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.