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, and he felt his life was only half the life a man should have.
Youth passed from the childless couple, but they still prayed fervently to Nyiswa that he might bless them with a child: and eventually he did this thing. In her old age the woman conceived, and Judu Kahn To took her away from the village that their secret might be kept and she could bear her child in peace: for younger women might have laughed at her. He took her to a sick-bush, and all things were made ready for the child.
When it was born a servant who had visited them spread certain reports in the village. She said that although the woman had indeed been sick with a swollen belly, it was actually a sheep who had given birth to the child, and left it at the door of Judu Kahn To: and since the woman was beyond her fertile years, people believed the tale. The child was called Kangbi (shut door), and everyone except his parents thought he was the miracle-child of sheep.
Kangbi grew up to be a strong and handsome young man, but when he wished to take a wife no girl would live with him; they thought his mother was a sheep. This made Kangbi sad and lonely. As he was going forth to harvest rice one day he saw a beautiful maiden passing by, carrying a small basket on her head, and he wondered who she was and what lucky man would win her; but when he returned to his house that afternoon she was sitting in his kitchen preparing his evening meal. He was not at all alarmed; it gave him melancholy pleasure to see a lovely maiden in his kitchen, where no maiden had ever been before.
“Greetings, and welcome,” he said. “My name is Kangbi, and this is my house. My food is your food, and my house is your house for as long as you may wish to stay.”
“I thank you for your courtesy,” she said. “I come from Nyiswa. It is said that you are the son of a sheep, and for this falsehood no girl will marry you; so God has sent me to be your wife.”
she said she had no name and that he should call her (name lost). Kangbi gladly took her as his wife. He love her well, and she loved him, and when she bore a son his life was full. The boy was named Gbe. Gbe had twelve sons, each of whom developed a ‘house’ which eventually became a clan. Today there are still twelve Gbeta clans; Gbeta means the home or ‘house’ of Gbe.Kru women still make are use a certain type of basket in memory of the one Nyenema carried on her head.