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 she danced the other girls watched in fascination, and event birds and animals came to watch, but there was one wicked woman who was jealous and hated Duakma because she danced better than her daughter.

This evil woman poisoned Duakma and she died. When the Sande ceremonies were over and Duakma failed to return with the other maidens the whole town mourned, and Duakma’s mother wept for days and could not be consoled. One night she dreamed, and in her dream Duakma appeared to her saying:

“Beloved Mother, if you wish me to live again, arise at dawn and summon the best singers of the town. Let each one sing the Sky-god’s praises as they walk across my grave, and I will live again.”

This thing was done. The singers walked across the grave singing the Sky-god’s praises, and Duakma rose from her grave clad in garments of gold and silver cloth, with precious stones about her and a golden bowl of riches in her hands. She gave half her riches to the singers who had sung her back to life, and danced into her village while her mother and the people all rejoiced.

The wicked woman who had poisoned her became more jealous than before, for now Duakma and her mother possessed happiness and wealth. Therefore she poisoned her own daughter, hoping that fortune would also come to her, and in the time of mourning she also dreamed the dream.

She called the singers at dawn and let them walk across her daughter’s grave singing the Sky-god’s praises, and waited greedily for her girl to rise with precious stones and gold, and other things.

The earth of the grave began to stir, and her daughter’s head appeared: but being greedy the woman ran to pull her out, and pulled her head right off. The head, which had been living, became dead and rotten in her hands: she screamed and ran into the forest, and was never seen again.