Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/59

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Bushongo Mythology. 43

sisters, and after some time she bore him a son, who was called Nyimi Lele. When their shame became known, popular indignation reached such a pitch that Woto bade his son leave the country, and Nyimi Lele travelled to the south and became the founder of the Bashilele nation. This did not suffice to assuage popular feeling, and Woto at last decided to leave the country. Before doing so he took revenge on his persecutors by causing their fowls to die and by making their millet rot. Finally he tried to appoint some man of no origin as his successor, but was outwitted by the rightful heir, Nyimi Longa. Before start- ing on his journey, Woto set fire to his village, and it was his wife Ipopa who invented the use of vegetable salt, by tasting accidentally some of the ashes.

Nyimi Longa was succeeded by his nephew, Minge Ben- gela, under whom the Bushongo nation emigrated. The production of fire by friction was revealed to a man named Kerikeri, who lived in the time of the twenty-seventh ruler ; how the secret of it was given away by him to the beautiful daughter of the king, is one of the prettiest stories of Bushongo mythology.

The initiation ceremonies were instituted in order that the boys might not brave their parents, and might be taught to fear neither foe, nor beast, nor fire, nor water, nor ghosts. An account is given of the invention of the bull-roarer, which is used in connection with these cere- monies.

The second version is that of the Bangongo, the people who originate from the Upper Congo. Here we find from the beginning a complete world, only inhabited by an aged couple. These old people lived on the banks of a great water, when one day the sky suddenly opened and there appeared an incarnation of the divinity, — (according to Bangongo ideas, God is intellect; thus an idiot is a god- less man, and a great artist a man full of God),— called Bomazi, who predicted to the old people that a child would