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Lianja, Sprung from His Mother's Tibia, Avenges His Father's Death


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(Mongo/DRCongo)

Bokele, a boy, is born miraculously: the wives of Wai were all pregnant, the pregnancy of one of them was so prolonged that she was scorned. An old woman took an egg out of the womb of this wife, and a handsome boy, Bokele, hatched. Because the world was in darkness, Bokele, with the assistance of a hawk, a turtle, and wasps, stole the sun from those who controlled it and brought it back to his community. From that same land of the sun, he brought back Bolumbu, his wife. Lonkundo, their son, died twice and was restored to life. He was taught how to build traps by his father, and he dreamed that he caught the sun. But it was Ilankaka whom he had snared, a beautiful shining woman. He married her, and her unborn child, Itonde, fully grown, left her womb at night to get food. A hunter, he caught a bird. When Itonde set the bird free, it gave him a bell called “the world,” a bell that would grant his wishes. His father renamed him Ilele, and the youth became his father's successor. Ilele met Mbombe, wrestled with her, the first of her suitors to defeat her, and he married her. An ogre killed him, and Mbombe gave him life. He was killed in another fight. Mbombe gave birth to insects, birds, communities of human beings. And within her womb was Lianja, already talking—he emerged a man, armed, from Mbombe's tibia. He had a twin sister, Nsongo, shining like the sun. They leapt onto the roof, soared into the sky, and returned. Now Lianja set out to avenge the death of his father. He killed Indombe, a python, that transformed into a spirit. The twins went to a river, separating themselves from the animals. Indombe had cursed plants so that they did not grow: Lianja lifted the curse. He settled the people in their several communities, then he climbed a tree and, with his sister on his hips and his mother on his shoulders, he vanished into the sky. See also: Mbomba Ianda.

Subjects: Religion.


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