Juok and the Dog That Preserved Mankind

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Juok (Jwok), the creator, the supreme being, was an androgynous god, an all-powerful and omniscient spirit.

He had sons—first an elephant; then a buffalo, a lion, a crocodile; after that, a little dog; and, finally, man and woman. When he saw the humans, beings without hair, Juok told the dog to throw them away. The dog took the humans to a tree, and put the children into a hole in that tree. Then, without his knowledge, the dog milked a cow from among God's herds and fed the children. The children grew up, got too big for the tree, so the dog took them to the country, where they built a house. They became a man and a woman. When the dog brought them to God, Juok wanted to kill them, but the dog asked him to let them live as his brother and sister. As the land was getting crowded, God decided to allocate land to his people. He would deal with the elephant, buffalo, and lion first, with the man and woman last. But the dog knew that if they went in last they would get nothing. They must go in first, pretending to be the larger animals. When God asked who he was, the man said he was the elephant, the buffalo, and the lion, and God gave him all the spears. When the larger animals arrived, God realized what had happened, so he gave the crocodile teeth, tusks to the elephant, horns to the buffalo, claws to the lion. The man, when he met those creatures, killed them with his spear, so they went onto the plains. And man took the best place. The name of the first man was Otino. The name of the first woman was Akongo.

Juok decided to cast a rock into a river so that when a man died he should die forever. When Dog heard that the beasts had been summoned to council by God, he told man to look after the cattle, he would go and listen to God. But man said he would listen to God himself. Dog knew that man would misunderstand Juok's words, but he gave way. Up to that time, man had died for a few days only and had then come to life again. God had summoned all the beasts to come and throw the rock into the river and so terminate man's life. When God spoke to the beasts, man did not clealy, understand what he said, as Dog had foreseen, so that the beasts cast the rock into the river. Dog, while herding, heard a great splash and ran to see what had happened. When he saw that the rock had been cast by God into the river, he showed man where the rock had fallen and told him to collect all his people to pull it out of the river. But man said that he was tired, he might hurt himself. Why should he pull it out? Dog tried to pull it out by himself, but it was too heavy; it kept rolling back again, and the people did not help him but only stood on the bank and laughed. So he bit as large a piece out of the rock as he could manage and carried it home with him. In consequence of Dog's action, man takes a long time to die. If Dog had not saved a portion of the rock, man's life would be very short.


Subjects: Religion.

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