In a kingdom far beyond the savannah a tree grew so big that its leaves almost touched heaven. The King was worried that the fields in his land would not yield good crop as they were overshadowed by the tree. He called his people and proclaimed that whoever succeeded in cutting down the tree with a wooden axe would have an elephant as payment.
The crowd grumbled, realising that it was impossible to cut down the big tree with a wooden axe. Ananse the spider however was ready to take up the job. He pushed through the crowd, bowed down before the King and said he had the power to cut down the tree."Only a wooden axe shall be used Ananse. If you use anything else, the elephant will not be yours”. "Yes, my King I shall use a wooden axe".
The King knowing how cunning Ananse was sent a guard to keep an eye on him.True to his character Ananse the spider hid a metal axe in his bag. He pondered on how he would keep the Kings guard from seeing him use his metal axe. "How wonderful it would be to have an antelope to take home to the family" Ananse spoke. "Yes that would be great, my family would be very happy to eat meat on this day” the guard responded. “Quiet, I hear an antelope heading our way. Go quickly to catch it. I will not tell the King you left”
The guard dashed towards the antelope and Ananse grabbed his metal axe and began chopping the tree. The guard was not fast enough to catch the antelope. As he approached Ananse down came the big tree.The King gave Ananse the elephant as promised pondering whether Ananse had used his tricks again.
On his way home Ananse the spider thought about sharing the elephant with his family. I will hide the elephant in the forest and it eat all by myself. I will catch a bird for them to eat.Ananse left the elephant in search of a bird. He found one perched in a tree but when he got close enough to stone it, the bird flew away. All the birds he found got away from him. "Well, too bad my family will not have meat today". He decided to check on his elephant before heading home. When he returned to the place he left the elephant it was not there. He searched for it and could not find it. He went home with nothing and his energy spent.
The moral of the story is recognise what you have and don't risk it for selfish pursuits. Many a times we are searching for the next high, the next goal, the next adventure that we do not take time to be grateful for what we have right here right now.
This tale comes from Ghana