African Myths of Origin (Penguin Classics)
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Gathering a wide range of traditional African myths, this compelling new collection offers tales of heroes battling mighty serpents and monstrous birds, brutal family conflict and vengeance, and desperate migrations across vast and alien lands. From impassioned descriptions of animal-creators to dramatic stories of communities forced to flee monstrous crocodiles, all the narratives found here concern origins—whether of the universe, peoples or families. Together, they create a kaleidoscopic picture of the rich and varied oral traditions that have shaped the culture and society of successive generations of Africans for thousands of years, throughout the long struggle to survive and explore this massive and environmentally diverse continent.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
eagle collecting honey from a hive on a cliffside and asked the eagle for some. The eagle gave him a honeycomb and then told him he might have what was left on the rocks, but when Khaggen climbed up to lick the remaining honey he found that he was stuck and could not come down. He sent a message to his son Cogaz, asking advice, and Cogaz advised him to cause water to flow down the cliffside and to come down with the water. He tried it, and found he could do it, so he went up and down the cliff
Muslim, called on Allah for help against his enemy, and brought down a fire to earth which set the grasses blazing and surrounded the Jukun army. The soldiers were terrified by the flames and began to throw down their weapons in panic, seeking some path through the circle of fire. But their king reassured them, reminding them of his ritual authority, and used his powers to call down a heavy rain which extinguished the flames. His soldiers were heartened by this proof of his power and renewed
Words of a !Kung Woman (New York: Vintage, 1983), but either would be only a starting point in a very large bibliography. Megan Biesele’s Women Like Meat does provide good commentary on the stories given above. A title attempting a new synthesis is The Bushmen of Southern Africa: A Foraging Society in Transition, by Andrew Smith, Candy Malherbe, Mathias Guenther and Penny Behrens (Capetown: David Philip; Athens: Ohio University Press, 2000). Penny Miller has put together a nice collection of
Adje, which means cowries. At the wedding, Legba mixed the good powder in with the palm wine which was served to all the guests, and so the men of the country recovered their potency. 19 ANANSE THE SPIDER, OF THE ASHANTI Ananse is the trickster-hero of the Ashanti of coastal west Africa, in modern Ghana (see Chapter 52). He is not quite a god, but he has done a good deal to shape the world, and for the Ashanti he owns all stories (we learn why in the second story). In form, he is a
bush-rats, and that they had abandoned him there. Lonkundo denied that this boy could be their son; they had left something strange in the smokehouse. Itonde invited the people to compare him to his father: see how similar they were, even their hands were the same shape. Lonkundo demanded that he undergo the poison ordeal. If the boy could survive the poison they would know he was telling the truth. The villagers brewed up the poison and brought it to Itonde in a cup. Itonde looked about the