Lesa's Wife's Death Means Death for All

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Lesa (Cuuta, Lucele, Mulenga) created the world. He lives in the sky, and is spoken of in connection with rain and the phenomena that accompany rain.

There was a woman with only one breast to suckle two children. This woman caused the human race to fill this world. From her were born two children, Mushili, a woman, and her brother, Lesa. The brother and sister were married, and from their incestuous union sprang good and evil. They had two children, Luchyele and Kashindika. Luchyele went to the home of his father to be given two packages containing the sun and the moon. The one who sent Lesa to marry his sister was the one who had one breast, their mother. Mushili, Lesa's wife, died when Lesa, who had gone to get wisdom, was away. When he came back, he found that his wife was dead, and that they had buried her; he told them they had done wrong to bury his wife in his absence. Because they buried his wife, he said, all people will die and be buried. Lesa went to Mushili-mfumu's, because there lived there Chaalula (Changer), Chaabala (Starter), and Chintu-mukanyo-kufwa (Thing-which-prevents-death). But things could not be changed. Lesa asked Chintu for something to prevent death, but he refused.

Dog was discontented with his lot: although he helped man to hunt game, he was just thrown food on the ground and was not allowed to share his master's food from the eating basket. He went off with his complaint to Lesa, and on the way he met other discontented animals. Elephant was discontented because she had only one child at a birth, Lion because he had to eat his meat raw. They all arrived at Lesa's village, and were listened to with sympathy, until Wagtail came and gave the game away. He pointed out that Dog ate human excrement and so was not fit to eat with man, while if Elephant increased rapidly, no one else would be able to live on the earth, because everything would be trampled. As for Lion, if he could use fire, he would set light to men's houses and kill them all. Because of Wagtail's service to man in speaking up before Lesa, he is never killed, but is allowed to hop about the village of man unmolested. See also: Kashindika, Luchyele.

Subjects: Religion.

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