Of Anansi

It is recommended that this story not be read by arachnophobes, or writers.

You have been warned.

I was always just a little horrified when I was told that stories were spun by Anansi, the Spider. Don’t get me wrong. I love Anansi, as I love all Tricksters—madly, passionately, hungrily, much as I love myself, or, at least, the as the Trickster within me loves himself, which is very much indeed.

(And richly deserved, I am assured.)

But I’m not as fond of spiders. Indeed, they are our friends; they protect us from things which are, objectively, more terrifying still. Plus, did you know that the chance of being bitten by a deadly venomous spider is significantly lower than the chances of being bitten by twelve deadly venomous spiders? It’s not true, but if you think about it, it might distract you from the nippings.

Still, they do not reassure me, spiders. That strangled scuttle, the one which makes their eight supposedly-short limbs outrun our two much longer legs, it has never looked right to me. And if each limb looks as though it’s a fang, lifted into the air for just a moment before striking the surface (and what surfaces they can attack!) of whatever it’s scrambling across…

…how much more horrifying are those mandibles? Oh, sure, it’s relatively few spiders with mandibles big enough to take off a finger or eat a bird, and, reassuringly, tarantulas apparently aren’t too likely to kill an adult unless they strike near the heart…

(What counts as “near”, I wonder?)

…and the vast majority of spider mandibles have no poison at all, which would, no doubt, reassure me, if I were naturalist enough to know one spider from another, which, I’ll note, I am not.

Ah! But have I forgotten the beauty of their webs? That’s why, I’m told, writers are associated with the spider—because we make such lovely patterns and designs, that, ike the Spider, though you would not think it of us, we leave behind us such gorgeous patterns, fascinating and unusually strong and ready to glow and glisten against the light of the morning.

Yeah, sure, that’s why we’re associated with the Spider. That’s what we tell people. Spiders swing free and almost seem to take flight, as they leave behind them gorgeous puzzles of silk.



Stories are spiders. And we never see the back ends. We see the spiders themselves, huge, assuredly poisonous, bearing down at full speed, racing after us, and we must writewritewritewritewrite to stay ahead of those jaws, those terrible jaws…

I hope you liked this amusing little tale. Anansi is a bastard. Wait, I didn’t mean that….


Jeff Mach


My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities and create things. Every year, I put on Evil Expo, the Greatest Place in the World to be a Villain. I also write a lot of fantasy and science fiction.. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.