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Anansi & the Strange Moss-Covered Rock

One day Anansi the Spider Man was walking through the forest. Just off the path, he saw something unusual.

  “Just look at that Strange Moss-covered Rock!”

  WHOMP! He was knocked flat on his back by an invisible force. He landed with such a THUD! that he didn’t wake up for a couple of hours.

   When he did awaken, he flung about all of 8 of his legs and did the hat-shaking dance to clear the cobwebs out of his head. He had never had a hang-over this bad before.

  It was in the midst of all that flinging and shaking that he got an idea. Maybe he could use this Strange Moss-covered Rock to his advantage. It was obviously magic with some sort of “Jedi” force field around it, protecting it for whatever reason. So, how could he use that to his advantage? He began to laugh and plan, as he walked back to the village.

  The first house he came to belonged to Elephant, whom Anansi knew was a great collector of melons- watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, you name it. Elephant’s pantry was piled high full of sweet and juicy. She was just carrying a few more into her house, when Anansi called out.

  “Hey, Elephant my friend,” called Anansi, “How are you on this fine day?”

  Elephant looked down her trunk at this tiny little man.

   “I’m fine,” said Elephant cautiously. Everybody knew Anansi was always up to something. “What do you want?”

   “Elephant, you wound me! Look around at the beautiful day! Have you noticed how lovely the weather has been lately? All the rain has made the green forest bloom. You should come take a walk with me.”

  “Well, I suppose I could take a short break,” said Elephant, lumbering out her front door.

  The two of them walked together, enjoying the lush green of the forest.  Suddenly Anansi pointed one finger and then another in convincing surprise.

   “Oh, Elephant! Look at that!”

  She looked, “Oh my, what a Strange Moss-covered Rock!”

   And BOOM! Elephant fell to the ground. Anansi barely had time to get out of the way. Instead of getting squished, he ran back to Elephant’s house and gathered up as many melons as he could carry- watermelons, cantaloupe, honeydew, you name it. His cupboards filled up, while hers were left completely bare.

    After he enjoyed stuffing his mouth full of sweet, juicy goodness, he remembered Monkey’s collection of bananas. Oh, if he could only get a hold of that yellow fruit!

  He found Monkey lying on his porch, sunning himself.

   “Hello, Monkey, my good friend, how are you today? If you are enjoying the sun, I guarantee you’ll love to take a little walk in the forest with me. The sun is shining through the trees perfectly. You’ll keep warm, but you won’t get a sunburn!”

  Monkey thought about this for a moment, said, “Okay,” and vaulted off the porch, heading for the forest.

  Anansi & Monkey walked through the forest for a while until the Spider man pointed one finger, and then another, and then another.

  “Monkey! That’s amazing! Just look at it!”

  Monkey’s gaze followed Anansi’s fingers and said, “Oh wow! What a Strange Moss-covered Rock!”

  BOING! Monkey was knocked straight out for the next two hours. Meanwhile, Anansi left him there on the ground and backtracked to his house to gather up as many bunches of bananas as he could possibly carry.

   Then Anansi sat in his home admiring his clever thievery. All around him were melons and bananas. It was indeed a colourful and sweet paradise, while Elephant and Monkey had nothing. Oh, Anansi was so proud. ... But does that sound fair?

  Not at all! And Rabbit thought the same thing. From the green undergrowth, she had watched Anansi all day long. She saw when Anansi had said the strange magic words which had knocked him flat on the ground. She watched as Anansi tricked Elephant and Monkey and stole of their food. She was just simply outraged. Someone needed to teach Anansi a lesson. Of course, the perfect person for that job was another trickster- Rabbit herself.

  She hopped right over to Anansi’s house and knocked on the door. The Spider cracked it just enough to see Rabbit’s big, wide, innocent eyes.

  “What do you want, Bunnycakes?”

  “Hello, Anansi, I came to invite you to dinner. I have a nice harvest of greens that I thought you’d like.”

  “Greens?” Anansi said, opening the door wide. Anansi loved to eat and green leafy things were one of his favourites. He followed Rabbit all the way home, asking questions the whole time. “Are you going to boil them up and cover them with vinegar with maybe some black-eyed peas on the side? Or, um, are you going to saute them in olive oil with some garlic and yummy spices? Or you going to just eat them

  Anansi loved some greens, so he was simply drooling when Rabbit opened her cabinet and showed him all the bunches hanging in the cool air- collards, mustard, turnip, spinach, swiss chard, you name it. His eyes bugged out and he had to wipe his mouth. Anansi could have eaten it all. ...Then he remembered the Strange Moss-Covered Rock.

  “Rabbit, you know what would make this supper even better? A bit of fresh basil, just tossed into the cooking.” He smiled flirtaiously at Rabbit. “Why, just this morning, I saw a nice patch in the forest. I believe I could find it again, if you would help me look.”

   “Of course, Anansi. I’ll go into the forest with you. Basil does sound good.” Rabbit said, thinking how well her plan really was going.

  The two of them walked into the forest and Anansi acted like he was looking for a basil patch.

  “Do you see anything over there, Rabbit? No, well, maybe it was on this side of the trail.”

  They scoured the ground for a while, until Anansi suddenly looked up.

  “Why, Rabbit, look over there!” he said, pointing four fingers at the Strange Moss-Covered Rock.
  “Where, Anansi? Do you see the basil patch?”

 “No! Look at that amazing thing right there!” He gestured wildly with his legs.

  “What amazing thing, Anansi? I don’t see any basil over there. What are you talking about?” said Rabbit, although she knew very well what he was talking about.

  Anansi grabbed Rabbit’s head and turned it toward the Rock.  “Rabbit, just look at that Strange Moss-Covered Rock!”

  WHOMP! The Spider flew back into the air and was laid flat on his back. Rabbit hopped all the way back to Anansi’s house and returned the melons to Elephant and the bananas to Monkey, both of whom were recovering from major headaches. Then she went home and cooked up a nice batch of spinach lasagna with just the right amount of basil and oregano from her own windowsill herb garden. And she hasn’t asked Anansi back to dinner yet.

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