The Great Drum
The lion sent out a message for all the animals to come to a very
Messengers went far and wide to spread the news of this meeting.
As soon as the animals heard the message, they hurried right away
to the council circle. It was about three weeks before they were
all gathered. The lion was very disappointed.
"We have got to find a way to get everyone together more quickly!"
shouted the lion.
Anansi had an idea. "What we need," he explained, "Is
a great drum, one that can be heard all over the forest. When the
great drum is sounded, everyone will know right away and come swiftly
Everyone agreed that this was a fine idea. The animals were divided
into groups, each group taking on a different part in the construction
of the drum. The first group cut down a large tree.
The second group trimmed off all the branches. The next group hollowed
out the tree.
Then sculptors worked to decorate the drum. They worked hard through
many days. On their way home at the end of each day, they would
Life is labor,
We are tired and hot,
We work so hard,
Because we work for our people.
Everyone worked except the monkey. While the others
labored, he found a nice shady spot to hide and eat berries all day
When they were on their way back to the village, Monkey would join
them as though he had been working with them all along.
Life is labor,
I am tired and hot,
I work so hard,
Because I work for my people.
Anansi watched and knew exactly what Monkey was doing,
but Anansi said nothing.
When the Great Drum was finished, it had to be brought to the council
circle. The problem was that the Drum was very heavy and no one wanted to carry
it. It was then that
Anansi spoke up.
"Since no one wants to carry the Great Drum and we have all worked
so hard already, I suggest that the laziest person among us carry the Drum."
All the animals thought this was a good plan. Each of them looked
around, trying to think who among them was laziest. Who hadn't they seen
working? First one looked at Monkey, then another and soon all eyes rested
on the monkey.
Monkey stepped out into the center of the circle and announced, "I
just want to make one thing perfectly clear. I will not carry that drum!"
All the animals laughed. Anansi said, "No one mentioned your
name, Monkey. All we said was that the laziest person should carry the Drum."
People were wondering to themselves, who was laziest among them. But
the monkey did not have to wonder. He knew very well who was laziest. He came forward
and made it clear when he spoke.
So it was agreed that the monkey had to carry the Great Drum to the