There lived in a small town two men named Anansi and Nothing. Anansi was considered poor whereas Nothing was exceedingly rich and lived in a very grand mansion. One day Anansi and Nothing decided to go into the larger city with purpose of both finding a wife. And so they set off the next day and at the crossroads of town leading to the larger city they both met and felt affinity of the same purpose.
As they walked along the way Anansi became aware of the great contrast in their appearances that revealed their financial status for all to see. Whereas he was dressed in old clothing, Nothing was smartly attired in fine velvet and satin. Anansi was dismayed for he knew there will be competition between them and women would want to be the wife of the smart and affluent.
After carefully considering the situation he came up with a plan. He observed that Nothing liked to be flattered so he told him how sharp he thought he looked today. As expected Nothing was pleased and very flattered. Anansi then gently and politely asked Nothing if he may try on his clothing to see what it was like to wear fine apparel. He prompted he would give it back before they reached the larger city.
Nothing felt flattered and allowed Anansi to wear his clothes on the condition that they put on their own clothes before they entered the city. When they were almost at the city Nothing reminded Anansi of his promise but Anansi made excuses on false pretexts not to change clothing and refused to comply. All of Nothing’s pleas fell on deaf ears so he had to continue wearing Anansi’s old rags.
At last they arrived in the city where it was the custom for men to gather and show off their finest clothes in attempt to attract a spouse. Anansi wearing Nothing’s fine clothing of velvet and satin soon came to the attention of the women. They flocked around him and he had the pick of the very best. He was greatly admired and could have had as many wives as he wished but he choose just one.
In comparison; Nothing dressed in Anansi’s old cotton rags was being ignored and was the subject of much derision by the women. Eventually, one woman saw more to him than his clothes and offered to become his wife. All the other women laughed and taunted her for wanting to be the wife of such an impoverished and ragged man as Nothing appeared to be. However she was a woman who knew her own mind and very wisely ignored them all.
Anansi chose the most beautiful woman of the many who flocked around him making others madly jealous. With the matter of marriage now decided Anansi and Nothing accompanied by their respective wives where on their way home. When they reached the point again where the road split two paths which led to their new husband’s homes, the two wives were in for a surprise.
When Nothing reached the path of his grand house all the servants ran out to greet him and his new wife. All around the house the servants had decorated it in bright colors and inside had prepared a lavish wedding feast for the couple to enjoy. Nothing’s new wife was surprised as they dressed her and her husband in fine clothing and escorted them singing and dancing along the path into the mansion.
To the shock of Anansi’s new wife he led her up his path which was full of dirt to his tumbledown shack home. There was no one to greet these two newly weds, no food, no decorations and no servants to sing happy songs. Anansi’s new wife sat on the floor in dismay and confusion at the different outcome she had expected. She was ashamed of being too shallow and not intuitive about her decision and there was little escape now from her new reality.
Nothing’s wife was well rewarded for her perceptiveness and good judgment, instead of being the wife of a pauper she was the wife of the richest man in the district. She lived in a grand and luxurious house, ate the finest food, wore the finest clothes and lived like a queen. On the other end Anansi’s wife lived in a tumbledown hovel, she was forced to eat cheap food, was beaten for insolence, wore old cotton rags all because she had no perception and good judgment.
The story of Anansi and Nothing calls to us all to live beyond appearance, to not get overwhelmed by the urgency of the moment, to realize that all that glitter is not gold and to follow our heart not our eyes in major decisions in our lives.
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