Overview

|Kai |Kini and the Fire Sticks


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(!Kung/Namibia)

|Kai |Kini was the fire-bringer.

There was a time when no one had fire except one man, |Kai |Kini. He had fire, the name of which was Doro, made with fire sticks. While other people ate raw food, |Kai |Kini cooked his food with this fire. ǂGao!na, walking in the veld, came upon the place where |Kai |Kini was living. He was not there, but his children were, eating cooked |karu. ǂGao!na asked for some, found it very good, and asked how it had been cooked. The children told him that their father cooked the food. ǂGao!na, returning the next day for more, saw |Kai |Kini and his children digging for food in the ground. He hid and watched. They went back to their home and |Kai |Kini got his fire sticks from the place where he had hidden them. He twirled the male stick against the female stick, saying, “Fire will come, fire will come.” When the fire was made and the food was cooking, |Kai |Kini hid his fire sticks again, ǂGao!na watching all the time. When the food was dished up, he came out from his hiding place, sat down by the fire, and they ate together. ǂGao!na suggested that they play a game. He made a jani toy, placing on it a guineafowl feather, weighting it with a nut. He tossed the toy into the air with his stick, and when it floated down, he ran, caught it, tossed it up again and again without it ever falling to the ground. |Kai |Kini wanted to play. ǂGao!na gave him the jani, but |Kai |Kini could not throw it very high. ǂGao!na said the guinea-fowl feather was no good, they must put a big paouw feather on it. This they did, and this time the jani flew high. ǂGao!na then released the wind and, blowing from the eastern side, it swept the jani toward the west. |Kai |Kini followed it, fascinated, tossing it higher each time he caught it. ǂGao!na followed |Kai |Kini and, when they came to the place where the fire sticks were hidden, ǂGao!na seized them and ran with them into the veld. As he ran, he broke them into little pieces, throwing them over the entire world. “All the world is going to get fire now,” he said. “Fire, fire, go over the world.” Since then, there has been fire in every piece of wood; all men can get it out and cook their food. |Kai |Kini stopped playing and looked at ǂGao!na. ǂGao!na told him, “It is not right that you alone should have fire. From now on, you will not be a person.” And he changed |Kai |Kini into a bird named ǂOre. See also: ǂGao!na, ∥Gauwa, |Kaggen.

Subjects: Religion.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.