Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/56

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42 Biishongo Mythology.

to dwindle away and sandbanks to appear above the surface. Again Bumba vomited, and brought forth the leopard, the crested eagle, the crocodile, a small fish, the tortoise, the lightning, the scarabeus, and the goat. Next he vomited a great number of men, but only one of them was white like himself; this was Loko Yima, the founder of the royal family. The men and animals thus created took up the task of peopling the world, vomiting mammalia, birds, reptiles, fishes, insects, and plants. The lightning soon began to cause much mischief, so Bumba exiled it to heaven, whence it may come onl}^ rarely to the earth, so as to enable the people to obtain fire from the trees it has struck.

Bumba then gave every village its particular tabu. This tabu is called the " ancestral prohibitions," as dis- tinguished from the moral code, which is called "the royal prohibitions." This moral code is condensed into twenty prohibitions ; these prescribe that the king, parents, and the elders are to be honoured, that the life and property of friend and foe are to be respected even in time of war, that an enemy in need must be helped, and, in one word, that a noble life must be lived.

At this time the Bushongo lived near a large lake, and this lake contained palm wine instead of water. The story goes that one day a woman defiled the lake, and in con- sequence of this the palm wine disappeared and in its place there was a deep ravine in which there grew four varieties of young trees, that had never been seen before. When these trees grew up to a great height, a pygmy discovered how to obtain palm wine by tapping them.

The first king, Loko Yima, was succeeded by his daughter, who taught the people how to build houses. Her son and successor was Woto, who gave people personal names, and to whom the use of iron was revealed by Bumba. He introduced circumcision and the ordeal by poison.

Woto is said to have committed incest with one of his