Anansi and turtle

Anansi the Spiderman lived on the tropical Caribbean island of Jamaica.

It was Aqua-Carnival: a time for everyone to celebrate sea-life with music, costume and food! Food meant it was Anansi’s favourite time of year. Anansi loved food. But he hated cooking.

So he was excited to be invited over to his friend Mr Turtle’s house for Carnival tea in the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Mrs Anansi and the children were invited too. But Anansi had told Mr and Mrs Turtle they were away, visiting his wife’s sick sister.

Anansi set off, his eights legs giddy at the thought of all the delicious seafood in store. His poor family believed he was gathering food for them!

He soon arrived in the depths of the ocean. There was a carnival spirit in the air with food, music and colourful water plants decorating the turtle-shell home.

To the surprise of his hosts - and forgetting his manners - he greedily gobbled down dish after dish leaving nothing for them! He then fell fast asleep! His eight legs dangling over the coral sofa!

After several hours, Anansi woke. Mrs Turtle had kindly packed food parcels for him to take home for his family, as people in Caribbean usually do.

‘Thank you!’ said Anansi.

‘We hope to see you soon,’ said Mr Turtle, expecting Anansi to invite them over, but too polite to ask.

Once home, it would have been easy for Anansi to present the packages of food to his family as proof that he had been gathering food. But not Anansi!

Rather than share the feast with his hungry family, he hid it, looking forward to secretly enjoying it alone.

Each day Anansi set off over the sandy dune hill, pretending to look for food. Instead he scoffed and snoozed.

This went on for six days. Anansi grew rounder as his family got hungrier.

Every day the family sang the same sorry song: 'Our tummies need a fill, we’re feeling very ill. Did you bring something from the over the hill?’

Anansi would reply: 'Not today but tomorrow I promise I will!'

On the seventh day, Anansi licked his lips. He'd left the biggest package until last and was really looking forward to enjoying every delicious crumb.

Unknown to Anansi, Mrs Anansi had begun to think about why her husband was growing rounder, while his family was getting skinnier. She’d guessed that Anansi was up to something. She knew her husband well. So she’d spied on Anansi and taken the final food package to feed herself and the children.

Back home, Anansi watched as they hungrily tucked in, his mouth dribbling. Then, just as she was about to enjoy her last bite, his youngest, Dotty, said ‘Here Dad,’ and handed her final piece to Anansi.

Dotty’s mother smiled proudly at her daughter’s good manners. Anansi had learnt his own lesson that day too - and from his baby daughter - that’s it’s good to have manners and to share. And that manners are best learnt at home.

As she ate, Mrs Anansi told her husband that she’d bumped into Mrs Turtle at the Marina Market and who asked about her ‘sick sister.’ Anansi’s secret was out! Oh no!

Mrs Anansi smiled. 'Next week we’re having Mr and Mrs Turtle round for dinner! I’ll hunt for food. YOU can cook it!

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