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Huwe's Hairy Home


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(!Kung/Botswana)

Huwe (Xu) wards off disease, gives plenty, and protects the San from danger. The supreme being is a good being to whom the people attribute the creation and maintenance of all things. Huwe, anthropomorphic, looks like a San and speaks !Kung. This god is often prayed to, especially for rain and success in hunting, as well as in cases of illness, because he made all things, can do everything, knows everything, and he is given the first offering of the chase. The rain comes at his command as a mist out of the earth, and then falls down, thereby making thunder and lightning.

He lives in the sky in a house with two stories, the lower of which is occupied by himself, his wife, and many children, while the upper is occupied by the souls of the dead, Xa. This house is similar to the ordinary San house, but its exterior is hairy like a caterpillar. Honey, locusts, fat flies, and butterflies are found here in superabundance, and the great captain feeds on these. The souls of the dead merely sit around and eat nothing. Huwe summons musicians and gives them supernatural powers; he is the lord over rain and lightning, as well as over the spirits, ∥gaunab, and through their leader he sends good fortune in hunting or in the collection of veldkos. If anybody thinks or speaks evil of him, he punishes the evildoer with lightning; otherwise, he takes little interest in the doings of the San. See also: ∥Gao!na, ∥Gauwa, Hishe, |Kaggen, Xu.

Subjects: Religion.


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