Why the Crab Has No Head

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Why the Crab Has No Head

Why the Crab Has No Head

Many years ago, no animal had a head. This was something that bothered them a lot, especially when they saw Man and his family stroll by. The animals called a meeting and debated the issue for a long while. At the end of the meeting a delegation was formed, to approach Onyankopon the Creator with their request. The deputation was made up of Crab, Parrot, Lamb and Fish – who had no heads, as I have already told you.

 The delegation got to the palace of Onyankopon who received them warmly and asked what their problems were. The animals explained that they wanted him to attach heads to the bodies of all animals. The Creator replied that because they respected his other children like the trees, the rivers, the mountains and the sea, he would grant them their wish. A date was fixed when all the animals would be given heads. In order to make things easy, the Creator advised, the heads would be fixed according to age groups, and out of deference to the old, they would have their heads mounted first. The animals thanked the Creator profusely and took their leave.

The day for the age group to which Crab belonged arrived, and they were as excited as could be. Crab had his bath very early in the morning and put on a good cloth. Before he set off he thought he should pass by the house of his friend Tortoise, who had been very kind to him. He remembered when he had to mend his mother’s hut and Tortoise had given him so much of his time. Arrived at the house of Tortoise he found that his friend had already left home to get his head attached to his body. Crab decided to seek the company of Parrot, a good storyteller. They could continue to debate about who told the most incredible tale...

It was the son of Parrot who met him at a distance to the house. He informed Crab very politely that his father woke up very early in order to be among the first in his age group to receive their heads. Crab was disappointed, and he went to the house of Monkey to call him for the event. Monkey’s wife was surprised to see Crab. She told Crab that she was sure her husband must have received his head already, seeing how early he had set off. Monkey’s wife proceeded to narrate tales about the rise in the cost of produce in the dry season and how her husband’s preference for certain foods was making things hard for her. She spent a lot of time telling Crab how she managed to knock off the price of a piece of cloth from five cowries to two; She felt proud of herself. It was only when the smell of burning food interrupted her that she allowed Crab to go his way.

The children of Rabbit trooped to meet Crab of whom they were very fond. When Crab asked them where their father had gone, the children said they would tell him only on condition that he narrated to them, again, the story of how day and night were created. They were particularly excited by the tricks that the two used to play against each other until the Creator got angry and separated them. Crab took his time and narrated the tale; he even taught the children a couple of songs which they sang with enthusiasm. When the children were satisfied, Crab posed his question again. That was when Crab learnt that Rabbit had gone to the palace of the Creator.

When Crab arrived at the sty of the pig, he found the home deserted. He called out a couple of times, and hearing no response, he sat and waited for a while. Pig’s daughter soon came from the market where she had been hawking oranges, and she told Crab that her father left home to the palace of the Creator just before she left for the market, and that was even before the sun woke up.

Crab decided that if Pig had already left then he would seek the company of Deer on his way to the palace. He walked for a couple of miles to the house of Deer which was situated just at the foot of an anthill. Deer’s nephew came out to meet him and asked what goodies he had brought him. Crab gave the boy a hug and said he would bring him a fruit on his way from the palace of Onyankopon the Creator, and then he would get to see how he looked with a head on. That was when the young boy told ‘uncle Crab’ that ‘uncle Deer’ had already gone to the Creator for something. Crab easily guessed what Deer had gone to the palace for.

The loud argument between the wives of Lion told him that his friend was either out or that he had stayed silent before the quarrels of his wives, as most polygamous men did. You see, if he said anything to the angry women he would be accused of taking sides; or worse, the women might turn their anger on him. Whenever his wives quarrelled, Lion would imprison himself in his room and pray for the noise to die down, or he would steal away from his own house like a thief. Crab knew that he just might find Lion at home and he would save him from the torture by suggesting that they go to Onyankopon for their heads. Crab waited till the women had exhausted themselves flinging insults at each other. By then the younger woman was too angry to talk to Crab. It was the older who composed herself well enough to tell him that her husband already left home for the palace of the Creator.

In like manner Crab called on Lizard, Antelope, Cat, Ram, Porcupine, Wolf, Dog, Tiger, Cock, and all the animals you can think of. Soon it was getting dark, and that was when Crab made up his mind to go by himself. Soon after this decision he heard a happy band of animals walking towards him. They all looked so good, with heads! Crab stopped to admire the heads of the birds, the fishes, the animals that walked on all fours and those who attempted to walk on their hind legs like Monkey. After wasting further time chatting with them about how the operation was achieved, Crab started running to the palace of Onyankopon for his head.

When Crab finally got to the palace, he found that no animal remained at the courts of the Creator. He knocked long and hard until the servants of the Creator came to the gate to find out who the intruder was. When Crab explained that he had come to get a head fixed like the rest of the animals the servants laughed until their sides hurt. They wanted to know where the Crab had been all day, because exhausted by the operation, Onyankopon had gone to his permanent abode in the Sky.

Crab never got a head.