How the Desert Came to Be
Kweku Ananse and his friend Akwasi were known to everyone to be very good farmers.
They had such large farms that people came from all over to buy everything from
them. As time passed they became rich.
Yet one year, everything turned bad as the rains stopped falling. Ananse and Akwasi
didn't know what to do. All the streams and rivers had dried up and people quit
coming since there was nothing left to buy.
Akwasi decided to go to Nana Nyankopon, the creator of the universe, to solicit
his help. So one morning, he called on Nana Nyankopon and said to him, "Nana, there
has not been rain for a long time; so all the rivers and streams are dry. All the
crops on my farm have dried up and wilted. Please, let me have some rain."
God was touched and said to him, "I have delegated some of my work to people, because
I get so tired of small requests all day long. I have given the chore of wind to
Paa Kwesi, the chore of sunshine to Yeboah and the chore of rain to Nsiah, the hunchback.
If you want rain, go and see Nsiah the hunchback and ask him to give you some rain."
Akwasi was very happy and thanked Nyankopon. He went off to look for Nsiah, the
hunchback. Eventually, he came across him sitting under a tree resting from the
weighty task which God had given to him. Akwasi said hello then told him that God
had sent him to ask the hunchback for rain. "If it is God who sent you, I cannot
refuse. Take a small stick and beat my back" he said.
Aswasi picked two small sticks and gently tapped Nsiah's back two times, thanked
him and went home. In the morning, he went to his farm and sure enough, there had
been a heavy spell of rain. All the plants were standing upright and green.
Ananse passed Akwasi's farm the next morning and was so happy that he jumped up
and down with joy. He punched the air and yelled "Yippee!" He thought the rain had
fallen on his farm, too. But unfortunately when he got to his farm, he realized
with shock that the rains had stopped at the boundary. There had not been any on
his farm. But why had rains fallen on Akwasi's farm? Surely, there must be an answer.
He became suspicious of his friend and decided to go and ask him how on earth he
got rains on his farm.
Akwasi did not want to tell Ananse about God's rainmaker because of Ananse's sly
nature. But later he changed his mind, so he told Ananse about God's rainmaker.
As soon as Ananse heard this, he too decided to go and look for the rainmaker. He
combed the forest for many hours and at long last came upon him sitting under a
tree taking a rest from the heavy task God had given him. As soon as Ananse saw
him, he picked up a big stick and hit the hunchback's back with all his might. The
hunchback cried in pain. But Ananse continued hitting him at the back with all his
might with the heavy club. The hunchback fell down panting, but still Ananse continued
hitting him with brute force. After continuous beating, the hunchback lay still,
not moving. Ananse called out to the hunchback, but there was no response. Ananse
had killed the rainmaker. He had killed God's rainmaker. He became frightened. "Oh
dear, what have I done? I have killed God's rainmaker." He wanted to run, but realized
that if he ran away he would put himself in difficult position. Because his friend
Akwasi would know he had killed the rainmaker.
Ananse was so cunning though that, it wasn't long before he came up with a solution.
He picked up the dead body and went to hide it in the middle of a mango tree.
He then went to call on Akwasi and told him that he had seen a mango tree which
was full of ripe mangoes. He told Akwasi that they should go and pick the mangoes.
Akwasi liked mangoes very much but he was reluctant to go, because he didn't trust
Ananse. He later changed his mind and went with Ananse. When they got to the mango
tree, Ananse told Akwasi to climb up the mango tree and shake it. So Akwasi climbed
the mango tree and when he got to the top, started shaking it vigorously. Suddenly,
there was a big crash. The body of God's rainmaker had fallen from the tree top
when Akwasi shook the tree. Ananse started shouting and wailing. "Akwasi, see what
you have done. You have killed God's rainmaker. He must have been hiding in the
tree taking a rest from the heavy task that God had given him. See what you have
done now, you have killed him. What will God say now?" Akwasi became confused; he
didn't know what to do.
He quietly got down from the tree; but then as he was getting down, his mind worked
like lightening. He pretended to be shocked and said he was going to see God about
it. Then, he went away. Ananse was very happy and jumped and clapped his hands.
"Fool, I have put you into trouble. God will really punish you." Little did Kwaku
Ananse know that his friend Akwasi had gone to make a plan to teach Ananse that
he wasn't a fool after all.
Before long, Akwasi Owusu came back with some people and told Ananse that there
was no problem at all. God was happy that the rainmaker was dead because he had
been lazy at times and refused to work. "I am going to reward you for killing him"
God said. Then Akwasi started singing and dancing happily. He said again that he
had come with God's messengers to carry the dead body to God. Ananse immediately
became furious when he heard this. He said angrily "Look, Akwasi, don't try to be
too clever. I killed him! I was afraid God was going to punish me, that is why I
hid the body in the tree. I am going to claim the reward." So he carried the body
on his shoulders and quickly went to God's Palace to tell him that he had killed
the hunchback and that he should be rewarded.
But when God heard the news He was so angry that he punished Ananse by never allowing
rain to fall on his farm again. Ananse's farm was where the desert is now.