gbeyor had given this name to his daughter because she was the most beautiful girl in the whole village. When she had reached the age of 21, Gbeofia called her father and told him that she wanted to marry. Gbeyor was aghast! He shouted at his daughter: “Hai, my only daughter! My queen of queens! What are you trying to tell me? I will not allow you to marry any man in this village. My daughter, you are so beautiful and precious to me, therefore I would like you to marry a man who is very rich and handsome.”
Before long word got around in the village that Gbeofia wanted to marry, and the conditions that her father had imposed. In spite of this, some of the men in the village still thought they might have a chance. Therefore some of them would call on the chief’s place every Saturday evening, carrying special drinks and some expensive cloth as presents requesting Gbeofia’s hand in marriage. Gbeyor could see that they were only farmers and that they were not good enough to marry his precious daughter.
One evening Mr Spider made his way to the chief’s door, carrying a bottle of local gin. The chief laid eyes on Mr Spider and asked him harshly: “Hey Mr Spider, what do you want in my palace?” Mr Spider answered in a very polite manner. “Please chief, I an here to marry your beautiful daughter.” The chief got very angry and shouted: “You fool! Come on, clear off! You think you can come along here with a bottle of local gin, and marry my daughter? My daughter, who is the queen of queens1 Get out of my face!” Mr spider left without speaking any further, just as some more of the village men were arriving, carrying their presents. When Mr Spider got home he went to his room, sat down and concentrated on trying to think of a trick he could play so that he could marry the chief’s daughter after all. Mr Spider realized after some time that the girl liked eating pawpaw. He remembered he had seen her in the area near his house several times, to pick the fruit of the pawpaw trees that grew there. “Yes, he thought, pawpaw is probably one of her favourite foods!” This gave Mr Spider the idea for the trick he decided to play on them.
Mr Spider started hanging around the pawpaw tree, so that he could waylay the girl on her next visit there. He didn’t have to wait very long, but to Mr Spider’s dismay, she was accompanied by her mother when she turned up. At first Mr Spider was a little worried, because he had not reckoned on the mother being there. But he was a resourceful fellow after all, and before long he had thought of a trick. He went up to the mother and said: “Hello, mother dear, can I pluck some pawpaw for you? These pawpaw trees are so difficult to climb for you ladies. Allow me to get up there and get the best fruit for you people!” The women had no objections to Mr Spider’s proposal, so he climbed the pawpaw tree and started picking the fruit. Very quickly he’d picked a bag full of the fruit, and the mother called up to him: “Hello, my son, this is quite enough for us!” But Mr Spider hadn’t finished yet, and he told her: “Ooh mother, this is not enough for you, so I want to pick just a few more!” The women didn’t want to argue, so they just said, “OK, that’s very good of you, carry on picking as many as you like!”
Mr Spider climbed a bit further up the tree, pretending to look for the best fruit. Within the twinkle of an eye Mr Spider intentionally fell down and started wailing: “Adish! Adish! Today my life finish! My leg – Oh my leg, Oh my leg!” As he lay there wailing the women became very frightened, and didn’t know what to do to help Mr Spider. “Oh dearme Oh dearme, you poor fellow! What can we do for you?” the mother asked. The crafty Mr Spider, pretending to be in a great amount of pain said: “Take me to your house! Please take me to your house!” Between them mother and daughter carried Mr Spider to their house. When they reached there, the mother asked Mr Spider if there was anything she could do for him. Mr Spider asked her to give him a bath. The mother consented, and proceeded to give Mr Spider a bath. After having his bath, he asked the woman to find him some mats so that he could lie down and have a rest. She quickly found a mat for Mr Spider, and he lay down on it.
Mr Spider rested for a short while, then when he heard somebody move around in the next room, he started moaning again. Gbeofia’s mother was in the room nextdoor, and heard the moaning. She came into Mr Spider’s room, and asked him if there was anything he needed. “EhEh, Mother, answered Mr Spider, I am so uncomfortable, all my limbs are aching and this heat seems to be making it worse. Maybe if you help me remove all my clothing I might be more comfortable!” So mother helped Mr Spider get undressed, and he stretched out on the mat again, completely naked. She went back to take care of her business in the next room, and for a short while all was quiet. But not for long. Mr Spider started moaning again, and the woman came over to his side once more. She was getting eather worried about Mr Spider’s condition, and asked him what else she might do to alleviate the pain he was in. “EhEh, Mother, there is just one thing that will make me better,” said Mr Spider. The woman asked him to tell her what this might be. Mr Spider coughed, then he said: “I want you to ask your daughter to come her and lie on top of me!” This rather took the good woman by surprise. “That’s impossible!” she exclaimed. But Mr Spider was very tricky, and he knew exactly what to say to get his way. “I’m afraid if she doesn’t come and lie with me, I will surely die all at once!” said he to the woman. She was genuinely afraid that Mr Spider might indeed die from his injuries, so she went to find her daughter. She explained the situation to her, and although her daughter was not at all sure that she wanted to do this, eventually she let herself be persuaded by her mother. She came into Mr Spider’s room and lay on top of him on the mat.
Two hours later Mr Spider burst into laughter. “Hahahaha! I am very very lucky! I won this situation and I am now free. Wot! I really took these women for a ride.”