How Women Found Men

When the world began men and women lived apart in two separate groups. The women lived in a swamp and they did not know such creatures as men existed; the men dwelt in the hills, and none of them had ever seen a woman. There came a time of heavy rains when the water in the women’s swamp rose so high that all the fires were killed, and thus the women could no longer cook the fish they caught. They saw smoke rising from a distant hill.
“Women must be living there,” they said. “They will give us fire.”
A messenger was sent. She crossed tot the edge of the swamp and fared into the hills until she came to the place from which the smoke arose: and there, to her surprise, she found a handsome town with people who were human beings, and yet who did not look like women. She watched them for a long time, and marveled at some of the things they did. At length she approached the nearest house, and there she discovered a person who was making dumboy, beating palm-butter, and doing other household tasks. She went to this person and said:
“O woman, I have come to borrow fire.”
The man was astonished. “Woman? What is woman? I am a man.” He studied her for some moments with growing interest, and said: “Welcome to my house. You may have fire, and also food.”
But as she watched him prepare a meal she grew restless.
“You should not make your soup like that. You must make it thus and so, with certain herbs and spices… Your dumboy is all wrong. Let me show you… and do you not know that rice must be husked before you eat it?”
She gave so much advice that the man allowed her to complete his work; and although she talked unceasingly she did the work quite well. That night she stayed with him, and found such pleasure that she never did go back to her group.
When some days had passed the women in the swamp sent a second messenger for fire. The second woman came to the house where the first woman was living, and said to her:
“What are you doing here?”
“I have found a man.” “What is a man?”
“It is difficult to say, but he is better than fire. Pass on to the hut, and you will find one there.”
The second woman found a man and she, too, stayed. A third woman came, and a fourth; one by one all the women came out of the swamp and settled down to live with men.