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1001 Stories Collection

Anansi and Chameleon

Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition African folktale

A folktale about a cunning little spider called Anansi, trickery and revenge.


Anansi has become very full of himself and the sky god is not happy with him. To punish him the sky god sends rain to fall on Chameleon’s crops but not on Anansi’s. Anansi tricks both the chief of the village and Chameleon to get Chameleon’s field but the sky god isn’t going to let Anansi get away with it.

Why we chose it

Children love trickster stories and this is a story full of tricks.

Where it came from

Anansi is a spider who sometimes acts and looks like a man and is loved for his trickery and skill with words. The Anansi folk tales are thought to have originated with the Ashanti people in Ghana, for whom the word anansi means ‘spider’ and all fables are known as anansesem or ‘spider tales’.

Where it went next

The stories, which are often about small but plucky Anansi outwitting more powerful creatures, spread with slaves to the Caribbean and southern United States, and are now loved across the world.

Still popular in oral storytelling traditions, Anansi increasingly appears in books, films, games and songs, and is featured in original spider man.

Associated stories

Anansi is a trickster character. Trickster stories are found all over the world. Foxes and wolves are frequently tricksters in European stories – like Reynard the Fox. In North America coyote is often a trickster – How Coyote Stole Fire. Other trickster include Brer Rabbit and Loki the Norse god

Added on 25th June 2020

Oral tradition African folktale