Why Yams and Cassavas Hide in the Ground

Once upon a time tams and cassavas were thought to be devils. When they walked through a town people would run to their houses and hide, and the yams and cassavas would boldly march by singing and making rude noises. During Hungry Season a little boy was walking along a road when he saw a column of yams and cassavas walking straight towards him. He jumped off the road and…Keep Reading

The Origin of the Grebo and Wlebo

In his ‘Tribes of the Liberian Hinterland’ George Schwab relates a Grebo legend pertaining to the origin of that group. The legend holds that the Grebo, who used to live in the interior, came down-river in canoes to an uninhabited part of the coast and made their first settlement at Rocktown. Just before they reached the coast several of their canoes capsized, possible at a sand bar across the river’s…Keep Reading

How Women Found Men

When the world began men and women lived apart in two separate groups. The women lived in a swamp and they did not know such creatures as men existed; the men dwelt in the hills, and none of them had ever seen a woman. There came a time of heavy rains when the water in the women’s swamp rose so high that all the fires were killed, and thus the…Keep Reading

The Tale of Toad

When Nyiswa made his children they all pretended to love him. Toad was the only one who loved the Sky-god with a deep and constant love; and the other children treated Toad very badly. Although he was the greatest hunter amongst the animals and brought meat in every day, he was only given offal and abuse, and was kicked by the larger children and pinched by the small ones. He…Keep Reading

When God Made Crabs

When God had finished creating the world he took one month to examine all the beautiful things he had made. He walked about the forests visiting the animals and birds and admiring the trees and flowers; he looked upon the rivers and the lakes, and finally he went down to the sea. He had seen many handsome creatures living on land, but when he looked into the rivers and the…Keep Reading

How a Slave-Clan Won its Freedom

This is a colorful confusion of history and legend such as Grebo men have told around their fires for many generations. In the peace of evenings old men smoke their pipes and tell of the Bulobos and Gudobos, two clans who lived before the birth of thunder or lightning. The Bulobo were bald and strong and they had a mighty giant named Gbovanh, who was leader of their army. The…Keep Reading

How Spider Cooked His Children and Found Them Bitter

Spider and Hare made some traps and set them in the woods to see what they could catch. Spider set his traps in the river, and Hare set his on land. Spider was hungry before Hare was, and very early next morning he went to his traps. He had caught a few fish. Then he began wondering what Hare had caught, and went to sea, and in Hare’s traps he…Keep Reading

How Hare Lost His Tail

During Hungry season, Tortoise tied a long rope to a bag and set off to look for food, towing the bag behind him. He had not gone far, in fact not half as far as he had intended going, when he found some fruit and put it in his bag. On his way home he paused to rest. Hare came up behind him and said: “Hello, Tortoise. This is a…Keep Reading

How Jackal Saved His Wife

Jackal’s young wife lay dying of a strange and deadly sickness, so he went to Weasel for advice. Weasel was a country-doctor, or medicine man, and reputed to be wise in the ways of healing herbs and magic powders. He said to Jackal: “For medicine strong enough to kill the devil in your wife I must have a white powder for the Witch People; and also a load of yams.”…Keep Reading

How a Farmer Lost His Bowels Through Ingatitude

The farmers who were friends were accustomed to helping one another in their fields. They cut rice side by side, felled trees, planted crops and shared them, and were as brothers. One morning when they went into their fields to work they saw wild hogs rooting among the crops. One of the farmers ran towards the hogs to chase them away. He slipped and fell on a stake; the stake…Keep Reading