ǂGama- ǂGorib and the Hole of the Ancestors

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(Khoi/South Africa)

Heitsi-Eibib was once looking for his people near the place of ǂGama- ǂGorib, an evil being who sent a hare to him to ask him to join in a certain game: if one man quarrels with another, he fills his hand with dust and offers both hands to his opponent. If the adversary is bold, he dasshes the dust to the ground, and then the two men fight. This is what happened with Heitsi-Eibib. At first, Heitsi-Eibib was thrown by the hare into a hole, but he said, “Hole of my ancestors, heave up your bottom a little, and give me a lift, that I may jump out.” It did so, and Heitsi-Eibib jumped out. This happened twice, after which Heitsi-Eibib threw his adversary into the hole, after hitting him first behind the ear. Then Heitsi-Eibib said, “Hole of my ancestors, heave up your bottom a little, that my children may come out,” and it did so, and all his children who had been previously destroyed came out. After this, HeitsiEibib cursed the hare and told it that henceforth it should eat only at night.

Heitsi-Eibib then went on to the kraal of |Hau‖GaiǂGaib, and, when asked what he was doing, said that he was looking for his people. Here also there was a hole, and it was the custom of |Hau‖GaiǂGaib to place a stone on his own forehead, and ask people who were passing by to take the stone and throw it at his forehead. When they did so the stone bounded back and killed the thrower. Heitsi-Eibib was invited to throw the stone. He promised to do so if |Hau‖GaiǂGaib would shut his eyes. Then Heitsi-Eibib hit him behind the ear and killed this evil person on the spot, who fell into his own hole. Passing on, he came to a lion. In those days lions could fly, and HeitsiEibib saw one of the flying lions in a tree. He burned the tree down, and caused the lion ever after to walk on the earth. He noticed a lion that had been flying in the sky. It pounced down on an ox and devoured it. This made the lion so heavy that when Heitsi-Eibib chased it the lion could not fly, so he cut off its wings.

Heitsi-Eibib was angry with ǂGamaǂGorib because he worked so much evil on earth. Heitsi-Eibib managed to distract his attention, and when his rival was not looking he hit his enemy behind the ear. After that the people lived happily. But Heitsi-Eibib was wounded in the knee during the fight, and ever after limped. As people pass his grave they throw on it some pieces of their clothing, or dung from a zebra, or flowers, or branches of a tree, or stones, and if they are hunting they pray to Heitsi-Eibib for good fortune. See also: Heitsi-Eibib, Tsui‖Goab.

Subjects: Religion.

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