“Anansi Seh” is a compilation of West Indian Anansi stories for children.
Anansi the spider is a trickster who tries to turn every situation into something beneficial to him. However, whenever Anansi uses methods that are unfair and selfish he tends to end up on the losing end. Anansi stories teach children the values of honesty, sharing and unselfishness.
The character Anansi is grounded in history and is an important part of West Indian and African folklore. Anansi stories originated with the Ashanti tribe of Ghana and travelled to the West Indies with the slave trade. During the slave period these stories were an expression of rebellion as Anansi tries to outwit the oppressor or his opponent. However, in Ghana these stories were often told to teach a lesson to someone needing wisdom as Anansi was in some tribes also the God of Knowledge. However, in the event that the story was told simply for entertainment it was seen as good manners to end the story with the phrase “Jack Mandora mi nuh choose none” this means, “This story is not aimed at you or anyone else, nor am I wishing the same fate on you.”
Anansi was originally Akan in Ghana. Akan simply means spider. Even in Ghana, Anansi stories traditionally existed in oral tradition and so they were told to the children of slaves by their parents and so West Indians have traditionally told these stories to their own children. Anansi Seh is the preservation of these stories to protect them from dying with time.
- Delomie Press, November 2012
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