How Pride Destroyed a Beggar

Masa was a beggar who had no family or land, he begged food when he could, and when he could not he hired himself to labor in the fields of other men. One day when bearing a heavy bag of cassava to a distant town an overpowering weariness possessed him and he sat to rest beneath a tree. He fell asleep. He slept for seven months, and since he was…Keep Reading

The Power of Thieves and Liars

The Chief Thief and the Prince of Liar lived together in a house, and neither could agree which possessed the greatest power for causing mischief. They decided they would have a competition and Thief set out to do his best, or worst. He entered a prosperous town by night, a town where many rich men lived. He crept into homes, stole money and jewels, carried off chickens and clothes and…Keep Reading

The Man Who Scorned Spirits

Near to a town there was a small area of bush land which, the people said, was the private property of the forest spirits. A man decided he would make his farm on this land, and only laughed when his friends begged him not to. He had no respect for either spirits or the opinions of other people. On the first day he cut some bushes and went home. Next…Keep Reading

The Baby Star Who Visited a Fish

A baby star came down from the heavens one night to bathe in a pond of sweet water. A little fish was swimming about in the pond, looking here and there for things to eat. He was surprised when he found the star bathing in the pond, but he politely greeted the visitor and asked: “O Star, my pond is a small and unimportant pond. Why did you choose to…Keep Reading

The Girl Who Rose From Her Grave

In a village on a hill there lived a beautiful young girl called Duakma; she was the only child of her mother, who loved her well. When the time came for Duakma to join the women’s secret Sande Society she was taken to the gree-gree bush with many other maidens, far from the eyes of men, and certain ceremonies were performed. Duakma was the best dancer in the land; when…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

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

The Terrible End of Catfish

Catfish and Rice Bird were once firm friends. One day Rice Bird said: “I just saw a farmer cut a hole in the top of a palm wine tree, to catch wine in a bowl. Let us go and steal some.” “It would be nice,” Catfish agreed, “I am tired of always drinking the same old thing. But you know I cannot fly.” “I will lend you feathers,” Rice Bird…Keep Reading

A Tale of Two Feasts

All the animals of the forest decided to have a grand feast. Spider was appointed Master of Ceremonies, for everyone knew he was the greediest animal in the forest and they felt confident he would make sure there was more than enough to eat. After much dancing and drinking of palm wine everyone sat down to eat; but Spider announced that everyone must first wash their hands clean. All the…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