ANANZI or Ahnansi (Ah-nahn-see) "the trickster" is a cunning and intelligent spider and is one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore and culture. The Anansi tales are believed to have originated in the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. The word Anansi is Akan and simply means spider. They later spread to other Akan groups and then to the West Indies, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles on the back of the West African slave trade.

On Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire he is known as Nanzi, and his wife as Shi Maria. He is also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse, and Anancy; and in the Southern United States he has evolved into Aunt Nancy. While Anansi is a spider, he often acts and appears as a man. The story of Anansi is akin to the Coyote or Raven the trickster found in many Native American cultures and has even made appearances in the stories of Brer Rabbit and Uncle Remus.

In olden time these were recited by men, most often at wakes which could last up to nine days. As the Negroes became Christianised, the wakes slowly receded and today they are practised by only the most verdent Obeah disciples.

The thirteen stories in this short volume were originally, and unusually, an appendix to Popular Tales from the Norse also translated by Sir George Webbe Dasent. Why he chose to include folklore from Africa and the Caribbean within folklore of the Norse has been forgotten in the sands of time. Abela Publishing has elected to republish these as a volume in their own right as an aide to Edgbarrow School's fundraising campaign supporting the SOS Children's Village in Asiakwa, Ghana. Edgbarrow School is located in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. 33% of the publisher's profit from the sale of this book will be donated to this cause.

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Author's Bio: 

Sir George Webbe Dasent (1817—1896) was born at St. Vincent, West Indies, the son of the attorney general, John Roche Dasent.

He was educated at Westminster School, King's College London, and Oxford University, where he was a contemporary of J.T. Delane. On leaving the university in 1840 he was appointed to a diplomatic post in Stockholm, Sweden where he met Jakob Grimm after which he became interested in Scandinavian literature and mythology.

In 1842 he published the first result of his studies and the second in 1843. In 1845 he returned to England and became assistant editor of The Times under Delane, whose sister he married. During this time he continued his Scandinavian studies, publishing translations of various Norse stories. He also read for the Bar and was called in 1852.
In 1853 he was appointed professor of English literature and modern history at King's College London and in 1859 he translated Popular Tales from the Norse (Norske Folkeeventyr) by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.

In 1861 he published perhaps his most well-known work, The Story of Burnt Njal. This was followed in 1866 by his translation of Gisli the Outlaw from the Icelandic.

In 1870 he was appointed a civil service commissioner and consequently resigned his post at The Times. In 1876 he was knighted in England, though he was already a Danish knight.

Dasent retired from the public service in 1892 and died at Ascot on the 11th of June, 1896.
Abela Publishing has been established as a social enterprise. By this we mean we exist to raise funds for charities. We publish new and old fairy tales, folklore, myths and legends and donate 33% of our profits to charities around the world.

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