∥Gauwa and the Hole of the Forefathers

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(!Kung/Angola, Namibia)

The gods live in the sky, the great god in the east at the place where the sun rises, the lesser god in the west where the sun sets. The great god created himself, then the lesser god, then two wives, one for himself and one for the lesser god. The wives bore six children to the gods, three boys and three girls. The great god created the earth, men and women, and all things. He named himself and then gave names to the lesser god and to their wives and children. He called himself Hishe, the one whom none can command. He caused death among humans, caused the rain to thunder. He has other divine names, including ǂGaishi ǂgai. The children of the gods were turned into the two stars in the vertical axis of the Southern Cross that now bear their names.

‖Gauwa first lived in a very big hole which he made by pushing the earth out with his head. There were two entrances: one faced toward the sunrise, one faced toward the sunset. He later made a house, tied together with wire with poles made of iron. It was built up off the ground, on the iron poles which were stuck into the ground and rose up into the air. When a person is sick with a sore throat, the sickness has been caused by those irons that stick into the air. If ‖Gauwa does not like a person, he can hurt him with those irons. There are two trees near ‖Gauwa's house. They have names. Nothing else on the earth or in the sky bears those names. The remote forefathers came out of a hole in the ground, at the roots of an enormous tree, which covered a wide extent of country. Immediately afterward, all kinds of animals came swarming out after them. There is a great hole in the Marootzee country out of which men first came, and their footmarks are still to be seen there. One man came out of it long ago, but he went back and is there yet. The cattle came from the same hole. See also: ǂGao!na, Goha, Hishe, Huwe, |Kaggen.

Subjects: Religion.

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