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Ekineba and the Water People


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(Kalabari/Nigeria)

Ekineba was a mythic being, a mortal who visited the land of the gods.

Ekineba was so beautiful that even the Water People, changing themselves into humans, courted her. The son of the chief priest of Ojoma took a dowry and went to her. Her spirit told her this was the man she would marry. They married, and he took her away in his canoe. Some Water People were upset, and caused a storm to capsize the canoe. Ekineba was taken to the town of the Water People. The mother of the Water People was angry that the canoe had been capsized. When the Water People came home from work, the mother expressed her anger, and they said that they would return her to the land of humans. The chief priest of Ojoma had died, but the son was angry with the gods for not helping him when his wife died. The Water People, before they took Ekineba home, danced for her and told her to beat their drum, the first human to do so. They warned her that at every party she must be the first to beat the drum, to purify the drums. Then they returned her to her home, telling her not to allow her husband to embrace her before he had purified her. He did that, and they embraced. Later, Ekineba told her husband how the Water People had wanted to marry her but she had refused. That is why two of them had taken her away. Then she showed her husband how to make drums, what people should do when she beat them. But some were annoyed that she was always the first to play the drums, and one drummer kept playing before she did. She knew that the Water People were encouraging him, and she did not long to stay in the world of men. She told the people she would be leaving, and she sat and wrapped a cloth around her face. It was evening, and a storm came up: the Water People were coming. She told the people to beat their drums, night fell, a thick cloud descended, and the Water People took Ekineba away.

Subjects: Religion.


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