Practice Essay #2

Alessandro Medina
AF210: The African Storyteller
Week 2
In "The Python's Shining Stone" by Okun Asere, animals represent humans and portray
that people should be unselfish and share knowledge in order to prevail in life. In this legend, the
Sheep and the Antelope share food from their respective farms with the other animals in their
community. When the Crocodile asks for food, the Antelope denies him but the Sheep says he'll
give him food if he comes back with something to trade. The Crocodile then comes back with a
shining stone that brightens up the world. He offers it in exchange for the whole farm and the
Sheep accepts his offer. After three days, the Sheep is extremely hungry and proposes to
exchange it with Effion Obassi for some ripe kernels. Even though the sparkling stone does not
sustain the Sheep, it supplies light for the animals once Obassi carries it to heaven and makes it
the moon. Obassi decides, however, that the stone will only light the world if food is brought to
him. Through the personification of the animals and Obassi representing God, Asere conveys
that generosity is essential for a community to prosper and experience enlightenment (in the
literal way as well). Society flourishes when knowledge is expressed, however if concealed,
society will wither.
The Sheep's generosity and the Antelope's greed become very apparent when the
Crocodile needs food and sets up a significant lesson of the story. At the beginning, both animals
appear to be generous, but when the Crocodile arrives, "a pattern of want" emerges. Like all the
other animals, the Crocodile is in need of food, but the Antelope does not feed him. Nonetheless,
the Sheep offers him food. This is the most evident portrayal of greed and generosity in the story
and this is where the pattern of want is born. Later, the Sheep exchanges his whole farm in order
to illuminate the world at night. He sacrificsd his food supply for all the other animal's sake. The
light of the shining stone represents enlightenment and this comes from generosity. Once
someone's greed matches the "want," there is struggle and the success of the community is axed,
with no knowledge being spread.
The stone’s depiction of enlightenment prompts society to cooperate with each other and
be responsible for one another to forestall hunger or any issues they encounter. By providing
food for those that do not have, an animal comprehends its role in the community and knows
what is ideal. The same applies for a person providing knowledge to people that can not afford it.
The contrary of this generosity would be greed and keeping knowledge for oneself in which the
rich do not share their insights and knowledge to those that can not afford it. The evident lesson
Asere wants listeners to understand is that Enlightenment and knowledge are extraordinarily
beneficial and productive for any community. By making food symbolize knowledge, the Sheep
embodies somebody who always gives knowledge to those in need, anticipating nothing in
exchange. Obassi the God, however, requires food in exchange for his illumination
(enlightenment). The overarching message of “The Python’s Shining Stone” is to supply
knowledge openly without compensation. It's imperative to pass on this enlightenment
unselfishly to progress your community. I believe this should apply to higher education as well.
The United States should follow in the steps of Germany and Norway and cut the tuition of
college drastically. In the event that you want compensation for the information you instilled, the
world will dim and blacken, just like Obassi does with the stone.