ANANSI AND ALLIGATOR
Excerpt from “Ticky-Ticky’s Quest: Travel to Turtle Island”
|The Swamp Dragon rose out of the Everglades, startling Anansi.|
Anansi, who was feeling his age,had gone to the Florida Everglades in search of the Fountain of Eternal Youth. He had heard a story about this magical Viagra-like spring that would allow old men to regain their youthful vigor.
In the Everglades he came across a Seminole village’s communal garden. Captured and tied to a log for a whipping, he begged the chief to forgive him.
“Á will do anything if you let me go... I will leave the area!”
“Hah! So, how are you going to pay for the honeydew melons?” Asked the Chief.
“I tell you what... Catch the Swamp Dragon and you go free!” Said the Chief. The village cracked up.
“Dat’s easy,” The cocky Spider-man cracked.
When everyone had gone, Anansi went into the bushes and cut the longest, skinny Black Mangrove log that he could find. He trimmed off the branches and leaves and dragged the crooked Black Mangrove pole to the lair.
Anansi stood on the bank of the stream, doing a little jig; he began to beat the machete against the pole. Each slap of ther machete gave off a “Twingggg!” Anansi shouted the Asanti name for crocodile to the beat of steel against wood.
"Odenkyem!” He shouted.
Twingggg! went the machete.
Twingggg twingggg! The steel blade rang out.
“Á have something to tell you."
A pair of eyes and nostrils silently broke through the smooth surface the stream’s deep hole. Then the rest of the body of a humongous alligator surfaced. Anansi stepped back in surprise.
"Who is making this racket outside of my home?" The Swamp Dragon said.
"You don't know me but I just arrived here in search of the largest crocodile in the world." Anansi said.
"Well bug off. I am not a crocodile." The alligator said.
"Alligator, crocodile, whatever! I am here to measure the largest reptile in the world. By the looks of it, you are smaller than an African Nile crocodile." Anansi taunted.
"Says who?" Retorted the Swamp Dragon who was also known as the “Beast of the East”.
The alligator had his pride, so he crawled out of the water and told Anansi to take his measurement. Anansi took 14 paces from the alligator's snout to his tail.
"I know that you are taller than you seem. However, I have to ask you to stretch out a little more to beat the record," he said.
The alligator complied and Anansi walked off 14 and a half paces. Then he said, scratching his head. "No. Á know we can stretch you a little longer. Here, let me lay this pole alongside you. Ok, now… Let me tie you tail to the log. Good. Now stretch you snout to the end of the log. Don't move. Just let me tie you snout so that you won't slip back."
"Issfff thisfff good enough?" The Swamp Dragon hissed through his clenched, tusk-like, ivory teeth.
"One moment," Anansi said. “Á must tie your back to this pole to keep it firm against you.” When Anansi had tied the alligator’s midsection securely to the pole, he said. “Now, Á just want to tie your tippi-tail to the end of this pole so that I can get your best stretched out length.” Then Anansi tied the alligator’s tail-end to the pole and stepped back.
Anansi ran off and got the tribe. Everyone was astounded. Anansi did something that their hunters had been unable to do for years.
Moral: “Alligator lay egg, but him nó fowl.” (An alligator may lay eggs, but she is not a chicken.)
Or, “Things are not always what they seem!”