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How Mankind Got Wisdom

Published September 1, 2012
Countries: West Africa
Age Levels: 7-8 and up

When the world was young, Anansi was well known by all the people and all the creatures.  Some called him the Spider Man since he could turn himself into a spider when he wanted.  But, more important than his ability to change shape, Anansi owned all the wisdom in the world.

People came to Anansi every day for advice and for help.  One day the men of the country did something to insult Anansi.  This made him angry and made him decide to keep his wisdom to himself.

He said out loud to himself,

"Anansi is wise.

Anansi is great!

This is something the world doesn't appreciate!"

Anansi was very stubborn, and he was sometimes selfish.  When he did not feel that he was being shown respect by mankind, Anansi became stubborn.  He put all of his wisdom into a large pot and sealed it shut.  He planned to hide the pot where no human being could find it.

Anansi had one son whose name was Kweku Tsin.  The son followed his father as he walked out the door carrying a large pot.  Anasi walked through the village and into the forest beyond.  Kweku Tsin followed him and watched what his father did.

Anansi began to climb a large tree carrying the heavy pot.  He planned to hide his wisdom where no one else could find it.  But as he climbed, the pot kept getting in his way.  Kweku Tsin watched as his father would climb several feet and fall back down because the pot was in his way.  With all his wisdom in the pot, Anansi was not thinking very clearly.

Since Kweku Tsin had a little wisdom of his own, he had an idea.  H could keep silent no longer and yelled out, "Father, why do you not hang the pot on your back?  Then you could easily climb the tree."

Anansi turned and said: "I thought I had of all the world's wisdom in this pot. But I find you possess more than I do at this moment.  All my wisdom was not enough to tell me what to do.  Instead, you had to tell me what to do.  He became angry and threw the pot down to the ground.  It broke open, and all the wisdom held in the pot spread throughout the world.

This is how Mankind got wisdom.  The world will be a better place if Mankind uses all of the wisdom it has been given. 

Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.