The Kuwaa

The Kuwaa are sandwiched between the Loma, Gola, and Bandi in the northwest Liberian hinterland, and though they are well isolated from the Kru group in general, the Bureau of Folkways describes the language and customs of the Kuwaa as bearing a distinct resemblance to those of the Kru to the south and east. There is other equally convincing evidence that the Kuwaa are blood-brothers of the Kru, Grebo, Bassa,…Keep Reading

The Way of a Woman’s Tongue

A certain hunter was married to a lazy and quarrelsome woman whose acid tongue made him most unhappy. His meals were badly cooked and sometimes not cooked at all, the house was always dirty and the children were never clean. The hunter searched the forests every day for food and meat, but his lazy wife was never satisfied and her tongue was always wagging. “Good-for-nothing-fool!” she would rant, “I-work-my-fingers-to-the-bone-cooking-food-and-cleaning-house-and-you-never-thank-me-you-just-idle-in-the-forests-I’m-sick-and-tired-of-work-I-wish-you’d-find-another-wife-to-do-the-work-we-need-another-woman-in-the-house.” The…Keep Reading

Why Spiders are Found on the Ceiling

When Hungry Season came Spider and his wife grew very thin. One day as Spider was searching for food in the forest he came on a little stream, and here he met a man who said: “If you whistle the song of the Pepper Bird three times I will supply you with all the food you want, and you can come her as often as you wish. But never eat…Keep Reading

Spider, Leopard, and Lightning Bug

Leopard is fond of fish, and once he build a water fence cross a stream and set fish traps therein. With this simple but clever device he caught many fish, and hunger was a stranger to his house. It happened that Spider heard of this, and one night he called on Lightning Bug. “I know of a place,” he said, “where we can find many fish, and easily, but they…Keep Reading

Why Bridges are Built in Secret

Long before white men were known in the land there lived a woman by the name of Sagba Massa. Sagba possessed a certain magic ring which she always wore on her hand; with this ring she could summon and control the power of spirits and forest evils, and her clan, when she ruled, prospered accordingly. Her lands yielded abundant crops, rain fell when rain was needed, and evil beings who…Keep Reading

How the King of Monkeys Became Their Slave

When the world was made all the various kinds of animals had their kings, but the monkeys were so foolish and disobedient that Skygod gave them a special king called Quilpu-nine. Quilpu-nine was a bird with gray hair on his head: Skygod placed him in a hole in the ground where nobody could see him. The monkey-people were afraid of the Thing-in-the-hole-in-the-ground; since no one had ever seen it and…Keep Reading

The Desmode and the Deer

Deer had her home in a pleasant forest glade close to a tall Desmode, or Dicot tree. No grass grew near the Desmode, and the ground there was quite bare; one day Deer saw that her tracks were plainly visible on this bare ground, and fearing a hunter might notice them she said to the Desmode: “Good friend, please cover my tracks with your leaves.” The Desmode refused to do…Keep Reading