|How Anansi Shamed Himself|
1995 – 1997
It doesn't do to pretend you are what you are not. This can lead you into deep trouble, as Anansi once discovered.
When the mother of Anansi's wife dies, Anansi sends his wife ahead to arrange the funeral while he stays behind. A day after she departs, Anansi asks several animals to accompany him to the funeral to show what an important creature he is. The animals agree, and the party arrives at the home of Anansi's wife, where they are greeted by the family.
Over dinner, the group discusses their roles in the funeral service, and Anansi volunteers to provide the coffin in which his mother-in-law will be buried and to pay for the funeral feast. The guests clap for him, and he revels in the attention, feeling important. After the meal, Anansi refuses more food, declaring that he will not eat for a week due to his grief over his mother-in-law. Once again, the animals clap, praising Anansi for his extraordinary character.
A few days later, Anansi begins to feel hungry due to his fasting for his mother-in-law. Not wanting to be seen by the others, Anansi searches for food that he can eat in secret and finds a bowl of hot porridge cooling outside. He fills his hat with the porridge, but as he is about to eat, he overhears voices. Quickly, he puts the hat onto his head and approaches his wife.
Anansi lies that he must return home for a meeting, and his wife suggests that he eat something for the road. Though Anansi tries to escape, the other animals crowd around him, insisting he have something to eat. At last, the pain becomes too much for Anansi, and he throws off his hat, revealing the hot porridge on his head. The animals gape at him and mock him for pretending to mourn his mother-in-law while hoarding food for himself. Anansi is so ashamed that he hides himself in the grass, where spiders can be found to this day.