African folklore

African folklore

A Story by Jack V.
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Memories from my childhood - finding morals in life.

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I used to read folklore. African Folklore. I didn’t touch the Greek stuff. It didn’t make sense to learn from the Greeks when our ancestors truly come from Africa.

            My mother worked all the time and so I read. I took my lessons from the Africans. They taught me about jealousy and envy by speaking through animals into Men. It hurt that usually the woman was the pitfall for the man, but that might just have biblical ties at its roots. I learned about lies and hate, about love and deceit, about trust and anxiety, and about perseverance and strength. All of the lessons we teach our children all the years they live and breathe. And although I read these stories, these myths, for years, I only remember the one; it was a story of jealousy and envy.

            A man had been given a very special gift by God. He was allowed to speak with the animals. Every day he enjoyed conversations with the animals; and, at times, it gave him an edge over his male counterparts in the village. His wife became suspicious of his happy demeanor and cheerful image and began to pester him, “Why are you so happy all of a sudden?” spoken with a thick and deep sound.

            “Do I need a reason?” This was the only response he was allowed to provide. You see, one of the conditions to speak with the animals was his silence. He wasn’t allowed to tell anyone of this gift. If he did, he would die; this was condition number two. It hurt him to keep the secret from his wife but he didn’t want to lose his ability to speak with them.

            Every day he’d come home, and it lasted about a year at best, in which his wife would berate him with her envy, “Why are you so happy? What is it outside of this house that makes you smile so. It hurts me that you will not tell me. I am your wife. I deserve to be happy too.”

            His heart was saddened and the gift became a burden rather quickly.

            Finally his wife came to him one day, “If you don’t tell me why you are so happy, and what it is that you keep from me each day, I’m going to leave.”

            Not wanting to anger his wife any longer and finally needing freedom from the bondage her insistence had placed him in, he told her and then died. Realizing the mistake she had made in constantly asking for his truth she killed herself for killing her husband. Legend has it any time the wind blows over the Savannah plains their voices can be heard together whispering “Envy” in the breeze.

            Now my attention and curiosity glommed onto stories like these as a hungry child swallows a loaf of bread.  I did my best to remember these stories because I knew, at the time of reading them that I would eventually forget. And I did. But this one stuck with me. I wonder what my own mother would say to this story had I ever shared it with her. I’m sure she’d agree with the moral, never covet thy neighbor’s goods, but I’d think she’d think it incredulous to tell the story using animals. Why disguise it so? Just say the moral straight out, don’t be jealous. It’s wrong. But children love animals, some more than others. Perhaps this was the reason the story stuck with me as it did. I would have loved to have had this gift. The question then remains, would I have kept my secret or found it a burden?

© 2014 Jack V.


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Added on November 19, 2014
Last Updated on November 19, 2014
Tags: African folklore, folklore, envy, jealousy

Author

Jack V.
Jack V.

Farmington Hills, MI



About
I'm a self-publishing, freelance author living in Michigan. I appreciate detailed description, and therefore I must warn my audience, many oeuvre contain graphic imagery. The topic surrounds, physical.. more..

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