Kemangurura and the Monster

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Kemangurura was a mythic hero.

A very strong youth, Kemangurura could kill two thousand men at a single stroke. He went to the home of a rich man, Njoroge wa Mbogwa, who had in an enclosure a monster called Hitimondo. The monster abused Kemangurura as he went by, and the young man asked Njoroge if he could strike Hitimondo. But Njoroge said he would take care of the matter. Then the Masai descended on the Kikuyu, with destructive results. The elders concluded that only Kemangurura could help them, and they asked him to do so. But he said he would not help them unless he was allowed to hit Hitimondo. The elders asked Hitimondo to consent to be struck by Kemangurura, but the monster refused because the elders would not give him the calf of their black cow. The elders then asked the black cow to deliver a calf, but the cow declined because the people had refused to give it good grass when it was hungry. The elders went to the rainmaker and pleaded for rain so that the cow could have good grass. The rainmaker refused, because they prevented him from eating a striped mouse. They went to the mouse, but he said they chased him when he was eating millet. They asked a woman who was harvesting millet for grain for the mouse, but she said they had refused to give her a knife. Fatigued, the elders went to the blacksmith and asked him to make a knife, but he said no, they had given him no charcoal. Dejected, the elders went to the forest to make charcoal. They gave it to the smith, got the knife, the millet, the mouse, the rainmaker, the grass, the calf, and Hitimondo ate the calf. And now Kemangurura clenched his fist and hit Hitimondo on the head. The monster fell to pieces like a calabash, his bones crushed. Now Kemangurura, enjoying himself, took clubs the size of hills and enormous spears and shield, and went to Masai country, where the people were feasting and dancing. He threw a club, and two thousand Masai fell dead. With the single survivor, Kemangurura rounded up the cattle and took them to his Kikuyu country, and he was made leader of the people.

Subjects: Religion.

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