text readers click here for text only version

the people
eco info
series profile

Country Close-Up

Rainforest Sahara Sahel Ethiopia Rainforest Great Lakes Great Lakes Savanna Swahili Southern Africa

PrintEmail this article

rainforest: folklore

Baka folklore tells spine-tingling tales of life in the rainforest. From crafty snakes to scheming chim panzees, animal life plays a central role. Others illustrate the Bakaís strong belief that the rainforest is not just a dense forest, but a place where powerful spirits roam. The rainforest itself also holds supernatural powers. The stories are all oral, handed down from generation to generation. Women play a key role in crafting these tales as a form of entertainment for their children. In this tale, the story is told of a clash with a forest spirit.

The Spirit

0 ne day, a boy decided to go kill an elephant because people in his village were dying from lack of meat. The boy was successful in his quest and the elephant's carcass was carried back for everyone to eat. But the boy was still hungry for meat. Sitting by his traps, he decided that the next animal he caught would be his alone. As the boy waited, a female spirit came walking with her child along the path on which the traps were set. The spirit let her child run ahead and the child fell into the boy's trap. Hungry for meat, the boy thought he had caught an animal and ate the spirit child's liver. He ate its chest and its skin. He ate all of the spirit by himself. Wondering where her child was, the mother hurried along the path, but saw only blood. Meanwhile, the boy returned to the village and told his uncles about his good luck. At that moment, the sound of the spirit mourning her loss was heard from the forest. The screams grew louder. They sounded like those of a woman. Now, enraged forest spirits are very dangerous. Loading their guns, the men scattered throughout the forest. The screams moved behind a hut. Suddenly, a shot rang out. The mother spirit fell to earth. The villagers cut her up and scattered her remains in the forest. And that is the end.

Rain Forest explore the regions africa