The Kru

The largest language family in Liberia is that of the Kru, which includes six groups — the Kru proper, Bassa, Grebo, Krahn, Dey and Belle. The Kru proper, Bassa and Grebo offer the main bulk, occupying the coastal lowlands between Monrovia and Cape Palmas. The Coastal Krus are seafarers and quite fearless. They are typical Negro stock, sturdy and good-natured, intelligent and industrious. They were never sold into slavery; they…Keep Reading

The Oracle of Ku-Jopleh

Ku-Jopleh was the oracle of the Kru groups, and lived in a cave on the heights of Mount Jidiah, just as the oracle of the Putu lived in a cave on the slopes of Mount Gedah. Ku-Jopleh was a powerful oracle and possessed unnatural wisdom; the Kru groups along the coast worshipped him and sought his counsel in times of need; but he was particularly venerated by the Sasstown Krus….Keep Reading

A Snail and Iguana Fought and Caused the Moon to Shine

When Hungry Season came and the weaker animals were dying from starvation, Leopard found a bread-nut seed and took it to his family. It was so small that even Baby Leopard scorned to eat it. So great was the animals’ hunger that anyone who laughed or cried would die, but the family laughed at the little seed by holding their lips apart with their paws; and they cried for hunger…Keep Reading

How Spider Was Beaten, Eaten, Skinned, and Burned

Spider discovered a half-town owned by a family of rich Bush Devils. Even during Hungry Season the Bush Devils always had food, and Spider saw that just now their house was packed with good things to eat. He decided to steal as much food as he could, but since he did not know the magic words to open and close the door he hid nearby and listened carefully when the…Keep Reading

The Origin of the Gbeta

Men tell an ancient story of the first Gbeta man, who was the father of the Gbeta people. Judu Kuhn To was a member of the Pahn centuries ago, and more; and Pahn settled among the Manii on the upper reaches of the Jedani or St. John River. Judu Kuhn To was a sad and lonely man, for although he was married to a gentle wife, he had no children,…Keep Reading

How Ji Choose a Mate

Leopard’s daughter Ji was the most beautiful of all the animals; the young male animals made love to her, and the other girls were jealous. Leopard arranged that a great feast should be held in honor of his daughter, and at the feast Ji would choose the animal whom she wished to marry. The animals washed and dressed in fine raiment and quarreled jealously among themselves as to which among…Keep Reading

The Woman Who Knew Her Child

Two women called Tane and Bea were traveling through the forest. Each of them had a baby son, and the two sons were alike as a pair of eggs. They came to a river. They were crossing the river in a canoe when the canoe sank. They both reached the shore, but only one of the babies was saved. The two women argued. “He is mine!” Tane declared. “Give him…Keep Reading

How Turtle Drowned Leopard in the Sea

The night sky was bright with glowing stars and a small-small sea breeze was blowing inshore; the moon was a dull and misty orange slipping down behind the edge of the ocean. Turtle looked outside and saw what a nice night it was, and decided to go for a walk along the beach and lay her eggs. She went quite a long way, waited quietly by a palm until she…Keep Reading

The Stupidity of Bug-A-Bug

Two orphan-brothers who were poor went to a rich man and asked for money so that they could trade. The rich man loaned them money, but instead of using it to trade they bought wine and the best food and lived happily for several days. When there were only two pieces of money left the two orphans agreed that they would have to do something. There was no longer enough…Keep Reading

How Vain Antelope Was Humbled

Antelope grew lonely living in the forest by himself, so he went to Deer to ask if he could have Deer’s daughter as a wife. When he arrived at the house he was well received, and his request met with the approval of both Deer and his wife. They were quite willing to let Antelope marry their only daughter. As was the custom, the prospective son-in-law was called on during…Keep Reading