Thursday, October 2, 2014

Storytelling for Week 7: A Needle In a Haystack

A Needle In a Haystack

Oklahoma is known for it its vast landscape, oil, and farmland. Most of the state is rural, besides some of the few cities. The town of Bixby, Oklahoma is one of these rural areas. It has roughly 21,000 people living there to date. 
On the outskirts of town a very poor man lives in a cabin by himself. His name is Anansi. Anansi was a middle age man who always found himself in trouble throughout his life. He could not hold a steady job and eventually lost almost everything. One day, while walking back toward his cabin, he saw a flyer taped on a telephone pole. There was a competition going on the next month and the grand prize was 1 million dollars! Anansi decided to attend the event and see if he could win the contest.
When the day arrived for the competition, Anansi showed up outside at the field where it was being held. About 2000 other people showed up as well. Before the grand prize competition that was shown on the flyer, there were many other smaller trivia and obstacles each contestant had to overcome. Anansi was a witty person and capable of many tricks, so the tasks were not hard for him to complete at all. He later found himself in the top two slots left for completing the competition. The crowd gathered, and Anansi and the other finalist gathered to wait for the host to announce the final competition for 1 million dollars. Then the host came out and wished the two finalist good luck. The final challenge was to find the needle in the haystack. Whoever found the needle first was the winner. The host then revealed two separate haystacks the size of normal SUV’s with the needle somewhere inside. The one on the left was the other finalist, and the other one on the right was Anansi’s. The whistle blew and the search was on for the needle. The other contestant flew into the pile of hay franticly looking for the needle. Anansi stood without moving. Since there were no apparent rules for this competition, Anansi came up with a clever plan to beat his competitor and find the needle in the haystack first. He knew that without this plan it could take him 4 hours or more to complete.  Anansi rushed home and got his vacuum and brought it back to the haystack. He lived close so it only took him a total of 20 minutes. The other finalist was still searching throughout the hay for the needle. Anansi’s plan was to just vacuum up the hay with the nozzle. When the needle would enter the pipe of the vacuum it would get lodged into the filter and then Anansi just had to check periodically if he vacuumed it up yet or not. He started to do this and in another 20 minutes he was able to find the needle. He presented it to the host and he concluded the winner. Anansi won the 1 million dollars! The host presented him the check and congratulated him.

The next day Anansi went to the bank to open a checking account and deposit all of his money. The teller said to open an account there would be a $20.00 fee. Anansi thought to himself and decided not to waste money just to save it.  He left the bank and went back home. When he got back home, Anansi hid all of his money underneath his mattress where he felt great about having possession of it. He started to get paranoid however, and began to think that maybe the bank was a good idea after all. Anansi rushed back to the bank empty–handed to tell the bank worker that he wanted to open an account. He realized that he forgot the money that he wanted to deposit and went back home. Upon arriving, he checked his mattress to get the money, but the money was gone! Someone had stolen it.  Anansi became poor again without the bank account and the money. 

By Vijayanarashimha

Authors Note: 
This week I read the West African Folktales which included many stories of Anansi the trickster spider. In most of his stories Anansi outwits his acquaintances to get the better advantage. This always comes back to haunt him and in the end he is left worse than before. I did not base my story directly from the sample. Instead I made up my own story with a twist! My story is set in present day time in Oklahoma. 


  1. I really liked your retelling, Anthony! I read the West African Folktales last week and really enjoyed them. I loved that you recreated everything and made it unique to Oklahoma. The needle in the haystack was such a clever competition, and Anansi’s trickster plan was brilliant! Oddly enough I am from Glenpool, Oklahoma, which is right next to Bixby! Great job on the story!

  2. Anthony, I really enjoyed reading your take on this story. The different perspective that the updated setting brings makes the story fresh as compared to the original. Even though this story is only loosely based off of the original folktale, you definitely managed to get across the theme of hard work. Poor Anansi never seems to learn that honesty is the best policy. Overall, great job!

  3. Anthony, I like that you set the story here in Oklahoma to make it more relatable! I cannot imagine having to do a competition where you have to literally find a needle in a haystack because dang, that would be super hard! What a good idea using the vacuum, but I felt so bad for poor Anansi losing all his money! He really should’ve opened that bank account in the first place. I definitely see where you came up with the idea based off the original and using the concept of outwitting someone. Good job!

  4. Anthony,

    I really liked your idea of setting this in Oklahoma. I think Anansi was ingenious to use a vacuum to find the needle. I feel so bad for Anansi for losing all of that money. I know a lot of old people that do not trust the banks, so I could definitely see this happening to one of them. you have done a fantastic job with this week's storytelling.

  5. Anthony, I like how you made your own story based off of one of the readings. There is so much room for creativity when you do that. You came up with a great plan for Anansi to find the needle in the haystack using the vacuum. I definitely would not have thought of something like that if I was in that situation. I think you did really well in writing this story! Keep up the good work!

  6. Hi again, Anthony! I think it's great that you decided to make up your own story based on what you know about the character Anansi. I read the West African Folktales and I could totally see this story being a part of the reading. It seemed like in every story, he would fall upon some great good fortune, only to lose it all again due to greed, jealousy, or paranoia. I think you did a great job overall of sticking with the characterization of Anansi in your original story. Keep up the good work!