Alas…the season for Gadi & Tamir’s spectacular blueberries is coming to an end. In just a few weeks we will be forced to part from these deliciously sweet little delights. But, there’s good news, too—Blueberries freeze beautifully! Now is the time to stock up on and freeze the blueberries that will continue to delight your palate for another few months. Order now!!!
Spider-God where are you coming from…? (And who knew you were such a melon lover?)
This week, in honor of our melons, watermelons and the beginning of school vacation, we conclude our trilogy of Chubeza’s summer fruit patch with a sweet, funny tale about Anansi the Spider and the talking melon.
But before we begin, some information about Anansi the Spider:
Anansi is a West-African spider-god, the son of Asaase Yaa, goddess of Earth and fertility, and Nyame, god of the sky. Anansi is one of the most popular characters of West African folklore. As a cultural hero, Anansi was regarded as the creator of the sun, moon, and stars, and thus responsible for day and night. In some stories, Anansi created the first human being, and his father, Nyame, breathed life into him. Assuming the role of the customary trickster, Anansi can be a sly, cunning quarrel-monger, but he also teaches humans how to sow grains and to work the fields with a shovel. In modern culture, Anansi appeared in the Marvel Comics series (The Amazing Spider-Man, vol. II (2003). In The Amazing Spider-Man volume 2 (2003), it is revealed that Anansi was in fact the very first Spider-Man, antecedent to all human spiders. Our story this week is an adaptation of a popular Anansi tale (written by the talented Eric Kimmel and Janet Stevens.)
Anansi and the Talking Melon
Early one morning, Anansi the spider sat on his thorny Acacia tree observing Elephant hoeing his melon patch. Anansi adored melons, and as he peered down at Elephant’s garden, he could actually hear the melons beckoning to him: “See how sweet and juicy we are! Come eat us!” Since Anansi loved melons but was too lazy to grow them, he sat atop his acacia tree and waited patiently as the sun moved along high in the sky and the day warmed up till by the afternoon it was too hot to work, and Elephant set down his pitchfork and went home for a refreshing nap.
This was just the moment Anansi was waiting for: he broke off one of the spiky branches and used it to jump down into the melon patch. Then, he used the thorn to pierce a hole in the biggest, ripest melon, climbed into it and began to gobble away. He ate so much that he became round as a cherry. “Man, I’m stuffed,” said Anansi finally, “Elephant will be back soon, I’d better leave now.”
Except than when he tried to climb out, an unfortunate surprise became evident: he was much too fat to fit through the hole which was just right for a skinny spider, but too small for a chubby round creature like himself. “I’m stuck!” said Anansi finally, “I simply cannot climb out. I’ll just have to sit here till I lose weight and go back to my svelte figure.”
Anansi perched himself on a pile of seeds within the melon and waited as time slowly crawled by.
“Boy, am I bored!” thought Anansi, “I wish I had something to do to pass the time.”
Just then he could hear Elephant return to the garden, and an idea sprung into his head. “When Elephant draws near, I will talk and Elephant will think this is a talking melon. What a laugh I will have then!”
When Elephant arrived at his melon patch, he was smitten by the beautiful big, ripe melon and he lifted it off the ground.
“Ouch!” cried Anansi.
“Who said that?” exclaimed the startled Elephant. “It was I, your Melon,” answered Anansi.
“I didn’t know melons could talk!” cried Elephant in wonder.
“Sure, we can talk. We talk all the time, but the problem is you human beings never listen.”
“I can’t believe my own ears!” exclaimed Elephant, “A talking melon! Who knew? I must show him to the king!”
Elephant ran down the street clutching the watermelon hosting Anansi. On the way he bumped into Hippo.
“Where are taking that melon?” asked Hippo.
“To the king,” said Elephant
“Why? The king’s got a thousand melons!”
“Not like this one,” said Elephant, “This is a talking melon.”
Hippo did not believe Elephant. “What are you talking about? What a ridiculous idea. As ridiculous as…”
“…a skinny hippo,” retorted the melon.
Hippo was so angry his face was crimson. “Who just said that? Did you say that, Elephant?”
