Man and Pirogue, Sunset, Niger River, Mali, West Africa

West African Folk-Tales  by  William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair

Garden Spider in Web, Argiope Aurantia

West African Folk-Tales
by William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair

How We Got the Name "Spider Tales"

How Wisdom Became the Property of the Human Race

Anansi and Nothing

Thunder and Anansi

Why the Lizard Moves His Head Up and Down

Tit For Tat

Why White Ants Always Harm Man's Property

The Squirrel and the Spider

Why We See Ants Carrying Bundles As Big As Themselves

Why Spiders Are Always Found in Corners of Ceilings

Anansi and the Blind Fisherman

Adzanumee and Her Mother

The Grinding-Stone That Ground Flour By Itself

Morning Sunrise

Why the Sea-turtle When Caught Beats Its Breast With Its Forelegs

How Beasts and Serpents Came into the World

Honourable Minu

Why the Moon and the Stars Receive Their Light From the Sun

Ohia and the Thieving Deer

How the Tortoise Got Its Shell

The Hunter and the Tortoise

Kwofi and the Gods

The Lion and the Wolf

Maku Mawu and Maku Fia

The Robber and the Old Man

The Leopard and the Ram

Why the Leopard Can Only Catch Prey On Its Left Side

Quarcoo Bah-Boni

King Chameleon and the Animals

To Lose an Elephant For the Sake of a Wren Is a Very Foolish Thing To Do

The Ungrateful Man

Why Tigers Never Attack Men Unless They Are Provoked

The Omanhene Who Liked Riddles

How Mushrooms First Grew

Farmer Mybrow and the Fairies

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The Lion and the Wolf

A CERTAIN old lady had a very fine flock of sheep. She had fed and cared for them so well that they became famous for their fatness. In time a wicked wolf heard of them and determined to eat them.

Night after night he stole up to the old dame's cottage and killed a sheep. The poor woman tried her best to save her animals from harm—but failed.

At last there was only one sheep left of all the flock. Their owner was very sad. She feared that it, too, would be taken away from her, in spite of all she could do. While she was grieving over the thought of this a lion came to her village.

Seeing her sad face, he asked the reason of it. She soon told him all about it. He thereupon offered to do his best to punish the wicked wolf. He himself went to the place where the sheep was generally kept—while the latter was removed to another place.

In the meantime the wolf was on his way to the cottage. As he came he met a fox. The fox was somewhat afraid of him and prepared to run away. The wolf, however, told him where he was going, and invited him to go too. The fox agreed and the two set off together. They arrived at the cottage and went straight to the place where the sheep generally slept. The wolf at once rushed upon the animal, while Fox waited a little behind. Just as Fox was deciding to enter and help Wolf there came a bright flash of lightning. By the light of it the fox could see that the wolf was attacking—not a sheep—but a lion. He hastily ran away, shouting as he went: "Look at his face! Look at his face!"

During the flash Wolf did look at the pretended sheep. To his dismay he found he had made a great mistake. At once he began to make humble apologies—but all in vain. Lion refused to listen to any of his explanations, and speedily put him to death.

The text came from:

Barker, William H. and Cecilia Sinclair. West African Folk-tales. Lagos, Africa: Bookshop, 1917. Buy the book in paperback.

Available from

West African Folk-Tales  by  William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair

The Orphan Girl and Other Stories: West African Folk Tales by Buchi Offodile

West African Folk Tales  by Hugh Vernon-Jackson

African Folktales (Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore) by Roger Abrahams

The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst

Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela

The Girl Who Married a Lion and Other Tales From Africa by Alex McCall Smith

African Genesis: Folk Tales and Myths of Africa


©Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales
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