Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Cowtail Switch

A great hunter leaves  his pregnant wife and three sons and he goes on a long hunt. He is gone for several weeks, which is not uncommon for the hunter. While he is gone his wife gives birth to the baby, shortly after his birth a miracle happens, the baby speaks. "Where is my father?" Causing the three sons set out to find their father. They soon found their father's spear and shield next to a pile of bones. The 1st son had a special power and put the bones together where they belonged. The 2nd son had a special power to put muscle and skin over the bones, the 3rd son had a special power and breathed life back into his father. On their father's return the villiage held a great feast for him. He had made a beautiful cowtail switch for the occasion. The Father decided to give the special switch to the son who was most responsible for bringing him back to life. Each son argued that he was most responsible for bringing there father back from the land of the dead. "Silence!" Their father spoke. He turned and walked over  to his wife who was holding the baby, and gave the switch to his youngest son.  All looked and nodded for it was the youngest son who asked "Where is my Father?" There is a proverb that says "No man is truly dead until he is forgotten."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The River Of Knowledge

Three tuareg travelers were on a journey through the desert. As they traveled they heard a voice tell them to stop. This Second traveler asked if they should stop, the first wanted to ignore it, the third wanted to stop, so they stopped. The voice directed them over a sand dune to a river. The voice told them to grab pebbles from the river, The first traveler only took three, the second grabbed a handful, the third filled all his pockets with stones. The voice told them "They would be happy and they would be sad." and the voice faded into the wind and sand. Once they entered the next town the  three travelers stopped for refreshment, the first traveler decided to throw away his stones, but they had turned into gold coins, the second also had a handful of coins, the third shouted "I'm rich. I'm rich, I'm rich. They had each experienced happiness and sadness. Happy they listened and for the coins, sad that they didn't listen more and pick up more. Moral: When wisdom speaks listen, grab all knowledge you can now. later it will turn to gold.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jack and the Magic Mule

Jack is put out of his mother's house and told not to return until he earns his fortune. Jack stops under an apple tree. He ignores the no trespassing sign and eats his fill of apples, and then falls a sleep. He is awaken by the owner of the tree an ogre who makes Jack work for him for a year and a day. The ogre gives Jack a magic mule.  When Jack says the magic words the mule lifts its tail and gold coins come out. The ogre warns Jack to keep the magic mule a secret. But Jack has a few to many drinks and tells the innkeeper his secret. The innkeeper swaps the magic mule for an ordinary mule. Jack finds out about the switch when the mule lifted its tail in his mother's house and manure, not money came out. Jack goes back to the ogre and works another year and a day. This time the ogre gives him a magic stick. When you say the magic words the stick hits the person on the head over and over until he says the magic words to make it stop. Jack stops back at the innkkeeper's and tells him about his magic stick, and the magic words, but he doesn't tell it what it does. Late in the night Jack hears the innkeeper yelling as the magic stick kept whacking him on the head. The innkeeper returned the magic mule. Jack returned home and made his mommy proud.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Anansi Counts to Five

There was a village ruled by an evil sorceress named Five. She hated her name so much she cast a spell on the village, so that anyone who said "Five" would disappear. Anansi the spider lived in this village and thought up a plan to trick people into saying the word "F!ve". Anansi set-up "f!ve" yam beds near the road from the market square. As his neighbors came by with wagons loaded from the market he stopped them asked them for help counting his yam hills. "1-2-3-4-Five!"  Poof, as soon as they said F!ve they disappeared. Anansi had enough food to eat for weeks but he wanted more. He sees Guinea Fowl, and asks her to count. Sitting on one of the mounds she counts "1-2-3-4 and the one I'm sitting on." "No" Anansi asked her to count again. She moved from one mound to another and counted "1-2-3-4 and the one I'm sitting on." Angry Anansi said "that isnt how you count! Its 1-2-3-4-FIVE!" and Poof, Anansi disappeared. Guinea Fowl took all of Anansi's food home and had a huge feast.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Brother Frog Rides Brother Elephant

 Trying to impress a pretty girl, Frog began boasting about how important he was.  He told the pretty girl that Elephant was his riding horse. She told Frog if he wanted to visit her he could but he must come on his elephant.  Word reached Elephant about Frog's lie, angry he was determined to make Frog tell her the truth. Frog said "I am sick and too weak to walk." Elephant agreed to carry him. Frog told him he was too weak to hold on so Elephant made reins and a saddle. When they arrived at the girls house, Elephant lowered him down off of his back with his trunk. She watched with amazement. Frog married the girl the next day and moved to another town.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Distant Flame

 Two men argued about the weather. Joe bet Bill dinner if he could stay out all nite without a coat or heat. During the nite Bill watches the fire from the refinery two miles away to help him through the cold nite. In the morning Bill tells Joe what he did. Joe says he cheated using the flame to keep him warm. So Bill cooked him a pot of beans using a candle .Joe told Bill "that little candle will never heat thoses beans!" Bill responded, "If that flame kept me warm, surely this one can cook a meal." Joe laughed and took Bill to a restaurant and bought him dinner!

The Princess and The Frog

A beautiful princess finds an enchanted frog. The frog tells her if she kisses him he will turn back into a handsome prince. She picks up the frog and keeps walking. From her pocket the frog asks if she heard him? Again he tells her "I am a handsome prince. If you kiss me I return to my human form. Wouldn't you like to marry a handsome prince" She replied "Yes, but a talking frog is more valuable than an handsome prince!" Moral: Not every princess values romance over finance!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunjata Epic: The Lion Returns

Word reached Sunjata in Mema of the Sorcerer King's evil reign. Now at 18 Sunjata was ready to return home. He had the regalness of the Lion, and the strength of the buffalo.  The King of Mema gave Sunjata half of his army. And as Djata passed back through the villages he visited leaving Mali, more volunteered to be apart of his army. The two armies met for battle on the plains of Kirina.  The battle was not quick as Djata thought it would be. As he was fighting, Balla Fasseke' his griot escaped from the Sorcerer King, bringing the secret to his enemies defeat. He gave Djata an arrow that had the spur of a white rooster. Djata let the arrow fly wounding his enemy. Sumangura now venerable to the sword fled into a cave never to be seen again.  Some believe that the king used magic to become one with the stone,  not wanting to face death at the hands of  Sunjata. As fortold long ago the son of the buffalo and the lion unified Mali, and his story continues to be told by jalis from that time to this. And that is the Epic of Sunjata Keita in a Nutshell.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sunjata Epic: The Sorcerer King

While Sunjata was growing into a great military leader, his home had been conquered by Soumaoro Kante' the powerful king of Ghana. Djata's jali/griot was given to Soumaoro. For these two reasons Djata and Soumaoro were destined to meet. Soumaoro a sorcerer lived high at the top of a seven story tower. His chamber was filled with fetishes, and skins, snakes and owls. In the room was also a large balafon (wooden xylophone). One day while the king was gone, Balla the jali/griot entered into the chamber and began to play the magical balafon, the music was most beautiful. Soumaoro entered the room and Balla began singing praises to the angry King. The King calmed by his playing declared from then on only Balla would play this balafon. And that he would be his griot. It would only be a matter of time that Sunjata and Soumaoro would meet in battle.