Mr Spider, who is popularly known as Ananse, is renowned to be a man of tricks. Have you ever asked yourself why he is bald? This is the story of how this came about.
One afternoon, after Mr spider had enjoyed his lunch, he sat down in his yard to relax. His lunch had been particularly nice, so soon enough he snoozed off into a slumber, and sat there snoring: nrrrroorrroogh! nrrrroorrrroogh! nrrroorrrooogh!
Suddenly there was the sound of someone knocking on the door, and this woke him up. Mr Spider opened the door, and there he saw Nana Petra. Spider said: “Eeh, Nana Petra, you are welcome! It’s a long time since you called to see me.” He took his visitor inside the house, and offered him everything he needed as a visitor. Mr Spider asked Nana Petra: “My brother, may I know your intention of coming here at this crucial hour?”
Nana Petra paused for some time, then spoke solemnly: “HmHmHm, it is sad news I bring you, brother spider.” Hearing this Mr Spider was confused and asked: “What is this sad news that you bring Nana Petra?”
Nana Petra continued: “Your majesty, Mr Spider, I am very sorry to announce to you the death of my father, Eja Mimou.” Now as Nana Petra was Ananse’s brother-in-law, this made Eja Mimou his father-in-law. When Ananse heard the news, he could hardly believe it. So he asked his brother again: “Nana Petra, are you joking or are you serious?” Nana Petra assured him that he was not joking, and eventually Ananse understood that his dear father-in-law was no more.
Before Nana Petra left again, he told Ananse that the funeral and the rites would be held three days later in the residence of his late father-in-law. After Nana Petra left, Ananse went to see his close friend, Mr Dog, and told him he would very much like him to accompany him to the funeral and last rites of his departed father-in-law. Mr Dog agreed. When it was time to go to the funeral Mr Spider told his friend Mr Dog he should carry along his guitar, so they could play some mournful tunes at the funeral ground. They slowly made their way to the house where the funeral was taking place. Mr Spider had dressed himself in some very expensive cloth and put on a large dark hat to show his respect for the deceased.
When the friends arrived everybody was very excited, in spite of the fact that there had been a bereavement, because Mr Spider was such a well known and great personality. They were very happy to see him there, and he was offered one of the best seats in the house. Shortly after, Mr Spider asked the people to excuse him and went into the kitchen, where he found a large pot of beans on the fire. Mr Spider removed his hat, and dished a large quantity of the beans into the hat, which he then put back on his head, even though the hot beans made him squint. When he came back to his seat, he and his friend Mr Dog were offered food. Mr Dog ate all the food given him, but Mr Spider refused to eat. He explained: “I can never eat, since I am so bereaved because my great father-in-law is no longer alive.” Mr Spider insisted that he would not touch any of the food. The people tried and tried and tried several times over to convince him, but all their efforts came to nothing and he steadfastly refused.
After some few hours Mr Spider said to the people that he would have to leave, as there was another ceremony going on in the house of his own father where he also had to attend. The people once again tried to persuade him to eat something before departing, but again he steadfastly refused.
While Mr Spider had been talking to the people, he had been nodding his head. He didn’t want to nod his head, but he couldn’t help it, the movement was forced on him by the heat of the beans inside his hat. Some of the people noticed that he was nodding his head rather a lot, and one of them asked: “Dear Mr Spider, Sir, why are you nodding your head so much?” He answered in a loud voice: “When it’s hot like this, don’t you all shake your head?”
After that Mr Spider and his friend Mr Dog departed from the funeral ground. On their way home Ananse could not sustain the suffering the hot beans were causing to his poor head. The heat was just getting too too much! He finally had no choice: with a great scream he removed his large black hat and the beans spilled out all over the street. Some people who had been walking along stopped to gaze at him, and others came out of their houses, attracted by the commotion. One said: “This man, he is a foolish man!”
Another said: “He is not normal! What normal person would carry beans inside his hat and cover his head with it?”
Then Mr Dog said to his friend: “My dear Spider, whatever happened to your beautiful hair?” Mr Spider touched his head, and noticed that all his hair had disappeared. The beans had been so hot that they burned off all his hair, and from that moment onwards Mr Spider and all his offspring went around with a bald head.