Death and Life and Death Creation Story

Death and Life and Death Creation Story

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  • How could you create such a dirty place that lacks light and life? 
  • In the beginning there was nothing: neither matter nor light existed. In this world lived only Death, whose name is Sa, and his wife and their only daughter. Sa needed a place for his family to live, so he created a vast sea of mud using his magical powers which they lived in for many years.
  • Finally the god Alatangana came to visit Sa’s family and he was appalled at the mess, and condemned Sa for creating such a dirty place that lacked light and life. To set things right, he first consolidated the mud into the solid earth. Then he made plants to cover the new earth, and then animals to live on it.
  • Sa realized that Alatangana had made the world a much better place and took him as his guest. Alatangana was wifeless, and eventually he decided he wanted Sa's daughter for his wife although Sa refused Alatangana request he wooed Sa's daughter, and eventually they eloped to a distant region of the earth where Alatangana and his new wife set up a happy home amidst the paradise that had been created.
  • For my help in the creation of this world despite the fact that you took my daughter I request that I can claim you're offspring whenever I like?
  • Alatangana and his new wife had fourteen children. Seven were girls and seven were boys, and of each four had light skin and three had dark. This did not distress Alatangana, but he and his wife were shocked to find that their children spoke different languages that the parents did not understand. Frustrated with this state of affairs, Alatangana finally went to Sa for advice who explained that this was a curse that he had put on Alatangana's children because of how Alatangana had stolen his daughter. Alatangana returned home, and eventually his children went off to find the peoples of the world, the French, the English, and the other European peoples, and the Kono, the Guuerze, the Manon Malinke, and the Toma Yacouba of Africa. All these descendents of Alatangana and his wife still lived in darkness, because although Alatangana had made the life that covered the earth, he could not find a way to make light.
  • As before, his frustration forced him to call on Sa for help, but instead of face him he decided to send two messengers the tou-tou bird and the rooster. When the two presented their problem Sa taught them a song with which they could call forth daylight. When the two returned to Alatangana, he was furious at the nonsense they reported about a song they had learned and sent them on their way. Not long afterward, the rooster broke into song, and the tou-tou bird sang its first notes. For the first time, dawn began to appear, and soon it was day. The sun that they had called forth made its way across the sky, and when it set the stars appeared to provide faint light at night. Every day since has begun the same way, with the call of the tou-tou bird and the cry of the rooster.
  • Alatangana was grateful for the gift that he now realized Sa had given to him and his children. Sa was not long, however, in calling for payment of the debt. He came to Alatangana and pointed out the good things that he had done despite Alatangana's theft of his daughter. Now he demanded that in return he could, whenever he liked, claim any of Alatangana's offspring. Knowing his guilt and his debt to Sa, Alatangana agreed, and so it is that Alatangana's children, the human people, must meet with Death whenever he calls for them.
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