“It wasn’t me. It was the melon!” replied Elephant, “I told you it talks. Now do you believe me?”
“I believe you!” cried Hippo, “I wanna come along to see what the king has to say after he hears the talking melon.”
“Come along then,” said Elephant, and they set off on their way with the melon.
On their way they met a warthog.
“Hey, guys,” said the warthog, “Where are you taking that melon?”
“We’re taking it to the king,” said Elephant and Hippo in unison.
“What for? The king has a thousand of melons,” replied Warthog.
“Not like this one,” said Hippo, “This melon talks! I heard it with my very own ears.”
“A talking melon?” Warthog laughed, “That’s as ridiculous as…”
“… a good lookin warthog,” voiced the melon.
Warthog was so infuriated his whole body shook. “Who said that? Did you, Elephant? Did you Hippo?”
“Of course not!” they responded, “It was the melon. Now do you believe us?”
“I do!” said Warthog, “Please let me come along. I want to see how the king reacts to this talking melon.”
So, Warthog, Elephant and Hippo resumed their journey with the melon.
On their way they met an ostrich, a rhinoceros and a turtle who did not believe the melon could talk until they heard him and joined the group headed to the king’s castle.
When the animals arrived at their destination, Elephant bowed and placed the melon at the king’s feet.
“Why are you bringing me a melon?” asked the king, “I have one thousand melons growing in my garden.”
“But not like this one,” replied Elephant, “This melon can talk!”
“Oh, come on. There is no such thing as a talking melon,” said the king shoving the melon with his foot.
But the melon did not say a word.
“Melon,” said the king a little louder, “There’s no reason to be shy. Say whatever you want, I just want to hear you talk.”
But the melon remained silent.
The king was losing his patience. “Melon, if you can talk, I want you to say something. I command you to talk!”
“That’s one stupid melon,” the king gave up.
And that was when the melon spoke.
“I’m the stupid one? Why would you say such a thing? Am I the one talking to a melon?”
The animals had never seen the king so angry. “How dare this melon insult me like that?” he yelled, lifting up the melon and tossing it far.
The melon jumped and rolled all the way to Elephant’s home when, Bam! It crashed into the acacia tree and split open.
Anansi collected himself from within the pieces of rind and climbed out. All that excitement had made him skinny again, and now that he was skinny, well – he was hungry! He climbed on the banana tree, sat in the middle of a ripe bunch and started wolfing away.
When Elephant returned, he made a beeline for the melon patch.
“You melons got me in trouble with the king,” said Elephant, “From now on, you can talk as much as you want, but I won’t listen to a word you say!”
“Good for you, Elephant,” cried out Anansi from his perch on the banana tree, “We bananas should have warned you of talking melons. They are nothing but trouble!”
Wishing you a sweet, juicy and pleasant summer, full of laughter, friends and stories. And last but not least – good health!
Enjoy your weekend From all of us at Chubeza
This week, some of the boxes contain fresh basil! In future we will write about it in depth, but for now, here’s how to store the basil: Snip off the ends of the stems and place the basil leaves in a glass of water filled to height of the lowest leaf. Place in a well-lit spot. On the first day, cover with a perforated plastic bag.
WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?
Monday: Zucchini, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, melon/watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow or green string beans/slice of pumpkin, corn, parsley, eggplant/ fakus/potatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard.
Large box, in addition: Scallions/leeks/garlic, basil/coriander, butternut squash/acorn squash/Amoro pumpkin
FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, plums, mango. Small box, in addition: Apples. Large box, in addition: Nectarines.
Wednesday: Zucchini, lettuce, cherry tomatoes/slice of pumpkin, melon/watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, parsley/coriander, eggplant/fakus/potatoes, New Zealand spinach/Swiss chard, butternut squash/acorn squash/Amoro pumpkin.
Large box, in addition: Scallions/fresh onions/leeks/garlic, basil, yellow or green string beans/Thai long beans.
FRUIT BOXES: Apples, plums/nectarines, grapes. Small box, in addition: Bananas. Large box, in addition: peaches.