Anansi Ntontan and the dispersal of wisdom
The symbol of creativity is from west Africa; Ananse Ntontan (a-NAN-Si N-ton-TAN) literally means Spider’s Web.
For the people of West Africa, it is a symbol of wisdom, creativity, and the complexities of life. Wisdom relates to experience, knowledge, and good judgment in decision-making and taking action. Creativity includes using imagination and original ideas in artistic work or creating something new and different.
A popular story tells of how Anansi Ntontan once tried to hoard all of the world's wisdom in a pot.
In this story, Anansi was already very clever, but he wanted more knowledge, so he decided to gather all the wisdom that he could find and keep it in a safe place. Soon Anansi collected all of the wisdom found throughout the world and sealed inside of a pot. However, he was still concerned that it was not safe enough, so he secretly took the pot to a tall thorny tree in the forest (in some versions the silk cotton tree).
His younger son, Ntikuma, saw him go and followed him at some distance to see what he was doing. Ntikuma noticed the pot was much bigger than Anansi could handle; he couldn't hold it while trying to climb the tree. As a result, Anansi tied the pot in front of him and then resumed his attempt. Yet, the pot still obscured Anansi and caused him to slip down the tree as he climbed. Each failure caused Anansi to become increasingly frustrated.
Ntikuma laughed when he saw what Anansi was doing. "Why don't you tie the pot behind you, then you will be able to grip the tree?" he suggested.
Anansi was so annoyed by his failed attempts and the realization that his child was right that the pot slipped from his possession. The pot soon crashed into the ground, and all of the wisdom that the Spider had stored inside of it spilled out of it. To make matters even worse, a storm arrived and caused a mighty rain throughout the forest. The deluge of rainwater covered the ground and washed the wisdom that had spilled away from them, until it washed into the river stream nearby. The currents of the stream carried the wisdom Anansi had collected out to sea, and soon it spread throughout the entire world, ruining Anansi's plan and making his goal impossible. This angered the Spider.
Anansi then chased his son Ntikuma home throughout the rain, but he soon came to an epiphany and accepted his loss once he finally caught up with his son: "What is the use of all that wisdom if a young child still needs to put you right?"
Thus, Anansi failed to steal the world's wisdom that day, and instead, a little of it lives in everyone.
"a little of it lives in everyone", which aligns with the English version, "Everyone Has One Good Book in Them".
It is probably true that every life story is worth telling. Even the dullest or most serene human being has complex layers of fascinating contradictions.
So, in concert with the thought that there is at least one good book in each of us consider this , “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.”