The Origin of the Mah and the Gio

They sat in a round thatched house in Gbloyi town, hard by Liberia’s northern border; outside twilight was knitting the shadows into night, and inside the house firelight lacquered the arms and faces of a wise old man and a youth. The old man was Bai Tee, the oldest living member of the Mah group (commonly called Mano) and Keeper of the Banner, lean and stooped with age but a…Keep Reading

How One-Leg Became Thousand-Legs

In the beginning the world had no water. There were no seas, no rivers or lakes, no pools or springs; and the animals became thirsty. They all gathered in one place to discuss what they should do, and agreed that any creature who could cause water to appear on earth would be rewarded. Frog tried, Dog tried; Goat and Deer and Leopard tried. Every animal in the world tried to…Keep Reading

Three Animals Who Made Ku

Leopard, Man and Dog one day made Ku; that is they agreed to work together to cut and plant a common farm. Leopard said: “We will not eat rotten meat in our Ku. The meat which is fresh and has no maggots, that we will eat.” They worked in the forest cutting their farm and became hungry. Man and Dog showed Leopard the day when he should hunt and pay…Keep Reading

Why Woman Has No Devil

When God brought Devil to earth he decided to give it into the keeping of Woman. “For,” he said, “She can keep things better than Man.” When he reached earth he found all the people sitting together in one place. He put Devil down before all the people and said: “Wait, I will return soon,” and went away. While he was gone a small boy came running and told them…Keep Reading

Big Bird in the Kola Tree

Big Bird lives in the forest and sits in a kola tree. He bites, and he has big pepper. Spider found the tree and began climbing in it to get nuts. Big Bird put pepper in Spider’s eyes and Spider fell to the ground. He lay there for a time with bad eyes; then he rose and returned to his town. He said to Black Deer: “Let us go and…Keep Reading

Why Gbea Never Eat Chimpanzee

One night during Hungry Season when Chimpanzee was starving he kept walking around and round in one place in the forest saying: “I am so hungry I cannot sleep. I am really so very hungry that I could not possible sleep.” When the moon arose he found he was walking around a tree, and presently he climbed into the tree and went to sleep. He did not realize it was…Keep Reading

The Boy Who Danced: Liberian Cinderella Story

There lived a little orphan boy who had two older sisters; he was a gentle and good-natured lad, but his sisters were cruel and unkind to him. He was only given scraps of food to eat, and his sisters beat him every day and made him to do their work. They were ashamed of him because he had so many yaws and ugly sores. The two girls excelled at dancing,…Keep Reading

How a Man Became Unwitched

In the land of the Gios there was a poor man named Keizoe. He was so poor that often his wife and children had nothing at all to eat, and although he had some knowledge of bush medicine and unknown person had witched his medicine powers, and good fortune was a stranger to the house of Keizoe. A diviner lived in a town beyond the borders of Gio land, in…Keep Reading

The Witch Called Jealous

A farmer had two wives. One of the women gave him a boy-baby and a girl-baby, but the other woman was barren. The farmer said to his childless wife: “Since you do not bear me any children, I shall not give you cloth. I will only give cloth to the mother of my children.” The barren wife decided to bewitch the children. She made witch-medicine and threw it on the…Keep Reading

Why Men No Longer Hunt With Fire

There was a hunter so skilled at hunting with fire that no animal could escape him. He would set fire to the forest in such a way that all the animals therein would be forced to flee along a narrow trail, and there they would fall prey to the hunter’s spears. One day the animals appealed to the Bush Devil for protection. “Then live in my town,” Bush Devil said,…Keep Reading

How Spider’s Son Was Eaten By a Goblin

A goblin lived in the forest and he had a son called Pei. Pei was a great hunter and killed many animals; but one day when he went to hunt he found there were no animals left. He only saw Spider’s son and carried him home. Father Goblin said: “Clean him and hang him up to dry. Tomorrow we will eat him.” Pei hung the dead thing up to dry….Keep Reading