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Bateta and Hanna Are Created by the Toad and Moon


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(Soko/DRCongo)

Bateta and Hanna were the first humans.

The earth was originally covered with water. Then the water dried up, plants and grass sprang up, trees grew, water flowed in rivers. There was as yet no living being. One day, a toad appeared. In the sky, there was only the moon; on the earth, there was only the toad. One day, the moon told the toad that he planned to create a man and a woman. But the toad wanted to do that: the moon, he argued, belongs in the sky, the toad is a being of the earth. The moon said that the toad's creations had but a brief existence, while the moon's creations were perfect and had everlasting life. But the toad insisted. The moon warned that if he went on with his plan, both the toad and his creations would die, warning that he himself would kill the toad. Nevertheless, the toad insisted, and he created a man and a woman. The moon, angry because the toad dared to be equal to him, moved down from the sky to punish him. The toad's creations, the moon said, were inferior; they would die after just one of the moon's trips around the earth. But the moon decided that he would improve on the toad's creations, giving them longer life and greater intelligence. But while the toad existed, the moon's rage would be dangerous to the humans. The toad therefore had to die. The moon then descended on the toad and consumed him. The moon then tenderly bathed, taught, and molded the humans, much as a potter does. The man he called Bateta, and the woman Hanna. He gave these humans the things of the earth, including an ax, fire, and cooking vessels. Then the moon ascended into the sky.

Subjects: Religion.


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