Comment on Ticky-Ticky's QUEST

Spiderman’s Son
by Hugh Stringer

(For more on Anansi, go to
"Ticky-Ticky’s Quest tells the story of a boy’s search for his father. The father, Anansi, was West African
[the son of Nyame the Great Sky God of the Asanti]. The son, [Anansi] disrespected [Nyame] and was
turned into a spider-man. Ticky-Ticky’s mother was a full-blooded woman, but she became progressively
more spiderlike after the birth of each of her children. This is the first of a trilogy by Michael Auld.

It begins a year after Anansi leaves home and Ticky-Ticky embarks on a search to find him. His search
takes him from Jamaica to Haiti to Florida. On his way he learns Caribbean geography, history,
linguistics, and folklore, and dealing with the adversities of his quest he becomes a man. As a young
man Ticky-Ticky decides who he can and cannot trust and learns to distinguish right from wrong. His
education is more consequential because he sees the world, for the first time from his own perspective:
As one-quarter spider, he must deal with the questions of identity that most full-blooded people never
need ask themselves. Before he sets out on his journey, he feels he must hide the fact that he is
“quarter spider.” He’s embarrassed by four legs. This is a story of how during his journey “living in a
world of full-blooded humans,” he learns to forget he is one-quarter spider.
His quest takes him to meet the characters that figure in Caribbean folklore. He sees and hears them in
his mind’s eye and ear. Their images and voices pop into his head. In one episode, Ticky-Ticky hears
the voice of the goddess of wind [Guabancex] and learns how hurricanes clean house: The Herald god
[GuatuaBA!] announces the coming storm and the Wind and Rain [Coatrisque the Deluge] gods clean
up the “planetary trash” humans have left behind.

In another episode, on an island inhabited only by women [Matinino], Ticky-Ticky, “for the first time in his
life, was accepted without judgment or questions.” He becomes so enamored of one of the women
[Anacaona, future queen of Ayti's Haragua province] that for a time he forgets he is on a journey to find
his father.
Ticky-Ticky’s Quest is a compelling story from many perspectives: It is the story of what it means to be a
boy, a man, and a human being capable of accepting people “without judgment or questions.”
Copyright 2007 by
Michael Auld